Foiled Again

Yesterday on this program I talked about the problem of AIDS in prison. The Washington, D.C., government thinks the solution is distributing condoms to inmates.   It's the safe sex slogan we've heard so often.   If you were listening yesterday, you might recall I vehemently disagreed with the idea. Giving out condoms condones illegal behavior. In Washington, sodomy is against the law. Handing out condoms says, Go ahead, break the law--and we'll make sure you're safe while you do it.   Now, there's a new twist: Law officials making it safe for people to break the law.   The irony is that condoms don't make homosexual relations safe. One medical journal calls that idea a "dangerous illusion." And what happens when inmates who use condoms still contract AIDS? The officials who promote the dangerous illusion should have to answer for that.   I decided to publicly challenge the D.C. government. I wrote letters to the D.C. City Council and the Washington Post newspaper. Imagine my delight--initially, at least--when the Washington Post published my letter in their Letters to the Editor section. I felt like a lone voice crying in the political wilderness--but at least a lone voice that was getting a hearing.   Now, I've dealt with the press for 30 years--I should've known better than to think the editors at the Post wanted to give a Christian view a fair hearing. What they were really doing was setting me up--let me explain.   A week after my letter appeared, the Post unloaded with both barrels. The first salvo was to print letters attacking my position. An official of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) scornfully denounced my efforts as "proselytization" and accused me of "distracting" from realistic solutions to the AIDS crisis.   The second salvo was an editorial by the Washington Post itself agreeing with my detractors. In effect, putting the newspaper's imprimatur on the idea of condoms in prison. The newspaper had simply used me as a foil against which to make their own case.   The whole episode was enough to discourage any Christian who aspires to have a positive impact on our culture.   And it illustrates the hostility in the news media against Christian convictions. One survey found that only 8 percent of journalists attend church or synagogue weekly. 86 percent seldom or never attend any kind of religious services. Most journalists simply have no natural sympathy for Christian faith or values.   Small wonder that Christians who try to enter the public debate are ignored or attacked.   So why keep trying? Why try to get a Christian voice heard on the issues of the day?   Because it's one of the tasks God calls us to. It's what Jesus means when He says Christians are the light of the world--that they are to cast their beams beyond the Church to the darkness of the world outside.   But speaking out is not just for the sake of outsiders; it's for us, too. I'm reminded of a Jewish legend about a righteous man who stood at the gates of Sodom and shook his fist, calling the citizens to repent. Someone approached him and asked, Why do you bother? You'll never change those people.   The man replied, "I may not change them. But I have to keep calling out, speaking the truth, so they don't change me.   Like that man at the gates of Sodom, I keep speaking out, in spite of the hostility that I often encounter, like that of the Washington Post. And you should, too. Maybe we won't change them--but at least they won't change us.     Now, there's a new twist: Law officials making it safe for people to break the law.


Chuck Colson



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