Many in America today passionately support a right to abortion, even after five months into the pregnancy. Perhaps we should all join in and protect this right.
But let’s not be incoherent in our logic and values.
The central premise is that a person’s human value—whether or not an unborn child has rights or deserves to live—is dependent upon the will of the mother. Thus, if she determines that the child is a blessing, we will celebrate, congratulate and support in every way. If, however, she decides the child is a significant obstacle to her plans and desires, we will refer to it as a fetus, treat it as one might treat a tumor, and remind the motherwoman that her own strength and independence are what is most important in life.
Our laws should also reflect this premise.
Why base legality on an arbitrary timeline? At minimum, abortion should be allowed up to the final days of a pregnancy. We should also be open to some reasonable grace period after birth, during which the mother can decide whether to keep the child alive. She could also give the child up for adoption—though current trends suggest abortion would be chosen around 90 percent of the time. As the child is the complete property of the mother, the father should have no say in this choice, and should indeed have no legal right or obligation toward either mother or child.
The more profound change must occur in our culture.
Without rights or obligations, men ought to be seen more as sexual objects, only occasionally needed for child-bearing in case a woman should decide that motherhood is something she wants to explore. But even in such a case, it is not necessary to engage in a long-term relationship, since modern science frees the electing mother from such an arcane dependency. This is certainly not to say that relationships are wrong. A tolerant society should always value the choices people make, and two adults ought to enjoy the freedom to establish a traditional family environment. That is what makes America great.
We have already made great strides in breaking down oppressive expectations about what constitutes a “normal” or “healthy” family environment. This is great news on our path toward a free and equal society.
Every year, over one million babies are killedfetuses are removed, without unnecessary pressure on women to demonstrate health risks or other reasons. Aside from safe and legal, abortion is becoming more available and affordable than ever before—especially with governments picking up the tab. This has resulted in tens of millions of American women who are more free today. They are free to engage their sexual pleasures without being tied to one partner, free to pursue the careers they want, and free from all of the curses of motherhood. Instead of worrying about personal sacrifices or taking care of other people, more women—and men—can now focus on themselves. At least until they decide they are ready to settle down.
Like those before us who fought to end the oppressive abomination of slavery and prejudice that devalued human beings to the level of animals, we should all join the fight for the freedom to abort an unwanted child, so we can become a more prosperous, virtuous and just society.
A valedictorian in a Texas high school had his microphone cut off after mentioning God, and the constitutional right of students to speak about their faith.
In april, I wrote about the subtle indoctrination of secular education, through which children are tacitly trained to think of faith as a private matter that should not be discussed in a public forum. The complete absence of references to God or biblical themes suggests that these are not mainstream ideas, and that the default view of an educated person is an atheistic one. Indeed, as the Anti-Defamation League says on its website, “public schools may not teach religion, although religion in a secular context is permitted… in a neutral, objective, balanced and factual manner”—as if these words are incongruent with faith.
As an instrument of government, the public education system has fallen to the mistaken—though widely assumed—belief that it must be strictly separated from religion, which in America is synonymous with Christianity. Thus, time after time after time, stories surface of teachers and administrators purging their classrooms of anything that can be labelled a “Christian” point of view. At universities it’s far worse.
So again, we have a student at the top of his class, who decides he wants to thank God in his commencement address—something not especially uncommon. While schools generally discourage students around the nation from such content, there are probably many more occasions in which school officials let it slide than we ever hear about. Nevertheless, this one was born for headlines.
Apparently, school officials reviewed and disapproved of valedictorian Remington Reimer’s original draft, featuring religious remarks. He turned in a second clean version to their satisfaction and received warning that his microphone would be cut if he deviated, so when he decided to include this threat in his actual speech that is precisely what happened.
The school district maintains that they followed policy, but the details of their statement show just how well discrimination can be disguised within the patchwork of policy:
The District has reviewed the rules and policy regarding graduation speech, and it has been determined that policy was followed at the Joshua High School 2013 Graduation Ceremony. The valedictorian, salutatorian, and class historian speeches were reviewed in advance by the campus staff, prior to the graduation ceremony. Student speakers were told that if their speeches deviated from the prior-reviewed material, the microphone would be turned off, regardless of content. When one student’s speech deviated from the prior-reviewed speech, the microphone was turned off, pursuant to District policy and procedure.
We are supposed to acknowledge the fair treatment of all speakers and walk away from this story thinking that someone just took it too personally—another overly offended family with a lot of facebook friends.
But the term “prior-reviewed” hides the fact that the speech also had to be prior-approved. By not approving the original speech, then relying on a policy that gives them permission to cut off a microphone if a student deviates, the district set up a game in which they could not lose. Effectively, they gave the student an ultimatum: say what we want you to say, or you’ll be silenced and held against school policy.
The student handbook may not say there is a policy against discussing faith, but by placing complete power over expression in the hands of people who believe faith should not be discussed, the outcome is the same.
Likewise, it may not be a policy of our government to discriminate against Christians, but its persistent squeezing out of “religious” dialogue from the public square has the same result.
