It appears that we are growing more and more divided. Even after it appeared that we could not grow any more polarized than what we were experiencing a year ago, in the last few weeks we have seen an even greater wedge driven into the populace.
I like to boil things down and simplify them, and in my juvenile and basic thinking I am seeing a clear divide, and it may not be where you see it.
It appears to me that there are two clear sides to the overall debate. There is a side that likes standards, and wants to see standards upheld. While the other side is opposed to standards, endeavors to ignore them, and will do all they can to tear down age-old standards.
Among the more modern definitions of the word standard, there is this more ancient definition: “A flag, banner, or emblematic figure, raised on a pole to indicate the rallying point of an army or fleet.” In the Bible we hear of “raising the standard” and this is employed both in the modern sense, of raising an approved principle, or in the more historical sense, to raise a banner or flag that indicates the location of the battle commander or the center of the army’s strength. In ancient warfare, a soldier or warrior knew to keep his eyes on the standard that marked the position of his fellow fighters, and to be cut off from that standard would likely lead to his defeat or death. As a kid, we played a game called Capture the Flag, which had the goal of getting to and taking the opponent’s flag. In actual warfare, the flag, or standard, was critical to survival and to victory. This is why, historically, guarding and maintaining the standard mattered.
Yet we now have a simmering civil skirmish here in America over standards. Some want static standards while others want a more fluid and dynamic culture. It is interesting that the latter have worked to rebrand themselves as Progressives instead of the age-old label Liberals, and I believe this new moniker is more accurate. They see America as staid, backwards and stalled in a period of closed minds and outdated morays. They want to see America “progress” to a new paradigm. Personally, I believe that America does need progress in areas like race relations, prison reform, ending the reign of career politicians, and debt reduction, among other issues. Yet this is not where the Progressives want to slay the standards. They want to end standards related to genders, marriage, murder, ethnicity, crime, sexuality, education and many other points of contention. They seek a fluid society that is tolerant of everything except opposing viewpoints. It appears that a Liberal/Progressive Totalitarian State is more acceptable for them than what we have had for well over two centuries.
For those who believe that standards matter; that solid principles are the bedrock of a civilized society, it is not an easy sell to convince them to accept a world where those who despise standards get to set the new, ever-moving standards. And for those who see America as broken and Conservatives as racist, fascist rednecks who need to be tamed or brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century, the idea of a culture that promotes and reinforces standards is a hell on earth.
I’ve often lamented that my Conservative friends accuse me of being too Liberal and my Liberal friends accuse me of being too Conservative, but it is more that I am turned off by the far-Right and the far-Left and want to be an open minded man. I am rabidly pro-life, which means that the unborn should not be executed any more than the prisoner. I am for less yet wiser government regulation, a determination to attack our nation’s obscene debt, personal responsibility at all levels, and the Church stepping back into the role that the Word of God mandated and releasing the inept government agencies from the care of the poor and sick. I’m for liberally loving people and conservatively using money and power.
And at the end of the day, I believe that any society that wants to avoid the scrap heap of history should embrace solid, time proven standards. Yet standards must be evaluated at times. The standard of our nation was once the acceptance of slavery and race superiority, and I am grateful that we saw the error of our ways. In my world, which you can either accept of reject, I believe that we need a set of proven, unassailable and immovable standards that can be counted upon to never shift with the fickle moral appetites of the populace. This is where I find our Founding Fathers, in all their human fragility, to have been brilliant. They recognized that God’s Word, found in the Bible, contained the only solid set of standards on earth. They adopted them, and used the Bible as the springboard for the Constitution.
Today, in our secularized society which has for the most part rejected the Bible, there are no standards that cannot be torn down. It is required to first attempt to discredit and defame the Bible as the sole source of standards before you can attack standards in the public realm, and this effort is bearing fruit. If the Church does not unite, forgive, cast aside petty differences, return to fervent prayer and turn from its wicked ways this slide will continue until there are no longer any standards and the nation that used to be under God will fall to the humanists and the anarchists. On one side is perversion and lawlessness and on the other side is repentance and the restoration. Both outcomes are within sight, and though I believe that every legal citizen should vote, this battle will not be won or lost at the ballot box.
It will be won in prayer, humility and servanthood….Three timeless standards that are becoming harder and harder to find.