My colleague in the Baptist ministry, Greg Faulls, has written an article about Christian life in the aftermath of the ruling on same-sex marriage.It mirrors so many others from the evangelical camp, articulating disappointment, angst, awareness of new cultural realities, and a determination to live for Jesus in “these increasingly wicked times.” He writes, “A serious question that will have to be dealt with in the days to come is how this ruling impacts religious liberties for people holding to the biblical view of sexuality and marriage.”
But here is my question.
Where is all this travail at the other signs of the wickedness of the world, the marks of society that run counter to the kingdom of God that have dominated our culture for many years, those many other ways in which the American culture resists the ways of Jesus?
Such as our gun culture? The racism? The distain for the poor? The resistance to government helping the weak, the poor, the lonely, the stranger?
Why haven’t these evangelicals posted memoranda and gathered signatures and preached sermons and organized people against these sorts of things?
Is gay marriage more wicked than, say, sending kids to white academies so they don’t have to go to school with poor, black kids?
Is gay marriage more wicked than, say, selling guns into the most violent gun culture in the entire world and resisting all efforts to combat the gun culture?
Is gay marriage more wicked than, say, resisting tax reform that would transform public education and health care and make life more hopeful for millions of people, especially poor, desperate immigrants?
Why is it that gay marriage suddenly pushes our country over the moral edge into the darkness?
Why is gay marriage the decisive move that makes “Bible-believing people” strangers in our own culture?
I am already a stranger, an alien in a land where the wealthy get richer and the poor get poorer, where the alien among us is treated with contempt and anger, where war is the quick and expensive option to international disputes, where poor people are locked up, often on death row, because they cannot afford lawyers, where corporations rape the good earth and then pay “scholars” to testify that they are not harming the earth, where people (including too many “Bible-believing Christians”) unleash their deep seated bigotry against a president who just preached one of the finest sermons/addresses/testimonies ever spoken by an elected public leader and then led a mass choir in the singing of that greatest of all gospel songs, Amazing Grace, for God’s sake!
I am ready for a manifesto, yes, but it is not because a few people among us want to get married in ways that seem strange.
It is because too many Christians are whining about being “persecuted” and are describing themselves as “victims” of a society and nation they cannot control. They want to feel sorry for themselves and they want us to have pity on them.
Yes, I have pity on them, because for too long their preachers and teachers have fed them this line about the marginalized people around us: immigrants, poor and black, poor and white, gay and transgendered, agnostic and atheist, divorced, unwed, even Muslim. These are people of the Kingdom, Jesus taught us, not the rich white people who flock to big churches carrying their big Bibles and listening to high paid preachers on big screens.
We need a manifesto, indeed, but one that reads more like the Sermon on the Mount than the “woe is us, Lord help us survive” stuff that is going around the Church these days.
Wake up, Evangelicals.Shake your neighbor in the pew next to you out of this fog of denial and despair. God is at work in the world, redeeming, lifting, saving, transforming, rescuing even the perishing, even if you cannot see it because of the bushel under which you are hiding.
Jesus is here. Jesus the Savior. Rejoice!