When I was in high school, I joined a religious student organization. I will never forget one particular conversation in which we were trying to parse out a complex ethical question. After a good deal of struggle and pressure, our faculty advisor finally stepped in to suggest a solution. His comments were helpful, but brief, and he asked us not to tell anyone of his interjection. It was against the law.
Until the last few decades, speaking about faith in public school was common, not controversial: the very small percent of Americans who were not Christians still lived by a Christian-like philosophy of life, and the purpose of schools was much simpler. A system of public education was exactly that—basic education of the general public. Children were taught by their neighbors, parent-teacher associations were the norm, and moral instruction was a part of everyday life wherever children and adults should meet.
Starting in the mid 1900s, education took on a stronger state purpose, and became politicized into a vehicle of social change. In the landmark case Emerson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court provided a new—and misguided—interpretation of the First Amendment. Drawing from one of Thomas Jefferson’s letters, they declared a “strict wall of separation between church and state.” A casual letter from Jefferson, the most atheistic and radical of the founders, is hardly appropriate for such a sweeping interpretation, but nonetheless, this enabled the schoolhouse to be seen as the secular alternative to the community church. It was there that legal debates could be won, traditions challenged and worldviews shaped.
Surely, most of those pushing for change had benign intentions. While there were militant atheists among the ranks, most were simply calling for justice. They believed education could help address racism and close the opportunity gap between blacks and whites. And they were mostly right. But the greater call for equality also took on a project to erase religious “oppression.” If the state can have nothing to do with the church, they argued, then education run by the state can have nothing to do with moral or biblical instruction.In short, public education must be secular education.
When people think of “secular education” they interpret this to mean that it does not push a dogmatic religious perspective. That’s correct, but this does not mean it does not push a perspective or dogma all its own. The question becomes: what is that dogma? The answer: a secular one, of course. There is no God, therefore man has no inherent purpose and there are no eternal or universal values. It is important to understand that secular education does this by default.
When people think of “secular education” they interpret this to mean that it does not push a dogmatic religious perspective. That’s correct, but this does not mean it does not push a perspective or dogma all its own.
Secular education does teach a kind of right and wrong, which is essentially the Golden Rule. And it suffices to an extent, as all major moral philosophies tend to center around its dictum. But while it may be a good rule of manners and basic kindness, it is rather hollow as a coherent and holistic guide to real life.
The public education system has become a 13-year program of secular indoctrination, centered around a concept of “political correctness” by which we are taught never to cast judgment, and never to speak of faith. The vast majority of a public school student’s time is spend in a social environment in which no one acknowledges a divine power, morality is diluted down to simply being nice, and the only eternal truths are math and science. School is where one goes to learn about the world from educated people; where one becomes enlightened. Since no one speaks of religion, it is quickly dismissed from public discourse, and we become comfortable with our silence.
Considering that evenings and weekends are spent in the temples of Hollywood and New York, it is no surprise why our culture has become increasingly unable to express a coherent value system. We talk of human dignity, but glorify pornography. We praise hard work, but demonize the success. We speak of humility and sacrifice, but worship abusive celebrities. Our comedy is more degrading, our drama is more sexualized and our family sitcoms are a thing of the past.
If I may digress for a moment, did anyone catch the Oscars this year? If not, you missed Seth MacFarlane’s stellar performance of We Saw Your Boobs. Yes, in this little number, Macfarlane sings about all of the women who have bared all for their art. Certainly, this is what the women had in mind when they created these films. Surely, they appreciate someone of their own echelon admitting to the world that it’s not really art, just a little light pornography so males have a reason to watch, and we all know it, so we may as well laugh about it. Watch the video of the song here, and pay special attention to the faces of the women as they are mentioned. What is that? Betrayal? Humiliation? Disgust at Macfarlane’s cheap and degrading idea of entertainment at their expense? This kind of mindless and self-absorbed garbage is what comedy has become.
What’s so wrong with a guy jumping on stage in a tux and singing about boobs at an awards ceremony?
Ok, back to education. What’s so wrong with a guy jumping on stage in a tux and singing about boobs at an awards ceremony? A lot, really. But how would we know? If public schools teach us that girls are really no different than us, why shouldn’t we just treat them like one of the guys? And if there’s nothing especially sacred about nudity, sex or marriage, why can’t we have fun with it all? If life is about having a good time and sharing a few laughs before we die, aren’t people just being uptight for no reason? Why can’t we sing about boobs at an awards ceremony, or a wedding reception for that matter?
The Victorian era was all about manners and decorum. To the extent that a person’s worth was wrapped up in shallow outward appearances, it is good that we broke free. And the unprecedented rights and opportunities available to men and women of all races in America is a testament to a truly great nation. But in pursuit of political correctness we lost something important. Today, people are less confident in their faith, and place less value in marriage and parenthood. They remain like children in many respects well into their twenties, and mock the traditions of their grandparents. Yet, they still yearn for community, belonging and purpose.
We are in desperate need of a moral renaissance in education, and we are seeing it emerge in private, charter and home-based schools. People are recognizing that we have failed generations. In order to embrace perfect equality, our public school system had to forgo casting judgment; treating all things as deserving equal respect. Intentionally or not, it marginalized religion and debased humanity. We no longer have the language of truth, and have therefore lost the definition of goodness and beauty.