My Musings

We Must Discriminate!

We Must Discriminate!

A shocking magazine cover on display in a public bookstore in Minnesota a few years ago featured a man with both arms raised and the middle finger of both hands raised higher. I approached the information desk and asked the manager, “Do you intend to keep this crass cover on public display?”

A clerk trying to impress his manager proudly replied, “Yes, we don’t discriminate! We have gay magazines, sex magazines and so on. If we took this one down, we would have to take them all down.”

His moral highway had no red or yellow lights.

I responded, “No you don’t. Your store can put up or take down any magazines you want.”

His face went blank. He was surprised to hear me affirm his moral freedom.

I continued, “You make decisions, don’t you? I honor your store’s freedom to put up or take down what you want. But if you didn’t discriminate, there would be no limit to the size of your magazine rack. I just want you to admit that you are freely deciding what to display or not, when and how. Everybody discriminates.”

The clerk was silent. He claimed to be obligated by some noble invisible standard of consistency that would force him to take down everything objectionable if he ever took down any one thing objectionable. It was a secular sort of legalism of which he was proud. He justified things raunchy, hateful, sadistic, evil and snide with the self-satisfying notion that it is noble not to discriminate.

The failure to discriminate is often nothing more than a refusal to think. Okay, maybe it’s more. It’s also a refusal to care. This delusion is what lies behind much of the nonsensical and angry art and entertainment that is so popular today. It also lurks behind the rise in moral despair and chaos in America which is crippling our education system, hurting our economy and tearing down the family.

When used as a tool of racial prejudice or a morally unjust purpose, discrimination is wrong and inexcusable. But if a driver cannot discriminate between red, yellow and green on the highway, he’s a menace. If a batter cannot discriminate between curves and fast balls, he will strike out. Basketball players must discriminate between their team and their opponents. If a husband will not discriminate in favor of his wife over a floozy, he will soon crash. If a culture cannot define marriage in distinct moral terms that respect children’s need for a mom and a dad in the home, it will dissolve into sexual chaos. Discrimination also helps in choosing a healthy spouse, church and career. You need it to decorate your home well or to create displays at bookstores. Most of all, discrimination is essential for sorting out right from wrong. Refuse to discriminate morally and you will soon become a useful public tool for blatant forces of evil, even beyond bookstores.


About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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