After a tumultuous 2015, with many states removing Confederate Flags from statehouses and Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists vandalizing them, there are still many who are defending the Confederate Flag. The fact that it is not politically correct actually appeals to me. I really want to eliminate political correctness, so part of me wants to support the flag for that reason alone. It is a flag that speaks to standing up for states’ rights, and I greatly respect the 10th Amendment, so that endears the this flag to me. I also believe in being historically correct; not forced to erase a piece of history and heritage. Some parts of my humanity want to “bow up” and support those who are still fighting for the Confederate flag. But it is clearly a symbol used by hate-groups and runs counter to my faith. A bigger part of me won’t allow me to support it.
Most of the nation was angry and sickened by the crisis of capitulation that occurred at the University of Missouri recently. Mizzou protesters conjured arbitrary offense to blame isolated allegations of racism on everyone but them, causing the dismissal of the university’s president and painting the students of the university as bigots. Many voiced their concern that capitulating to the hypersensitivity of a few teaches hate and mob-rule to our young people. In a society that seems to get more morally lax by the moment, teaching the demonstration of hate exacerbates the problems of healing our differences. A bigger part of all of us must allow and support love.
I truly believe that the majority of Americans are working very hard to avoid racism and other forms of wrongful discrimination. When BLM, Westboro, Confederate, LGBT or other disrespectful activists show up intimidating schools, politicians and government institutions to bend to their will, I am deeply offended. I respect the right to free speech, but disrespecting the rights of others and mob-rule are not free speech. They are hate and bigotry. I want to lash-out and demand the bigots of the world respect their fellow Americans. But if I were to lash-out, I would be serving the author of hate. I am committed allowing Christ to be the bigger part of me.
Jesus didn’t organize selfish protest marches or advocate mob-rule. He didn’t teach our young people to hate others if they feel offended. Christ was attacked by authorities, mocked by those in power, and had claim to every human rationalizing of hate. Still, he taught humility, forgiveness and love. He taught that, just because our minds can justify our anger, there are generations behind us, watching us. If we give in to impudence, bigotry, anger and fits of rage, God is watching us, and so are our children:
Matthew 18:6-8 (NLT)
But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet.
It’s not to say that Christians can’t organize and let their voice be heard. There are issues that the public has been misinformed about, and an honest, peaceful demonstration calls attention to issues of moral wrong. The difference for Christians is that they are motivated by love and compassion, and represent the Prince of Peace – they can’t injure others and represent Him. Some who see a Christian demonstration might be insulted by the offense of the gospel, but the comportment of Christ’s followers should not cause offense. God’s Word insulted my sinfulness before I was saved, but as a Christian I am blessed by the conviction I feel when God’s Word corrects me.
When Christians gather to oppose the killing of unborn people, it is a life-or-death commandment we are informing the public about. When we oppose changing the legal definition of marriage, it is certainly fair for Christians to show up in favor of supporting the family. But when Christians do assemble to demonstrate on behalf of life and families we have to be mindful not only who we are, but Whose we are. If we are led by love and treat others (including our enemies) with compassion, we are probably assembling to demonstrate the right thing. Christians demonstrating should not cause others to stumble. The Apostle Paul cautions about how we can be haughty and arrogant, showing the world that we believe we are above the humbleness of Christ.
1 Corinthians 8:9-13 (NLT)
But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.
As Christians, we have to be aware that unbelievers, seekers and our children all see us as representatives of Jesus Christ. The truth is we are all broken sinners, but Christians realize they need salvation from their sinfulness. Still, we have a hard time seeing our sin. The antidote for overlooking our own sin is a good dose of God’s Word and a broken heart ready to hear the Holy Spirit. We will most certainly sin, and when we deny it we lead a weaker sister or brother to sin. If a Christian presents themselves as “holier than thou”, judgmental, smug or fake, they bring discredit on the One whom they claim is the Lord of their life. Hypocrisy does show who someone is allowing to be lord of their life, but that lord is dark and no Christian would ever want a part of him.
