WE’RE DRIFTING FARTHER FROM
OUR MORAL/CULTURAL ROOTS
The collapse of Western Civilization proceeds apace.
Indeed, we have reached the point where certain situations simply cannot be satirized.
Take, for instance, this news item from Sweden reported by World Net Daily under the title…
“Lesbian Bishop: ‘Remove Crosses from Church.’”
I think even “Saturday Night Live” would be hard-pressed to create a comedy sketch that contains more irony…
“The world’s first lesbian bishop of a mainstream Christian denomination has put forth a call for one of the country’s seaport churches to remove its crosses, so as to avoid offending Muslims.
“Bishop Eva Brunne of the Lutheran Church of Sweden has proposed to remove the Christian symbols of the Seamen’s Church in Freeport to make it more inviting for visiting sailors from other religions….
“Her plan calls for removing crosses and other Christian symbols while setting up a prayer room inside the church that marks the direction of Mecca.”
Barry McGuire, where are you now when we need you?…
“And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
I certainly have nothing against making churches more friendly. On the contrary, an inviting atmosphere is a great asset to any parish or congregation. But then, we must ask: For what purposes would one wish to invite others into a church?
For evangelistic purposes — perhaps to convince those on a spiritual quest that there is a church that can answer their needs?
For educational purposes — as in aid in understanding, for those who may be unclear about the beliefs and practices of a particular religious group?
For ecumenical purposes — to demonstrate the elements of commonality between different faiths, thereby promoting mutual support and interfaith cooperation?
All of these purposes are perfectly legitimate. But I fail to see how removing crosses and other identifying Christian symbols would advance any of them.
And while providing a Muslim (or even a non-denominational) prayer room might seem a welcoming gesture, I think it more readily suggests confusion among the church’s members about their faith traditions (or a lack of conviction).
It’s also rather more than what’s required of good will and hospitality. Would one expect to find a crucifix in a mosque or synagogue?
Of course this incident reflects a denomination — the Lutheran Church of Sweden in this case — that’s obviously attained to a whole different plane of reality (the lesbian bishop thing is kind of a hint there).
Now don’t invest any false hope in the idea that our civilizational supports are crumbling only in places like the socialist paradise of Sweden. Placid life in Canada — where they pride themselves on being so much more unruffled than their uptight American neighbors — has been disturbed by certain Peeping-Tom incidents on a local university campus.
According to the Toronto Star…
“The University of Toronto has decreased the number of gender-neutral bathrooms in one of its colleges after two women became victims of voyeurism when they were filmed while showering.
“Toronto Police Const. Victor Kwong said Monday that two women in separate instances at the Whitney Hall residence reported that they saw a cellphone reach over the shower-stall dividers in an attempt to record them. Police have yet to find any information about the culprit, but the investigation is ongoing.”
Let’s be clear — these are gender-neutral bathrooms with multiple facilities. That is to say, both men and women use them at the same time.
Never fear — university officials have a solution to this problem…
“Melinda Scott, the dean of students at University College, said some bathrooms in Whitney Hall have now been designated specifically for residents who identify as men or women.”
Given current assumptions in the academic world about what qualifies as a man or a woman, does this mean that genetic males who have arbitrarily declared themselves to be female are still sharing bathrooms with genetic females who are secure in their female identities? (In prevailing jargon, the latter are referred to as “cisgender” women.)
And if so, has the problem really been solved? One can never be sure that female-identifying males are without physical interest in female-identifying females. We live in a very confusing time, sexually.
Oh well…let our Canadian friends grapple with their conundrums. We face challenges this side of the border too.
A University of North Carolina female athlete named Blake Dodge recently aired her suffering in the Raleigh News & Observer. Explaining, in an appropriate academic way, that she identifies as female, Ms. Dodge described herself as…
“a conventionally attractive student-athlete at UNC-Chapel Hill. I grew into my ears a few years back. I have lighter eyes and darker skin, and with the exception of a bit of an eyebrow discrepancy, my face is generally symmetrical.”
That’s as may be. But the problem she faces — one she says makes her “feel my stomach drop” — is sexism. More specifically, it’s the sexist assumptions men make about women. A recent incident in class illustrates…
“We are discussing Islam in modern society,” she writes. “I chime in. A neighbor, who identifies as male, leans over from across the aisle: “You can’t be pretty and smart.” He thinks he’s giving me a compliment. There is an awkward pause as he waits for me to meekly deny my sexuality. I do not comply. He turns away. I’m not sure he actually listened to anything I said.”
