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How are we to understand what is going on these days? School kids are shooting other school kids. The actions of children indict the society. Children do not think logically. Robert Woodson is the founder of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. His organization is networking with thousands of just plain folks around the country, who are taking initiative to do something about their local problems. He brings results by working with the local people. Children stop shooting.
Woodson is a prophet of sorts, and a lover of humanity. The solution, he says, does not come from the official experts. The official experts, and the government bureaus which patronize them, send in trained personnel to solve neighborhood problems. These personnel do not live in the neighborhood. They have an office there, which is open from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. This is not working, says Woodson, and we have a 5 trillion dollar invoice from the architects of the Great Society to prove it.
The problems, says Woodson, are irrational in nature. People who are doing evil to themselves and others are doing irrational things; they are not thinking or acting logically. Its not a logical thing to do to get oneself addicted to drugs, to become pregnant at 13, to shoot little children in a school yard. These are irrational acts; they verge on madness.
We cannot apply rational solutions to irrational problems. What we need, in the words of Peter Kreeft, is an exorcism. Woodson calls for local, faith-based work-what boils down to traditional evangelism, mixed with a strong dose of tough love.
Woodson points out that in case after case, tens of thousands of dollars worth of health-care expertise cannot get one person off drugs, but rebirth in Christ can do it.
I would like to apply a slightly different perspective: what Woodson calls "irrational," I would like to call "spiritual." Rebirth in Christ is not best viewed an irrational act; it is most rightly viewed an act of the spirit.
In other words, children shooting other children have a spiritual problem. Teenage girls getting pregnant have a spiritual problem. To put it bluntly, they are possessed by an evil spirit (or many evil spirits). Before you turn the page as any good secularized rational person would do, please consider some excerpts from an article about Bill Clinton. You will see that the line between secular and sacred is becoming blurred. As you read it, guess who wrote it and where it was published.
It had occurred to me that Bill Clinton's swelling popularity could be explained by America's love of bad boys and anti-heroes.
It had even occurred to me that Bill Clinton was so preternaturally lucky he seemed to have cut a deal with the Devil. Given the carnage that always surrounds Mr. Clinton, and given the fact that he always smilingly walks away stronger than ever, I could easily see him as Faust or Dorian Gray or Joe Hardy in "Damn Yankees."
Perhaps Bill Clinton is the Devil. It would explain a lot. Certainly, Hillary Clinton is condemned to her own little hell. Certainly, the voters have closed their eyes and made their pact with the Devil: Keep us prosperous and we won't hold you to any special moral or ethical standards.
The Mephistophelean scenario has a wonderful logic. It would explain the extraordinary level of human sacrifice around Bill Clinton - why so many people around him end up dead, jailed, betrayed, shackled, exiled, subpoenaed, depressed, humiliated, broke, ruined and smeared. James McDougal dies abruptly, a broken, crazy man, in solitary confinement in Federal prison while his ex-business partner has more political lives than a black cat.
It explains why our moral universe has turned upside down. It's fine if Mr. Clinton preaches against tobacco one day, and the next goes to a fund-raiser given by a lawyer trying to reap a tobacco windfall.
Even the angelic seem possessed. Billy Graham telling Katie Couric that the President should be forgiven all because "the ladies just go wild over him"? Why should Mr. Clinton have to show any responsibility when he is deemed an innocent victim of his own sex appeal by the nation's most respected preacher?
You expect the feminists' heads to start rotating on their necks any moment now. They've abandoned everything they've fought for all these years to join the let-devils-be-devils chorus - as long as the sex is consensual or the President at some point, sooner or later, eventually takes no for an answer.
Okay, who wrote that? Pat Buchanan in the Washington Times? Emmet Tyrrel in the American Spectator? Perhaps an angry friend of the Branch Davidians? No, nothing like that. It was written by a traditional liberal columnist named Maureen Dowd and published on the op-ed page of the New York Times (March 11, 1998).
The point is that it is becoming increasingly clear that what is going on in this society can best be explained spiritually. Physical and spiritual realities are converging. Private lives, the most private aspects of our lives, become public discourse. Everything is in the open. I am sure that this is the first time in history that the details of a mans effort to seduce a woman, to persuade her to touch his sexual organ, or another mans fetish for toes, or another mans to wear womens lingerie, are public knowledge of great interest to a vast audience. I repeat my opening sentence: how are we to understand this?
First of all, it is not just circumstance. It is not just that people are becoming degraded all of a sudden. Men and women have had sordid relations from time immemorial; that is not new. What is new is the extent to which it is being discussed and scrutinized. Second, it is not something planned into being. Mr. Clinton did not have this on the agenda of his second term. The media did not expect it; nor did the American public. The Washington Times headline on the day of Clintons re-election was "Theyre BackTo Face the Music?" But I am sure that the editor was thinking of whitewater gate, not zippergate.
