Today, columnist and pro-family activist, Phyllis Schlafly, posted a column in response to the June 27, 2011 Supreme Court ruling in the Brown vs. Entertainment Merchants Association case. The Court ruled against a California law that would prohibit the $60 billion-a-year video game industry from selling graphic, repulsively violent games to children without their parent’s consent. Other states have attempted to do the same, and now the issue has been elevated to the national level. The Supreme Court’s reason for ruling against the California law? It’s a violation of First Amendment rights, they said. (You can read Schlafly’s full article here, or the entire decision here.)
In regard to the ruling, Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts noted that the court’s decision now allows the industry to sell minors video games that show victims “dismembered, decapitated, disemboweled, set on fire and chopped into little pieces. … Blood gushes, spatters, and pools.”
They also stated that, “There are games in which a player can take on the identity and re-enact the killings carried out by the perpetrators of the murders at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech. … There is a game in which players engage in ‘ethnic cleansing’ and can choose to gun down African-Americans, Latinos, or Jews.”
This is alarming on several fronts – the usurping of parental authority, the moral degradation of our nation’s children, the promulgation and glorification of violence and gore, and the decay of the family as a vital institution. Any one of these factors standing alone would be enough to sound the warning; combined, they’re like a starved cougar ready to pounce and devour us.
Many would argue that this is a call to action, and that we must fight such legislation with everything we’ve got. I agree. But I think that there’s a more immediate, more critical front on which we must first fight – our children.
The cougar is already poised. Changes in legislation takes time and effort, something our children can’t afford. While we’re occupied with information campaigns and political activism – which are absolutely necessary – they’re face to face with the demon, watching it drool at them and listening to it’s growling stomach. We can’t take the chance that it will leap while we’re busy loading our weapons; we have to give kids weapons of their own – the education to become firm, free, priestly personalities.
A firm personality is one who is secure in his identity as a child of God and anchored in God’s love. He can stand strong against adversity and temptation because he is solid in his faith and morals and convinced of God’s wisdom and justice. He is an autonomous and animated personality; he can make enlightened decisions and stick to them.
A free personality is motivated from within, not without. He is not only educated, but also self-educated and faces the world with a heightened sensitivity, self-determination, creativity, mobility, and the ability to shape the world around him. He’s a balanced personality, one who doesn’t adhere to rigid or oppressive forms, and yet resists the pull to drift along and go with the flow. He can think for himself, act accordingly, and take responsibility for his decisions and actions.
A priestly personality lives his life intimately connected to God. He sees God in all things and gives glory to God in all things. His days are a never-ending cycle of Offeratory, Consecration, and Communion: Everything is offered up to God in humility, made holy by his grace, and experienced in unity with the Eternal Father.
Practically speaking, this means first developing our own self-education, trust in Divine Providence, and setting a prime example in how we live, make decisions, work, relate to others, and love God. Then it means developing in our children a Godly independence, genuine self-worth, and a conscience that is motivated internally and based on solid Catholic teaching. It means educating them consistently, deliberately, and lovingly through the day-to-day happenings in the home, in the school, at work, among their friends, and in the world around them and empowering them to educate themselves. We begin by showing them God’s unbounded love for them, expressing our confidence in them, and by helping them make sound choices when they’re small so that they can make sound choices on their own as they move toward adulthood.
Fighting the cougar on the legal front is imperative. But, arming our children with these powerful weapons allows them to defend themselves against the predator. It certainly won’t happen overnight, but each day’s efforts will bring them closer to being able to stare down the cougar and send him fleeing back into the darkness from which he came.