Tuesday, July 5, 2005

MH - Into the Hands of the Wicked I Will Deliver Thee

It's no secret that bloggers aren't always the most popular people in the world. That's because a lot of the time they're saying things that some people don't want you to hear.

The Narrow has this interesting story of a former manager for Allstate who just might have been fired because he blogged comments that didn't agree with company policy:
A former manager with Allstate has sued the insurance giant, alleging the company, which financially supports homosexual advocacy groups, fired him solely because he wrote a column posted on several websites that was critical of same-sex marriage and espoused his Christian beliefs.
There's only one word for this: outrageous. It's obvious those "good hands" are doing things to you that we can't mention in polite company.

Now, I'm not defending everything that goes on in the blogosphere. Truth be told, there are a lot of obnoxious bloggers out there. I've run into a few of them myself, and no doubt some of you out there feel the same about me. Like so many other things in life, blogging carries with it certain responsibilities, like truth and accuracy. If you're slanderous enough or reckless enough to put things out there that don't tell the entire story, that needlessly hurt other people, or that are downright falsehoods, then you pretty much deserve whatever comes to you. If you divulge corporate secrets, leak confidential material (are you listening, Mark Felt?), or violate the law, then the company should fire you.

But there's something else at work out there, something that all bloggers should be able to agree on regardless of political, religious or cultural affiliation. I'd be just as outraged if I'd heard that someone had been fired for, on their own time and at their own blog, writing a piece supporting Michael Schiavo's right to kill his wife.

It's not enough that Corporate America thinks they own your life at work. They're now trying to extend that reach to your personal time. Recall a while back I wrote on the increasing trend for companies to fire employees who smoke, even if they're smoking on their own time, in their own home. They cite rising healthcare costs, of course, but I wonder if there isn't something else at work here.

This is all about control - about the company's attempt to control you, your life, your ability to speak freely. Now, why should the company be so concerned about this? I'm certainly open to suggestions, but there's only one thing that comes to mind: fear.

FDR told us we had nothing to fear but fear itself. (No surprise if big business didn't heed that advice; they never did care for FDR.) John Paul II reminded us to be not afraid. (Of course they wouldn't listen to him, either; a moral scold is bad for business, after all.) Nevertheless, we've heard it from both sides - fear is an alien quality that should appear sparingly in our lives.

Most of the time what we think of as fear - a healthy fear of the Lord, for example - is really respect. To be afraid of falling into a basin filled with man-eating sharks is a good thing - it says, among other things, that you have a strong respect for the shark's ability to use his jaws to rip your flesh clean off your bones.

What we see too often today, however, is the use of fear as a substitute for respect, and it's surprising how often you see these two words go hand-in-hand. I believe it was in Robert Graves' magnificant I, Claudius that the downfall of the corrupt Tiberius was attributed to such a change of heart. Where Tiberius once believed that if he couldn't be loved, he could at least be respected, he came to believe that if he couldn't be respected, he could at least be feared. It was precisely because of his refusal to respect his subjects that he had to resort to fear as a means of ruling over them.

Likewise, Corporate America. I've written at great length about the lack of respect that the individual often receives in Corporate America, so I'm not going to repeat myself (if you haven't already, read the archives for a taste of what I'm talking about).

However, I am going to add this dimension to our current discussion: one of the truly great fears in society today is fear of the truth.

Tyrants and despots have always feared the truth, and for good reason. After all, Our Lord told us that the truth would set us free, and that's the last thing a tyrant wants. The tyrant wants complete, absolute control over our lives, and anything which interferes with that control - the truth - is to be feared and combatted. One way this is done is to attack the truth through those that dare to speak it. Many of the prophets met bloody ends because they insisted on speaking the truth. John the Baptist suffered because a tyrant didn't like what he had to say about him. The tyrant feared John, didn't know what to make of him. But there was no secret in what John was doing.

He simply spoke the truth.

I'm not trying to equate bloggers with prophets and martyrs, but you can't deny there are people out there paying a price for speaking the truth. The panjandrums who run Corporate America are afraid someone's going to point out they aren't wearing any clothes. They're afraid the straw men they've worked so hard to create will collapse at the first sign of the breath of fresh air that comes with the truth. And when that truth is a moral truth, which dares to challenge the corporate truth that believes only in the bottom line - well, the handwriting is on the wall, then. A corporation, like an individual, is doomed to fall if it is not built on a strong moral foundation.

Perhaps this sounds like hype to some of you, and others may get tired of me returning time and again to this topic, but as corporations increase their reach into our culture, as they continue to dehumanize the individuals who come under their spell, it remains to free men and women to challenge them, to constantly hold them up to the light that comes from the One to whom we owe our true allegiance. As Jefferson said, we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights; and these rights, given to us by God, cannot be taken away by man - neither government official or corporate executive.

Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. Don't be afraid to use that Light to reveal the truth, and to expose the evil. If we all keep to that, the tyrants will have good reason to be afraid, and we shall wear their fear as a badge of fidelity.

Update: Dawn Eden has another story of a blogger who ran afoul of those afraid of the light. It's called being "Dooced." Keep this courageous man in your prayers, and all who dare to defend the truth.

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