thoughts on God, faith, life, and the emerging church... btw, "pensees" is French for thoughts. get your mind out of the gutter ;)
Name: Mike Clawson From: Austin, Texas, United States About me: A follower of the way of Christ, a "postmodern" Christian, an amateur theologian/ philosopher, a husband, a father, a student, a friend...
Basically the video is about being the change we want to see in the world by pledging to do simple, practical things to make the world a better place - things like helping at a food pantry, smiling more, giving to Unicef, buying a hybrid, or conserving water. This is what I found to be inspiring - it's an important reminder that each of us can do something to help others, no matter how big or small.
The video also has a slight political overtone as well, since it begins with a quote from President Obama, and has a couple of pledges about "being of service to Barack Obama". It was these aspects of the message that led parents in the Salt Lake City area to protest it being shown at an elementary school assembly (the article about this is how I encountered the video in the first place). Personally, I agree that it probably shouldn't have been shown in a public school context. And I have to admit that I too was a little uncomfortable with the pledges to be of service to Obama. While I generally like our President and (mostly, though not entirely) agree with his agenda, I'm not simply going to blindly follow wherever he leads without question. Besides which, I also agree with the critic in the article who pointed out that Obama is here to serve we the people, not vice versa. If they had pledged (as JFK exhorted us) to be of service to our country, that would be less problematic. But of service just to one man? I'm not down with that.
However, that's not all the protesting parents took issue with. They also went on to decry some of the other pledges as "leftist propaganda". For instance, as the article notes:
Gayle Ruzicka, president of conservative Utah Eagle Forum, said the video was blatantly political. She said other offensive pledges [besides ones not to give the finger while driving, and to replace one's obnoxious care with a hybrid] included... pledges to not use plastic grocery bags and not flush the toilet after urinating.
"It's very inappropriate to show a radical, leftist propaganda piece that political to children," Ruzicka said. "If parents want their children to learn about those things and do them in the home, wonderful, fine, but it's not the place of the school to show a one-sided propaganda piece to children without parents knowing about it."
Cieslewicz said such values should be decided in the home, not at school.
"They shouldn't be troubling our youth with the woes of the world and making them feel like we're in slavery or they have to worry about how many times they flush the toilet or if they have a plastic water bottle," Cieslewicz said, referring to pledges in the video to "end slavery."
These complaints I have much less sympathy for. Issues like energy and water conservation, and especially something like ending modern day slavery should not be seen as partisan political causes. These are things that should concern any responsible citizen and moral human being. Is it "leftist propaganda" to say that we should take care of God's creation? Is it "leftist propaganda" to declare that slavery is a moral evil and should be eradicated? Are these people so deeply entrenched in the culture wars that they can't bring themselves to support any cause that they perceive to be in any way associated with "the left", no matter how self-evidently righteous it is? Is it really more important for your side to "win", than for you to help millions of slaves go free?
At any rate, check this video out. It has a great message, even if it takes a couple of missteps. On a personal note, Emma was looking over my shoulder as I was posting it to my Facebook profile, and she insisted on watching it. Afterwards (and after I explained to her what a "pledge" was), she decided that she wanted her pledge for making the world a better place to be that she would say "I love you more". That, to me, was even more inspiring than the video. :)