The lasting concern over the hacking of email at Sony Pictures will no doubt revolve around the question of what the perpetrators do with an early script from the James Bond franchise.
But what we should be paying attention to is the evidence of prejudice that thrives behind closed doors among the Sony leadership elite. Co-chair Amy Pascal and Producer Scot Rudin are, it seems, capable of the same childish, mean-spirited prejudice that some would have us believe thrives only on the other end of the political spectrum, among people with only one set of cultural sensibilities, and in only certain parts of the country. (See Juan Williams on “White Liberal Hypocrisy.”)
As the Sony story illustrates, the truth, of course, is that our political commitments have no bearing at all on the quality of our personal commitments. Nor do they guarantee our respect for one another or the depth of our commitment to the conviction that we are all made in the image of God.Why? For the simple reason that our treatment of one another and the consistency of moral formation that makes us privately, as well as publicly faithful to that formation is a matter of individual conversion, not collective legislation. No political platform, no specific economic program, no approach to governing can guarantee that the people offering and supporting those efforts will actually live their lives with any measure of private consistency.
So, the next time that someone promises you a flawless future, shaped by partisan efforts to craft a legislative world in which the lion and the lamb lie down together, don’t be fooled. The partisan future is not the eschatological future. And there are times that the partisan picture of the future is just about asserting control and influence.
Legislation and laws matter. They can create safeguards and shared values. They can provide the basis for calling a culture to common goals and aspirations. But they can’t guarantee that hearts will be changed. That happens one person at a time and it’s an evangelistic thing.