By Adam McDuffie
Recently, I was walking back from lunch and saw a trickle of people walking along the street. They had clearly just left a demonstration of some sort, which I now know to have been the March for Marriage. They all carried signs and posters in their hands. Some held Bibles. As I passed them on the sidewalk, I had the chance to read a few of their signs:
“Husband and Wife. Mother and Father. United in Christ.”
“Preserve Traditional Marriage. Preserve Traditional American Values.”
“One man. One woman. Gen 2:24”
I think you get the picture. As I continued on my way, I reflected on what I had just seen.
I often hear the argument that the United States is a Christian nation and current U.S. policies are ignoring traditional Christian values. But, putting the question of whether or not the U.S. is a Christian nation to the side, what values are we using to define Christianity? What is the focus of a supposed Christian nation?
Apparently, a Christian nation is one in which we should label homosexuality as a sin and prohibit same-sex marriage, because the Bible says so. That’s their focus.
But what does a Christian nation have to say about the widespread poverty in this nation? The Bible says a little something about that, too.
If we’re going to be a nation of Christians that purports to be grounded in the fundamental importance of Scripture, maybe we should take a more holistic approach. Maybe we should look at all of it.
Why is stopping the “homosexual agenda” such a large focus of 21st century Christianity? Why is Christianity commonly associated with opposition to same-sex marriage? Why is that the defining issue for Christianity?
Regardless of your stance on homosexuality, you have to admit that this should not be a front-burner issue when there are men, women and children sleeping on benches without adequate food. Here in D.C., there are people living under overpasses on I-395, right there between K Street and the Capitol dome. They’re sleeping on benches in front of the White House. They’re begging for food along the streets of the U.S. capital.
What are we doing?
What are we focused on?
Sure, as a Christian, you want to confront sin. How about the sin of neglect? How about the sin of not serving the poor? How about the sin of not loving or caring for your neighbor?
You cannot honestly tell me that “family values” are more important than people’s lives.
Shame on us.
We were called to serve the least of these, according to Matthew 25:31-46. We are called to lives of service. Let’s commit to that. As Christians, let’s own that. Let’s show that we are putting the important issues first. We’re putting people’s lives first.
Let’s take this one problem at a time. If you want to talk about family values, that’s fine. Get back to me after we’ve eliminated poverty, but I’ll give you a hint from this Jewish carpenter, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before:
“You will always have the poor among you.”