Jots, Tittles, and Beams

   

   The Parable of the Mote and the Beam.

Domenico Fetti

     “That person, over there, they aren’t like me.  They shouldn’t enjoy the same advantages as I do.  In fact, the courts will probably agree with me, so, why not oppress them?

     You, probably, thought I was talking about systemic racism, the hot button topic of the day.  It has been the cause of multiple protests across the country and manifold instances of outright rioting and looting in the last few weeks because of the brutal death of a black man at the hands of a white police officer.  That everyone should be concerned about this act is just basic human decency; that people should protest, is completely understandable.  That people should seek to riot and loot, however, is despicable and the continuous rioting smacks of a certain kind of disingenuousness, indeed, a kind of double standard.  That is so provocative a statement that I must explain it.

     Let us grant, for the sake of argument, that there has been systemic racism in the U. S. – racism embedded within systems and institutions of American society, such that black people are judged differently, indeed, threatened and made to feel more unsafe, than people of other races or ethnicities.  Should there be equality of treatment?  Of course, there should, and it is right to petition society for that change, but if this systemic injustice causes this much societal discord, then, are we not saying, in some sense, that a proportional injustice calls for a proportional response?

     A total of nine unarmed black people were shot and killed by on-duty police officers in America in 2019, although some push the figure as high as 28 [1], including police officers who were off-duty.  The number of unarmed blacks killed, in total, is not known, because there are other ways in which death may occur besides shooting, such as by tasers and choke holds.  Be that as it may, and assuming that the rate of unarmed black deaths is higher than that of any other racial or ethnic group in the U. S. – let us be bold and say, 100 unarmed deaths – nevertheless, these numbers pail so far in comparison to the yearly deaths of another unarmed group I know of as to be a statistical blip and if this much violence and this large of a push for societal change had been created because of a type of systemic racism that has resulted in 100 unarmed deaths per year, then surely, the other group I have in mind deserves nothing less than society wailing and striking its breast while sitting in sackcloth and ashes, but I will never live to see this happen, I fear.

     I speak of the killing of unarmed babies in the womb.  This is far worse than any sort of racism.  This is infanticide.  These victims cannot flee; these victims’ horrific deaths will never be captured on a phone video for all the world to see.  This brutality is not done under the color of any sort of proper authority (I will speak about Roe vs. Wade and Supreme Court in a minute).  It is done under the color of a convenience retroactively rationalized by law.  It is done with the permission of white-coated doctors and the trappings of a medical community willing to replace the Hippocratic Oath with the Hypocritical Oath.

     Too many people in this country make up their own rules of conduct, their own ethical standards, engaging in the Principle of Private Judgment, so popular among the Protestant Reformers of past centuries and so well-suited for the slide into rampant secularism – a secularism so devoid of absolute moral principles that it enshrines mere legal judgments with the reverence of Holy Writ.  How many people think that if something is legal, it must be moral?  How many people try to impose their arbitrary view of morality onto the legal system?  Is that not what has been done with regards to abortions and is it not the same scenario being played out in the last few weeks with regards to racism?  That large numbers of people have the same misguided notions does not ensure that those notions are either right or well-reasoned.  This is the ad populum fallacy, writ large.  The enshrinement of private judgment will be the death of this country.

     Let us say that 100 unarmed blacks were killed last year under the color of authority.  In 2017 (the last year we have reliable statistics), 862,320 babies were killed in the wombs of their mothers.[2]  Where is the protesting?  Where are the calls for societal repentance?  Apparently, black lives only matter once they are outside of the womb.  Blacks make up 13.4% of the U. S. population [3], but had 37.9% of the abortions per 1000 women (as of the latest statistics of this kind in 2014) [4], a 2.7  times greater rate of abortion that of other races or ethnicities.  While it is true that the raw percentage of all abortions was highest among white women (38.7%) with black women coming in second (27.6%), considering that whites make up 76.5% of the U.S. population and blacks make up 13.4%, in a random sampling of 1000 women, one would expect to see a six-fold higher number of white women having abortions than black women, but the per 1000 rate shows an opposite trend, meaning that blacks are having a disproportionate number of abortions compared to white women.[5]

     My point is not to point a finger at black women having abortions, but to point out that less than 100 black adults died by police in 2019, while, in 2014, 255,628 black babies died by doctors with the consent of their mothers.  There is no protesting.  There are no riots.  Why is one death worse than another?  That is the most important question no one is answering.

