Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The perils of protesting

One of the blessings of our republic is our freedom to demonstrate in protest when we disagree with a given governmental direction or decision. Right now such demonstrations are taking place around the world in nations like Libya, but they're also taking place in the city of my college alma mater, Madison, Wisconsin. I don't know enough about public employee collective bargaining laws to comment intelligently on the protests in Madison. The protests may be legitimate.

At the same time, being a university town, Madison lends itself to protests. As a student there I'll never forget one Saturday being surrounded by a mass of conservative humanity as we swelled State Street and made our way to the state Capitol building where we demonstrated against Roe vs. Wade. It was heady stuff being a part of a 'cause' complete with cheers, songs and signs. There is a place for peaceful protest, and I'm glad of it. At the same time, as writer Paul Tripp makes clear in the following quote, protests often imperil a clear view of God, self and others.

"Did you ever wonder why protests are so attractive to a human being? When I participate in a protest over some issue, I am able to say that this particular problem somehow exists outside of me. And since I am not the problem here, I get to point the finger at you, publicly exposing your wrongs that are affecting me and others. What makes protesting so exhilarating and intoxicating is being righteous. For once I get to say, 'I am innocent here, and frankly outraged at the wrong that you are doing!' If you invited people to two events, one to protest something and the other to confess some [sin], which gathering do you think would draw the bigger crowd?"

- Paul Tripp, A Quest for More, p. 156

1 comment:

Eric Hesse said...

Thanks Andy. I may use this quote from Tripp on Sunday.