Thursday, February 17, 2005

Nu Skool

I saw the results of a comprehensive study on the attitudes of current high school students released a couple of weeks ago.

30% thought the US Constitution went too far in guaranteeing the rights of free speech, assembly, freedom of religion, etc.

50% thought that newspapers should only be able to publish articles with government approval.

Our current fear-induced cultural worship of authority and uniformity has apparently gone even farther than I had thought.

The freedoms that many of our high school students don't seem to understand or appreciate were created by centuries of efforts by the best of our fathers and mothers who wanted to restrain centralized governments of all kinds.

The freedoms of assembly and speech and religion and the press were meant to check arrogant "visionary" oligarchies (our current American form of government) and kings and dictators and all the other talented-but-self absorbed types who all too often end up in charge of human communities.

The whole Bill of Rights thing came out of Christian thinking on the falleness of every person's soul and the experience of thousands of years of unchecked European governments who always seemed to do their best work while making war and taking away anybody's rights who wasn't a part of their class or party.

When young people--who have historically been one of the groups in our culture most likely to challenge authority--become choir members in the current Church of Cultural Fear it may be time to wake up.

All Americans profess allegiance to the Bill of Rights, but when particular currents in our cultural and political life help create a context in which many of our young people question those rights, maybe it's time to start re-thinking our national direction. Maybe it's time for Christians--whose ancestors did the most to create the Bill of Rights--to make a change in the way people do church in this country.


Blogger Jason said...

Derek and I were just talking the other day about how much more open to authority and compliant (and almost overly so) the latest generation is.

12:16 AM  

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