These days the fault lines between self-identifying ‘evangelical Christians’ are showing up like crazy. I for one am glad. Whatever serves to differentiate between the players and pretenders is always welcome to me.
There is a layer of these folks under our banner who resist taking stands that may bring down on themselves a backlash from friends and neighbors, colleagues and associates. So, they mince and dance, shuck and jive. They like to present as sophisticates and distance themselves from those they blow off as knee-jerk, Bible thumping ‘right wingers’ who wave the flag in one hand and their faith in the other. They do whatever they can to come across as thoughtful ‘upper crust’ evangelicals who are likeable and culturally malleable and, ah, yes, relevant.
To put all that in more concrete terms, these folks in my sights will typically downplay the lightening rod issues among traditional evangelicals and jump on the bandwagons and mantras of the political left wing. They wince, for example, when we get all wound up about the barbarity of abortion, or the normalizing of homosexuality (and other sexual perversions), and runaway feminism in the home and the churches, etc.
They kind of want to change the subjects. To their minds there are bigger fish to fry. That stuff I mentioned is all stale dated. Time to move on. The culture has passed us by. Time to talk about social justice (about which they seem to be clueless).
You will hear them justify their moral indifference quite often by explaining that “I don’t want to be defined as a one-issue person.” In other words, all issues are created equal or relatively so and I can’t let my opposition to one neutralize me with respect to all the others.”
That stance is what I most want to address, especially as a Christian.
That position, in my opinion, is both irrational and also hypocritical. The first I know; the second I suspect.
Imagine believers in the days of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, Jews being gassed or otherwise murdered or worked to death by the millions. The believers ‘next door’ know very well what is going on. If asked they may say they find the holocaust objectionable, but as the Big Issue in the case of the Nazi regime they wave it off as just one German issue among many. After all, when Hitler rose to power there was the German economy which was in the dumpster and German pride was in the pooper. This Jew thing was just one issue among many others, so they inform us, they don’t want their political personality to be defined by a single issue. Those ovens were not that big, all things considered.
I don’t know about you, and I think that analogy is fair, I would not take that believer seriously as a moral being. The fact that they could ‘level’ the Holocaust with those other issues would thoroughly discredit their Christian profession, smack of deep hypocrisy, and cause me to question their social and political courage.
That is exactly the way it strikes me whenever I hear someone say, I don’t think we should let ourselves be defined by a single issue (when the abortion industry is taking more lives than the Nazis). What are these people thinking? Has this country been complicit in child murder so long that our consciences are now numb to it and we manage to convince ourselves it is only one issue among so many other important ones?
Sometimes in the political world it could indeed be the case that there are multiple issues, many of them rising to critical importance. Sometimes, like the Civil War days, other issues pale in moral importance compared to others. Only the politically naïve would fail to grasp that.
In the days of the Civil War, who could miss the fact that abolition of slavery and preserving the union transcended all others? Who would have had any intellectual or moral credibility that protested that they did not want to be a one-issue voter? Can you even imagine that?
William Wilberforce of England is one of the great names in the history of the abolition of slavery. If ever there was a one-issue man it was Wilberforce in his singular passion to stop English slave trading. He had many powerful opponents, but today he stands out like the sun as a bright and shining moral leader.
Do you see how ridiculous that excuse sounds?
I said it was hypocritical. That is because it has always been harder for me to believe that people are frankly, just that stupid than to believe they are just being hypocritical. Honestly. That rationale just hides the fact that these folks have just come to the point where to tell the truth their consciences are just not all that moved by the horror of these abortion mills.
Besides, it appears to me they so crave the approval of a certain set of people that they will not risk getting kicked out of the club, so to speak, by taking a contrary position. Such is their need to belong.
Who are they fooling? Not me and certainly not God. They can say what they want. They can protest against being ‘judged’. Their actions speak for themselves. They are dancing with the devil.
Oh, could I forget? Please explain, those of you who are so sensitive about getting hung up on a single issue (like abortion), why you are so prone to get hung up on single issues like social justice or climate change?
Ironic, isn’t it?