“… all who watch to do evil shall be cut off, who by a word make a man out to be an offender, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right” (Isaiah 29:20-21).
This is a thoroughly modern statement, penned 700 years before Christ. How did the prophet foresee a time when all around us people would “by a word make a man out to be an offender”? A high school student tipped me off that if you want to get another kid in trouble before the authorities these days, you just call the person a racist or a bigot—and walk away. It’s as effective as pulling the pin of a grenade.
Ours is surely a time when “they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net” (Micah 7:2). Therefore, the prophet’s advice to the prudent is this:
“Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms … a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5-6).
The person you sleep with and the members of your household are not to be trusted in an age like ours. Watch what you say, for the walls have ears. Cultural icons unfortunate enough to make careless statements that are overheard will be hauled before the ad hoc tribunal of media, their terrified and apologetic mascara-stained faces splattered on every newspaper in the land. Congressmen of impeccable moral character and resumes will be destroyed overnight, thrown under the bus by men not their equal. A talk show host of 30 years comes close to being brought down by a college tart.
In our high courts, righteousness is trodden underfoot by men who “with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right” (Isaiah 29:21). What is emptier than a “right of privacy” as permission to murder a baby? What is emptier than the majority’s opinion in the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) when it says defining marriage as between one man and one woman “humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples”?
DOMA case dissenter Justice Antonin Scalia echoed the prophet Isaiah when he said:
“In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated. It is hard to admit that one’s political opponents are not monsters. … Too bad.”