College basketball season 2020–21. Guys from many schools had “EQUALITY” on the backs of their jerseys. I get it. These teammates of different skin colors (and some from foreign countries) are true friends. They respect each other, work together every day toward a common goal, hug and chest-bump over a victory, cry together over a loss. Any given player may not be the same color as his head coach, but respects him and believes the coach knows what he’s doing. That’s partly why the player chose this school.
These guys must hate to see others outside that circle calling each other names, or worse. I’m imagining their desire for others to grasp “equality” in this teamwork, Golden Rule sort of way. I share that desire.
But some people on the far end of the socialism spectrum don’t mean what the basketball players mean. Rather, so-called equality would play out like this: Eric has three cars. Derek has one. The government should force the four cars to be handed over so that Eric and Derek can each be given two. Never mind that Eric has a family of seven and Derek is single. Equality.
We’re not done. The so-called Equality Act (H.R. 5, the Equality Act of 2021) is a bill that (as of March 2021) passed the U.S. House of Representatives and was headed for the Senate. But it’s not about what the basketball guys are promoting or about every citizen having the “correct” number of cars.
It’s about children being able to choose cross-sex hormones and even sex-change surgery without parents’ permission. Look it up. (Sidebar: When I was putting together the “Chosen? … Or Targeted?” post, I was puzzled by what the program meant, exactly, by saying that the sponsors believed “teenagers are mature enough to be treated like adults and that they can handle that responsibility.” I’m wondering whether this idea is being subtly introduced in various areas of our culture. Parents not needed—the government will rule to let kids make adult decisions.)
I’m writing to alert everyone to use caution when wearing any slogan, carrying any banner, or posting any bumper sticker or sign. If I wore an “EQUALITY” T-shirt, I’d be meaning it in the basketball team sense. But other people might not assume that. They might think I’m promoting the #2 or #3 meaning. Realizing that danger, I can’t wear that slogan and inadvertently convey a phony notion: that more citizens want #2 or #3 to be a reality.
I’ve often addressed the issue of wide-ranging—and even secretly introduced—definitions in the category of theology/spirituality. For example, when you hear the practice of contemplative prayer promoted in Christian circles, you might naturally understand that to mean “prayer” (talking to God) that is “contemplative” (thinking deeply). It’s neither. Some books circulating in Christian study groups use words like atonement and union with God. But new definitions have been attached—and usually not explained.
Sinister forces are at work.
It’s easy to fall into a pattern of fretting. But Psalm 37:1 says, “Do not fret because of those who are evil.” Read the entire psalm. Twice! The Lord tells us what to do instead of just wringing our hands: “trust in the Lord and do good” (v. 3); “commit your way to the Lord” (v. 5); “hope in the Lord and keep his way” (v. 34); because “he is [our] stronghold in time of trouble” (v. 39).
“The righteous … will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7). That verse reminds me of some of the Bible heroes. Let’s spend more time studying how they lived in difficult circumstances than we spend wallowing in bad news.