The month of February of the year 1999 will no doubt be recorded in records on earth and "where angels make notes on the acts of men" as a rare time when a free people have turned their backs on truth and goodness. It was a month when the representatives of the people of the most advanced and most powerful nation the world has ever known said we will embrace, support, and allow wickedness in high places. It is a time when our leaders, like the scribes and Pharisees near the end of the Savior's life have, to our country's discredit, tragically ignored the weightier matters of the law.
The Weightier Matters of the Law
As the justifiers and rationalizers in the Senate concocted their schemes, one could not help but recall the reply of Jesus to his accusers. Said he:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [page 629] matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel....
"Ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
"Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also...."
"Ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
"Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.... (Matthew 23:23-33)
Just as the false "does not rise to the level of impeachment" argument is ignoring the weightier matters of the law, so are we being asked to continue in this unthinking in a number of other serious matters.
A False Diversion from the Weighty Matters: Pro-Choice
Dallin H. Oaks, former president of BYU, speaking recently to students on that campus, counseled that students need to focus on weightier matters of the law rather than the peripheral issues and methods of "choice" and "diversity". He said some while well-meaning Christians know abortion is wrong, yet believe laws should give women the freedom to choose abortion. Said he:
"If we say we are anti-abortion in our personal life but pro-choice in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God's servants have defined as serious sins".
President Oaks then asked, "which other grievous sins should be decriminalized or smiled upon by the law on this theory that persons should not be hampered in their choices?" - child abuse, fraud, fathers abandoning their children?
"Choice", he continued, "is a method, not the ultimate goal. We are accountable for our choices, and only righteous choices will move us toward our eternal goals. My young [students] in today's world we are not true to our teachings if we are merely pro-choice. We must stand up for the right choice. Those who persist in refusing to think beyond slogans and sound bites like 'pro-choice' wander from the goals they pretend to espouse and wind up giving their support to results they might not support if those results were presented without disguise."
More than 95 percent of the millions of abortions performed each year eliminate the life of a fetus conceived by consensual relations, President Oaks said. "Thus, the effect in 95 percent of abortions is not to vindicate choice but to avoid its consequences," he added. Using arguments of choice to try to justify altering the consequences of choice is a classic case of omitting the 'weightier matters of the law.'"
A False Diversion from the Weighty Matters: Diversity
Focusing on diversity can also diminish our objectives and detract from another weighty matter, President Oaks said, - the importance of unity.
"Jesus did not pray that his followers would be 'diverse'" he explained, "He prayed that they would be 'one.'" He did not say. "Be 'diverse', and if ye are not diverse, ye are not mine.' It says, 'Be one, and if ye are not one ye are not mine.'"
A False Diversion From the Weighty Matters: Multiculturalism
A few months ago I was asked to sit on the Arizona State Social Studies Standards Committee. The task is to write standards to which young people can be held in order to receive a high school diploma. Hoping to make a positive contribution I gladly accepted. I thought this would be the place where we could all agree to appreciate the great American contribution by the Founding Fathers as we could build into standards an appreciation of the Founders' solid principles of good government. Much to my disappointment, the "mutliculturalural" philosophy has so completely swept academia that some public school history teachers do not even believe in the superiority of the American system!
American Enterprise Institute writer Dinesh D'Sousa explains it this way:
"Multiculturalism is presented by its advocates in the schools and universities as a benign alternative to monoculturalism. Historian Peter Stearns insists that the multicultural debate "is between those who think there are special marvelous features about the Western tradition that students should be exposed to, and others who feel it's much more important for students to have a sense of the way the larger world has developed." This is the unmistakable appeal of multiculturalism: it is obviously better to study many cultures rather than a single culture, to have diverse points of view rather than a single one..At its deepest level, multiculturalism represents a denial of all Western claims to truth.
"Multiculturalism is based on a thoroughgoing repudiation of Western cultural superiority.. Consequently multiculturalism in practice is distinguished by an effort to establish cultural parity by attacking the historical and contemporary hegemony of Western civilization. To do it, activists draw heavily on such leftist movements as Marxism, deconstructionism, and anticolonial or Third World nationalism. Social critic Edward Said blames Western imperialism for the sufferings of "ravaged colonial peoples who for centuries endured summary justice, unending economic oppression, distortion of their social and intimate lives, and a recourseless submission that was the function of unchanging European superiority."
A Favorite Target of Multiculturalists is Christopher Columbus
"In order to see the multicultural paradigm at work, we would do well to consider the passionate debate that has raged in the academy over the legacy of Christopher Columbus. Provoked by the five hundredth anniversary of the Columbus landing, virtually every leading advocate of multiculturalism lashed out against Columbus or his successors.
