TEI Forum: The Gnashing of Teeth Among 1,000 High School Students

John C. Rankin

In 1993, I gave the keynote address to some 1,000 students (including faculty) at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut. The occasion was “Clergy Awareness Day,” and there were 19 such religious leaders there in ecclectic diversity.

My subject was religious liberty, but the two questions from the floor at the end of my address both dealt with abortion. In response to one of them, I diagnosed the Playboy mentality of human abortion; namely, that if a woman gets pregnant by a chauvinist, he sends her off to the abortion center to get “fixed,” that is, aborted, to be returned to him like a broken toy that has been repaired, and thus, a toy which can be played with again.

When I said this, so many of the boys in the crowd groaned that the whole auditorium reverberated with a “gnashing of teeth,” and as many of their girlfriends similarly stared them down and questioned them as well.

Because of the pervasiveness of sexual promiscuity and the male chauvinism that undergirds it, many political leaders are men who know they have “fooled around.” Thus, they have no moral mettle to resist the demands of political feminists. The abolition of male chauvinism, repentance of it where any of us have been guilty, and the honoring of marriage is key to reversing the reversal. The only way we are going to win the legal protection of the unborn is by winning the argument in the public diet.

Because of such a visceral and disruptive response to my words, the principal cut the assembly short at that point. Afterward, over lunch, this Jewish principal was sitting next to the invited rabbi and myself. The rabbi casually mentioned to him to his fellow Jew, “I am amazed that so few people in my congregation know the meaning of shalom. They think it only means ‘peace,’ and is merely a form of greeting.”

The principal appeared caught off guard, so I interjected: “Shalom means integrity and wholeness, of which peace is a cognate.” The rabbi turned to me in amazement and quipped, “How is it that a goy (a Gentile) knows what shalom means when my Jewish congregants do not!”

And subsequently I addressed a Mars Hill Forum with this rabbi, with the topic: “Jewish and Christian Dialogue: The Binding Of Isaac — Issues Of Human Sacrifice And Biblical Interpretation.” We truly had a delightful conversation.

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