We live in a period in which the emphasis on fashions is extreme. Some of these, being recurrent phenomena, are not worth serious attention. Who really cares that within a few years we have swung from wide necktie to narrow and now to still wider ones? Length of skirt is in the same category. That beards are ephemeral is obvious to anyone who has studied history. In Washington’s day it was difficult to find a man with a beard, while in Lincoln’s administration it was difficult to find a man without one.

The particular fashion of dealing with social issues by involvement in protest demonstrations came upon us with great suddenness. We understand how radical the change has been when we note that some now living never even heard of such a phenomenon in their youth, while millions of other people have been so accustomed to it that they accept it as a normal feature of living. For great numbers, the idea is accepted uncritically. If there is something you don’t like, start a demonstration! Thus the method was automatically adopted by those who recently became frantically aware, apparently for the first time, of the pollution of air and water. Marches were organized, as a matter of course, though it was harder to sustain enthusiasm because there was practically no one to march against. It would have been so much simpler if there had been some group actually favoring pollution.

Because there is serious danger that the protest mentality may be accepted uncritically, there must be some, and especially Christians, who are willing to challenge the popular expectation. We must not allow the world to squeeze us into its own mold (Rom. 12:2). The more we consider, the more we realize that it is not the purposes of the protesters that are ...

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