All the Wrong Places

Member Group : From the Kitchen Table

The news these days is enough to make any sane person start looking for a closet to hide in.

Children were shot in a school in a small Cleveland suburb – by a child. Two of the victims have died.

A group of ethicists in Australia has published an article in a journal of medical ethics arguing that we allow "after-birth-abortions", but not call them infanticides because we shouldn’t think of these entities as children.

The administration has decided that cutting the health care benefits of our active-duty military (present and retired) is an acceptable way to curb spending. They have also decided that no unionized bureaucrats should be affected by this cut.

The list could continue, but we all get the point. Something is radically wrong with our society.

The question is, what should we do about it?

Many are looking to Washington for answers. The thinking is that if we just elect the right people, THEY will somehow deal with the situation.

There are two problems with this response.

The first is obvious – how do we know without doubt which people are the right people? We have elected lots of folks that we thought were the right people, only to be sadly disappointed when they got into office and joined the very establishment they promised to reform.

The second flows from the first. The ability of the establishment to corrupt an individual is enormous. Whether it is the compromises that a candidate makes to get the funds necessary to get elected, or the deals the officeholder makes in one area to get action in another, or the vote-bargaining that occurs because constituents demand their "piece of the pie", a single individual finds it nearly impossible to avoid the swamp that government has become.

Conversely, the ability of one individual to change the establishment is miniscule. Legislation that would create real reform doesn’t move out of committee, or is amended so drastically that the final version is unrecognizable.

So if the answer isn’t in Washington, where is it?

It’s in church.

Church is the entity that reminds us that truth doesn’t move, that holding power isn’t the goal of existence, and that each of us is simultaneously endowed with rights and accountable for how we exercise them.

In the current conflict between the church and the state, the government is not only telling the church that it may not obey the dictates of conscience in its own institutions, it is asserting that the state may dictate what the conscience of the church should say. The particular issue doesn’t matter – the state’s attempt to tell a church what it may believe is the problem.

At the very moment when we most need the voice of the church, the state is working desperately to silence that voice. And if the state believes that silencing the church is a priority, we should pay attention.

When fighting an opponent, the thing that our opponent most wants is the very thing that we should strive the hardest to deny him.

In this case, that means not only preserving the voice of the church, but listening to what it has to say.