We are in the midst of a culture war here in the United States. The upheaval, the chaos, the downright stupidity regarding many of the events in this turbulent year called 2020 are proof positive that something violent is happening in our society. No, I’m not talking about knocking over a Target store and then calling it reparations needed to give my children bread. I mean I am talking about that sort of thing, but I’m not limiting my discussion to that particular subject matter.
Where the Battle is being fought…
If you are like most people you probably think that the battle is being fought in major Democratic cities like Portland or Chicago. There is no question that these are battle fronts. When we see rioting, pillaging, abuse and murder taking place in areas of commerce or in communities where people live, I am inclined to call these, oft times one sided skirmish’s, “battle fronts.” But that is not really where the true battle is being fought. These are symptomatic reactions, the proverbially rotten fruit hanging low and hitting the ground upon which we walk. These are tumorous outgrowths of the battle that has already been waged and seemingly won in the hearts and minds of many.
The battle is being fought in the heart and mind. That is the ground (the front) where the war is being waged. And what are the weapons of this warfare? Language. Specifically, the redefining, reworking, and manipulating terms, concepts, and ideas of yesteryear.
Pen vs. Sword…
I imagine you’ve heard the phrase, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” This seems like a nonsensical phrase if you are being confronted with a lunatic brandishing a sword. Surely, my Bic will do little good against a razor sharp Katana. The reason that the pen is mightier than a sword is not because plastic and ink stands a chance against fire-treated steel honed with a whetstone. The reason is because the pen stands the chance of changing the sword wielder’s mind before he ever draws his sword. Play your cards right, use the right words in the right way, and you can more than likely have the sword wielding lunatic on your side, hacking and slashing your enemies into fine pieces of sushi.
Language is a powerful tool in the hands of the person who knows how to wield it effectively. The enemy within our gates in this nation know not only how to use language to their advantage, but they are excellent at teaching their disciples to think and act just like them. Take for example some of these popularly used words/phrases: racist, white-privilege, inequality, police-brutality, Black Lives Matter (BLM), Fascists, etc.
A Brief Look at the Current Word Game…
What is a racist? In the past that term meant someone who had uncalled for hate towards an individual or a group of people that belonged to another race. This hatred was driven by physical characteristics alone. Ignoring for the moment that there is no such thing as a different race within the human population (this a product of Darwinian ideology that has been debunked by the human genome project; not to mention that the Bible denies such teaching from the very beginning) a rational person automatically recognizes that such thinking is downright wrong.
But racism today is defined by those on the Left as anyone who is not a person of color. Our young people are being taught that to be born white is to be born a racist. To vote republican, to be a conservative, and in some circles to be a Christian is to be a racist at heart. And, what is tacitly denied is that anyone but whitey can be racist.
Black Lives Matter. This is a true statement. They do, but so do all other lives. All lives matter. But this statement is demonized, belittled, and shouted down. And yet to say “All lives matter” is also to say “So too do the Blacks!”
But the way the phrase is being used by the Left argues against this conclusion. What they mean when they say “Black Lives Matter” is that those lives (i.e., Black lives of a certain bent) matter more than all other lives. And so, like the term racist we have a delimitation on whose life ought to be valued in our society; which, in turn reveals whose lives they think ought to be devalued.
***(Side Note: We should be able to see this easily enough. For if “all” Black Lives Mattered, then there would be an equal outcry against “all” Black lives that have been lost, through gang violence, Black on Black crime and abortion mills…but this group BLM is strangely silent on those matters).***
What of inequality or privilege? The same could be said of these words. When the word inequality is used it stirs our minds to those who are being treated unfairly. When the term privilege is used, our thoughts turn to those who have an advantage (unfairly?) over others. But life is not fair. There are times when the good are punished and the evil get away with their vile deeds. Neither is life equal. Some possess talents, abilities and advantages that others will never have.
