8/1/2012 - August 2012 SLI Educational Update - The Culture War Has Not Ended
AN EDUCATIONAL UPDATE FROM
THE SOUTHEAST LAW INSTITUTE™, INC.
To: SLI Supporters
Date: August 2012
From: A. Eric Johnston
Re: The Culture War Has Not Ended
A late spring editorial in The Birmingham News by Jonathan Merritt suggested a new generation of Christians is reshaping Christian views as they forge a new path in politics. The article is based on the assumption that conservative and liberal Christians historically disagreed, but now Christian millennials are coming of age and recognizing the flaws of their forebears.
The article viewed “Christians of yesteryear” as members of a two-party political system. Apparently, the flawed assumption is that evangelical fundamental Bible believing Christians were Republican rightwing partisans, while other Christians were Democrat leftwing partisans. That statement is true only to the extent that many Christians identified with the planks of the Republican Party platform. Many mainline Christians, whether born again or merely churchgoers, identified with the planks of the Democratic platform.
The article suggests the efforts of Christians in the past did not work well and that “today abortion remains legal, divisions over same-sex rights linger, and we are still debating religious liberty.” These issues are still very real to those who believe and live the inerrant Word of God, rather than try to pervert it to support their agendas of humanistic ideas.
Yes, abortion does remain legal, but the effort against it is unflagging and continuous to save the lives of the unborn. That “divisions over same-sex rights linger” is certainly a misstatement. While the President of the United States believes that gay marriage is fine and the media presents gay issues as mainstream, the majority of states still prohibit same-sex marriage and there are now constitutional amendments and laws in 30 states forbidding the legality of same-sex relationships.
However, the most damaging and misleading part of the article is the innuendo that those who worked in the culture war were wrong, but now, people are coming together, for civil compromise. One of the headings in the article is entitled, “From Divisive Rhetoric to Civil Dialogue.” If one holds true to one’s values, then there can be no compromise on fundamental issues, like abortion, the family, and religious rights, regardless of how you say it.
However, I have worked in the legal-political arena for many years. I have seen very little uncivil discourse by those engaged in the process. But, I have observed it by those who stand on the outside looking in. Perhaps, Mr. Merritt is a voyeur and does not understand how government works. To debate one’s beliefs, whether right or left, does not mean uncivil engagement in the public square. It means we are expressing the important fundamental rights of speech and religious liberty guaranteed by the United States Constitution. If we engage the constitutional process, we achieve goals good for all.
The editorial ends with:
“So, I say bring on this new brand of political engagement. Because crucifying the culture war model would be the only hope for resurrecting American Christianity in a new century.”
The use of the term “Christian” is more and more suggesting that one is a Christian as opposed to being a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, etcetera. Perhaps, for some it means you are Western rather than Eastern in your origins. To hold any of these views dilutes the real meaning of what a Christian is and the requirements of Scripture in living the Christian life. We do not need “American Christianity.” We need “biblical Christianity.”
Christians who subscribe to biblical Christianity must therefore bear the Lord’s banner in preserving what is right and righteous in the public square. Standing firm does not divide. Compromise does not unify. As citizens with constitutionally protected rights and liberties, we are free to hold our own views. Because Christians hold a particular view that is not in lockstep with the secular world does not mean we are divisive, uncivil or incorrect. It means we have a view we hold dear and we must continue to protect that view, even in an increasingly secular society. Those who would wish us to be otherwise are looking for the “secular America” and not the “Christian America.”
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