Playing the Blame Game
The blame game is not a new phenomenon in the arsenal of human defense mechanisms. It is as old as the first pair that inhabited the planet. Although their story is well-known, in view of what is to follow, a reminder wouldn’t hurt:
Then the Lᴏʀᴅ God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lᴏʀᴅ God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:9–13).
The environment of this biblical account is known as the Fall—the time when innocence died and the sin nature became a fact of life for Adam, Eve, and all their posterity. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and the first link was forged. Thus a premier negative attribute woven into the pattern of fallen humanity is the prolific capacity to prevaricate—a polite term for the ability to lie, deceive, pass the buck, and blame the other guy. And after many millennia of practicing the art of blame deferral, the situation has not improved or become less apt to create serious problems for the innocent.
This fact could be a severe blow to proponents of both secular and theistic evolution and the “every day in every way I’m getting better and better” crowd, if it weren’t for their refusal to admit that in the moral and spiritual spheres, nothing has really evolved. King David said it for all of us: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5).
Biblically, we find evidence of this truth at practically every turn in the road. Historically, we encounter it on every page. So we should not be surprised to experience it in these days of decadence and moral bankruptcy.
Fury From the Left
If you were inclined to think that the American cultural wars ended with the sweeping victory of the president and conservative forces in the November 2004 elections, think again. The vilification of Christian believers continues unabated and with an added measure of venom. The liberal left still compares “fundamentalist” Christians to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and Hitler’s brown-shirted Nazis.
As political analysts dissected the election results, they found that evangelicals went to the polls, as is their right, and voted their convictions. It was not a happy circumstance in the eyes of the far left, self-appointed moral liberators who were infuriated that their rampaging, radical minority agenda to establish a brave, new, godless world was stalled by a majority of Americans. Their response to this unwelcome phenomenon was predictable: play the blame game. Ignore the fact that a majority of Americans want traditional values and point the finger at “bigoted, intolerant,” conservative Christians who oppose social “progress.”
What is lost on these now-bewildered merchants of change is the fact that issues existed beside the broad-based revulsion at their attempts to rewrite the republic’s essential commitment to Judeo-Christian values and standards of conduct. On the moral values question, christians, along with thousands of others, demonstrated their concern that America was being taken down the wrong road. So they decided to act as responsible citizens, go to the polls, and vote in favor of what’s right for the country.
A prominent radio personality, who by no means claims to be a Christian, voiced the feeling many acted on. “It was a simple matter,” he said. “People asked themselves whom they would choose to have as a role model for their lives: Jesus Christ or Michael Moore.” Moore, you will recall, trashed president George W. Bush in his film Fahrenheit 9/11.
For Bible-believing Christians the answer was easy. We had been watching the debilitating factors described in Romans 1 unfold before our eyes, and we didn’t like what we saw. What God calls moral and spiritual disintegration, radical social revolutionaries hail as progress and liberation. Therefore, as Israel’s Old Testament history so aptly demonstrated, national degeneracy was turning the civilized world upside down. On the descent into the pit, right becomes wrong, justice becomes injustice, righteousness becomes unrighteousness, and every conceivable vice is sanctified as desirable. The Lord puts it this way:
Who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting (Rom. 1:25–26, 28).
Christians came down on the side of biblical rationality. For so doing, we will not be forgiven, and the struggle for the nation’s soul will continue. We must remember that for well over a generation, the mainstream centers of secular higher learning, as well as liberal religious institutions, have nurtured students on situation ethics: There are no moral absolutes and no valid biblical mandates; every situation demands a personal evaluation, and individuals can do whatever seems right in their eyes. Those who criticize are labeled self-righteous, intolerant bigots and misfits.
The late Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, among others, foresaw the course of future events decades ago:
Does the church have a future in our generation?…I believe the church is in real danger. It is in for a rough day. We are facing present pressures and a present and future manipulation which will be so overwhelming in the days to come that they will make the battles of the last forty years look like child’s play.1
And so they are.
