Ever heard someone say, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me?” I get that on a very personal level, except in reverse, because I didn’t become a social conservative, social conservatism came toward me. Granted, many social conservatives who would be reluctant to count me amongst their ranks, and as someone who has been saying for years that I’m more socially conservative than the average person, but not an actual social conservative, I wouldn’t blame them.
Yes, I’m a Southern Baptist, I regularly pray to God, and I genuinely enjoy books like Peace of Soul and The Purpose Driven Life, but my church attendance is spotty at best.
After feeling guilty about stealing, I deleted my downloaded MP3 collection and bought it all from scratch legally, but it still contains everything from gangster rap to raunchy pop.
I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or gamble and I rarely curse, but it has nothing to do with moral concerns.
I try to be a good guy, but politics is a knife fight in a phone booth where nice guys finish last, so if need be, I can be as vicious as just about anyone you’ll run across on the Right.
I even at times draw the ire of diehard social conservatives who don’t like the 20 Hottest Conservative Women In The New Media contests that I run every year or the fact that I’ve been a little too friendly to the gay community. I have gay friends, I support GOProud, and I was even the very first sponsor of Homocon, which was the event that put GOProud on the map.
On the other hand, I didn’t support gays in the military, I think the Boy Scouts are making the right call about gay members and Scoutmasters, I was one of the millions of people who participated in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, and I couldn’t more adamantly oppose gay marriage.
Some people might find those stands contradictory, but as Billy Graham has said, “God will not judge a Christian guilty for his or her involuntary feelings.” So as a sinner in a world full of sinners, I may not always condone people’s behavior or agree that they should get what they want just because they want it, but that doesn’t mean I have to look down on them, hate them, or treat them badly. It’s true that God’s definition of marriage does not include gay marriage, but our God is a loving God who doesn’t tell us to hate people because they disagree with us.
Along the same lines, God is not okay with murdering innocent children. Saying you’re a Christian who’s pro-choice is like saying you’re a Christian who worships Satan. What you’re saying makes no sense because it contradicts what you claim to believe on the most fundamental of levels.
This gets into the reason that someone like me, flawed though I am, could now fairly be called a social conservative.
Although I believe that we Christians may have good-faith disagreements about what our obligations are as we try to stand up for our beliefs, that doesn’t mean we can take any position we like and call it “Christianity.” For example, it’s quite understandable that there might be Christians who disagree about whether we should go to war or if we have an obligation to give personal charity or demand that the government give it on our behalf. However, just because there might be a few places where Christians disagree with each other, that doesn’t mean there are infinite numbers of interpretations of our beliefs. If there were, calling yourself a Christian would be as meaningless as calling yourself “fair” or “nice.”
Because we’re flawed human beings, we Christians may engage in adultery, but that doesn’t mean it ceases to be a sin. A Christian may lie to try to get someone he doesn’t like in trouble, but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t gone astray. The problem we’ve begun to see with Christianity is that when our beliefs conflict with the values of the world, instead of admitting our sins, we’ve simply started to call the wrong things right because it’s easier. Instead of having the courage to stand up for Christianity, most Christians have decided they’d rather be in conflict with God than with their pushy neighbor, some jerk on the Internet, or what they’re seeing on their TV screen.
This starts with the cowardice of Christian pastors all around our country. Many of them bend over so far backward not to offend anyone that they’re no longer standing shoulder-to-shoulder with God. If even pastors aren’t willing to stand up for Christianity, then it’s no surprise that their flocks aren’t showing much courage either. It’s also not shocking that so many younger Americans are looking at Christians today and deciding that our faith isn’t for them. As it says in Revelation 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” If we Christians are lukewarm and don’t have the courage of our convictions, then we can’t expect lost people looking for something to believe in to join us.
This is not radicalism, it’s what used to be the default position for Christians. If you say you believe in Jesus Christ, but your beliefs crumple on impact each time they conflict with the world, then you’re not a Christian in anything other than name. I may be a sinner, a hypocrite, and far from perfect, but I am at least willing to take a stand for Christianity and what we Christians believe. Sadly, our country and our faith have degenerated so much over the past few decades that even that now qualifies as social conservatism.
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