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Beware of single-issue blindness

``YOU want to know what's wrong with this country? I'll tell you what's wrong. It's . . . .'' And once again my friend reminds me of the ``one reason'' things aren't the way they are ``supposed to be'' and the ``one thing'' that will fix them. Viewing things in terms of a single issue is a common enough human trait, and often it is quite necessary to give a single issue close scrutiny. But there has been a disturbing trend in society, politics, and religion toward polarization over single issues. On the basis of a single issue being the issue, decisions and actions are taken that are often detrimental to the good of all. There is a grave danger in this trend. It's a threat to democracy and a threat to individual freedom of thought. It can even be a threat to one's spiritual progress. When a single political, social, or even religious issue is elevated to almost Godlike importance, human thinking has fallen into idolatry. Such thinking is blind to the larger picture and is open to manipulation and exploitation by those who know how to push the right verbal or mental buttons. Worse yet, single-issue blindness tends to breed bigotry, intolerance, and persecution of those who do not fall down to worship at the altar of the single issue. And the insidious thing is that this blindness often operates in the name of good intent and the sincere motive to do good. If there's a solution to this blindness, it's in recognizing the idolatrous nature of setting up any human goal or objective or issue as an absolute. Absolute truth and right are the province of God alone. Even the most righteous, right-minded sense of what is important and needful in the human scene must bow before the recognition that there is a supreme good and authority that we must square our actions with: God. God is Truth, so only actions that are honest and moral have true value or genuine worth. God is Life, so only actions that respect life, individuality, and the rights of conscience have a future. God is Love, so only actions that express the love and charitableness that Christ Jesus exemplified can have any redemptive effect or bring needed change. It simply doesn't matter how good our motives are, or how lofty our goals, or how important we think a certain issue is. If our actions do not measure up to the Christly standard of the Golden Rule, we are idolators. We are denying God, divine Love, and putting a human sense of good before Him. And therefore we are doomed to failure, even in seeming ``success.'' As Jesus said, ``What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'' 1 Now, none of this is to say that there are not extremely important issues facing the individual and society. Nor is this to say that devotion to a righteous cause is wrong. But in pursuit of our best sense of good, let us never forget that no human issue or goal takes precedence over God and His spiritual rules and laws. Our Father has given us an unfailing standard of thought and action in the life of Christ Jesus, and it's important that whatever we do squares with that standard. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, puts it this way: ``Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man, and they are spiritual lawgivers, enforcing obedience through divine statutes.'' 2 Clearly, then, avoidance of one-issue blindness demands self-knowledge, a willingness to bring every thought and action into line with divine Truth, Life, and Love. Thus, if our thoughts and actions break the Ten Commandments, they are wrong, regardless of our good intent and motive. If our righteous zeal kills charitableness and forgiveness, tolerance and forbearance, we are wrong. If disagreement over a single issue makes us hate or even dislike our neighbor, we are wrong. ``Love thy neighbour as thyself'' 3 is a divine statute, without escape clause. The individual who has his eyes set on God, on divine Truth, Life, and Love as revealed by Christ Jesus, can never be blinded by the urgencies of a single human issue. He knows that he forwards not only his own interest but the interest of all mankind by putting God above all and making the expression of God's goodness and love the object and end of all endeavor. 1 Mark 8:36. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 184. 3 Matthew 19:19.

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