Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Banned Books and Rock and Roll

While serving in my second church a very controversial book was at the center of a heated debate over censorship. One group demanded the book be removed from the library because the content was explicit and access to the book was unrestricted. Another group demanded that any book the library deemed appropriate should be available to all. It was decided that the book would be kept, but access would be limited to adults.

As a new believer in Jesus Christ I listened to a conversation by a seasoned minister who thought rock and roll music was a major contributing factor to teen pregnancy. After her community had summer teen dances a number of young girls found themselves pregnant. They debated banning the dances and the music that was thought to be evil.

We are in the beginning stages of the recognition of laws and ethics based on severe judgement. Their are communities across the states that are recognizing certain points of Islamic law. Severe judgement allows for the severed hands of the thief, stoning of the adulterer(usually the woman), killing of a child that dishonors the family name. Orthodox Jews abandoned such judgement, leaving it in the hands of the judicial government that saw the wisdom of combining judgement with compassion and grace.

A movement towards radical judgementalism would seek to extinguish the flames of liberty and freedom. The freedom to think and express, even the most extreme, ideas, books, music, methods of communication, must be safeguarded at all costs. I might think some type of art is trash, some music or written work of no redeeming value, the communicator still must be allowed to communicate. Else some person, or power, tells me I can have no voice.

The personal boundaries of moral and ethical standards restrain liberty and freedom. Liberty and freedom are aspirations, desires, and dreams placed in the human spirit by the Giver of the Spirit. Man desires freedom because he is designed that was, it is part of his essence, his personhood. So, freedom and liberty are very restrictive in their purity. I can do what I desire, I desire to harm no person. I have all of the freedom I want, my spirit has placed limits on my wants. I want peace and contentment, some semblance of security for my wife and children, though, not at the expense of another, or the powers that rule. I want the opportunity for my wife and children to reach their dreams through their own effort and intelligence.

What happens in a society when their are no moral and ethical standards? I believe license and opportunity would lead to devastating immorality and gradual destruction. On the other hand, a people governed by any judgemental and restrictive power is just as doomed to collapse. A moral failure by a person could and would lead to a form of punishment that is barbaric at best and mercy and compassion killing in the severe.

A free and liberty loving people must understand their source of such. They must respect their own moral and ethical standards, and those of others, or lack of in others. The founders of this land listened for more than 150 years of the stories of religious intolerance and corruption at the hands of kings and popes. And they still knew and voiced their conviction that real freedom and liberty came from God.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, friend. Freedom is a dangerously beautiful thing.