By Ed Vasicek
Emil is more of a sports fan than I, but I enjoyed stopping by a recent basketball gathering to chat with my pal. At halftime, Emil brought up an article he had been saving to discuss about the Boy Scouts of America. The UPI clipping read:
“The Boy Scouts of America is considering an end to its long-standing policy of banning gay scouts and scout leaders, people familiar with discussions said. The policy language under discussion would end the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations the ability to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts, NBC News reported Monday.”
“Well,” I replied, “I am not happy about that. First the military, now the Scouts. It seems like so many people are caving in and giving up on biblical marriage, traditional masculinity and the idea of clear sexual identity based upon biology.”
“Yep, Ed,” Emil commented, “we do seem to be a shrinking number. Especially with a popular president pushing that agenda. On a national level, I think the die is cast.”
“The sad thing, though, is the intolerance some people have for our viewpoint. Never seen such social engineering by the powers that be.”
We snacked on some appetizers while I visited with other friends who were less interested in the game, like myself. During a break in the action, I presented Emil my question.
“Well,” I asked him, “what do you think of tax increases to pay down the deficit?”
“Funny you should ask, old pal,” Emil responded. “Did you know that a hundred years ago today, the 16th Amendment was ratified?”
“I’m pretty bad on my amendments,” I confessed, “That was too early for Prohibition. What was the 16th Amendment?”
“Let me read it to you.” Emil took out a clipping from a bureau.
“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
“Oh that’s right,” I recalled. “The Constitution originally forbade income tax. Why do you think they changed things?”
“Well,” Emil answered, “it is not that Americans were not taxed before this time; what was new was the idea of a tax proportionate to income. But I think it has to do with the rise of socialist sentiment in our country. The changes we see in our outlook today were in the works as early as a hundred years ago. Think about: Teddy Roosevelt and being aware of the environment. FDR and Social Security. Lyndon Johnson and welfare. Most Americans do not and never bought full-blown socialism, but even many of us who are moderately conservative have embraced some socialist programs. We keep moving more in that direction. That translates to more social spending and more tax.”
“So, is it better to raise taxes and increase social programs, or to cut spending?” I pressed.
“A lot of people — myself included — think we need to do both,” Emil replied. “When will we learn that we have to pay for what we get? And if we are not willing to pay for it, we cannot have it.”
The game got going again; the cheers from the living room were deafening.
In deep contemplation, I thought about how America had changed in my lifetime. We had shifted from a population that idealistically aspired to mimic the Cleavers on “Leave It To Beaver,” to a socially fluid society where nothing seems certain; about everything is on the table.
America has become stronger in many ways. We have successfully tackled racism and a number of other injustices. But what scares me most is the rapidity of social engineering based upon ideological agendas. Hollywood gets the ball rolling, forces for change organize, children become indoctrinated, and politicians solidify the changes. My conclusion: Nobody can guess what America will look like 50 years from now, or what rights the average person will retain. To me, that’s a scary thought.
Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at email@example.com.