A four-day-old baby girl was rescued recently after she was found buried alive in a cemetery in India. An investigation has been launched to find her parents, who could be charged with attempted murder and child abandonment.
Such gender discrimination is pervasive in India, where millions of girls are unwanted and face rejection in their communities. According to the Invisible Girl Project, fifty million girls and women are missing from India’s population due to gendercide.
If you’re thinking that your community is far more enlightened than their society, consider this fact: an estimated four hundred teenagers are sold for sex every day in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. One of them is a fifteen-year-old girl who was being sex trafficked at NorthPark Center, located in one of the most affluent areas of Dallas. Sex trafficking is a $99 million a year business in my city.
“The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.”
These stories illustrate the fact that ideas matter. The idea that women are inferior to men has led to the gendercide of millions. The idea that sex is a commodity and people are a means to profits has led to the entrapment of 4.8 million people in forced sexual exploitation and 40.3 million in modern slavery.
One of the tragic ideas of our culture is that ideas are subjective statements of personal preferences and cannot be expressions of objective truth and morality. This was the idea Attorney General William Barr addressed in his remarkable speech to the law school of Notre Dame University last Friday, a message I hope you’ll read in its entirety.
Mr. Barr noted: “Religion helps frame moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline.” He added: “Scholarship suggests that religion has been integral to the development and thriving of homo sapiens since we emerged roughly 50,000 years ago. It is just for the past few hundred years we have experimented in living without religion.”
As a result, due to the “growing ascendance of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism,” we are seeing “the wreckage of the family” and “record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.”
The response of secularism is tragic: “We have the State in the role of Alleviator of Bad Consequences. We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility. So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion. The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites. . . . The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with the wreckage. While we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.”
“Religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
Response by Mr. Barr’s critics has been swift and angry.
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin spoke for many when she claimed that “the attorney general has no business preaching about faith to the American people.” (Of course, he spoke not to “the American people” but as an invited speaker at a Catholic university.) However, as with other critics, she focused entirely on the alleged evils of the Trump administration and the Republican Party. She did not devote a single sentence to engaging Mr. Barr’s address on its merits.
Perhaps that’s because the facts are not on her side. The Wall Street Journal‘s William McGurn noted: “Mr. Barr’s argument has been echoed throughout American history: ‘Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people’ (John Adams). ‘Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith’ (Tocqueville). ‘In teaching this democratic faith to American children, we need the sustaining, buttressing aid of those great ethical religious teachings which are the heritage of our modern civilization. For “not upon strength nor upon power, but upon the spirit of God” shall our democracy be founded’ (FDR).”
We could add President George Washington’s Farewell Address: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”
The “Father of His Country” added: “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
When we “turned the world upside down”
Here’s the good news: the word of God has the same power to shape minds and transform lives as when it was first inspired by the Spirit of God.
When early Christians declared biblical truth from lives of integrity and hearts of compassion, their movement “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). When William Wilberforce answered God’s call to freedom for all people (cf. Galatians 3:28; 5:1), his political movement helped end slavery in the British Isles.
When Christians answer God’s call to care for the impoverished and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35–40), the result is a movement to end sex trafficking and slavery, a global response to vulnerable children and communities, and an international ministry to families in need.
“You activate a weapon of the Spirit”
Hebrews 4:12 states that “the word of God is living and active.” In response, Max Lucado writes: “When you quote a scripture in the face of pain or doubt or evil, you activate a weapon of the Spirit.”
Unlike weapons of mass destruction, the Bible is a Weapon of Mass Instruction.
Let’s live by its principles and share its truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), claiming God’s promise that his word “will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:11 NLT).
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