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Editorial: America has become Vanity Fair

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Dr. Gerald HarrisPoor decisions have negative consequences. In 1962 when the United States Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to open the school day with vocal, voluntary prayers it set in motion a series of decisions that have begun to have a devastating impact upon life in America.

Subsequent to that Engel v. Vitale decision the SCOTUS dismantled Bible reading in the public schools, ruled against students praying audibly over their meal in a school cafeteria, legalized abortion on demand, banned the posting of the Ten Commandments, ruled that creationism should not be taught in the public school systems, and on June 26 legalized same-sex marriage.

In the brief time period since that landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision last month it appears that the very fabric of the nation is unraveling at warp speed.

Once again America has been brought into a state of mourning over what appears to be a terrorist attack. This week evidence surfaced that America and her citizens are at risk as four Marines were killed and three other people were injured in a shooting in Chattanooga. The shooter who died in the incident has been identified as 24-year-old Muhamed Youssef Abdulazeez, who was born in Kuwait. Officials are suspicious that Abdulazeez may have been inspired to go on the shooting rampage by ISIS or other terrorist groups.

These random shootings are becoming all too commonplace and sometimes I am beginning to feel like I am living in enemy territory. Of course, from a spiritual perspective I suppose I am.

We have just learned that Planned Parenthood has apparently been selling body parts of unborn babies. This act of barbarity is the moral equivalent of ISIS beheading Christians in merciless cruelty on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The truth is that if life in the womb is of no value to a society, then no one should be surprised when that society goes rogue. Amazingly, there are people who dare to publicly defend this senseless atrocity. This nation has lost its moral conscientiousness.

Furthermore, the current administration has negotiated a deal with Iran that suggests that someone in authority is sleeping with the enemy. It is unconscionable that we would dole out $150 billion to the country that is the stronghold of the ISIS regime without freeing the four American hostages or limiting their ability to develop nuclear power. This decision is akin to giving a maniac a blowtorch in a dynamite factory.

Now, we also have a prejudicial media fostering contempt for law enforcement officers in this country. While they are sworn to protect and serve, and while they often stand in harm's way to protect us, they are disrespected not just by criminals but also by average citizens because of negative publicity. Police officers are under constant verbal attacks and their authority to enforce any violations is constantly being challenged and second-guessed. Is this not how anarchy begins?

Finally, ESPN has given Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Caitlyn, formerly Bruce Jenner, the winner of the decathlon at the Summer Olympics in Montreal, came out publicly as a transgendered person with a cover page story in Vanity Fair’s July edition. Buzz Bissinger, the writer of the Jenner story, stated, “ was a symbol of masculinity as interwoven into American culture as the Marlboro Man.” He made it onto the Wheaties box as a symbol of athletic triumph.

Now, he declares that he is a woman.

I think it is appropriate that Vanity Fair introduced the world to Caitlyn Jenner, because John Bunyan, who wrote the world’s greatest allegory, speaks of Vanity Fair in that renowned allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress.

Bunyan speaks of two pilgrims, Faithful and Christian, walking to the Celestial City and by necessity having to walk through Vanity Fair to get to their eternal destination. Bunyan writes: “As the pilgrims made their way to the City they came to the town of Vanity, where they contrived to set up a fair, a fair wherein should be sold of all sorts of vanity, and that it should last all the year long.

“Therefore at this fair are all such merchandise sold: as houses, lands, trades, places, honours, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms; lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts – as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not.

“And moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be deceivers, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues and that of every kind.

“Here are to be seen, too – and that for nothing – thefts, murders, adulteries, false-swearers, and that of a blood red colour.”

Christian and Faithful infuriate the merchandisers by turning up their noses at the wares offered them, saying that they would buy nothing but the Truth. Their presence and their attitude cause a hubbub in the town, which leads the authorities to jail them for disturbing the peace.

America has become Vanity Fair and those who want nothing but the truth are considered extremists and intolerant.

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