- Sunday, March 17, 2024

There is a concerted effort to divide our country, and the people responsible know that if they can get us to focus on ourselves, our grievances and our victimhood, the very fabric of our nation can be torn apart thread by thread. As Solomon said, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken,” but a cord of one is defenseless. In other words, divide and conquer. 

The transparent “us against them” agenda of the diversity, equity and inclusion movement is but one example. This worldview champions segregation rather than integration. It seeks to divide us by race, gender, economic status, nationality, height, weight, educational level, religion, age, and whatever else can balkanize us into competing groups with irreconcilable demands.

And it’s working. The proof is the stuff of the daily news: constant cries of “That’s mine” and “You hurt my feelings.” Adults unashamed of throwing juvenile tantrums, all while seemingly oblivious to the fact they’re being played like a banjo by those plucking the strings in Washington, Hollywood, and faculty lounges across the nation.

DEI is self-centered by definition. It divides rather than unifies. It is grounded in the premise of “you against me” and “us against them.” At its core, it is childish.

Children are, by nature, individualistic and insular. They don’t care about much other than themselves. They want what they want. Other people and their needs may never cross their minds.

Adults, on the other hand, have hopefully matured enough to understand that life isn’t just about them. They see the wisdom of promoting unity rather than division, integration rather than segregation, us and ours rather than me and mine. 

Adults care more about a common cause of righteousness than the divisive demands of their personal rights. 

Adults see the value of hundreds of hands working together rather than one person’s hands clapping in midair. What would a symphony be if only one person were playing a trombone and there were no other musicians or instruments? Adults see that the entire orchestra makes the music. Adults understand that inspiration comes from outside, not inside. You don’t inspire yourself; something bigger and better and beyond you is always the source of your inspiration. 

When we reverse the order of first and second things, we get neither first nor second. Only by dying to self — that is, setting aside childish individualism — will any human being ever find his true identity. 

Adult identity isn’t found in race or gender, personal grievances, or narcissistic infatuations. As the Apostle Paul tells us, “We are neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free.” We are human beings, and selfless unity rather than self-centered demands is the first thing. 

In the earliest days of the church, growth was explosive. Why? St. Luke wrote, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.”

The assembly included men and women, the original apostles and new converts. All these people were from various socioeconomic backgrounds, nationalities, races and ethnic origins. There was every potential for them to focus on their differences and what divided them. They could have started talking about diversity and multiculturalism. They could have started lecturing each other about race, oppression and intersectionality. They could have focused on how one group was privileged at the expense of another.

But we hear none of that. Why not? 

The answer is simple. The first church understood the first thing. The body was more important than individual believers. Christ was more important than their complaints. Unity was more important than diversity. They sold what they had and gave it to others, not because they were socialists but because of their savior. They didn’t give up their wealth because they thought everyone deserved their fair share. They gave all they had because they knew that no one, themselves included, deserved anything. The bottom line is they understood it wasn’t about them. They acted like adults, not children. 

We are doing our nation great harm by enabling people to miss these first things by fixating on the second. Richard Neuhaus warned that such ontological dyslexia, i.e., reversal of priorities, only brings “profound bigotry … intolerance and the illiberality of liberalism.”

Our perpetual diet of individualism and diversity rather than sacrifice and unity is a carcinogen on our culture’s soul. When we have taught an entire generation to believe that satiating their desires is all that matters, why are we surprised to see a self-centered citizenry frozen in a perpetual state of childishness? 

Alphabet soup may be an appealing lunch to a 5-year-old, but an adult knows a good helping of selfless unity is far better than the salty mess of DEI, LGBTQ, BLM and CRT that is destroying the arteries of America’s heart. 

Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host.

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