By Tyson Thorne

January 17, 2018
 
 

Following the reading of the classic To Kill a Mocking Bird in class, a middle school in Badger, Wisconsin administrated a test to help students identify just how privileged they are. White, heterosexual males scored highest, revealing the left-leaning politics of the exam, but more important is the impact this could have on pubescent kids. School administrators defended the test stating it was an effort to show who in the class might resemble the characters in the book, and to serve as a warning to white privileged students that they need to feel what the victims of aggression experience in modern culture.

Psychologist Nell Daly put her stamp of approval on the practice saying it would lead to a nuanced conversation in the classroom and help assure that, "We're not going to raise little boys that become producers at large studios that... commit rape... Its teaching children that they need to have compassion... and not abuse that privilege during the rest of their lives." (Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/5/2018).

Did I hear that correctly? Their strategy for assuring a healthy population in the future, one where white men won't oppress women or minorities, is to take children at the most confusing and impressionable stage of life and shame them in front of their peers as "privileged".

Really?

May I offer an alternative? Let us teach students that God created all people, men and women, black, white, brown and yellow, in his image. That means disrespecting anyone is showing disrespect to God. Also, that God loves everyone so much that he sent his only son to die for our sins and restore a right relationship between us and him. How the apostle Paul teaches us "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3.28).

In fact the only distinctions we are permitted to make is who is in Christ and who is outside his fellowship. This distinction isn't made so that one group may oppress the other, for we are instructed to love all people. Instead, we are to make the distinction so we can show more love to those who are not Jesus-followers in order that they too might put their trust in Christ.

I'm no psychologist, but it seems clear to me that raising kids to love and respect God and people has a better chance of producing a healthy population than creating shame and division. In fact, shame is nothing one person is to force upon another. This emotion first stirred in humanity back in the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned and God came to visit. The second edition of God's law, our conscience, brings this about when we are faced with our own sinfulness. So shame is a two-part invention, originating from within from the Law God put inside of us. For another person to try and force this upon us is sinful in its own right. That's right, this school program isn't just a bad idea, its sin.

Shaming another person can happen in a variety of ways. We feel shame when exposed, either rightfully or wrongfully. Adam and Eve's shame was an example of rightful shame, they sinned and they knew they couldn't hide that wrong from God. A criminal whose heart isn't hardened may feel the same when captured by police. A wrogful shaming is insidious, however. When we are victimized we often feel shame. A child being taken advantage of my an adult may produce this emotion, and it is a well documented raction to cased of rape. In this case another person's sin results in the shaming and loss of dignity for the victim. While on a less severe level, this is what the middle schools program does — it victimizes children.

It's a lot worse than that, however. When Jesus came to us in human flesh he started the process of restoring mankind's dignity. Jesus finished the restoration by bearing our sin and shame on the cross. The Holy One took upon himself every sin, every evil thought we've ever had while in human form, and it killed him. Any attempt, therefore, to shame another is an attempt to undermine the cross. That is true evil.

 
 

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