THE THEOLOGICAL ENGINEER  



Pyrrhic Politics


By Jeff Laird





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Continued from Page Two


Lest someone accuse me of being simplistic, I'm aware of the depth involved in legal policy decisions. I really, truly get that. It's beyond what a single article can cover. All laws are based on moral principles; no exceptions. Society inevitably forces people to do some things they don't necessarily like. If everyone agreed on everything, we wouldn't need laws in the first place. Society is always going to be throwing shade at some belief system or another.

There will always be issues over which we'll argue about how much the government should be able to force participation. The draft. Vaccinations. Taxes. Environmental regulations. Drug use. And on and on. However, this country's take on civil rights has always been slanted towards protecting freedom, not conformity. Where we should tip the balance is not always going to be crystal clear. It's hard to define, in neutral terms, where laws would cross the line from simple non-discrimination into forced conformity.

But, like the famous line about pornography says, "I know it when I see it." And what's happening with respect to Christians and homosexuality is definitely not on the up-and-up. Telling a Christian they'll have to let homosexuals buy flowers off the shelf like everyone else is one thing. Telling the same florist, who served a gay man for years, that she has to get involved in his wedding isnít about anyone's civil rights. Nor is forcing a wedding hall or church to host an event — not the people, the event — they morally disagree with. Those are vindictiveness writ large.

It's on a completely different level to say, "most people in culture think action X is moral, so you will be directly involved in it." Once again, let's look at the examples of flipped-script conformity given above. Those are absolutely reasonable, if things go as they have been.

Recent developments are far, far more dangerous for the future of the LGBTQ community than they are for anyone else. That may be hard to see, and harder to believe, but it's true. The vast majority of history has been unfriendly to those who live an LGBTQ lifestyle, and while social views can change quickly, back and forth, governments don't relinquish power nearly so easily once they have it.

What I fear is that we're mere moments, and one Trump-esque charismatic demagogue, from seeing the very arguments, illogic, and legal weaponry you're gleefully wielding against Christians turned on you. Ten years from now, twenty years from now, your children could be asking, with accusation in their eyes, "what on earth did you do?" Once the precedents are set, you're at the mercy of whoever's barking orders to the mob. You cannot, should not, must not enable this self-refuting version of "freedom," where the only rights anyone actually has are those the majority likes.

Be careful what you wish for.

Why talk about it, then? Why make this kind of appeal? Why would I specifically speak to those who — we both agree — are ideologically opposed to me on sex and sexuality? Especially if this is not really about sexual ethics? Because I can say it, I can shout it, I can scream until my lungs explode. But, by the very rules of modern discourse, my opinion is going to be ignored. Not because I'm wrong, but because truth no longer matters.

I'm on the "wrong" side, so reason is irrelevant. And, as long as the "bad guys" are losing, nobody seems to care that they've set their own house on fire. The nature of this conversation means the message has to come from you. I don't think the hate-mongering fools at Westboro represent my faith, or the culture I want to live in. I don't support what suicide bombers and Ayatollahs do to poison common perceptions of "religion." So, I take an active, vocal, and purposeful stand — because I ought to, as a "religious" person.

So, too, do you.

I'm asking, directly and sincerely, for those in the LGBTQ community to strongly and decisively condemn this trend. Change the conversation. Share this view. Don't be passive while civil rights are chipped away, just because your side of the rock isn't shrinking...yet. Because it will.

Regarding homosexuality, you and I do not agree. Nor do we align on views of transgenderism or other sexual orientations. We're opposed on the issues of marriage and so forth. You want to change popular opinion to support your stance...as do I. And that — nothing more or less — is all the reason we need to defend each other's right to act or not act, to speak or not speak, as the other person sees fit.

As a Christian, I can endure a culture that rejects my views and hates my beliefs. I can accept the reality of a nation that boycotts me for my stance. But neither of us want to live in a culture where you must partake in whatever culture thinks is morally OK. This is civil rights 101. What's taken from one of us will eventually be taken from the other. And we won't get it back without a lot of pain and misery. If you don't like the thought of conservative Christians rejecting cake orders, just wait until Islam is in the cultural driver's seat...and you've handed them the kind of power these examples indicate.

An instance of what I'm advocating recently came via none other than Apple. That company flatly refused to hack a terrorist's iPhone for the government. Why, because they love terrorism? Because they hate the FBI? Because they hope to see more attacks? No, they refused to act because they rightly saw it as a dangerous precedent. As a Pandora's Box. In other words, if something gets a good result right now, hurts the "bad guys" today, but opens up the door for major problems later on, then the wise choice is to say, "no."

I don't know how to make that any clearer.

You and I strongly reject each others' sexual / social / spiritual positions. And that's the point. We may be facing in different directions, but we should do so standing back-to-back. Be cautious what you applaud. Be free, and vocal, in what you condemn. But above all, remember how easy it is for the tide to turn.

Be careful what you wish for.



Image Credit: Sheep"R"Us; "Lego bride and groom (altered)"; Creative Commons



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Published 4-11-16