     It all goes back to the Principle of Private Judgment.  If one does not judge abortion to be murder, then one will not get outraged by it.  It one rules that abortion is a private matter, no one else, much less society, ever has to see it or even consider it.  All of the killings are done out of sight in a lying environment meant to look like the activities of reproductive health.  With this sort of tainting of Original Sin, is it any wonder that racism has been swept under the rug?  If you can redefine the brutal killing of 900,000 babies as some sort of societal good, how much easier is it to define away anything we choose on the grounds of convenience?

     When people want something, even a moral evil, for convenience sake, they will make up all sorts of rationalizations and renamings to make the evil look like a good.  How well did Isaiah prophecy this defect (Isa 5:20 – 21):

      Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
      Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!

Abortion is convenient.  It means women can have sex without caring about the consequences – no need to protest about that, they are getting their own way, but let there be a call to behave in a law-abiding manner, a righteous way of life, a life of virtue, an inconvenience to one’s sense of private judgment – and, suddenly, racism is everywhere, not merely in one police officer’s unwarranted violence.

     The difference between the racial protests of today and those of the 1950’s and early 1960’s is that the blacks who protested back then were men and women of far greater virtue than today who, through no fault of their own, were being discriminated against.  They held life to be sacred and abortion to be murder.  They married the people they had sex with.  They kept the two-parent family as something important, despite having far less money, on average, than most blacks, today.  In a word, their protests were respectable, just as their opinions were to be respected because they lived, by and large, according to a reasonable moral standard, as inconvenient as it sometimes might be.  If they had been told that, in 1978, only ten years after the initial victories of the civil rights movement had been won that those same civil rights would be used to kill 360,000 black children, they would have been appalled.  That number is 50 abortions per 1000 women, more than double that of their white cohorts. [6][7]  These were people who knew injustice.  These are people who would have protested against the killing of these defenseless unarmed victims.

     Such is human nature after the Fall, however, that a little license for physical pleasure could blunt the conscience of a nation.  That conscience was sacrificed on the altar of convenience.  It turned a blind eye to sin when, in 1973 in Row vs. Wade, the Supreme Court of the Unites States declared, in a twisted exercise in rationalization of guilt, that people had a right to privacy, such that killing babies in the womb could be done without anyone having to see it, to acknowledge the evil for what it was – out of sight, out of mind – nothing to see here, people, move on.

     People are willing to protest against a police brutality that kills 100 unarmed black men a year, but they will not utter a peep against a brutality that kills 3000 times as many unarmed babies.  Oh, that’s right – the Court said it was legal, so it must be right.  This confusion of legality with morality is only possible among a people who have surrendered a belief in a fundamental law beyond themselves, who have abdicated their responsibilities to a living God.

     That was the plan, all along, you see: compromise your opponent, put them in a position where they will have to choose between their own pleasure and the life of another – make it easy for them to get what they want.  Make them focus on their “needs”.  Push them to give themselves over to the desires of the flesh, knowing full-well that even the wisest of men, King Solomon, himself, would be enticed into a life of excusing sin by the same ploy.  Sin then ceases to have any meaning except by the judgment of the crowd.  How can there be crowd wisdom, however, in a crowd that has abandoned wisdom?  Is it wisdom to account one type of death as more important than another – to accept the sacrifice of children on the altar of convenience, but abhor the killing of a grown man who should have known better?

     The marching crowds want to change society’s splinters, but they will not lift a finger to remove their own beams.  How well did Christ charge you (Matt 7: 1- 5):

      “Judge not, that you be not judged.

      For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
      Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
      Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
      You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

     Yes, racism is a moral evil, but infanticide is worse.  It is illogical to protest in such an exaggerated manner over a society that has overlooked or redefined racism when there are no crowds protesting over a society that has overlooked or redefined infanticide.  The protesters of the 1960’s saw and judged racism rightly because their moral vision had not yet been compromised.  The exaggerated protests of today are mere outrage substituting for virtue.  Where is the outrage against abortion?  Oh, wait, that is not murder, some will say – the law says so.  I ask – does it take a YouTube video to prove to you that it is?

