On the night of Nov. 9, 1938, Nazi sympathizers, in an incident known as Kristallnacht, ransacked Jewish businesses, homes and synagogues in a hateful demonstration toward Jewish Germans. Kristallnacht, translated to mean "crystal night," refers to all of the broken glass that shattered innocent Jewish lives. It is almost impossible to comprehend how any group of people could take such venomous action against fellow human beings.
Evangelicals today remember Kristallnacht by sending a piece of crystal to a Jewish synagogue on Nov. 9.
Last Saturday, a literal madman gunned down 11 American citizens peacefully practicing the religion of their choice in a Pittsburgh synagogue. In the number of fatalities, it is the worst attack against Jewish people on American soil, proving that evil continues to lurk in the abscessed regions of dark minds.
Immediately, the national debate began with vitriolic analysis about which group, what attitudes and which leaders are responsible. The crime committed was unfathomable and horrific. Jewish families' lives have been shattered, just as in the Kristallnacht of 1938. The compendium of the discussion has become personal and invective about issues that divide us.
This is not the critical point. What is critical is to honestly discuss the values that unite us. It is the common dignity of our common culture that must be protected in everyday debate. It is no more the fault of President Trump that a lone, deranged individual committed this unconscionable murder than it is the fault of Bernie Sanders that a lone gunman shot a random Republican member of Congress practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game in June of 2017.
What is producing dry tinder to fuel the fire of hatred is the fact that we have abandoned the discussion about moral absolutes. We have taken the approach in America that there is no absolute right or wrong, only consequences to be calculated as to the result of personal risk. Metaphorically, society is like bowling. The purpose is to throw a bowling ball down a narrow alley to knock down all the pins. The game allows wide latitude on form and style in the discipline of bowling. Bowlers make mistakes and miss the objective target. The bowler then gets a second chance to correct his mistake and bowl a spare. The spare does not earn as high a score as getting it right the first time. But the second chance can put the player back on course to the objective. Seldom are there any third chances. However, gutters provide boundaries and control of the maximum error of an errant ball. Your score is based on how many times you hit the objective mark.
The boundaries of the gutters control the extent of damage of any ball thrown. No bowler invades the adjacent lanes. The rules of the game require respect for the surrounding bowling alley. No bowler would throw a ball directly sideways or behind. Why? Because of respect for the rules and guidelines of the game and the environment in which it is played. The only constructive way to advance in the game is to focus on the pins in front of you.
So, what's the point? A society that abandons absolutes and does not believe in axioms of proper behavior leaves individuals with only common sense for proper comportment of civil activity. Deranged people have very little common sense. They need boundaries, absolutes that are consistently reinforced by society in general.
Throughout its history, the United States has never tolerated dominance of organized crime. Many other countries and cultures of the world have been overrun by warlords or oppressed by drug lords. America in its history has experienced corruption, but it was always measured. Even Al Capone, as vile as he was, had limits set on him for the criminal activity of his organization. The only plausible explanation for this historical character is that America has in its DNA the moral commitment to set and recognize absolutes, and the courage to protect them.
The acrimony of discourse in the American exchange of ideas is not generated by our inability to live together. It is based on the misconception that unity can only be achieved through conformity. At the height of the Soviet Union's reign, Moscow had experienced the course pursued and completed of absolute compliance by all individuals controlled by total government dictates. Because of the suppression of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of self-determination and individuality, the city became a drab, dark, gray scene. There was no color, there were no inviting buildings, there was no joy in the street. Within one year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, color, individuality and happiness exploded.
The experiment of communism proves and concludes that the goal is not unity in conformity. The purpose of life is unity in diversity, says Rick Joyner of Morningstar News.
We struggle as a nation to cope with the senseless tragic acts of deranged individuals. We feel inadequate in our capacity to right the wrongs. We grieve not only for the Jewish families in Pittsburgh, but for the identity of our national culture.
In these times and circumstances, reflect on common absolutes. Pray for common respect.
In this week, before the national elections of the greatest democracy defending liberty that the world has ever known, engage in the national debate civilly on those issues of your compassion. On Nov. 6, vote your convictions. On Nov. 7, accept the compromise of the ballot box. On Nov. 8, commit to defend a common culture of moral absolutes.
On Nov. 9, take a simple step to show love for the dignity of our fellow Americans and the hope of our beliefs.
On Nov. 9, gift a piece of crystal to a Jewish synagogue.
My name is Marc Nuttle, and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?
Marc Nuttle is a lawyer, author, consultant and businessman who's had a varied career. He has represented and advised presidents of the United States, leaders of foreign countries, state officials and corporations. Marc has worked on government policy and has predicted economic trends.
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