Commentary

Phil Carleton: Don’t want to hear, don’t want to know

This commentary is by Phil Carleton, a resident of Shelburne.

What I've heard is a great shout of “I don't want to know!” from college-educated minds. What's the point of going to college, just to revive the Know Nothing movement?

Let me start by saying I'm strictly biblical on abortion. As I speak these words, I'm hearing the sound of college-educated minds snapping shut. Closed minds that hear that sound will know you're one of them, and they can control you. 

What they're really afraid of is open minds. If you can't reopen your mind, you will likely lose control of your lives more than you imagined possible. 

Start with the obvious question: What does the Christian book say about abortion? A few pages after the Ten Commandments, it says, if two men are fighting, and injure a pregnant woman so that she loses the fetus, then any injury to the woman will be paid: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, but the loss of a fetus shall be paid by a fine.

Why is that important? Because four in 10 Americans are conservative Christians, are taught that the Christian book is the inspired word of God, and yet are taught something quite different from what the book says.

World War II changed us. In Chicago, the Playboy empire emerged, and Bible Belt leaders sensed they were losing control. More concerned about power than knowledge, they took on a fight they knew they could win, knowing pregnant women are the most vulnerable among us. 

I'm old enough to remember the early protesters outside Planned Parenthood, shouting “Slut! Whore!” at any woman who entered. Conservative Christians offered no resources to pregnant women until women's libbers shamed them into changing direction. 

America's conservative Protestant leaders have worked hard to shrink God down to the size where he can be drowned in the bathtub, making themselves bigger in comparison! We need the opposite: expanding the Big Picture. 

Let's take a look:

Susan B. Anthony believed that if women got the vote, there would be no more wars, because women would not send their sons off to die. 

Where do we stand today? Women are fighting for the right to send themselves off to die! In our shrunken view of the universe, we are opposing the vision that made us successful. In this power struggle, women, Christians and America are face-planting in the mud together.

I have a Christian bias, but I'm not here to convert you. We're at a point where we can look back over a few thousand years of history and see what made us successful. We can see the dead ends we've explored over and over, and realize that they've been resold to us as “New! Essential! Inevitable!” and over and over we trap ourselves in the same mess.

Israel was a nation that lost its way, became a monarchy and was dispersed. Rome was a republic, became an empire, and the Dark Ages followed. Over and over, success, then failure. 

“The Imperial Presidency” was written in Nixon's time to say we're headed the wrong way. Now, Trump has been president, and may return. We're repeating a mistake that may take 1,000 years to fix.

The Big Picture is worth a look. We'll lose our nation if we don't. As in Israel, it's our system of justice that's failing. As in Israel, we're transferring power in the wrong direction. Nine judges control our lives, from Jim Crow and corporate speech to our bodies. A king will be much worse.

We know better. That's the key. We can govern ourselves. Stop delegating that authority.


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