Many Christians are distraught over our political situation. We are trying to chart an honorable course through an increasingly unreasonable moral minefield. I think the solution is at once simpler, and more difficult, than it seems. We need to tell the truth, in season and out of season, and let the chips fall where they may. Easy to state. Tough to do.
In his masterful book on the Catholic martyrs of the 20th century, Robert Royal observed that the Catholic Church simply had no good options during World War II. The Church’s position so materially weak compared to its opponents, that it was beyond the power of the Vatican to affect the outcome. There was objectively no policy they could have adopted, that would have prevented the disasters of the 20th century, or even protected the Church’s legitimate interests.
Image source: Flickr/Peter Miller
Christians in the United States today are in a similar position. Media, academia, the legal system, the politician and big business are united in their support of the sexual revolution. The rich and powerful want what alpha males have always wanted: sex on their own terms. They consider it the government’s duty to minimize the inconvenience they experience from their sexual behavior.
The Church has always told the rich and powerful that they are not entitled to have whatever they want. The moral law of God applies to the rich as well as the poor, the powerful as well as the weak. And the cultural elites have resented the Church for this, all the way back to Apostolic times.
Our situation is more like the French resistance, rather than the U.S. Army.
I draw three conclusions from this.
First, we need to be gentle with each other. We gain nothing from attacking one another. “None of this would have happened, if only the church had done, X, Y or Z,” some say. There is no “X, Y or Z” that can truthfully fill in that blank. Even if there were one grand cause of all our present ills, there is no one grand path forward that will solve all our problems.
Second, we must pace ourselves for the long haul. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Think of your most messed up loved-one. In your heart, you know there is no quick fix for that soul. Only our long-run commitment to their salvation will suffice. Our culture needs no less. We must not sacrifice the long term ultimate good for the sake of short term, lesser goods, including, if need be, the outcome of any particular election.
Finally, we need to tell the truth. That means the whole truth: nothing tempered for the sake of political correctness, nothing omitted for fear of giving offense. Yes, we can speak gently and sensitively, but we must tell the truth.
And one of the inconvenient truths is this: The churches have allowed far too much of the sexual revolution to go by with only token resistance. To our credit, we immediately recognized the evil of abortion and closed ranks against it. But we have allowed divorce and remarriage, cohabitation, sexual promiscuity, the pornification of our culture, the early sexualization of children and much more, to go by unchallenged.
We fought gay marriage, yes. But we tried to do it without ever taking on the larger questions of what the “gay” label actually means, whether people really are, “born that way,” the obligations of adult society to children, the dubious claim that sexual activity is the key to human fulfillment and many other cultural sacred cows.
I am well aware of the magnitude of our task. I am also aware of the benefits of specialization: an individual or organization usually can’t fight effectively on multiple fronts. But I do insist that we support one another on every front where our people are telling the truth.
Above all, we must, quoting St. Paul, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). And, “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14).
The behavior of the European churches during WWII and the Cold War is a mixed bag. Some tried to accommodate themselves to the evil regimes in which they found themselves. Others, sometimes within the very same churches, resisted nobly. We now look at the accommodations with more disgust than sympathy. As Winston Churchill said, “Let us therefore, brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth should last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘this was their finest hour.’”
Let this be our finest hour.
Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown. Visit on-line or on Facebook.
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