Should we sulk as a result? Should we demand that others forfeit what they have been granted in this life? Should we play the victim card and demand some other higher authority come in and fix what we perceive is unfair? That’s exactly what “Equal Opportunity Employment,” or “Affirmative Action” is supposed to do. Using the power of the State to enforce and correct what is a perceived slight against one group versus another. But, how does it do it? What is the methodology used? It is based on physical characteristics (i.e., “race based qualities”) not on measurable merit in terms of work ethic or character.
I find it so interesting the stark contrast we see between voices like Martin Luther King Jr. and those of today’s BLM. King argued against violence. King argued for a world where his children would be judged for their character (work ethic, drive, faithfulness, honesty, courage, intelligence, etc.) and not on outward appearances. But do we find such arguments presented by the Left? Do we see evidence that BLM and groups like them are concerned about their fellow humanity? Or, do we find that they are one sided in their approach; blind to the needs of others?
The argument against Police Brutality makes sense. The police are meant to enforce the rule of law, to punish criminals (apprehend, retain, and temporarily incarcerate until a judgment can be levied). They have the authority to stand against evil and uphold the good! But, once again we find that the current narrative does not allow for proper definitions to be used. Police Brutality has now been defined as anything that infringes upon the Black man (woman or child). Innocence of criminal activity is no longer a concern. Only if a person possesses certain outward characteristics are they deemed “safe” from being punished. They can resist arrest, be violent—acting hatefully towards the rest of humanity, they can steal and vandalize the property of others…it does not matter. But, to hold them accountable for the wrong that they are doing…that stirs up great animosity amongst them.
The terrorist-organization known as ANTIFA means “against Fascism.” Again on the surface we find little to argue about here. Fascism is wrong. It is the height of tyranny. It is what led the philosophy’s of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot to treat their citizenry like chattel. Historically fascists have been ardent socialists/communists. But if you ask SIRI on your iPhone for the meaning of the term it will give you radically right wingers as the culprit. The group itself will tell you they are against fascism all the while using fascist tactics to bully, terrify, and dominate their opposition. The same sort of things that the historical fascists did; although, we must grant that this group is as of not yet a political powerhouse to be reckoned with. They are not acting members of a civil government, per say, but they have garnered protection and support from some interesting members of the Donkey party.
The Ins and Outs…
What is really going on here in 2020 is a religious war. The late Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen wrote,
“Day by day we make decisions on how to act, we form attitudes and cultivate emotions, we set goals for ourselves and try to attain them…All human behavior and character is subject to appraisal according to moral value; every one of our attainments (whether they be aims that are fulfilled or character traits that are developed) and every one of our actions (whether they be mental, verbal or bodily behavior) expresses an unspoken code of right and wrong. All of life is ethical.”1By This Standard, 13.
All of life is ethical. Which means, all of life is religious. Every action, every word, every thought expressed/possessed falls into the category of right or wrong. The language of today, the language being used by the current Media narrative, some radical groups, and a certain portion of the populace, is declaring very loudly,“This is right and that is wrong!
According to Whom? That ought to be our first response. According to What? That ought to be our second response. Before we buy into the narrative, before we accept the language being used at face value, we need to know who it is coming from and where they are deriving their meaning from.
My greatest frustration grows from those who bear the Name of Christ being ignorant—either through neglect or on purpose—that the people using such tactics are doing so to destroy society not build it. There is a sector within our nation that wants to watch it burn to the ground. They are driven by hate and lies, and they are using Christian aspirations to do so.
For who hates it when one hates his neighbor? Who hates it when one abuses their power? Who hates it when one seeks to show partiality of one person versus another based on superficial means (such as skin color, size of nose, hair type/style, etc.)? Should it not be the Christian that hates such things! Yes. Should we not also hate it when others who do not share our values, who do not bear the fruit of the Spirit, attempt to use our own worldview leanings against us?
Yes…we should! And we should not be silent about it!
1Greg L. Bahnsen, By This Standard: The Authority of God’s Law Today (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985), 13, PDF Ebook.