Why is it those institutions who exist solely to champion and promote a societal standard, somehow believe it means that it doesn’t apply to them? It reminds me of the ‘Cheers’ episode when, after Carla learned her son was going to be a priest, she immediately embarked upon taking advantage of what she called, a “get out of hell free card.”
Of course, when her son changed his mind, she suddenly tried to make amends for the all the havoc she’d unceremoniously wreaked.
Though this dynamic does seem to be a basic fact of human nature, I want to be clear that the stone I’m about to cast isn’t nearly aimed at every glass house. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of available targets either.
The best examples of this paradoxical phenomenon are the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Catholic Church, the Geneva, Illinois, Police, the National Republican Party, social justice warriors, and my all-time favorite, the eminently sanctimonious Wheaton College!
They’re the institution that ardently believes the rest of us should blindly adhere to their version of “Christianity” while they tried to protect their ranked football team from a hazing scandal resulting in multiple felony charges; they were ranked the country’s least tolerant university towards gays and lesbians; and they “fired” a black professor who donned a hijab in solidarity with Muslims because “they are people of the book.”
Put much more simply, that Wheaton College administration is just another fun-loving bunch of pseudo-Christian hypocrites.
And since they generally ascribe to a Pharisee at the Temple kinda theology, Wheaton is back in the news again! This time, four students are suing the City of Chicago for banning their proselytizing practices in Millennium Park, particularly in the area surrounding the ‘Cloud Gate,’ more colloquially known as ‘The Bean.’
Clearly comprehending the inevitable chaos that would ensue if the park became an unchecked forum for all manner of evangelists, political zealots, and anyone with beef, a Chicago ordinance prohibits any kind of solicitation in the park.
But as is par for the course in ‘The City that Rarely Works,’ the enforcement of that edict has ranged from capricious, to downright illegal. At one point, our quartet was moved to another area of the park, only to be told they couldn’t “preach” there, either. Then a couple of security supervisors told them the adjacent sidewalk was also out of bounds, which actually is a First Amendment violation.
The lawsuit is being argued as we speak, and that kind of statutory fumbling certainly ain’t gonna help the Second City’s cause.
Nonetheless, I fervently believe Chicago will prevail on the grounds that we limit speech, and particularly religious speech, all the time. Sikhs can’t bring their daggers onto airplanes. Muslims can’t wear face coverings in driver’s license photos, public school teachers can’t lead a morning prayer, the government cannot install a religious symbol on public ground, and so forth and so on.
Furthermore, what Wheaton College chooses to fail to understand is, “religious freedom” also means freedom from religion. I have an absolute right to stare into the Cloud Gate free from being harassed by a shouting 20-something zealot who has no clue about what life or theology really means. More simply put, your right to foist your religious beliefs on me ends at the tip of my nose, and at the lobe of my ear.
If those students wanted to simply stand and offer literature to people, go for it! But no! What fun would it be if you aren’t allowed to self-righteously bash non-believers over the head with a set of tenets that don’t apply to them?
And if Wheaton College is so sincere about this evangelical effort, why not send students to preach on O’Hare flights, during Blackhawks games, and at the next showing of ‘Harriet?’ Free speech is free speech, right?
But they don’t send them those places because it wouldn’t end well for them on any number of levels – especially at the Madhouse on Madison. I’m guessing some fans would come up with a rather new and innovative application for a hockey puck.
In the end, and at it’s most basic level, it’s called having some consideration for your fellow human beings.
Though Wheaton College is always one of the worst, they’re not nearly the only ones who engage in this kind of blatant bullying. There’s a regular sport in my neighborhood by which the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses insist on ignoring our rather detailed no soliciting sign.
And when I point to the plaque and ask them to leave, they instantly start acting like a four-year-old who didn’t get his cookie. That’s when I pull the cell phone out of my back pocket, dial 911 right in front of them, and then the police come out and tell them they’re done in Geneva for the day.
With the exception of my immediate family, friends, and clients (and sometimes I even wonder about them), access to my presence is a privilege and not a right! And for self-professed “Christians” to believe they’re entitled to it shows they don’t even begin to understand what Jesus was all about.
But that’s not nearly the worst of this fencepost-over-the-head proselytizing. That would be the vast arrogance borne of the sin of pride, and the last time I looked, “pride” was one of the Seven Lethal Shortcomings
Please consider the hubris it must take for someone who doesn’t even know you to assume their religion is somehow superior to yours! I don’t need to be saved. If I need your help finding my way, I’ll be the first one to ask. And you have absolutely no right to interrupt my day in a park or at my front door. If you want to leave something at my door, or perhaps even have a theological conversation (and you’re willing to listen), I might just be up for it, but that’s about it.
But if you don’t begin to understand what being a Christian means, you can’t explain why you’re “open air preaching” other than an adult told you to, and you have no appreciation for me other than that of a deer in a hunter’s scope, not only are you not gonna get very far, but if you can’t figure that out on your own, you should be prohibited from doing so.
Because if Chicago provided that kind of green light, Millennium Park would be overrun with overzealous advocates to the point where it’s entire recreational purpose would be utterly defeated. So, I’m certainly rooting for them on this one.
And just out of curiosity, whatever happened to “They’ll know we are Christians by our love?”