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Kay Haugaard has taught creative writing since 1970. As with most of her classes, students read and discuss Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.” Jackson’s lottery isn’t about winning millions of dollars by picking the right Lotto numbers; it’s about human sacrifice that a small town accepts and takes Part 1n with no questions asked. Of course, the premise is absurd. Or is it?
As the years of teaching this story have passed, Haugaard began to see a change in the moral perceptions of her students. Their views on right and wrong had been dulled by the rhetoric of moral neutrality, “the danger of just ‘going along’ with something habitually, without examining its rationale and value.” Haugaard’s closing comments are chilling:
No one in the whole class of more than twenty ostensibly intelligent individuals would go out on a limb and take a stand against human sacrifice.
I wound up the discussion. “Frankly, I feel it’s clear that the author was pointing out the dangers of being totally accepting followers, too cowardly to rebel against obvious cruelties and injustices.” I was shaken, and I thought that the author, whose story had shocked so many, would have been shaken as well.
The class finally ended. It was a warm night when I walked to my car after class that evening, but I felt shivery, chilled to the bone.
We’ve become a nation of moral bystanders. Deep down we know certain behaviors are wrong, but we’ve been cajoled into believing that nothing can be said in objection to the new amoral climate. If we do react, we are labeled “intolerant” and “insensitive” to different “lifestyle choices.” Christians are told that they are not being “loving” when they enter an opposing opinion on moral questions. These changes in moral perceptions and attitudes have been stunning. “After the horrendous crime against the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, a young Yale student has this observation: ‘Absent was a general outcry of indignation . . . [M]y generation is uncomfortable assessing, or even asking, whether a moral wrong has taken place.’”
The muddled rhetoric over religion, morality, and politics can be seen in an interview that Larry King had with John MacArthur, Barry Lynn, and other religious leaders in the lead up to Christiane Amanpour’s three-part special “‘God’s Warriors’: Fighters for Faith” that will show on CNN August 21–23, 2007 (9 PM EST). I find it odd that Amanpour can find any similarities between Islamic radicals and Christian fundamentalists. She does dredge up abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolf and abortion doctor killer Paul Hill to show her “objectivity” in how radically similar Christians are to radical Muslims. Let’s see if Amanpour can find the motivating influence behind Rudolf’s actions:
“Many good people continue to send me money and books,” Rudolph writes in an undated letter. “Most of them have, of course, an agenda; mostly born-again Christians looking to save my soul. I suppose the assumption is made that because I’m in here I must be a ‘sinner’ in need of salvation, and they would be glad to sell me a ticket to heaven, hawking this salvation like peanuts at a ballgame. I do appreciate their charity, but I could really do without the condescension. They have been so nice I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible.”
Nietzsche is the darling of leftist radicals, and his “God is dead” mantra is heartily embraced by today’s celebrity atheists.
Let’s see if Amanpour will do some investigative journalism and learn that Paul Hill was excommunicated from his church because of his radical views. Instead we will find Amanpour comparing Christian girls who wear long dresses to the Taliban. The last time I checked, young ladies with long dresses weren’t hiding explosives under them and praying that their children become self-initiated martyrs for Jesus! Amanpour “investigates” homeschooling families as well. What the connection is with Islamicists I’ll never know. Islamic terrorist expert Robert Spencer nails the blatant, agenda-driven hypocrisy of the left when he writes, “Homeschooling is evil too? Sheesh. Over 9,000 terror attacks committed in the name of Islam since 9/11, and Christiane Amanpour is spending her time demonizing homeschoolers.”
Christiane Amanpour is like one of Kay Haugaard’s students after they read “The Lottery.” She no longer knows how to make moral distinctions.