Those Menacing Mono-cultural Psalmists
6 June, 1998
The Forty-seventh says in part “O clap your hands, all peoples. . . for the Lord Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth. He subdues people under his feet. . . Sing praises to our king. . . for God is the King of all the earth . . . God reigns over the nations . . . He is highly exalted.”
(Really! What bigoted, jingoist, narrow-minded, intolerant right-wingers those psalmists were.) Ah, but ’tis so. And shy as we are to proclaim it, the Kingdom of God, nevertheless, is in our midst. Yes, it all began when Jesus starting casting out those little old demons from various Palestinians and sundry Semites. Little by little and by the power of the Spirit, given on Pentecost, God continues to advance the Kingdom. Beginning as a mustard seed, it grows; as leaven, it spreads through the whole lump of humanity. The Kingdom of Darkness resists, manifesting itself from moment to moment and time to time in the deeds of wicked individuals and nations. But in due time, the Almighty crushes Satan. Yes, even at the feet of the Church (cf. Rom. 16:20).
The churches of God are not dependent upon temporal power for the advancement of truth and justice. But as the powers stand on the truth (proclaimed by the very “pillar of truth” – the Church – cf. 1 Tim. 3:15), the powers endure. Nations (and individuals) rise and fall by this principle.
More often than not, the truth is spoken by a minority, by a few, even a very few. No surprise. The Apostle John, speaking in the early years the Kingdom, said, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John. 5:19). We should not be taken by surprise when we find ourselves assailed by all manner of invective. The darkness hates the light, but the light must be shined, offensive though it be.
It is difficult to proclaim the truth out of season – and not a lot of fun. (Jeremiah was not happy with his job. He cried a lot.) He was told by God, “You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you; and you shall call to them, but they will not answer you” (Jer. 7:27). Ezekiel had the same kind of unhappy calling. God gave him the following assignment: “I have sent you to them who should listen to you; yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate” (3:6,7).
Yes, there are also those times to be silent and hold back the truth. Jesus chose to be silent on several occasions when asked whether or not is was true that he was the Son of God. He was evasive when asked, for example, “Who are you?” (John. 8:25). (He was avoiding the confrontation which would lead quickly to his death; the time was not yet to get executed for straight forward blasphemy charge. He had purposes, including the plan to lay out a clear case for His identity as the promised messiah, God in the flesh.)
It is sometimes wise to conceal one’s true opinions in order to successfully advance justice. Even as Lincoln called for the emancipation of Negroes, he affirmed the popular belief that they were inferior and ought not to have equal rights. Whatever he really believed, it might have been difficult to garner precious support if he were to go that far and call for those lowly Africans to be equals under the law. (Folks can only handle so much truth and justice at a time.) Prudence may dictate silence and sometime even lies in the political arena.
John the Baptist lost his head over his mouth; he could have kept quiet about Herod’s sexual irregularities. (Hey, consenting adults! What is the problem? The nosey fundamentalist!) But then, his role was a different one from Christ’s. His call was an abstemious one: no wine, low-budget camping, and a diet of bugs and candy. Jesus, on the other hand, came eating and drinking and was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton.
Yes, there may be good reasons why we are not vocal about the truth; and then, there may not be. What reasons, for example, have the churches of God for withholding the proclamation of these two truths: 1) “Those who murder innocent children (commit abortion) ought to be executed by the government”; 2) “Those who defend the innocent (the children in the womb) with force ought to be acquitted in court of any charges brought against them by government prosecutors”? Is there some higher plan at stake which justifies the silence?
We haven’t heard of any life threatening grounds for silence. The only principles which seem to explain the silence or even the controverting of the truth seem to be selfishly personal: job, freedom from harassment from government, freedom from jail, etc. It is easier to fit in socially with our contemporaries by keeping our mouths shut.
“Roam,” said God to Jeremiah, “to and fro though the streets of Jerusalem, and look now, and take note. And seek in her open squares. If you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks the truth, then I will pardon her” (5:1).
Ah, but they are there; yes, here and there.
Sheriff John McDougall shines among the sheriffs in the land. Here is a man proclaiming the truth out of season. There aren’t many establishment folks who are willing to stand against the bloody tide. When Abortionist Ali Azima asked the Lee County, Florida Sheriff for protection from protesters, the sheriff answered on official stationery: “Tell me doctor, did those tiny defenseless babies feel threatened when you ripped them out of their mother’s womb? Were they fighting for their lives when you began your slaughter?” So reports Mireya Navarro in the New York Times (9 March).
