To the amazement of many talking heads, our 81-year-old pontiff received the welcome of a rock star by multiple thousands of American youths in nearly every venue of his visit last week. Why was this all wrong? Let us count the ways.
First there is the simple fact that he is old. He is a relic of the past. Haven’t these kids ever heard of “youth culture?” Why are they hanging on the words of some octogenarian as though he had something important to say to them?
On top of that, he is a religious leader. He is one of those people who think there is Truth. As in a truth that says that other claims regarding reality are False. Haven’t those kids heard that there are multiple truths — you have your truth and I have mine — and our capital “T” word is Tolerance?
Not only is he an elderly religious leader, but he is Catholic. Catholic! So why would members of the Wired generation be so enthused about seeing the leader of the religion that — as much of the academic imagination has it — stands athwart human progress screaming “Halt?” What is the hookup generation looking for from the celibate leader of a religion that says, “No” to safe sex — or any kind of sex — for unmarried people?
Who has been monkeying around with the program?
Now just in case you didn’t know there was a program, Ben Stein has exposed it for all the world to see in his newly released documentary, Expelled.
Here is how the program is supposed to run. You are either an enlightened parent who does not fill your child’s head with religious nonsense or you are an ignorant bumpkin who sadly has been allowed to breed. If you are the former, your child will be affirmed in the rightness of your progressive ideology at every crack the educational system has at him or her. But if you are the latter, and if you dutifully send your children to “public education,” what you will really be immersing them in will be a very intentional, focused, multi-year, reeducation agenda with the goal of destroying your child’s belief in God and any commitment to traditional morality. This same program of faith destruction is also in place in numerous private schools and colleges, even in some “Catholic” ones.
What has gone wrong with the program is not the program — it has had stellar success over several generations and has even been used to destroy the faith of entire nations. Demonstrably, it works.
What has gone wrong are the youth. The truth about youth that Benedict XVI and Ben Stein both know is that the youth want the truth. The programmers didn’t count on that. So take your young person who was enthralled by the pope last week to see Expelled this week. Take along your young person’s friends — as many as you can fit in the car. Tell your kid that you are treating him and his friends to a movie and a burger. I promise you, Ben Stein’s film will continue in their minds and hearts the conversation about truth that the pope started. Consider it a series of inoculations against atheism. The truth is the best protection and, besides, the truth about youth… is that youth want the truth.