. "Columbus makes Hitler look like a juvenile delinquent," asserts American Indian activist Russell Means.
. Winona LaDuke deplores "the biological, technological, and ecological invasion that began with Columbus' ill-fated voyage five hundred years ago."
. The National Council of Churches declares the anniversary of Columbus "not a time for celebration" but for "reflection and repentance" in which whites must acknowledge a continuing history of "oppression, degradation, and genocide."
. Historian Glenn Morris accuses Columbus of being "a murderer, a rapist, the architect of a policy of genocide that continues today."
. "Could it be that the human calamity caused by the arrival of Columbus," African-American writer Ishmael Reed asks, "was a sort of dress rehearsal of what is to come as the ozone becomes more depleted, the earth warms, and the rain forests are destroyed?"
. "All of us have been socialized to be racists and benefit from racism constantly," Christine Slater laments in the journal Multicultural Education. "The very locations on which our homes rest should rightfully belong to Indian nations."
. Literary scholar Stephen Greenblatt alleges that Columbus "inaugurated the greatest experiment in political, economic, and cultural cannibalism in the history of the Western world."
And so goes the academic world led now by influencial multiculturalists who would have us disown our beloved United States of America. It is now even popular to take credit away from the Founders and give credit to the "real source" of American governmental institutes and Constitutional law - the Iroquois Indians.
Another False Diversion - The Iroquois Nation Gave America's Founders the Right Ideas!
To undermine the claim of Western cultural superiority, advocates of multiculturalism insist on the contribution of the American Indians to the West. Mr. D'Souza continues: "Advocates of multiculturalism frequently proceed to make an audacious claim: that the fundamental institutions for the recognition of liberal rights, such as the U.S. Constitution, were not the exclusive product of Western civilization but were decisively influenced by such groups as the Iroquois Indians. Anthropologist Thomas Riley asserts that the League of the Iroquois served "as a model for the confederation that would make up the United States." Alvin Josephy credits the Iroquois with being "particularly influential" on the thinking of the framers in Philadelphia. Jack Weatherford in Indian Givers observes that the Iroquois provided a blueprint "by which the settlers might be able to fashion a new government.
"Historian Elisabeth Tooker investigated the issue and discovered that the main evidence linking the Iroquois to the American founding is a letter written by Benjamin Franklin in 1754.
In it Franklin said:
"It would be a strange thing if six nations of ignorant savages should be capable of forming a scheme for such a union, and be able to execute it in such a manner as that it has subsisted for ages and appears indissoluble, and yet that a like union should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies, to whom it is more necessary and must be more advantageous, and who cannot be supposed to want an equal understanding of their interests."
"Franklin is saying, in other words, if the barbarians can work out their problems and form a union, surely we civilized people can do as well.
"In her inquiry, Tooker explores the similarities between the Iroquois League and the American Constitution and finds that they are virtually nonexistent. The League consisted of tribal chiefs whose title was partly hereditary. Only one tribe, the Onondagas, were permitted as 'firekeepers' to present topics for consideration. All rulings by the League required unanimous consent. The claim that the Iroquois were the secret force behind the American Constitution is a myth, sustained only by ideology."
Dinesh D'Souza summarizes:
"Students do need to be exposed to the great accomplishments of other cultures, as well as their influence on the West. But when multiculturalism goes beyond this to insist that we should understand cultural differences without applying (inherently biased) standards of critical evaluation, it forbids at the outset the possibility that one culture may be in crucial respects superior to another. An initial openness to the truths of other cultures degenerates into a closed-minded denial of all transcultural standards. Seeking to avoid an acknowledgment of Western cultural superiority, relativism ends up denying the possibility of truth." (see complete article by Dinesh D'Souza entitled The Crimes of Christopher Columbus on American Freedom Library CD-ROM, available from NCCS)
And so, most Americans, from Congress to school children are being stealthily diverted from the weightier matters of the law. While the world is watching, Alexander Hamilton's words seem to be prophetic: that if the people of the United States failed in their mission to be an example and a blessing to the world, it would operate to "the general misfortune of mankind."
John Adams later stated that if the people abandoned the freedom gained by the adoption of the Constitution, it would be " treason against the hopes of the world."
Thank You for Your Continuing Support
To you who share with us a little each month to help keep NCCS programs going across the nation, a heartfelt thanks for your kindness and concern.
Don't forget our upcoming summer seminar series in Virginia and Arizona. Let us hear from you.
Earl Taylor, Jr.