As written "pre-millennium"

                            Ed note 2009

 

The Last Taboo of Journalism

By David Lawrence

 

The time has come to break the last "Taboo" of Journalism.

 

Before the newspeak of  "politically correct" was in vogue, it was considered socially unacceptable to talk about politics, religion, or sex. Sex was first to be dropped from the list, and today both sex and politics dominate the media. But the discussion of religious doctrine and what is "Truth", is still relegated to "paid programming" for the pushing of individual belief systems. That type of freedom of speech is fine, "as long as you don't tell me what to believe!".

 

This was not always the case. A quick perusal of the New York Times during the last century will show that what was once considered "Truth", and the open discussion and debate over it, was also once considered news.

 

Today, there is a very good reason why the secular media should put religion and alternate philosophies back into the open arena for debate. And that is, to expose the doctrines, motives, viability and logical outcomes of the various belief systems currently being promulgated.

 

These are indeed the driving forces behind political, legislative, and social agendas at the grassroots level of today's society.

 

Beliefs drive perspectives which drive attitudes which drive behavior.

 

In a nation debating morality, and a world crying for peace, love and unity at all costs, the question must be asked, "Whose rules and who is going to enforce it?"  On what basis? 

 

These concepts have religious or quasi-religious values at their very core. 

 

If we are accidentally overgrown DNA molecules, from what does our standard evolve?

 

If not, whose God, or what is more important, whose doctrine concerning the nature and character of that God, shall we follow?

Open, honest debate can not be avoided if we are going to be fair to John Q. Public, who may not be a zealot of any kind. Not everyone is a church-goer,  nor are they necessarily agnostics, psychics, or UFO enthusiasts.

 

It cannot be denied that the "pulpit", Christian or otherwise, is being used increasingly to shape political and social agendas.

 

It is no longer viable to keep privately held doctrinal beliefs in a closet, when behavior modification, legislation, and social justice are being discussed openly.

 

It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as what you believe doesn't matter. No one cares if you want to wear yellow robes and I want to count rosary beads.  But is freedom of faith now only allowed as a matter of cultural taste?

 

Death sentences, government involvement in the family, schools etc. - all are driven by beliefs. While the underlying subsets of belief are “taboo” to discuss, we are left with an increasingly nebulous sense of moral values.

 

Example: We will discuss the morality of abortion ad nauseum, and yet not discuss the existence or character of God in context; which are the actual driving forces behind the opposing points of view. Some believe God doesn't like it, others believe God gave us dominion and choice, and still others believe there is no God and we create our own destiny.

 

The Christian Coalition has a strong influence in Washington, but so far the media does not have the expertise or inclination to break the taboo and get into the legitimacy of the specific doctrines behind political agendas.  Nor would they necessarily know where or how to start.

 

Nevertheless, an objective honest look at belief systems as matters of fact - current relevant news - is needed. Here is another example:

 

There has never been a President, or Head of State, that hasn't prayed.

 

Consider the nature and role of Israel, the United States, or the UN in prophetic teachings,  or the role of astrological forecasts, or belief in UFO’s.

 

We should not only be concerned with who the private congressional and Presidential advisors are on such issues behind closed doors, but what they told them. What is their teaching, and does it have a rational basis?

 

If the President called for a private meeting with Billy Graham and asked for his understanding of prophecy, those views are not open for public detailed scrutiny in the secular non-religious arena, since they are held as personal beliefs.

 

But that could be considered  somewhat intellectually dishonest since prophecy and views about the millennium are at the very heart and soul of people’s plans and expectations.

 

There is a major difference between believing that a Messiah will arrive (spaceship or not) and establish a new age of peace, versus believing that Christ will destroy the world on Judgment Day.

 

 It is impossible for an individual’s judgment not to be impacted accordingly.

 

“Kennedy’s Catholicism” is no longer the issue. It is not that simple anymore.

 

As we approach the year 2000, there are many expectations of a New Age to dawn with a New World Order. Eastern Gurus, UFO enthusiasts, Pagans, Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike are eagerly expecting something to occur.

 

However, at this stage people generally throw up their hands and declare the discussion impossible and non-productive.

 

"Nobody can know anything anyway, it's all a matter of faith, believe what you like.”

 

And yet it is precisely that stereotypical argument which is preventing any rational discussion of the motives and potential outcomes associated with such beliefs.

 

The omission of this discussion may very well be doing more harm than good.

 

 

“Give me liberty or give me death!” is a quaint quote from history,  but can it be believed, and acted on, by a balanced citizen in 1997? Only an extremist would talk and act like that today! Pity, isn’t it?

 

We are all impacted by extreme views and behaviors whether we like it or not; as in the case of bombings leading to higher security risks. But blindly following the  "politically correct” middle-of-the-road  may be causing more problems than taking such a view solves.

 

Extremism on the right or left, but what about extreme mediocrity?

 

Many are ready to condemn extreme right wing anti-government activity on the one hand, or the dangers of ultra liberalism on the other, but what about the danger of homogenized thinking? Could we end up with a form of  center-right neo-christian fascism or with mob-ruled moderate moralism?

 

Who is examining from a distance what the synthesis and natural outcome of the apparent battle between left and right to be? Is simply the middle of the road going to be the answer? Or does something else happen with the melting pot of ideas and beliefs?

 

Where is the integrated synthesis leading us to? I’ll say it again. It struck me last week and  I like it (the idea, not the outcome!). Homogenized thinking. Very dangerous.

 

The compromise itself brings with it a new set of parameters, “truths” and outcomes which deserve close analysis. 

 

Today, attempts are made to establish mutually acceptable, politically correct,  moral codes (abortion, smoking) which will "work" for people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

 

Then it is stated that each person is entitled to their own beliefs.

 

But from an objective, scientific point of view it simply hasn't and doesn't work. Those with the strongest views and loudest voices get their way, while others are told not to take action on their beliefs.

 

Believe as you like, but behave as you’re told.

 

Pressure to focus on the basis of morality and law is building. Frustration at not being able to resolve those bottom lines is also building, since discussions are being cut short just before bottom lines are concluded - they’re religious. 

 

Like it or not, believe it or not, people are behaving (and attempting to get others to behave) according to what they believe, and more significantly, according to the underlying assumptions of  those beliefs.

 

Therefore, we can no longer afford to avoid a factual examination of those underlying assumptions.

 

The time has come to widen the platform for discussion of beliefs beyond the controlled environments of church and closed-door club teachings, with more honesty and challenge than “paid programming” affords.

 

The public will be fascinated.  If handled correctly, not only will such broadcast programming gain significant ratings and market share, it will directly benefit audiences by bringing honesty and clarity to a hotbed of confusion.

 

The time has come to break the final "taboo" of journalism.

 

The public not only has the right to know, but the need to know, the real issues behind these issues. Watch this space for further discussion.

 

Copyright 1997 David Lawrence III. All Rights Reserved.

 

There is one final reason why the last taboo should be broken here, now, and in this context. It is inevitable anyway.

 

Mankind is soon going to attempt to resolve, on a collective corporate basis, what for the last two hundred years has been reserved as the right of the individual. The very basis of all morality and law is about to be brought under the spotlight and scrutiny of world opinion, because it will be seen as the next logical and fair thing to do for the sake of the survival of the species.

 

The wall of separation between Church and State is one thing, but the dam that’s holding a flood behind it, is the one that separates religion from the media.

 

Better I than others….Before the dam breaks.