     I take it back.  There are protests against abortion.  Every year, in Washington, D. C. and in smaller events in other cities, peaceful crowds gather to pray for an end to abortion.  These crowds are not angry.  They are not bitter.  They are there to protest murder, to protest discrimination of the worst kind, but they do not riot, they do not demand homage.  They pray.  The righteousness of a protest is inversely proportionate to the anger it produces.  The protests of the early 1960’s were, for the most part, peaceful, because they were led by peaceable men (things degenerated in the late 1960’s, in part because of the coincident loss of moral standards in society, at-large, beginning with the wide-spread use of contraception after 1965).  Men are less peaceful, today, while having to endure less hardship.  It is strange, but, then, again, a sense of entitlement is one of the first fruits of indulging in pleasure.

     Christ said [Matt 6:24]:

     “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Most translations translate mammon as the love of money, but that is not exactly correct.  Mammon really refers to going one’s own way, doing what one pleases.  Money is a means towards that end and that is why it is often substituted in translations.  Thus, the saying should be read as, “You cannot serve God and yourselves.  You will either hate God and love yourselves or you will be devoted to yourselves and despise God.”  You cannot do both.

     The protests of today do not stem from a love of what is right and good.  They do not stem from the love of God.  They stem from a love of self, of having an equal standing among men.  To be clear, the protests going on, today, are not about racism, at its core.  It is about equality.  It is about equality, but about an equality before men, not God.  The protests do not care whether they are protesting for an equality of righteousness or an equality of wickedness.  They just want everyone on a level playing field.  If one group has a right to the evil of abortion, then all groups should have a right to abortions; if one group has a right to be treated without being pre-judged, all groups should have the right to not be pre-judged.  It is of no matter whether the cause be good or bad, only that everyone has a right to be included.

     There is another group that ignores God and insists that everyone be treated equally, and it is antithetical to the American way of life.  I speak of Communism.  In Communism, everything is left up to the whim of the crowd.  There is no absolute standard of morality because there is no reverence of a living God.  What is a good is what the crowd thinks is a good or, rather, what they can browbeat those in authority into declaring is a good.  Because the crowd no longer fears the wrath of God, they set their own moral standards and listen to the pronouncements of a merely human authority as if it were the pronouncements of a golden calf.  They throw their golden opinions into the fire and out comes something in the shape of a law, but it is a law disconnected from reality and truth in the same way that the Israelites got a golden calf that was as far away from reality and truth as God is above man in the heavens.  Every proper act of authority begins with a consideration of God’s Law.  All the laws of man are nested within it.  If God is excluded from the consideration of men, then what is left is idolatry – idolatry of the legal.  Is it no wonder that the chanting crowds of today are so desperate to change the laws to their own advantage?  They have an appeal to no one else – certainly, not the God of righteousness.

     Yes, racism is an evil, but how righteous is a cause if those leading it cannot really make an accurate judgment between good and evil?  Today, the crowd presses in for a change for better treatment of blacks.  Fair enough, but be careful if, tomorrow, another angrier crowd chants and protests for something that you do not believe in.  Is society to be led by sheer force of numbers?  That way lies madness.  That way leads to never-ending civil war.  With the decay of the sense of an absolute standard of good and evil among society, today, we are, rapidly, heading towards that state.  Is this what you want – to live in a state of constant, bitter war?

     All of this can still be avoided.  There is, still, time, if only people would realize that all just laws are based on one simple plea [Matt. 22: 35 – 40]:

     And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him.
     “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
      And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your                                                                                                                              

     soul, and with all your mind.
     This is the great and first commandment.