There follows a busy afternoon that includes working out at the gym, during which time Ms. Dodge is subjected to the intrusive glances of those around her (presumably males who identify as male) along with a sad reflection on the proportions of her various physical features (butt too big relative to her chest). Later she finds herself meekly accepting the company of a male friend (who identifies as male), since she is anxious about walking home alone in the dark.
So what we have here is a pretty girl who faces the daily experience of male attention (which makes her self-conscious) while accepting male protection (which makes her resentful).
This too speaks to a certain kind of deterioration: the ideologically motivated confusion of many young women created by an educational system in which ordinary interactions between guys and girls have been painted as demeaning, even threatening, clashes of power and vulnerability.
Men and women have been dancing the subtle gavotte of sexual attraction-avoidance since the beginning of time. Likewise, pretty girls have always had to guard themselves against actual predation (like that bathroom voyeurism up in Toronto).
But note that Blake Dodge’s concerns don’t touch on anything related to morality or propriety. Of course not. Nowadays, everything is sexism. All is political.
These disparate, though eerily consistent, incidents might be neatly symbolized by the recent removal of the Ten Commandments monument that had sat outside the capitol building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
I know that religiously inspired public displays are routinely challenged on church-state separation grounds. But the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld posting the Ten Commandments as constitutional.
No matter. A former Oklahoma state legislator (now head of the regional ACLU) was able to finagle a ruling from the state supreme court that the monument violates the state constitution, even though it hadn’t been paid for with public funds.
There are two points to consider here: first, that this removal is, essentially, the Swedish lesbian bishop’s plan carried out on a larger scale; and second, that the Ten Commandments are the moral underpinnings of our Judeo-Christian civilization.
They are the touchstone, the reference point by which we evaluate the rightness and wrongness of human behavior. This includes those subtle interactions between men and woman that so disturbed our pretty UNC athlete, Blake Dodge.
Removing the Ten Commandments not only obscures our religious character, it denies that we recognize anything as right or wrong in its nature. And so we are left to drift farther and farther from truth — from a common recognition of what simply is.
I saw Barry McGuire back in the late ’90s, performing in concert with Catholic singer / guitarist / composer John Michael Talbot (McGuire had become a born-again Christian in the ’70s, though I don’t think he’s ever done the Tiber Swim and entered the Catholic Church).
He sang “Eve of Destruction” in that program. By then it was strictly a nostalgia piece, a sort of in-joke among boomers in the audience.
Perhaps he should consider a re-release for the new millennium. That song is getting more and more timely every day.
*(“Eve of Destruction,” Copyright © 1965 by P.F. Sloan)
In another illustration of just how hard it is for the dedicated blogger to keep up with developments…
A chapel at Kansas’ Wichita State University has been renovated to better accommodate the approximately 1,000 Muslim students on campus (out of a total enrollment of 15,000), as reported by World Net Daily after I posted the piece above. The facility …
“was deemed not inclusive enough for Muslim students last May. The solution: Rip up an alter and pews and make space for prayer rugs.”
This situation is somewhat less extreme than the iconoclastic prescription of that Swedish lesbian bishop, however. The WSU chapel was always non-sectarian, as stipulated by its primary funder, Rachel Grace, widow of the late Harvey D. Grace, in whose name it’s dedicated.
Nevertheless, there have been objections — loud and numerous — which, naturally, are being tagged as “Islamophobia” (predictable, that). Fox News reports…
“the removal of the pews and altar was a step too far for alumni and donors.
“‘Why did they have to take out all the pews,’ alum Jean Ann Cusick wrote on Facebook ….
“There was so much outrage President [John] Bardo has ordered a committee to be formed to study possible changes.
“‘I don’t think that change was undertaken with enough consideration of the feelings of all elements of the campus and broader community,’ he said.”
Here’s a link to the WND story…
…and to an analysis by Fox News commentator, Todd Starnes (who isn’t at all pleased)…
And here’s one to the story about voyeurism in the UofT’s gender-neutral bathrooms, from the Toronto Star…
You must, of course, check out Blake Dodge’s heart-rending tale of sexist oppression at UNC-Chapel Hill. This item was mentioned by columnist, Dennis Prager, who linked to it with a comment that was right on target…
“Subtle sexism ruins female athlete’s life. Wow, it’s really rough to be an attractive female athlete at a major U.S. university. Read this and weep (or laugh) at its sheer foolishness.”
Finally, writing on Catholic Vote, commentator and former Oklahoma legislator, Rebecca Hamilton, offers some background on the removal of that Ten Commandments monument from the statehouse grounds in Oklahoma City…
Whether or not you’re a boomer, indulge yourself in a bit of ’60s, end-of-civilization nostalgia: Barry McGuire singing P.F. Sloan’s “Eve of Destruction” — just to show young people that we had our challenges back then too…