The Bill Comes Due

Last week a grieving mother whose daughter was murdered by a California teenager took her campaign nationwide to get the murderer's buddy—who did nothing to stop the crime—thrown out of school. It's a gruesome story, one you may remember. Last year, Jeremy Strohmeyer and David Cash, two teenagers from Southern California, were hanging around a Nevada casino at three in the morning. After failing to impress a girl, Strohmeyer started chasing Sherrice Iverson, a 7-year-old from South Central LA, around the casino. Strohmeyer followed her into a restroom. A short time later, Cash entered the bathroom and found his friend physically assaulting the girl. Cash made a token effort to stop it and left. On the way home, Strohmeyer told Cash that he had raped and killed the little girl. Cash kept the matter quiet, but police, after viewing casino surveillance cameras, arrested Strohmeyer and charged him with sexual assault and murder. Just last week he pled guilty to all charges. The murder of the little girl appalled most Americans. But many were equally outraged over Cash's failure to intervene either before or after the attack. In fact, instead of expressing regret, Cash told the Los Angeles Times: "I'm not going to get upset over someone else's life.... I just worry about myself first. I don't think of it. I didn't know her." He even bragged that his notoriety helped him get dates. Nevada has no law requiring people to report a crime, so Cash is legally off the hook. But his attitude has so sickened people they've joined the campaign to get him thrown out of the University of California at Berkeley where he is now a student. What they don't realize, of course, is that David Cash is the poster boy for the very philosophy being propagated at Berkeley and other citadels of American culture. This philosophy is known as Postmodernism. At its core is the rejection of universal truths and norms, including ideals like duty to your neighbor. In a postmodern world we're all free to choose what and whom will bind us. And in this world, Cash's lack of concern for Sherrice Iverson makes perfect sense. As he put it, he didn't "know her," why feel any obligation? Secular philosophy teaches, he shouldn't. And we can't have it both ways. You can't teach as cultural elites do, that there's no right and wrong, and then seek to punish people for acting accordingly. Cash's actions are postmodern logic writ grotesque. Well, the bill for rejecting truth is coming due. We thought turning away from biblical truth would only result in sexual license. But it also results in a loss of basic decency and concern for other's welfare. While the Sherrice Iverson story is horrific, it could serve as a wake up call for a culture which says there is no truth. This kind of case illustrates the terrible consequences of post-modern logic... consequences most Americans can't live with. So cases like this give us an opportunity to tell our neighbors why we Christians are so insistent about the idea of truth: why your belief in universal truths, like duty to neighbor, makes civilization possible. The alternative is a barbarous world—one in which we will never be able to take our eyes off our own seven-year-old children.


Chuck Colson


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