How Did We Transform Into a Society That No Longer Condemns Sin?
By Richard Allen – November 6, 2023
I'm guessing that most of my readers won’t know that I played in a band during the late 1960’s. My 15 minutes of fame happened on July 26, 1970 at Summerfest on Milwaukee’s Lakefront. Summerfest is now the premiere summer event in southern Wisconsin, but in 1970 Summerfest, while quite large, was in its infancy. Since my band was a fairly popular local band, we were booked as the opening act before a nationally recognized group: “Sly And The Family Stone.” Since we’ve just passed the 50th Anniversary of that night, Milwaukee’s main newspaper wrote a colorful piece on that eventful evening in 2020. What made that night in 1970 so memorable was that Sly seemed to be freaking out on some substance, coupled with his paranoia from the presence of a large Milwaukee crowd. His group ended up starting an hour late – much to the frustration of the unruly crowd, with my band playing an extended set for much of that time. There were over 125,000 people at the Summerfest grounds to hear Sly, one of the largest crowds ever to witness a concert at Summerfest.
Many Baby Boomers will remember the music which came out of that psychedelic post-Woodstock era. One song that really stuck with me through all these years, was a hit by Sly And The Family Stone entitled: "Everyday People." On the surface, the song talks about equality and not judging one another. In fact, the song’s common refrain speaks to this: "We got to live together." A few years after becoming a Christian, I listened more carefully to Sly’s lyrics, and realized there was a subtle but radical idea being promoted. In the old days, people were often judged just by their natural characteristics: Race, Gender, Ethnicity, and Religion. That certainly needed to be corrected to promote a civil and just society. But there were things we were doing right. In those days people were judged by their actions, and not merely by their words, or with which group they identified. Our world was changing, and not all the changes were for the better. As I listened again to “Everyday People,” at first it appeared that Sly was saying: "Don't judge one another for innate characteristics that we can't change," that is, our size, color, gender or race and ethnicity. But as I listened again with a more discerning ear, I realized that Sly was also saying something entirely different:
“There is a blue one who can't accept the green one for living with a fat one tryin' to be a skinny one. Different strokes for different folks. And so on and so on and scooby-dooby-dooby. We got to live together. I am no better and neither are you. We're all the same, whatever we do. You love me, you hate me you know me and then. You can't figure out the bag I'm in. I am everyday people.”
Being totally honest, I will admit there was some good that came out of the Radical 1960’s and 1970’s. It was an Age of Rebellion against an old order that had its own problems. Racism, a byproduct of the Democrat Party’s fight to preserve Slavery in the South, had migrated North. People were preaching “Separate but equal,” itself a product of the rancorous political struggles and compromises of the Post War 1950’s. It was time for a change as Sly sang: “We got to live together.” The changes didn’t stop there. Somewhere along the way, “Different Strokes for Different Folks” made all behavior Morally Equivalent! Listen again to Sly’s lyrics: “I am no better and neither are you. We’re all the same whatever we do.” We would expect him to sing “I am no better and neither are you. We are the same whoever we are.” Proclaiming human equality and dignity based on “whoever we are” relates to our innate characteristics. This is not only just, but legally mandated by our Declaration of Independence. But saying that “we are the same whatever we do,” says that all behavior is equal and acceptable. Let me say from the start: Nothing could be further from the truth!
Along with “Multiculturalism” – which taught that all cultures and values are morally equivalent, “Values Clarification,” became the big push by Marxist-Socialist forces in the 1970’s. Their aim was to change the curriculum in schools across the United States. And they’ve been more successful than it was ever thought possible. Sly’s words are accepted as true today: “We are the same, whatever we do.” There is no right, no wrong, just “different strokes for different folks.” Ironic, but the only moral absolute for people today is “there are no Moral Absolutes!” The bitter fruit of the poisonous tree of “Moral Relativism” is now being fully felt across this once great land. In just one generation we went from a presidential candidate (Joe Biden) dropping out of the presidential race in 1987 for plagiarizing campaign speeches, effectively lying that another man’s words were his own, to President Clinton being marveled at for lying so effectively in covering up his affair with a young intern, by sycophants in the press. We went from a president (Nixon) resigning for covering up a bungled break-in at the Democrat Headquarters in the Watergate hotel to a president (Obama) using the DOJ, FBI, CIA and the NSA to Spy, Lie, Cheat and ultimately Steal a National Election! Sadly, our Millennials, Gen-Xs and Gen-Zs are more worried they might be a different gender psychologically, than their physical body displays, or fretting over the Weather (Man-Made Climate Change). They’d all say: “We are the same, whatever we do!”