In summary, we should be aware of the associations we are drawn to. If those associations are protesting for selfish, special treatment, are demanding revenge and displaying anger, hate and mob-rule, no Christian can serve the lord of those protests. If the Leader of our demonstration is Jesus, though we may be hatefully opposed, we will respond with love and compassion. Our actions should never repel people from Christ, but draw them to Him. We can assemble, as Christians, to advance the cause of Christ, but we are admonished to look like Him when we do.
The alternative point of view, David, is that you are opposing a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and her individual rights. There is no such thing as unborn people. Every period is a missed opportunity for an unborn person. However you dislike it, you are referring to foetuses. Not people. Not babies.
It’s not life or death at all. You are trying to take away a woman’s basic civil rights. Similarly with your opposition to homosexual marriages. You are opposing equal rights for other humans. It has zip, zilch, nada to supporting the family. Your opposition is negative, denying someone something you have. Homosexual marriages aren’t attacking ‘the family’.
As a matter of interest, did the Christians demonstrating against Christian hypocrisy at a gay pride march support homosexual marriage?
Love your blogging handle! I lived in Sicily, 20km from the Med. Thanks for commenting, and sharing the opposing viewpoint. I value your opinion. For the sake of balance, it is worthwhile to respond to your comments.
It seems your entire argument is an assertion that human beings are not human beings by virtue of timing in their life-cycle. We are geriatrics, teenagers, toddlers and fetuses. At no point in our life-cycle does anyone have a right to murder us. Except extremely rare cases of pregnancy by force, a woman has the choice of whether to house and gestate another human being. By her choice, she has surrendered her rights in favor of the care of a new human being. As long as there is a human being inside of her, they both have rights and both deserve respect from under the law. To assert that unborn people are not people is absurd, and no serious advocate of human rights could think such a thing.
As for marriage, it is between a man and a woman. Anything else is contrived. When you twist the language to accommodate the extreme exceptions of biological and societal norm, you weaken the legal status of the institution. I have nothing against people who want to shack up and play house. If someone doesn’t share my religious convictions I am loathe to have them imposed on them. Still, when you change the legal definition of marriage, you open up the floodgates of redefinition, and we have seen the flow coming from those floodgates. Yes, we have a lesbian “thruple” marrying in New England, the polygamists have begun legal proceedings for recogition, and NAMBLA has used the decision to legitimize pedophilia. You can’t argue with the truth of what has happened… it occurred already and it is reported in the news.
The Christians demonstrating against hypocrisy at the gay pride march were demonstrating against the misguided Christians who have abused their faith as an excuse to hate. Jesus commanded us to love one another, and that is exactly what we should do. Disagreeing about a legal matter is not hate. I can disagree with someone and still love them.
I appreciate your taking time to read my posting. It is a privilege you give me that I greatly value.
Thank you David. Never made it as far south as Sicily although I lived in northern Italy at one point. Scientifically and legally, a foetus is not a person, regardless of what your personal and religious views are (the two are the same I suppose), so a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body takes precedence.
By her choice? It takes two people to conceive. So it’s a dual responsibility. But, there are cases of rape, incestual rape, contraceptive failure, forgetfulness, and basically, all these impact on the woman. No one takes a decision lightly to bring a child into this world and for some people, it isn’t possible to do so. For this reason we have legal abortion before the foetus develops sufficiently to live independently. And whether or not one agrees or disagrees with abortion, murder and violence against PP is deplorable.
In essence, a foetus is not a person, to describe it as an unborn person is duplicitous and emotionally manipulative. And no serious advocate of human rights would ever deny women the long-fought battle for her right to do as she chooses with her own body.
Marriage is between two people. This is the law in an increasing number of secular countries. We are not living by the bible, fortunately, and, finally two people of the same sex who love each other are able to enjoy the same rights as those of opposite sex. Again, a basic human right that removes discrimatory practice.
‘Shack up and play house’? Pretty derisory, and not really in keeping with your overall respectful tone.
But, why shouldn’t the legal definition of marriage change? To achieve equality of human rights? It doesn’t affect you or me.
And thank you too.
I didn’t expect we would agree about much. Thanks for the comment.
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“We can assemble, as Christians, to advance the cause of Christ, but we are admonished to look like Him when we do.” Great quote and super reminder.
Well said Brother
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