This is the second broadcast of “Break Point”. Yesterday I told you the purpose of the program is give a Christian perspective on news and current events.
There’s no issue more current than the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court–and there’s surely a Christian perspective on it.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been eagerly awaiting the start of the Senate hearings. Imagine the scene: on one side of the table will be the senators–august, full of the self-importance of their position. People like Howard Metzenbaum, a millionaire businessman who a few years ago was accused of a bit of financial skullduggery; Senator Joe Biden, whose Presidential campaign ended ignominiously, you may remember, when it was discovered that one of his speeches was plagiarized; and Senator Edward Kennedy–well, need we say more? All of these men will be lecturing Clarence Thomas, a young black man who pulled himself up from poverty to the steps of the Supreme Court, about–of all things–sensitivity to the poor and minorities.
What a circus.
Of course, we don’t have to wait for the Senate hearings. All kinds of other people are already getting their licks in. Special interest groups that live off the largesse of government don’t much like Thomas’s self-help philosophy.
Minority leaders who feel society owes them special privileges because of their color don’t like Thomas’s commitment to colorblind justice. A Harvard University professor accused him of being “a black who thinks like a white.” As though colorblind justice weren’t the classic goal of the civil rights movement.
And the uproar over his religious beliefs–! A leading feminist positively shuddered over his Catholic background, calling it “very, very frightening.”
These are all issues we’ll be taking up over the next several days here on Break Point. But today let me address the first and most perplexing question: Why has Clarence Thomas come under such brutal attack?
When you think about it, Thomas simply did what all young blacks were encouraged at one time to do–climb out of poverty and make a successful life. That’s not an accomplishment to be taken lightly.
Born into poverty in the rural South, Thomas had little to look forward to in life. But under the prodding of a gutsy Christian grandfather, he worked hard, went to college, and made it through Yale Law School. From there to high positions in government.
So why isn’t Thomas being praised to the skies for his impressive achievements?
The attacks on Thomas have little to do with his qualifications. His detractors admit he’s highly competent. What they quarrel with is what Clarence Thomas stands for. His life itself stands for things that are anathema to the liberal elites of this country.
Clarence Thomas stands for self-reliance–in an age when a large welfare bureaucracy keeps people dependent. He stands for hard work–in an age when minorities look to government to pave the way for them. He stands for religious conviction in an age sold out to secularism and relativism. And he stands for individual responsibility–the very heart of the Christian view of human nature: that each of us is a moral agent responsible for our decisions.
Make no mistake: These are the real issues, and they have less to do with Clarence Thomas’s qualifications for office than with who he is and what he stands for.
Over the next few days, we’ll explore these issues in greater depth. I think you’ll see that the controversy over Clarence Thomas reveals a great deal about what kind of nation we have become.
This is the first in a seven part series on Clarence Thomas.