Although Americans by a vast majority profess to be Christians, most of our sociopolitical institutions seem bent on an actively anti-Christian course. How can this be?
Our public schools teach moral relativism to the Christians’ children, “values clarification,” and the joys of sex in every imaginable context but marriage. Our universities are even worse. Our courts hammer us with anti-Christian rulings —abolishing school prayer, creating a “constitutional right” to abortion, deleting “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and establishing additional “rights” to sodomy and homosexual marriage.
Our municipalities crusade against Christmas, and our entertainment (if that’s the word for it) media crusade against all decency. Even our corporations, in an endless quest for political correctness, pander to feminists and gay activists while going out of their way to insult Christians. Have you looked at an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog lately?
Obviously, if this goes on for too much longer, America will become a spiritual wilderness.
Why do we, the majority, allow this to happen?
Despite our numbers, we have not made our presence felt in the public debate. Those few Christians who try — Judge Roy Moore, to name one — are so ferociously demonized, so heaped with abuse and mockery, that the rest of us can’t help but think it is wiser to keep our mouths shut.
Thanks to our silence, there is no public debate. We’ve pulled our heads into our shells, leaving the Irreligious Left to dominate the airwaves, the press, the schools and colleges, and political campaigns. You’ll find hardly a trace of a Christian presence in any of those venues.
We have our own magazines, websites, radio stations, and bookstores. We think we’re speaking out, but we’re really only preaching to the choir. Mainstream America doesn’t hear us.
Wait a minute! We’re mainstream America.
No — we only should be. But we have yielded the mainstream to those whose fondest dream is to erase from public view every vestige of Christianity.
What Are We Afraid Of?
It’s a good thing that we talk among ourselves, and we certainly shouldn’t stop. It’s how we clarify our ideas. It’s how we learn to express them cogently.
The problem is that most of us stop there, when we need to take the next step. We need to be heard, loud and clear, by the public at large.
I know several Christians who have chosen not to display Ten Commandments flyers on their cars because, they say, they’re afraid their cars might be vandalized. None of them live in a neighborhood where vandalism is a problem. None has ever been threatened by an atheist. Yet they’re afraid.
Of being made fun of by their neighbors, that’s what. Of being called “fundamentalists” or “Christian Taliban” or worse, by liberals. Of seeing people roll their eyes and whisper about them having gone off the religious deep end.
We’re bold enough when we’re talking to each other. But when was the last time you spoke up when your friends or coworkers were enthusing over the latest “Will and Grace” episode? I’ll bet you didn’t. They would have thought you were uncool.
None of this is to say we ought to turn into public scolds. No one ever got nagged into godliness. If we come across as Pharisees and killjoys, all we can do is drive people farther into the liberals’ camp. It may give us a nice feeling of self-righteousness that’s difficult to resist, but it is not serving God.
Do you complain to other Christians and let it go at that when your school board forbids Christmas displays but promotes Kwanzaa? What would you do if your town decided to hold a Gay Pride parade? What do you say when your 12-year-old complains that he’s the only one in his class who isn’t allowed to watch “The Sopranos”?
It never was easy to stand up for Jesus — and our inaction over the last fifty years has made it harder. If we continue to sit on our hands, it’ll get harder still. Today they’re consecrating a homosexual bishop. Tomorrow they might be revoking the tax-exempt status of churches that refuse to perform homosexual “marriages.”
But how do we stand up for Jesus? How do we resist America’s slide into godlessness?
A Few Suggestions
Scripture tells us how. If we want to know what to do and how to do it, we have to study the Bible.
Space does not permit a list of all the applicable scriptural references. It would be a very long list. We can, however, hit a few highlights.
* First, get your own act together. “The key to social renewal is individual regeneration,” Chalcedon founder, R. J. Rushdoony, wrote.1 And Jesus said in Matthew 7:5, “[F]irst cast out the beam out of thine own eye: and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
We must wear, as St. Paul advised, “[T]he breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14), otherwise whatever we say won’t be worth much. Remember what happened to Newt Gingrich as a promoter of family values when he became known as a repeat adulterer and to William Bennett when his gambling habits became public knowledge. Oh, how the lefties love it when Christians are revealed as hypocrites!
We are called to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Mt. 5:13, 14), to live our own lives in a way that sets a positive example. Hear St. Peter’s advice, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God …” (1 Pet. 2:12).
The purpose of salt is to season food, not to gag the eater. The use of light is to illuminate, not to strike blind. When you do speak up, don’t nag, browbeat, taunt, or insult the person you’re trying to persuade. It doesn’t serve God.
*If you stand up for Jesus in this world, expect trouble. Be thankful you’re not living in the 1st century, when speaking up for Christ could get you killed. You ought to be able to handle a bit of eye-rolling, name-calling, or a cold shoulder.
The late Malcolm Muggeridge often spoke of the reaction of his friends and fellow journalists to his conversion to Christ. Some dropped him, some sincerely thought he’d lost his mind, and others just pretended not to hear him. But he wasn’t thrown to the lions; he accepted all the lesser hardships for Jesus’ sake, and a great many people did hear him.
*Be firm, be serious, but don’t lose your temper. An angry person can easily be made to look like a fool. Don’t say to someone, “You’re going to roast in hell for watching ‘Access Hollywood.’” Atheists love it when Christians do that.
*Finally, make sure you’ve got the message before you try to pass it on to someone else. If you really know God’s Word and understand it, you’ll know what to say when you have to say something. The Holy Spirit will speak through you as Jesus promises in Mark 13:11, “[T]ake no heed of thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.”
Many profess to be Christians, who don’t read the Bible, don’t know what it says, and drift around thinking that maybe movies and TV are supposed to be morally bankrupt, schools are supposed to proselytize for secular humanism, and judges are supposed to legislate from the bench against Christianity. They, in their millions, are the meat which must be seasoned.
Before you try to season them, get your own life in order; be a positive force in other people’s lives; brace yourself for trouble and refuse to duck it; keep a cool head on your shoulders; and marinate your own mind and your own heart in the message of the gospel.
Then let her rip.
1. R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (The Craig Press, 1973), 122.
- Lee Duigon
Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.
Lee has his own blog at www.leeduigon.com.