The Somerville Experience
There are few better examples of playing the blame game than what has taken place recently in a suburb of Boston. Somerville is a community of about 80,000 and bears the distinction of being the first municipality in the United States to consider a resolution to join the cadre attempting to strip Israel of financial investments. The campaign is also designed to boycott companies supplying Israel with equipment deemed militarily usable in its struggle for survival.
What took place in Somerville is an arm of the divestment crusade the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) initiated (much to the chagrin of thousands of its members) when its National Assembly voted to recommend divestment of funds and harsh censuring of both Israel and the Jewish state’s Zionist evangelical supporters.
Although the debacle in Somerville mirrors what the PCUSA and others have done, it has distinguishing features. It was spearheaded by a group calling itself the Somerville Divestment Project (SDP), a soul mate of such anti-Israel organizations as the Palestine Solidarity movement that unsuccessfully lobbied the city of Seattle, Washington, to drop investments in Israel.
After drafting a divestment resolution, the SDP obtained 1,200 signatures on a petition and took it to the city’s 11 aldermen. Eight signed on, and the proposal came close to passing without debate when introduced before the board of Aldermen. Fortunately, red flags began to flutter. The mayor threatened to veto the resolution, and the board had second thoughts, deciding it might not be a bad idea to let the public have a say before passing a resolution recommending divestment.
One alderman later told The Jerusalem Post, “My intentions were just to make a statement about human rights, and unfortunately I hadn’t taken into consideration what kind of division it would cause in the city, and the arguments in the rest of the community that were quite strong.” It would not have taken an Einstein to predict the ensuing uproar.
Under the guise of a human rights declaration, the SDP resolution accuses Israel of virtually every crime possible against humanity. As is the case with such things, almost without exception, no mention is made about Arab and Palestinian atrocities, like suicide bombings, institutionalized hatred of all Jews and everything Jewish, incitement to violence, and determination to destroy the State of Israel.
Which raises the question, one with potentially serious consequences, of how eight of 11 civic leaders in an American city could be so abysmally ignorant of the basic issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that they would sign such an inflammatory, divisive proposal without objective examination. And in so doing, they put the blame for the conflict on the people and leaders of a nation attempting to survive in a sea of Islamic hostility. It goes without saying, a legitimate, democratic state is America’s staunchest ally in the Middle East.
Are most U.S. citizens paying attention to this kind of subversive manipulation? probably not, but you can be certain that radical elements in the Muslim community take such events very seriously. A letter circulated to the Islamic Society of Boston, reported on the Dhimmi Watch Web site (www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch), states in part,
It is in such a perilous hour that we live today, when we have no choice but to stand up against the raging Beast consuming all that is beautiful and holy on this earth….The State of Israel is the primary threat to World Peace today, especially in that it controls American politics. The American people have a duty to break the neck of the State of Israel by cutting off its supply of funding. We must kill the stranglehold that the supporters of Israel have placed upon our throats.
So, in effect, the aldermen of Somerville unwittingly played into the hands of Islamic militants and their naïve—or not so naïve—American fellow travelers whose interests are not in justifiable human rights but in the eventual annihilation of Israel.
If we view as tolerable and benign this capitulation to militant radicals posing as do-gooders, then we need to take a long look at what is taking place in the Netherlands, Germany, and France. For years these countries have turned a blind eye to the enemies within their borders and allowed the malignancy of hatred and terror to fester until it erupted in hate campaigns against Israel and the Jewish people, capped most recently by the vicious murder and mutilation of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh because a film he produced exposing Muslim discrimination and suppression of women reportedly offended the Muslims.
In Germany, the Muslim imams’ malicious diatribes against Germany and its citizens have prompted the president to tell Islamic people to “learn German, fit in, and commit to democratic rules.” He even proposed that Muslim clerics might be forced to preach in German.
So while some on the left may believe it fashionable to endorse the blame game, they are falling into lockstep with forces that mask more sinister intentions; and they are acting against themselves, their fellow countrymen, Israel, and that segment of the muslim population wishing to live in peace.
It’s a game that originated in the Garden of Eden, but it is no less deadly today.
- Francis A. Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the 20th Century (Wheaton, IL: crossway books, 1994), 5.