Making a Statement
He was handsome and she was beautiful. They had been in love for a long time, and finally he popped the question. They talked to their parents, and set the date for the wedding.
As the custom was, when each guest was invited to the wedding, a wedding garment was sent also, which the guest was required to wear. "That way," said Dad, "it will be easy to tell if someone comes who was not invited."
The wedding was beautiful. The couple dazzled everyone as they raised the toast and led the first dance.
"Look," said Dad midway through the evening. "There is a guest that does not have a wedding garment. Call security."
Very soon the unwelcome guest was accosted by security and hustled from the building. The rest of the evening passed without event and about midnight the happy couple left for their honeymoon.
About two months later, Dad was served with a summons to appear in court. "Action has been initiated against you for violation of the civil rights of this defendant. Specifics: the requiring of a dress code and discrimination at a public function."
The trial was swift in the kingdom of man. Dad was found guilty on both counts. "It is undemocratic to require a dress code. Don't you know that dress is the expression of individuality? Thus it is protected under the first amendment right to freedom of expression. To require uniformity in dress is a breach of civil rights. To dress as one pleases is basic to democracy, and shows that we value the true worth of a person, not what he wears. It is true that dress reflects social values, but who are you to impose your values on someone else? Besides, the defendant made his own clothes and has suffered a great deal of psychological damage," said the judge.
"But I was trying to maintain standards," protested Dad.
"And very foolish you were," said the judge. "Your aristocratic, better-than-thou, exclusivist standards are not fitted for this democratic age. This is why I find you guilty on the second charge. You and your ilk have long used such devices to lord it over other citizens."
"But it was my only son's wedding," Dad continued. "I wanted it to be special for him. There are many who hate my son, and I did not want any of them to try to disrupt the wedding."
"Of course they hate your son," said the judge. "Your son has said many things that they find offensive. I fear that he reflects your values. Most of all they find it offensive that he would not let them come in their own clothes. What's wrong? Is he too good for them? You and your son are going to have to learn to be more democratic. The world is changing, and modern people will not stand for you telling them how to dress, and saying they are not welcome anywhere they want to go. It's a new age. Anyone should be free to come if he wants to."
I guess you are right," Dad said. "I have been very proud and judgmental in insisting that certain standards are to be observed. Humanity is what is important. It is the insisting upon standards that causes strife and trouble in the world. Our arms should be open to everyone. How foolish I have been."
It was a strange thing, what happened in the kingdom. Children did not seem to do so well in school. Business declined as workmen in the kingdom began to lose the ability to compete in world trade. Women did not work as hard at being mothers, and fathers often left their children without support.
Great changes took place in the churches. Ministers did not study so hard, and did not seem to know as much, especially about the Bible. Music declined, and people wanted easy, snappy songs to sing. "Those other songs are too hard," they said.
Bibles were translated at the sixth grade reading level, because the older Bibles were too hard to read. "We did not try always to be accurate," the translators said. "We thought it was better to be lucid." "It just goes over my head," a young lady said one day in church, shortly before the new Bibles arrived.
"Maybe you better raise your head," one old gentleman said who was standing nearby, but the crowd soon silenced him. He always dressed up for church, anyway, and there were other things about him that made people uncomfortable. "Don't worry," the youth pastor told her. "Next year we'll have the new Teen-Age Bible. You'll really dig that. Religion should be fun!"
But most of those who secretly mourned the changes in the kingdom did not really understand. Only a few old men understood. "It all began when people decided that they could wear their own clothes to the wedding," they said. (See Matthew 22:11-14)