It is never comfortable when your own arguments are used against you. When that happens, it might reveal that your arguments were empty or it might lead you to sharpen your thoughts. If the topic changes and you are no longer comfortable with your logic, it is time to rethink. Let me give you two examples.
1) Going back a few decades, my husband and I distressed a close friend of ours by voting for a third-party presidential candidate instead of for the Republican choice. “Even if you don’t think he’s a good choice, you need to support the party,” he pleaded. Then Donald Trump was the candidate. All of a sudden, all our friend’s arguments disappeared. “I can’t possibly vote for him,” he told us, while that time around we were the ones who were happy to support the GOP candidate. It seems that his arguments until 2016 were, unbeknownst to him, justifications of his own preferences rather than statements of principle.
2) To the great disappointment of many religious Jews, the Israeli city of Tel-Aviv bills itself as the homosexual capital of the Mediterranean. While it is true that religious Jews do not approve of the punishment meted out by many Islamic countries who punish homosexual activity by throwing those practicing it off rooftops or with another form of the death penalty, that is a far cry from supporting the behavior.
A top Israeli government official thought to curry favor with the secular younger generation in America and Europe by highlighting this claim to fame of Tel-Aviv’s, and did so in a number of speeches. He ran into trouble when he needed the vote of religious citizens in an upcoming election. The community asked him to make a statement condemning the homosexual movement’s plans to hold a march in a city with a strong religious population. Yet that would seem to contradict his boasts abroad. He asked one of his advisors how to handle the conflict. “Stop advertising something about which you disapprove, no matter what the political motivation,” was the answer he received. In other words, figure out which side of an argument you are on and then show some integrity.
Many parents are horrified at the sexual agenda being pushed in schools today. The breach of norms has finally gone a step too far even for those who pride themselves on being open-minded. Many of these parents’ arguments sound strikingly similar to the points made in the 60s and 70s by people who wanted to remove prayer from public schools. Yet, this time, the intelligentsia who supported that crusade is on the other side of the issue.
“They can get it at home,” was the cry of those who did not want prayer in school. This is as true for sex education as it is for prayer. Will some children be left in ignorance about this topic? Yes—families can choose whether this is an area to discuss or not as well as what they want to say.
When it comes to Scripture, the Freedom from Religion Foundation argues that, “public schools exist to educate, not to proselytize.” Parents who do not want their 8-year-olds told to choose their own gender or that marriage is whatever you want it to be, agree.
Substitute the word “sex-ed” for the word prayer in the following sentence of the above organization’s website, “Children in public schools are a captive audience. Making prayer an official part of the school day is coercive and invasive.” To be consistent, those who opposed prayer in school should oppose sex-education in schools as well.
Here is another quote from their website, “It is the sacred duty of parents and churches to instill religious beliefs, free from government dictation. Institutionalizing prayers in public schools usurps the rights of parents.” Many parents feel that it is their sacred right to raise their children as boys or girls, without imposing psychological and emotional confusion and certainly without subjecting little ones to horrific hormonal and surgical treatments.
It seems that the concern exhibited for parental autonomy as well as for individual children was a strategy, not a principle.
What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Susan’s Musings post.
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