Saturday, August 9, 2008

Games of Moral Relativism


Last night my husband and I watched a few minutes of the opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games. As the commentators spoke of the beauty of the Chinese culture on display, the enthusiasm with which the Chinese people had been supporting the idea of hosting the games, and the change and progress that they had seen in China over the seven years since Beijing was selected to host in 2008, I was sort of getting on board, buying in to the excitement. China was represented by a very tall NBA star and a very small child who had survived the recent earthquake, and I was moved by the humanity of the scene.
At the end of the parade, the head of the Beijing communist party got up to speak, and I sort of woke up to what was really going on. Here in the Free World, we are tuning in to a speech made by the leader of a Communist dictatorship. The current government in China is the embodiment of the culture of death, and our grandfathers who fought against totalitarian regimes would be horrified to see that we are opening up to, and even celebrating, China. This propagandist speech was telling us that the 2008 games were environmentally conscious, and other things meant to improve public opinion of China both at home and abroad.
This is a country where people live without the basic rights that we believe, as a nation, the Creator has granted each of us. This is a country that lacks freedom of the press, freedom to practice religion. This is a country that puts conditions on families and where the government routinely comes into peoples homes and drags them to clinics for forced abortions. Dissident monks are jailed and tortured. These are only the things we know about.
I celebrate the goodwill of the Olympic spirit and I truly believe that learning more about other cultures is an important part of building the culture of love, but I worry that in this case we are adopting what has become the disturbing theme of modern moral relativism, a don't ask, don't tell policy that allows us to feel comfortable having relationships with people who are seriously in error with out naming those errors. Janet Smith made the analogy of a frog being boiled slowly. His body temperature adjusts to that of the water in the pot as it warms so that he never struggles, he does not notice that his environment is slowly changing until it is too late. As my favorite bumper sticker has it, if you are not completely appalled, you haven't been paying attention.

15 comments:

AWOL Mommy said...

yeah, but what about them firecrackers!!?

AWOL Mommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AWOL Mommy said...

Other thoughts from non-AWOL Daddy and I as we watched: 1)what about the section where they flew in an astronaut and talked about how recently the Chinese had sent men into space, and how they will have a man on the moon by 2020 or whatever. What a prideful, wasteful culture. Uh, that feat has already been accomplished several times by several nations. How about you spare the money on R & D and redirect it to infrastructure that would enable your Chinese families to have the size families they wish? How about you figure that if we ever need to go to the moon again you could rely on international cooperation to get there and you take care of your own citizens since they are forbade a God to take care of their needs and you, their communist government are their (sub-par) God.

Katherine said...

I don't know that I disagree with you, but I'd make many of the same criticisms of our own country. Why do we spend money on space exploration when it could have better use? They have forced abortion but we have legal abortion and now infanticide just as they do. I find a lot about China today disturbing, but same is true of the USA, Germany, and many other countries.

Right Said Red said...

Totally agree. I let Gianna (4) watch some of the opening ceremonies with me last night. They started showing some bad stuff about China in the beginning--you might have missed that! Gianna asked me what was happening. I explained to her that China is a different country than where we live and that they have a gov't that is very mean to the people who live there. She then asked, "What is a gov't?" So yeah, a bit over her head! There was a really cool story regarding the US athlete's protest of China. Read here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/08/AR2008080800009.html?hpid=topnews

Right Said Red said...

opps, it got cut off, I'll try again later...

"H" said...

The white-washed commentary made me uncomfortable too. I tuned in just shortly before dozens of little children carried in a flag and then handed it off to goose-stepping soldiers, and the NBC commentators dutifully described this as a symbol of the State--particularly the Chinese military--guaranteeing a safe future for these children. Ugh!

The coordination of the "printing press men" and the tai chi masters was amazing too, but to me it also symbolized the repression of the individual in China. A billion persons who are each perfectly-coordinated cogs in a wheel.

Sandra said...

I am using the Olympics in China as a reminder to pray for that country and the underground churches there. Thank you for reminding us that behind the beauty displayed last night is an ugly reality.

texas mommy said...

Good thoughts, MA. Mr. Incredible and I were talking about the over-the-topness of the opening ceremony, which is possible if you have no budget and are not accountable to your citizens. It has always been important for totalitarian regimes to present a facade to the rest of the world to gain legitimacy even if the efforts are totally transparent.

When working with the Vatican I became aware of many of the horrible, repressive things things that are happening in China. As Sandra commented, it is a good reminder to pray for China!

Kat said...

On another note, I did find the Opening Ceremonies to be very creative, and I was struck by the fact that it was the Chinese PEOPLE, 15,000+ of them, that made the ceremony so impressive. In this day and age where everything can be done with computerized special effects, I thought it was very interesting that the Chinese decided to use PEOPLE to make the ceremony what it was. Ironic?

Jeanne Stark said...

I AM BOYCOTTING THE OLYMPICS BECAUSE OF CHINA'S HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND how they DO NOT pay people enough, and SHIPPING OUR JOBS TO THEM.

What they have done to the underground church is an outrage before God. Paying the Direct Tv is going to have to wait for the next two weeks because there is NOT ONE OLYMPIC SHOW THAT IS GOING TO BE HERE IN MY LIVING ROOM.

I have been a Floridian for 38 years and when you move here my retirement house will be paid for ha ha said...

Also, my comment on my blog speaks much about environmentalism and the church's teaching on the environment.

We should not tolerate developers abuse for the environment. The Ave Maria folks took away valuable land for migrants to make a living and valuable land for the Florida panther. They love sprawl.

I have been a Floridian for 38 years and when you move here my retirement house will be paid for ha ha said...

Pray that we do not support the Republican policy on China. Wal-mart celebrates it everyday. Don't shop at Walmart either. Buy things that are not made in China.

Lori said...

I was totally with Kat's opinion about the Chinese PEOPLE who made the opening ceremonies so special, and still am to a certain degree, but was very disappointed to find out that the little girl who sang the Chinese National Anthem lip-synched it, and some of the fireworks were cgi'd in to make it look better (see stories at msn.com)...now, I'm not against those things, per se, but you shouldn't use them when you're trying to present a human performance, replete with all possible flaws. The human element is important if you're trying to make it genuine.

BTW, I've been a lurker on and off for awhile now, love the blog, and just had to comment when I read the stories on msn this morning, remembering this post from a few days ago.

Bethany said...

Great thoughts and insight. My husband and I were talking before the Olympics began--"Do we boycott the Olympics? Really just China." An article I found today saddened me; another small clue into the mind of their government.

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/news?slug=ap-china-lip-synchedsong&prov=ap&type=lgns

Thanks for your wonderful and encouraging blog!