What is really crazy, is that this era of “Moral Relativism” is much more concerned over Style than Substance. Just look at the actual records of behavior and actions between the two presidential candidates in 2016: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. By all accounts, Hillary is lawyerly, smooth and a skilled liar – no doubt from many years of practice. There are few people who can look straight into the camera and totally fabricate a story or defer blame, like Hillary. But if you asked the average young college-age voter, they would spout off what a wonderful person she is, former Senator and Secretary of State – almost a co-president with her husband, Slick Willie. But at the same time, Hillary has been involved in numerous shakedowns, corrupt investments, false billing at the Rose law firm, temper tantrums witnessed by aides and secret service alike. She’s not a nice person. To add to her lengthy list of public and private malfeasance, she engineered the whole Russia-Collusion Hoax, having used campaign cash to attempt the coup of a sitting president (Trump) to whom she lost. All style, but no substance. We’ve effectively divorced Behavior from Character!
We live in strange times. Being polished on camera and smooth-talking is hailed as being a great leader and statesman – even when the politicians’ actions (what they do) are fraud, graft, deceit and malice at every turn. Many Americans can’t tell the difference between a scripted outward showman crafted by the media and being a principled person who posesses a high moral character. To make it even worse, for at least 50% of the people, pointing out the actual behavior of corrupt “swamp-dwellers” in our political arena barely raises an eyebrow. They’ll tell you: “They’re all doing it,” or “It’s no big deal, this is just the way privileged people behave and we have to put up with a few peccadillos because of their great oratory, statesmanship and contribution to American Society.”
I do have some positive trends to report: “There are also many Americans who are starting to see through the “Moral Relativism.” Donald Trump’s popularity is due partially because he champions the cause of the little guy who is tired of being defrauded by the Political Elites who act like “kings and queens” and are entitled to do whatever they want! These Elites think we should feel privileged they are using their vast knowledge and station in life to govern us little people. We can’t really care for ourselves without their royal wisdom. So, is it any wonder that our current president and his crack-head son have sold American policy and foreign aid to foreign governments, all to line their pockets with cash? Or that their priorities are ’gender reassignment surgery,’ or ‘vaccinating the whole world for another ‘common cold virus’ or even ‘trying to control the weather?’ Every other day they are parading around proclaiming “the sky is falling” over these diversions while they start wars and welcome an invading army at our southern border? No Sly, “We aren’t the same whatever we do!” Again, the real marvel is how far we’ve drifted over the past 30 years since Bill Clinton normalized sin and made it acceptable, even to be applauded! As long as these reprobates “put on a good act” the public is completely convinced: “We are the same whatever we do.”
But the God of Heaven sees our sin differently. He does not “excuse the guilty or exonerate the wicked” – except by His Grace through Jesus Christ! And those so-called Christians who imagine that God will gloss over their sin out of “His great love,” don’t realize that God’s love is a “Holy Love.” A Love so strong that He sent His Son to endure the “wages of our sin,” even death on a cross, “despising the shame” in order to procure salvation for His Church. We are saved by “Grace Alone,” and not by deeds of righteousnessthat we have done. But as Ephesians 2:10 further states:
“We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do“ (Ephesians 2:10).
Make no mistake, God will make a difference between men and women based on our behavior. Here’s what Paul, the Apostle, told the Church in Rome:
“But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:5-11).
And, in the last book of the Bible, John, the writer of Revelation says:
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” (Revelation 22:12).
Soli Deo Gloria!