Thou Shall Not Judge-true Or False? by James Merritt

THOU SHALT NOT JUDGE—TRUE OR FALSE?
JAMES MERRITT
MATTHEW 7:1-6

INTRODUCTION

1. ALAN WOLFE HAS RECENTLY WRITTEN A NEW BOOK
ENTITLED “ONE NATION AFTER ALL.” BASED ON INTERVIEWS
WITH TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE IN MASSACHUSETTS, OKLAHOMA,
GEORGIA, AND CALIFORNIA, MR. WOLFE FOUND A “NEW”
MIDDLE CLASS THAT IS TOLERANT, NON-JUDGMENTAL, AND
RELUCTANT TO TELL ANYONE ELSE HIS OR HER BEHAVIOR IS
RIGHT OR WRONG.

2. HE SAYS IN THAT BOOK, “I SEE THIS AS A PLACE WHERE
THE VALUES OF THE 1960’S AND THE VALUES OF CORPORATE
AMERICA HAVE COME TOGETHER,. . .THE '60’S CULTURE IS
EXTREMELY RELATIVISTIC AND DOESN’T MAKE JUDGMENTS, SO
IS CORPORATE CULTURE.”

3. HE THEN GOES ON TO SAY THAT MIDDLE CLASS AMERICANS
HAVE AN ALMOST PATHOLOGICAL FEAR FOR APPEARING
JUDGMENTAL, SO THEY HAVE ADDED AN 11TH COMMANDMENT:
“THOU SHALT NOT JUDGE.”1

4. JONATHAN ALTER, A WRITER FOR NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE,
ECHOES WOLFE’S FINDING. SPEAKING IN MARCH OF 1998, HE
SAID:

THIS WHOLE EPISODE MAY EVENTUALLY TEACH US MORE
ABOUT THE PUBLIC’S CHARACTER THAN CLINTON’S. WE LIVE
IN THE PROVINCE OF PAPA-DON’T-PREACH, WHERE IT IS FINE
TO BE INTOLERANT OF TRIVIAL SINS LIKE SMOKING IN
PUBLIC, BUT AWKWARD TO OPENLY PASS JUDGMENT ON SOMEONE
ELSE’S SEX LIFE. WHEN IT COMES TO THE BEDROOM, IT’S
LIVE AND LET LIVE. SEXUAL MORAL CODES ARE ENFORCED AS
A FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT ON AFTERNOON TALK SHOWS, WHERE
BIGAMISTS ARE BOOED. BUT THE ONLY TRUE WAY TO BE
OSTRACIZED BY SOCIETY TODAY IS TO BE TOO CLOSED
MINDED. THE INTOLERANT AREN’T TOLERATED.
THE NOUN “JUDGMENT” IS OLD, HONOR-ABLE, AND
POSITIVE; THE ADJECTIVE, BY CONTRAST, IS NEW, HARSH,
AND PEJORATIVE: “OH, DON’T BE JUDGMENTAL!”. . .EVEN WITH A
RELIGIOUS REVIVAL UNDERWAY, AND “FAMILY VALUES” A BY-
PARTISAN ISSUE, WE STILL FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE PASSING
JUDGMENT ON ILLEGITIMACY, ADULTERY, AND PROMISCUITY.2

5. FINALLY, WILLIAM BENNETT, IN HIS BRILLIANT BOOK,
THE DEATH OF OUTRAGE, WEIGHS IN WITH HIS OBSE ...


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