Anything can become an object of dissent.
The reality of this is all too obvious to us. You name it and we’ve got it in this country: anti-segregation, anti-communism, anti-war, anti-bomb, anti-population explosion, anti-poverty, anti-illiteracy, anti-cruelty to animals, anti-Semitism, anti-crime, and so on.
I suppose covenant youth could compose their own list: anti-parental snooping, anti-Covenant Christian High, anti-30-week catechism season, anti-hypocrisy in the church, anti-opponents of drama and so on.
One wonders whether anyone is for anything.
As we treat the general subject of the right of dissent, we must now pin-point our subject. We must ask the question, against what are objections expressed, what is advocated as a replacement, and on what basis.
In order that we may zero in on the heart of the issue, we must admit that the unrest in our country revolves around the interpretation and application of our Constitution. This is expressed most succinctly in the 14th Amendment, Section 1, “All persons born .or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The issue of dissent, as it is popularly discussed in our day, concerns itself with eradicating injustice and promoting justice for all the citizens no matter what race, ethnic group, social standing, economic status, or creed. In a word it concerns itself with civil rights.
Closely related to the rights of each individual citizen and the protection of these rights as stated in the 14th Amendment, is also the right to express disagreement with the present status and advance views which are not popularly accepted. This involves the 1st Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
We conclude that the problem of dissent involves two things, whether there is a basis for the accusation that the 14th Amendment is being violated,—in other words is there a proper reason for dissent,—and whether those who express their dissent are doing so within the framework of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution,—in other words must they be given this right and protection according to the law of our land.
In this article we would like to begin considering the first aspect of the problem and formulate our inquiry this way: should covenant youth make it their concern whether or not all the citizens of our land have in fact the protection of the 14th Amendment, to investigate this, to express dissent if they do not, and to advocate proper protection so that all do enjoy the rights of citizenship?
On what basis will we determine this?
HUMANISM A FALSE BASIS
A great deal of clamor surrounds the current issue of civil rights. This movement has put into focus the guarantees of the 14th Amendment as they apply specifically to the concrete situation of black America and poor America which most frequently are .synonymous. Are we doing justice to them or are we guilty of violating the 14th Amendment as it applies to their situation? Justice is considered from 2 points of view. The first is the legal aspect. Do we have laws, state or federal, that do not give black America the same privileges as white America? Are these laws interpreted and enforged differently, all depending whether a black or white citizen is involved? The second aspect of justice concerns itself with the moral application of these laws by the citizens. This involves the knotty problem of equal opportunity. It is conceivable that good laws prevail in our land, that the courts interpret these laws consistently no matter who is involved, and that the judicial branch of our government enforces them without regard to color or economic standing, but that the people, the citizens themselves, negate the effect of these laws by discrimination. Morality involves more than legislation; it includes the free and willing observance of laws that have been enacted. The law may, for example, guarantee fair employment, but if the employer refuses to hire the colored man or the fellow workers refuse to work next to him, the effect of the law is obviously nil. Discrimination is a moral issue that relates to justice.
All the problems that surround these basic issues m our society today are one thing. We must ask, on what basis must a Christian be concerned with these issues, particularly as they apply to his neighbor.
Let’s notice that the “civil rights movement” has taken on the glamour of “human rights.” As covenant young people we must conclude here and now that this cannot serve as a basis for our concern with the problem of civil rights.
