I engaged in a conversation with a couple at dinner recently. In the course of conversation I learned that the husband was a former school teacher and is self-described as having been a well respected school disciplinarian. Learning this gave me the perfect opening to ask
1) his take on the state of student respect and behavior in the schools today compared to a couple of decades ago, and
2) what he thought the reasons were for the collapse of self-discipline and respect in the schools.
He readily confirmed the answer to my first open ended question: Public schools had become unteachable dens of disrespect. He admitted he was glad to be out of that profession due to that very fact. His answer to my second question took more prodding. His first attempt at an answer: The parents side with their disrespectfully disobedient little Timmy, not the teacher. "But why?", I probed. He seemed stymied. He couldn't quite put his finger on it. After I suggested a reason might be the consequences of an "anything goes" culture, hoping to hear the "no prayer/no God" answer, he revealed he was a deacon in a Catholic Church and spends dozens of hours preparing sermons to help the overworked Priest. A Deacon in a church who is clueless (or worse, knowing but silent) about the reasons for moral decline in our schools? Red lights flashed in my head. "Clueless apostate deacon alert!!! Warning. Warning!" (That was the counter-cultural, judgmental side of my brain kicking in, thank God.) Imagine that. A man who regularly gives sermons who cannot give a spiritually-based reason why kids have reverted to animal behavior in schools over the past 20 years. Clue: It has something to do with God, or rather the absence thereof. But wait! There’s more!
A bit later, the subject of Islam came up (Ok, I probably made some unflattering comment about that demonic ideology.) This perked up clueless' wife's' ears. She jumped to Islam's defense so quick it made my head spin. Clueless II insisted Islam is just another religion, no better, no worse than Catholicism, citing the Crusades, naturally (gee, a matched pair of cluelessness.) Moral equivalency strikes again – and anachronistically in a different millennium. I asked how she came to this conclusion. She gave the same story most other ignorant defenders of Islam give: She knew a nice Muslim. She called him "a young boy." "And", she went on, "Islam is really all about peace." At that, the spaghetti I was eating was nearly snorted out of my nose. I mostly recovered and asked "how old was this 'young boy'". "Seventeen", she offered. I interjected "just old enough to practice taqiyya and kitmam" after which I explained the meaning of these terms as well as the Islamic doctrine of abrogation. I gave a two minute lecture to which she politely nodded and, I am quite sure quickly dismissed due to the total absence of follow-up questions or any further discussion of the topic. These fools don’t really want any more information than what they already gullibly believe. I really do need to learn how to engage clueless people a lot better.
This left me with a stark and disappointing confirmation of my experience with too many church leaders and those whose ignorance of our "tolerate everything/judge nothing" culture that causes them to be incredibly naive.
Is the Catholic Church (and most of Christianity in the US) in trouble? Yes indeed it is - on two fronts: Their leader’s refuse to grasp and address the reasons for the precipitous moral decline in this nation as well as their gross ignorance of and lack of concern about the Islamic threat to our nation and freedoms is an epidemic.
Too many Christian leaders have watered down the basics of Christian doctrine to please and attract too many for the wrong reasons (e.g. for “the music” and entertainment, for “feel good” pandering, for perpetual/repetitious forgiveness for perpetual/repetitious personal moral failings, for its social life or business connections). Many believe that Christ died to enable us to continue sinning without temporal or eternal consequences; that His purpose was to make us rich, happy and perpetually forgiven with little or no responsibility on our end. Consequently many leaders and attendees have convinced themselves that their own “faith” is no better or worse than any other – even Islam. That kind of faith truly is no better than any other product peddled by snake oil salesmen and fascist Islamists. The doctrinal pendulum has swung from pure hell, fire, and brimstone to the other extreme of pure irresponsibility. This has created a moral vacuum that is being filled by whatever militant tripe comes along.
My private, after-the-fact visceral reaction to this dinner conversation was "God. Help Us."