Third, the phenomenon has historical meaning. The Divine Principle provides help here. As Reverend Moon often preaches, the seed planted by the sin of Adam and Eve has borne its fruit and will be harvested in the Last Days. The world, he says, will be stripped naked; it is as if Satan has the right to lay bare all the sexual sin of the human race, and stick it right into our face. The origin of sin, the misuse of love, takes over the human race. What was hidden is in the open. Everywhere we look, we see it. We are forced to decide: is sex outside the realm of Gods Blessing of marriage right or wrong? In other words, it is the time of judgment.
At this moment, a standard of sexual purity and marital fidelity must arise. That is what the Family Federation is attempting to do and to support others in doing. Beyond politics, beyond race, nation and religion, the judgment is based upon the original standard of righteousness given by God to Adam and Eve. "Do not eat the fruit; for the day you eat of it, you will die." In other words, love God before you love each other. Then your love for each other has God inside of it. Then it is the knowledge of good. Otherwise, it is the knowledge of evil.
Challenge of Communication
Any fool, if given the choice between life and death, will choose life. If people know that free sex leads to death, and absolute sex leads to life, they will choose absolute sex. The problem is that people do not know this.
But wait a minute. Almost all Americans agree that adultery is wrong, that pre-marital sex is wrong and divorce is wrong. Why do we continue to carry out these wrong behaviors? Obviously the matter is not as simple as we would like to think.
We can learn something here from the pro-life movement. There is a valuable article in the current issue of First Things, entitled "Abortion: A Failure to Communicate." The author, Paul Swope of the Caring Foundation, points out that while the pro-life movement engages more people than the civil rights movement did, it has made little impact on the mainstream culture. The reason for this, he suggests, is that the message of the pro-life movement has had only themselves in the audience. Thus it has been logical and reasonable from the perspective of the pro-lifers. But the motive to have an abortion does not turn on logic, and the perspective of a pregnant woman is different from that of pro-life organizers.
Thus, the pro-life movement sought for years to convince women that abortion is murder, and to appall legislators with photos of dead fetuses. But research shows that women are already aware that abortion is murder, and harping on that just makes them feel more miserable, isolated and terrified-which feeds into the decision to abort.
Now the pro-life movement is taking a new approach. The new approach is based upon the perception that a woman aborts because she views (and the culture of individualism tells her) that becoming a mother before one was planning to do so is tantamount to death. Your life is over, your options are closed, you are trapped. The pregnant woman is thinking first about herself, not the unborn child. It is a question of her own life versus the unborn childs life. It is a terrible choice to make. A decision to abort is made at great cost, but it is seen as a sacrifice necessary to preserve ones own life.
The pro-life people now are working to reshape the way an unmarried woman might look at bearing a child. They try to show that the act of courage and dignity is to keep the child. They argue that this is what can open ones life to authentic growth and freedom through responsibility. In markets where such advertising is carried on, numbers of abortions have fallen dramatically.
Now, how do we apply this lesson to achieve the goal of sexual purity and faithful marriage? Im not ready to present a full-blown ad campaign, but would just like to sort out a few lessons.
One, we must put ourselves into the shoes of the person suffering through a difficult marriage. This person does not need to be told that "divorce is bad," or "divorce will hurt your children." The fact is that remaining in the marriage is looming as a worse evil, as hurting the children more. What must be communicated, then, is that overcoming the blockages of the marital relationship is the best way to find personal freedom, spiritual growth and true eternal love. That is, the challenge must be recast as an opportunity.
In one way, this is an argument easier to make by the pro-marriage position than by the pro-life position. A woman with an unplanned pregnancy has to shift her life plan and priorities. A couple in a difficult marriage simply has to be convinced to stay the course, that is, to NOT shift their life plan and priorities. They must be convinced that their original hope for the marriage CAN be fulfilled, if they just work at it more.
Two, effective advertising presents a role model, a person with whom one would like to identify, who is facing the same challenge and is opting to do the right thing. This is a rich vein to mine for the pro-marriage position.
Three, another effective theme was to present the pro-abortion viewpoint as something thrust upon the woman by people who dont really care about her. Abortion is something "they told me": "They said you wouldnt be bothered by a voice calling for you in the night." "Everyones telling me how I should feel"- "Telling me what to do, then not sticking around when it really counts. So now its all up to me. But abortion? Not me. I have to live with myself."
Thus, choosing to keep the child is equated with independence, with thinking for oneself, and with spiritual growth. Along this line, the pro-divorce argument can be presented as something put forth by callous losers, by those who bounce from one affair to another, who dont have concern for your children or your future. "Divorce?" say a man and woman to the camera, "We faced it. But that wasnt what we got married to do. Our commitment was stronger than that."
The serpent convinced Eve that she would be better off by eating than not eating the fruit. Eve convinced Adam of the same thing. Anyone who commits fornication or adultery similarly believes that they will be better off by doing so. The culture persuades us that we will be more beautiful, more masculine, happier and healthier, by engaging in free sex.
Our job is to convince people otherwise. As the Pure Love Alliance campaign has pointed out, effective advertising has turned smoking cigarettes into a questionable activity. What we need for the absolute sex message is role models of success. It seems to me that this has a lot to do with the Family Federation and the Blessing of marriage.
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