A Plea to Conservative Christians
May 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The Gospel Coalition (a group of very conservative mostly Presbyterian – reformed- pastors) posted an article entitled “How to Win the Public on Homosexuality.” I saw the article posted on a very intelligent and respected friend’s Facebook page. She addressed it, instead of to the public at large, to fellow conservatives (which I respect – though the post and dissenting conversation by myself and one other man have now been hidden on her wall.) I am pretty sure that we all know that I am a reformed conservative, and actually, had I not seen the title the Gospel Coalition gave the article, I would not have clicked – as I am reformed.
I will say, as I have said before, I feel an increased concern regarding the political behavior of conservative Christians. However, this is not an attack.
Full disclosure: I supported GW the first time (he has a great governor of the Great State of Texas.) And as a human I genuinely believe that he is a good man.
Conservative Christians – in clinging to family values, and talking about the original intent of the founding fathers – seem to be confusing the constitution (a living, or changeable document) with the bible, which many CC believe to be’absolute’ (unchangeable, to be interpreted according to author’s intent.) For the non-CC reader, it is important to interject here that all Christians do not interpret the bible the same way, even among denominations there are deep divisions regarding “truth” – this the case in Episcopal and Anglican church – two factions of what was formerly the same denomination, as well the Presbyterian Church has STRONG opinions about absolute truth, therefore there are 11 different factions of the denomination, because they cannot agree on which version of absolute truth is the MOST correct.
However, my concern is not about the church’s inability to come to a consensus on absolute truth – here is my growing concern – If there is discussion of original intent, the reason we formed the US was because of the oppression of the Church of England, if the CC continue to force the issue of making their moral conviction legal legislation, they will establish a precedent that will make us the very country we sought to escape.
Some of the most worrisome things that I read in the post intended to “win” the public to the Conservative Christian view (I am afraid this article is woefully and wishfully titled):
Christians declare our right to speak out and legislate according to religious conviction in defense of traditional institutions. Gays pursue their right to life, liberty, happiness with regard to their sexuality. But homosexuality fronts a much bigger challenge that threatens us all.
Legislating according to religious conviction is in direct opposition to the constitution. Here is why. Because we were founded by a group of religious zealots with wildly different beliefs who had all been marginalized by the dominate Church of England, they knew that even with a 98% majority of the population a truly free and democratic state MUST adhere to a separation of church and state. This was actually the beauty of democracy, that while majority was allowed to rule according to vote, the rights of the minority were still protected. This was UNHEARD of at the time. Particularly when it came to religious liberty.
I won’t even begin to explain why saying “homosexuality fronts a much bigger challenge that threatens us all” is wrong – but in an era of horrific and increasing bullying of gay teens using language like ‘threatens us all’ is nothing short of propaganda.
It’s so easy for us to look up Romans 1 and observe the obvious gap between biblical teaching and homosexuality.
I would like to respond to that quote with this one -
[The] Problem is, gays don’t see us as agonizing over our acceptable sins. The pursuit of self-fulfillment covers a multitude of adultery, divorce, and pornography in our churches. Why shouldn’t it also cover homosexuality?
There is that – one might contend that there is an obvious gap between what the bible says about dozens of issues and the actions of most believers (and non-believers)- judgement, slander, selfishness, hate in your heart, a controlling spirit – the difference is that people aren’t getting kicked out of churches or taking away people’s constitutional opportunities as a consequence.
It does seem strange to the rest of the world that in the midst of all of the aforementioned things- Christians stand up, plank in eye, and take their tweezers to homosexuality. Particularly that they spend a good amount of their time trying to tweeze homosexuality out of the eyes of people who are not, in fact, Christians.
As my non-CC readers may or may not know, Christianity was established because New Testament (not yet) believers were living ‘under the law’ this is when you are forced to live according to religious law that you do not believe… Think “rules without relationship.” Then Christ came and liberated them from the law and drew then into relationship. I think you can see where I am going with this. Imposing a moral Christian belief on an entire nation of people who may or may not agree with that religious conviction could be construed as bringing them under the law. As I understand the bible, this is not a good thing, or something that draws people into relationship with God (or into relationship with his followers.)
