Here we go:
Perhaps we ought not be surprised. It is not exactly a secret that America is a nation of illiterates where its history is concerned.
But Paul's transgression speaks to more than just the shortcomings of the ignorant. It speaks also to an overriding shallowness, an obsession with the superficial and trivial that seems unfortunately characteristic of this era. It was difficult to look on that poster without feeling that, OK, here we are, this is finally it, the moment when reverence died.
But of course, one can hardly get through the day anymore without feeling that. Reverence dies repeatedly in a nation where ironic distance and postmodern cynicism are worn like armor to protect against the possibility one might accidentally feel something profound or hear some deep, affecting truth.
The origin of this indictment against the death of reverence in America? Leonard Pitts, Jr., a columnist whose articles over time have contributed to the death of reverence. He has championed the type of freedom typical of liberalism - the type that jeers boundaries of decency and moral imperatives. The type of freedom that champions coarseness and vulgarity on an ever-expanding scale. The type of so-called freedom that George Carlin appropriated to mock decency rules covering radio and television programming, and the type that Howard Stern says is due him so that he can spew any venom he wants over open airwaves.
Then the day comes when these liberals and their so-called open minds are offended by a "lack of reverence." Now that is laughable, is it not? Mr. Pitts is bent out of shape because some strip clubs used Martin Luther King, Jr.'s image with scantily-clad women to promote their "I Have a Dream" bashes. So it took a poster that he found personally offensive to determine that reverence finally died.
Sadly, reverence died a long time ago. Yes, this episode is a travesty of decency, but it is far from being the event marking the "moment when reverence died."
I'm not going to declare that there was "a moment" because it has been an incremental series of events that have precipitated the progressive coarseness and vulgarity within America. So if Mr. Pitts is concerned about the death of reverence, where was he during the vitriolic, hyena-like response to Jerry Falwell's death? Well, he managed to not be as mean as some others.
With Pat Robertson and a few others, Jerry Falwell presided over the rise of a Christianity unrecognizable to many of us who were raised in that faith. This Christianity's moral purview was reduced to two issues: abortion and homosexuality. It had nothing to say about feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, helping the helpless.
Apparently, Mr. Pitts did not think it important to attempt to check the veracity of what he wanted to write. If he had, he would have found that the ministries begun and perpetuated by these Christian men, and others, have a lot to say about feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and helping the helpless. The only thing about their outreach ministries that probably chagrines Mr. Pitts is that they did it all without government coercion.
At the time of Rev. Falwell's death, the champion the left heralded was Larry Flynt because of his so-called "free speech" victory over Falwell in the 1980s. Yes, that was a real win for the left, and there were numerous liberal blogs that openly celebrated the death of Jerry Falwell. Liberal enemy: Jerry Falwell - servant of Christ, minister to lost souls, and founder of ministries that served the poor and downtrodden. Liberal hero: Larry Flynt - publisher of the extreme porn magazine Hustler magazine which featured, in the 1970s anyway, a feature titled "Chester the Molester" and cartoons regularly portraying images such as a black baby sucking on a baby bottle nipple affixed to a watermelon. Classy. But that's the left's idea of a real hero.
Mr. Pitts, it's time that you removed your liberal goggles for just a moment. Yes, the use of the Rev. Dr. King's image in the manner you describe clearly indicates a lack of reverence. But the "moment when reverence died" You're not even close, Mr. Pitts. You and your liberal cronies have been mounting your attacks on decent Americans for quite some time now, and the resulting death of reverence has been intuitively obvious to the most casual observer for decades now.