Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some Musings about Fear Mongering

The first song I remember hearing come out of a record player is "Just A Little Talk With Jesus."  In fact, I think it was this Tennessee Ernie Ford version.  My parents probably owned a version of the song on a 78, a 45, a 33 1/3 LP, a cassette, and a CD.  Some of you may have to ask your grandparents or great-grandparents what the numbers mean.

That song combined with one of the first Bible verses I remember memorizing for Sunday School--For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)--allowed me to understand that faith involves overcoming fear.

After the past few years, it's easy to see why people are afraid.  People in Yankton and throughout the United States lost homes and jobs.  During this opt out campaign, people have openly admitted that they fear not being able to buy food and pay the increased taxes because they are on a fixed income.  Others admit that they are afraid that current students won't have the same opportunities as previous Yankton graduates.  As teachers have lost jobs and programs have been cut, fears inside the school system have increased as well.

At this point, it does little good to try to place blame.  I don't believe that the Yankton School Board intended to frighten people.  Deep down I believe that most opt out opponents don't mean to unnecessarily frighten people either.

That's why hiring someone who sold Y2K survival kits is so troubling.  See here, here, and here.  Making money from fear should be left to Stephen King or Sam Raimi.  Of course, Y2K didn't happen.  That's why it's even more alarming that the same person would try to continue to hype the non-event by reminding people about it in 2008 when a Russian political analyst predicted the dissolution of the United States.

It's beyond troubling that this person drums up fear to advance his version of Christianity.   I was always taught that Christ was both perfect and the epitome of love.  I had to memorize this verse for Sunday School too: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (2 Timothy 4:18).

No one is perfect, so we will never totally eliminate fear.  Still the opt out debate will be much better if everyone tries to appeal to "sound minds" and not frighten people into voting only "the interests of their own pocket book."

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