After being sick for a couple of days I get out of bed, turn on the computer, and find out that Sen. Obama has pronounced that we all should teach our kids Spanish. Sooo many things I could say about this, but I want to focus, at least here, on two aspects – let’s call them the civil and the gospel.
Alexander the Great conquered a huge chunk of the world by military might. After he conquered them, he Hellenized them – he made them Greek. How did he do that? He changed their language. A language and a culture are intertwined, and you cannot grasp one without the other. This is true even when you technically speak the same language – have you ever encountered the Queen’s English?
Normally, immigrants to a country learn the tongue of their new country. For our nation to choose to teach our children the language of the immigrants would be to loosen our grip on our culture – and there is a distinct American culture, despite what some may say. It would also lessen the motivation for those immigrants to learn the American common tongue. All in all, it’s a bad way to run a society.
Even though it’s a bad civil policy, it’s probably essential for Christians to do just what Sen. Obama has suggested. The number of souls that speak only or mostly Spanish in this country is staggering. While it may make good sense to urge them, for their own sakes, to learn English as quickly as possible – and as loving neighbors we should do that – it is more important to reach out to them with the gospel in whatever language they will be able to understand.
Sometimes the needs of the country and the needs of the Kingdom conflict. When that happens, we have to err to the side of the Kingdom. If we can do that without supporting stupid, self-destructive public policies, we should; if we can’t, then we do what’s right and let the chips fall where they may.
I'll have some more to say about this at My Three Cents.