     And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
     On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

     All just and proper laws are based on these two things – love of God and love of neighbor.  If you exclude the one, you, necessarily, exclude the other, because we cannot judge the nature of love by our own standards, or else, we are right back at idolatry.  By pushing society relentlessly towards becoming a secular state, not counting the source of that impulse, whether it is from a self-indulgent society or a subtle push from Communist-minded provocateurs, the result is the same: the formation of a paradoxical society – a society without the ability to test truth, a society based on arbitrary and contradictory standards pronounced by arbitrary and contradictory authorities – a society where laws become grotesque mockeries of laws, a society where even the wisdom of Solomon will fall.            

     Society is not, ideally, made in the image and likeness of crowds, unless that society tends towards idolatry.  Protests of the original civil rights era in the United States were based on a confrontation with an undeniable reality – man’s setting his face against his brother; today’s protests are based on the anger and confusion that results when means become ends.  Sure, protest, if you will, but whatever society you aim to create, it will never be a righteous one until you acknowledge that beam sitting in your own eye, that the jots and tittles of a ruling of law that gives you the right to kill infants in the womb and your lack of protest against it will, someday, be judged by a different Law in a different Courtroom, whose jots and tittles will remain until the end of time.

     This is a scene played out over and over throughout history [2 Kgs 17: 13 – 18]

     [13] Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.”
     [14] But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God.
     [15] They despised his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and the warnings which he gave them. They went after false idols, and became false, and they followed the nations that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them.
     [16] And they forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made for themselves molten images of two calves; and they made an Ashe’rah, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Ba’al.
     [17] And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings, and used divination and sorcery, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
     [18] Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight;

     They went after false idols and, so became false, themselves.  That says everything about society, today.  Abortion can’t be murder.  Our false laws say so.  False prophets speak falsehoods about the unborn trying to salve the consciences of those who want to abort.  “It is a lump of tissue,” they will proclaim, tacitly accusing God of not knowing what He is doing in the womb.  “God loves you,” they proclaim without ever stopping to demand that we love God, in return.  To love God means keeping His Commandments.  There are ten ways to prove to God that you love Him as he loves you and the seventh one of them is to not murder.  All you have to do is love your neighbor as yourselves.

     Who is your neighbor [Lk 10: 25 – 37] ?

[25] And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
[26] He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?”
[27] And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
[28] And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”
[29] But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
[30] Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
[31] Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
[32] So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
[33] But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,
[34] and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
[35] And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
[36] Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
[37] He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

     Go and do likewise.  Is that so hard?  The chanting crowds of June, 2020, want mercy, but they want a mercy on their terms.  They want mercy for me, but not for thee.  The result is that in the last 50 years, 62 million babies, neighbors that could have been, have been shown no mercy, have been slaughtered in the womb.  Let that sink in.  There are only 42 million blacks in the United States, today.  They are demanding mercy, but where have they shown mercy for the 16.75 million of their kin whom they have abandoned to the abortionist’s knife?  Racism is a horrible evil, but at least there is life, there is hope for a better tomorrow where it exists.  Abortion is an evil so horrible that it cries out to heaven for vengeance because it destroys life, it destroys hope.  It spits in the face of God, even while claiming to love him.  It falsifies the very nature of love.

     My plea is only this: be a consistent society.  Do not let men decide something best left to God.  It does no good to argue when the soul enters the baby in the womb.  God created the lump of flesh with the expectation of giving it a soul, should He please.  He is author of life.  It is not up to you to decide to subvert God’s rights to grant the baby-to-be a soul.  This is idolatry of the self, making you equal to God.  You are not.  If the marching crowds would only remember that one fact – there is a God and you are not He – and understand all that it means (and loving God and doing the right thing is sometimes very hard), then they would show the same zeal for the unborn as they do for the racially discriminated, because after all, abortion is  discrimination, is it not?  To be a bigot is to split the world into two parts: the desirable and the undesirable.  Are not those who kill their babies in the womb the ultimate bigots?

     In stamping out all bigotry (racism among them), all I ask is that you be consistent.  Until then, do not tell me your cause is righteous.  Do not tell your grandparents who marched against racism in the 1960’s that your cause is just.  They will tell you to go away.  They will say that they never knew you   Your rioting is made of silly putty – of malleable causes that suit your desires.  Theirs were based on a love beyond themselves for that was a time when men still knew of the God of truth and of His Laws.    

 

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