In order to keep this reasonably brief, let’s point out a few salient “principles” of Humanism. First; the goal of the Humanist consists in the realization of an ideal society here on earth. This means that all men must have equal rights, all people over the whole earth must have equal opportunity, all must share in the wealth, power, peace, and freedoms of the human race. Emphasis must not rest on the white, black, red, or yellow race, but the human race. Secondly, to consummate this perfect society of Man, all people must co-operate to eradicate obstacles to its realization. This must take place in all spheres of human existence, govemments must use diplomacy, scientists must use ingenuity, educators must use proper methodology, etc. All men everywhere must co-operate in this venture in order that the ideal human society may be realized. Thirdly, the possibility of success rests upon the innate goodness of man. Man still possesses some instincts of his animal ancestry, but in due process of the social evolution, he will outgrow these and mature into the kind of human being that will gladly accept his place in the universal human society. The Humanist is optimistic. He is confident that man’s rationality will convince him that it is better to share his wealth with the poor than to be selfish and expose the human race to nuclear warfare. He will hold to his ideology, but grant the right to others to have their views as long as they all agree on the basic rights of the human family. Nations will finally grow up and grant the right of co-existence to all powers, thereby freeing billions of dollars now spent on defense and allowing this to be used for the care of the poor, education of the illiterate, and the solving of social problems.
Listen to the eloquent voice of Humanism, “But today the differences and disproportions between various parts of our world community are so great that agreed policies of cooperation run into reefs of hostility and envy, The gaps in power, the gaps in wealth, the gaps in ideology which hold the nations apart also make up the abyss into which mankind can fall to annihilation It is on these disproportions that world policy has to concentrate—restoring a reasonable balance of power between continents, a reasonable balance of wealth between the planet’s developed Nations and underdeveloped South, a reasonable balance of understanding and tolerance between the world’s rival creeds. Then when the grosser inequalities have been remedied, there can be more hope of building the common institutions, policies, and beliefs which the crew of Spaceship Earth must acquire if they are to have any sure hope of survival.” Spaceship Earth,Barbara Ward.
Humanism is obviously anti-God. We cannot join the civil rights movement on this basis. It is so diabolical because it denies the curse of God upon the sinner,Rom. 1:22-32. It claims the possibility of establishing a good society on the quagmire of human corruption, thereby denying the redemption and restoration of the people of God in Jesus Christ, Eph. 4:24, 25. Hence the words of II Peter 2:12, 18, 19 apply, “These, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption . . . for when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption, for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.”
HUMAN BROTHERHOOD A FALSE BASIS
There is no essential difference between Humanism and what we here call Brotherhood. Rather, it is a further development of the basic tenets of Humanism wrapping them up in the cellophane of religion.
In many ways this approach to civil rights is more deadly for Covenant youth. This is at once apparent when we consider that it assumes to itself a “Christian” basis. The advocates of human brotherhood put on a cloak of Piety, but in reality are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They speak at length of Christ and Christianity, but deny the blood of the atonement and clamor for a Christ who is not very God, but a mere man who nevertheless is a worthy example of human kindness.
It is this influence in America, that propels the civil rights movement into the arena of the “church.” Many churches spend hours in torrid debate concerning what position the church must take on the latest issues. Clergymen spend their time getting involved in local committees in order that they may avoid the charge by a militant segment in society accusing the church of preaching pious platitudes, but being hypocrites in the cities.
Brotherhood has become the shibboleth which admits a church or individual into the local club of “in” people. They are “with it.”
Brotherhood that flows from the “milk of human dress” is the greatest farce of our generation. Not only does it not exist (see Col. 3:5-8, but it stands opposed to all that God gives in His Word. The ominous call of brotherhood that resounds from shore to shore in our America the Beautiful must be discerned by covenant youth as the roar of the beast that comes forth from the earth who “exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed,” Rev. 13:11-18. This is anti-Christ. His movement is described by Paul in II Thess. 2:3, 4, “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” These are the “false prophets . . . who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction,” mentioned in II Peter 2:1.
Next time D.V. we shall show bow this applies to such a man as the former Dr. Martin Luther World Council of Churches which spells out the “Ten Commandments” for youth who are involved in civil rights, and others.
We must see why brotherhood cannot serve as a basis for covenant youth to become interested and involved in social justice and arise in dissent to that which one considers injustice.
There is and must be a much deeper basis, a basis that does not throw covenant youth into the arms of the false prophets, but causes him to stand diametrically opposed to him.
This we find in the Scriptural injunction, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. If there is to be dissent, it must be for God’s sake or it is vanity.
The dissent of covenant youth is like a voice crying in the wilderness.