Washington D.C. NOWist Exec. Veep Kim Gandy whined and carped against the Sheriff: “This kind of attitude from law enforcement is the very thing that has helped to foster the idea in anti-abortion terrorists that they can threaten abortion employees with impunity. That kind of incendiary rhetoric, calling someone a murderer . . . is irresponsible and dangerous.”
Yes, truthful speech is dangerous in the opinion of those who love lies. And those who hate the truth suppress it, as the apostle Paul says of the heathen (Rom. 1:18).
To the abortionist, the Sheriff also wrote, “We will do everything within our power to assist the protesters who wish to protect the misguided mothers who come to your clinic of death. . . I pray that God gives you the insight and wisdom to stop the horrible life you have chosen.”
And to the Times, McDougall said, “The Holocaust would never have happened if people had spoken out.”
On the other hand, there are those caught up their jobs who seem to have no good reason to conceal or oppose the truth. Take Maurice Papon. At age 87, he was found guilty in France for his role in “rounding up Jews for deportation to Nazi death camps” and sentenced to 10 years (Reuters, 3 April). The Reuter report notes that the jury found him “guilty of complicity in crimes against humanity but not responsible for his victims’ murder. Most of those deported never returned.” Mr. Papon had been a senior official in the collaborationist Vichy government.
To compare his roll to that of the perpetrators of today’s holocaust, would not be juxtaposed him to an abortionist, or a nurse, or a receptionist, or even a deathscort with an orange jersey. He was just a government administrator. One of his jobs was to supervise the department of Service for Jewish Questions. The particular inculpating task was that of organizing “four of the eight convoys of Jews sent off from the Drancy internment camp near Paris on their way to the concentration camps. Papon denied knowing of the Holocaust at the time.” So Mr. Papon wasn’t killing anybody. He had only a perfunctory role. He just did his job and let it happen. There were those hard-core National Socialists (like our pro-abortion DNC), and there were the tolerant, Vichy collaborationists (like our GOP and countless functionaries).
The more appropriate juxtaposition is Papon and members of Congress who sign FACE bills, budgets which appropriate money for Planned Parenthood and the UN, etc.
Papon’s trial was “the longest in French postwar history and forced the country to re-examine its role in the wartime Nazi occupation,” according to Reuter “which the French originally tried to play down while recalling the small but valiant resistance movement.”
Popular as it was then to overlook the abuse and murder of Jews, it is not so today, and Mr.Papon’s compliance with the winds of opinion has finally been rewarded.
I am reminded of Forrest Montgomery’s effort to discredit the present very small resistance movement when on Night Line he asked: “Mr. Bray, you must understand that the great majority of the American people, in fact I must say the great majority of the civilized world considers the acts of bombings that you support but do not advocate to be reprehensible, to be indefensible. Now, in the face of that, is it at least possible that you might be wrong?”
“Civilized,” said he. Indeed, if the great majority think that the use of force to save the innocent is “reprehensible,” then the majority – once again, as in certain times in the past – is dead wrong. And we are pleased to be a member of the moral minority.
Admittedly there are times when political maneuverings necessitate the suppression of truth or even an outright Rahab-like lie to save the life of the good guys. And there are times when it is not even clear who the good guys are. It is therefore, most important that we be ever-reminded of and instructed in the truth.
That truth must always be taught by the Pillar of Truth. In order to sustain that moral minority as a force which will advance the truth and justice, the churches of God must not speak with quavering or muted voices. Political and ethical hard choices must be well-informed by the biblical law and justice taught by the Church. How can politicians advance justice (biblical; what else?) when they are not informed about it is?
How can a politician, including especially the consummating Bill Clinton – were it possible – of his conflict with the truth, when he remains without correction from his Southern Baptist home church in Little Rock? Or how can anyone take a message seriously from an organization which admits to membership and the sacred meal both Ted Kennedy and the likes of Mother Theresa? (What has happened to the biblical and historic practice of excommunicating flagrant and unrepentant sinners and heretics?) Can we expect a higher standard from our government than we demand from the Church?
Ah, impossible as it seems, the truth will prevail; the Kingdom will continue to come! And it will finally arrive in irresistible power when our Lord appears at the parousia.
But we need not be dismayed, though we be disappointed, in its slowness in coming. The Kingdom comes whenever justice (defined by His law) prevails; viz., whenever “His will be done” is answered in the affirmative. He reigns now and will put all His enemies under His feet” (1 Cor. 15:25).
Have no doubt. The Kingdom is here. It has been here since Jesus cast out demons. The Kingdom advances as the truth prevails. And the Church, the Pillar of Truth, will prevail. He will prevail. Let all the nations (races, ethnic groups, religious groups, followers of false gods) praise Him. “O clap your hands, all peoples. . . for the Lord Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth.”