Many gay-rights advocates have excused themselves behind a professed love of God’s Word. You won’t likely win a debate with them by citing Bible verses they’ve been trained to explain away.
I hope I don’t need to point out, that this article is a training exercise into how to explain the opposing view away. In this vein of logic, no one is likely to win. In fact, it is likely that everyone loses.
For presidents and paupers, gays and straights, there is no other way to true happiness than the one Jesus traveled, the way that ended in the agony of the Cross and the ecstasy of the Resurrection.
Here is the crux of the article. These convictions are biblically based for a specific sect of Christianity, even the article acknowledges that the church is divided on this issue (this sect simply claims to be more right than the ones that don’t agree with this point.)
The way to morally transform America, according to the Christian faith, is to introduce people to the God that you know – not to impose your religious conviction, via legislation on an entire nation of people.
For those of you who will cry, “UNIVERSALISM!” and call this a postmodern or relative truth argument – I assure you this is a pragmatic argument.
There is no denying that Christians do not agree on INNUMERABLE topics, not just this one. I’ve been aquatinted with a church community that for 20 years can’t come to a consensus about drinking, they are not talking about getting drunk, literally – there is an inability to come to consensus over just one glass of wine…
Separate to, but in light of, the inability of the church to be on the same page regarding interpretation of the bible, and who is most right about the absolute truth - the protection by the federal government from being pulled back and forth in that battle is a welcome protection. The separation of church and state is in place to protect people from having their rights taken away by people acting in the authority of God, on behalf of the greater good of ‘all.’ If the church can’t agree amongst itself what the authoritative word of God says about this issue, it’s hard to think that in the name of God and on that God given authority that one faction of the Christian church should be creating legally binding policies based on their conviction. More simply stated, we’ve got enough to deal with with Congress, don’t pull the nation into your battle. Also, it’s in direct opposition to the Constitution of the United States of America.
If this does not convince you that what you are doing is outside the methodology of Christ, and logic then there is one final plea.
If you believe with all of your heart that it is your duty as believers to,” declare our right to legislate according to religious conviction in defense of traditional institutions” I urge you to consider this…
One day, you may not be the moral majority.
When I asked my friend who posted the article if she was OK with religious legislation imposing on her religious liberties, she answered “In a nation where 78% of Americans (Pew Report 2009) profess Christianity as their religion, yes, I expect the majority to vote biblically.” (believe me, she has carefully considered this, it is the topic of her dissertation at Baylor - I told you she is respectable and smart.)
Let’s consider hypothetically that the next moral majority is muslim. They decide, as the religious majority, that Ramadan should be required – legally, the majority of the nation affiliates with Islam anyway. Continuing in the course of action being proposed by this article, the precedent will have been set that legislation based on religious conviction of the ‘moral’ majority is OK. I would speculate that there would be fighting tooth and nail against this by Christian Conservatives, but it’s the precedent that is being advocated and pushed right now.
The truth is, for the most part, no one is asking you to change your MORAL conviction on homosexuality, I am simply making a plea for you to not impose that conviction by way of legislation. This is an appeal made as much for your sake in the long term (Revelation seems to assure us that the days of Christian moral majority are numbered) as it is for the protection of the fundamental rights of Americans.
In light of these things I want to revisit Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians, “Of these three now remain; Faith, Hope, and Love – but the greatest of these is love.”
We should make sure that we are careful not to be convinced that “the greatest of these” is Faith – because as any CC knows – faith without love is “a resounding gong and clanging cymbal.”
***disclaimer – I recognize that this is not an inarguable topic (and I am no Demosthenes,) but I believe that this perspective is strong and needed. It was not easy to write, as I am sure for many CC it will not be easy to read. I am simply asking you to thoughtfully/prayerfully weigh the perspective and consider pouring your energy on this topic into sharing the Love that you believe in, instead of battling this legislation.