Walking down the streets of Dublin can be a real joy. There are so many lovely young people on the streets, lots of children and shops for every single sort of interest. And naturally, there are street preachers and musicians, including a seven-piece chamber group the day we were there. But there was one scene that caught my eye: a young woman who was speaking and the street sign standing just around the corner from her.
She was a lovely blonde Irish lass of perhaps 20. Using a microphone, she was telling those who would listen about her conversion to Christ. She kept describing the incredible feeling that she had as she was standing there speaking to everyone about how much she loves God. She said she had a past and that she could have never imagined saying the things she now says about how Christ touched her life and turned her around. Refreshing is a nice word to describe this.
Then we turned the corner we saw a street sign with these words:
IF YOU BEHAVE LIKE A PIECE OF FILTH THAT'S HOW THE WORLD SEES YOU.
Wow, I thought. This is no accident. What perfect placement for the sign. Ah, but then I read what was underneath the picture, and it said,
Litter is disgusting. So are those responsible.
I looked at my husband and said, "You gotta be kidding me!" To which he replied, "No, Judie, the world is turned upside down."
Indeed. The sign is designed to remind those who view it that tossing a piece of paper on the ground makes you filthy and that once you have done that, everyone will see you that way. Definitely a cardinal sin! So, I looked and looked online for the sign to share with you, but I found the video of the Dublin television ad instead.
Now, don't write to me and say I should be opposed to littering. Of course I am, but that is not my point. The point is that this sign, like so much of what we see in our modern culture, is designed to suggest that the "old mores" are really out and the new way of thinking about things is far more sophisticated, genteel and compassionate.
If we live in Ireland, we can thank Dublin’s local authorities and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for reminding us to keep the streets clean, but don't expect that same department to worry for a nanosecond about the spiritual or moral environment.
If that sign had represented what I so foolishly thought it did and had provided a testimony to the virtue of purity and the value of marriage, for example, every single anti-life, pro-gay-rights group in the land probably would have been outraged. Can't you just hear it?
Or, if that sign has gone on to suggest that the only safe way to protect oneself from HIV and other dreadful diseases is to save yourself for marriage rather than living a morally filthy lifestyle, it probably would never have seen the light of day. This is, after all, the real world and the era in which everything wrong is acceptable and everything right, according to God's laws, is simply rubbish!
I will pray for that young woman I saw on the Dublin street corner that day. I hope that she truly represents the majority in her country. But I have a feeling the sign does, and that saddens me beyond words.