It seems as if every four years, when the presidential elections roll around in the USA, we get to take an uninhibited look at what the culture in this country looks like. It seemingly provokes the worst in people, removing the thin veneers of civility and allowing us to see deep into their beings, their souls.
I am no fan of Alec Baldwin’s. But the actor, I believe, either stumbled onto a hidden truth, or maybe he does think along these lines, I don’t know. In an interview with Time magazine he said, in answer to how he feels about his brother’s devout Christianity: “If it wasn’t political, I probably wouldn’t have anything to say. But the Evangelicals who say AIDS is payback for homosexuals—you don’t see liberals saying Hurricane Ike is payback for the Bush family living in Texas. I think that my brother really is very devout and very dedicated, and none of that bothers me until it becomes political.”
Can you see the cultural implications here? Does it sound vaguely familiar, like that music you have heard somewhere before but can’t quite put your finger on? Yes, we have heard this before, in the post-modernist view of science and religion. That is where this two-tier model first applied. Religion and science are mutually exclusive, we heard, one has nothing to do with the other. They answer different questions. One is an investigation into the things we can touch, smell, hear and see, while the other is on a spiritual level, we were lead to believe.
That was followed by education. We cannot allow the government to push religion down our childrens throats, it is forbidden by the Constitution, we heard again. We must follow the example of science and secularize. And so it was.
Now, just weeks before the election, we are hearing the same comment, this time from an actor, only this time it relates to how we are governed. I guess it is no huge surprise to those who have been following the trend to hear that the liberal left wants religion excluded from the policies we make. It is the next logical step, when most other areas of culture are already divided into the false dichotomy of religion versus culture.
In that respect, we are following in the footsteps of Europe, who partly by choice, through a similar process, and partly in front of the barrel of a gun, arrived at a secular culture. The European secular culture has achieved in two generations what didn’t happen in 2000 years before. Religion is mostly extinct. Whatever specter of faith remains is for the most part such a watered-down, politically-correct and tepid practice that it is barely worth a mention, and more importantly, has almost no influence in society at all.
And that is the future that is staring us in the face, right here in America.
One only has to look at the amount of hatred expressed against Christians, in particular Governor Palin as some Christian figurehead, in the popular press, liberal politicians and by the ego-maniacal Hollywooders to see clearly that they think as Baldwin does.
Writes Morford, in the SF Chronicle: “The universe must joking, would not dare dump such a homophobic, Creationist evangelical nutball on us, this anti-choice, God-pandering woman who’s the inverse of Hillary, this woman of deep inexperience who abhors birth control and supports abstinence education and shoots exhausted wolves from helicopters and hates polar bears and actually stands for everything progressive women have resented since the first pope Swift-Boated Eve.”
And raves Sandra Bernhard, specked with language I won’t care to repeat here, about how Governor Palin should leave the Old Testament alone, because it “has been left open for interpretation. And it is no longer taken literally.” (She then proceeds to call Gov Palin a “whore”.)
That is what is staring us as Christians in the face. We are welcome to sully the halls of megachurches and skulk around to our neighborhood prayer meetings. We can read the Bible, pray and preach. But only as long as we keep those things out of the broader American culture. For when we dare open our mouths to profess faith in God, and admit that the Bible is our first and only stop in our life outside of church as well, then we become “whores” and “nutballs”.
There is no logic to these types of attacks. It is the result of many years of Christians gracefully accepting retreat in the face of secular attacks in both the media and the courts, thus freeing up people like Baldwin, Morford and Bernhard to launch these atrocious attacks. And while there may be a small sputtering of indignation among Christians, there will be no massive outcry, no mass condemnation. No, just a proverbial shake of the head and a step further back, towards European-like obscurity for Christians.
So what then, can we as Christians do to stop this from happening?
There is a reason it is called the Great Commission, the one very explicit order that Christ left us with:
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Mat 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Only by relentlessly and tirelessly taking the good news of the Gospel everywhere, and allowing for the Holy Spirit to work with us and through us, can we ensure that the secularists are marginalized, and Christians not be afraid to also take their Christian principles into all areas of culture.
In this task there is a special task for the Christian leaders, who must not shy away from teaching Christians Biblical principles, with no relativism or ambiguity, and instructing Christians on how to apply those principles in broader culture. And no, I’m not talking about the ATM God preached in word of faith churches, but real application, in real life, outside of church, subject to the ultimate authority of God and His Word, and with an attitude of love, sacrifice and stewardship.
There can be no doubt left as to what our task as Christians are, proclaiming the gospel in word and deed, and in doing so, exposing the hypocrisy and vacuous attacks of secular liberals for what it is, baseless ad-hominem born out of hatred for God.
I thought Governor Palin, when asked about the attacks on her person and family, had a good answer. “I see it in perspective” she said. And so it must be for us as Christians. Let’s not get personally aggrieved by the rantings of the secularists, but be aggrieved for what they say about our God. What Jesus went through on the cross is much more than a call for insults. No, it was to bear our sins, to bring us salvation and eternal life. And to show us how to act in the face of attack. He was not afraid to speak out, and take His message anywhere, even to the highest court at risk of death.
Do then what Jesus asked, and do it like He did, and we will go a long way to putting God back on top in the USA.