Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is regarded as an American hero because he called on the country to live up to its lofty ideals. He did so not as a constitutional scholar or elected official, but as a Baptist preacher.
The civil rights movement was powered in large part by black Christians who knew their Bibles well enough to know that they were just as fearfully and wonderfully made as their white peers. Their churches provided meeting locations to plan protests and steel themselves for the often brutal responses to their acts of civil disobedience.
The civil rights movement knew that enshrining racism and ethnic partiality through public policy, cultural norms, and social compacts was a violation of both the law of God and the laws of this land.
This nation’s transformation over the next 50 years was due in large part to Christians who were willing to put their faith into practice. The shifting norms regarding sex, sexuality, marriage, and family (SSMF) over the past generation is challenging Christians of every background to do the same.
Conservatives have stood firm despite recent controversies over Florida’s dishonestly called “Don’t Say Gay” bill and Texas’ decision to characterize “gender-affirming” surgeries for minors as child abuse. Doing so was not hard for anyone acting out of a desire to protect children from teachers who want to teach pronouns for the sake of gender ideology, not grammar.
A series of recent statements from conservative personalities have presented both a challenge and an opportunity for Christian conservatives who see the right following the left’s path related to LGBTQIA+ issues, just a few paces behind.
One was an announcement from Dave Rubin, political commentator and BlazeTV host of "The Rubin Report," that he and his husband are expecting to become parents in August and October of this year.
I have no expectation that a classically liberal, gay, pro-choice former atheist who grew up in a secular Jewish household in New York would hold himself to biblical sexual ethics. The issue for a lot of Christian conservatives was the reaction from people and groups we saw as brothers in arms, who never actually claimed to be brothers in Christ. These included congratulatory tweets from BlazeTV, PragerU, Megyn Kelly, and Christopher Rufo.
The issue for Christian conservatives isn’t whether these children’s lives have inherent worth. It is the moral and spiritual implications of two men taking two eggs from one woman and implanting them into two different women in the hopes of producing two babies who will grow up without the maternal love and affection of any of the three women.
For Christians who hold to a biblical worldview regarding SSMF, seeing fellow conservatives celebrate the creation of children to fulfill the desires of adults apart from God’s design for the family was a painful, but necessary reminder that conservatism and Christianity are not the same.
A recent tweet about Lia Thomas from Matt Schlapp, president of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), had a similar impact.
“No matter what one thinks of Lia’s ability to swim with women her story deserves our compassion. It will be interesting to hear Lia’s pov in 30 years.”
Thomas is a swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania and the first transgender athlete to win a Division 1 national championship. Several of Schlapp’s followers corrected his use of female pronouns in reference to a biological male. Others noted his concern for Thomas’ perspective on his controversial rise to dominance as opposed to the girls who think post-pubescent males have an unfair athletic advantage.
Schlapp is not an anomaly. The truth is that the entire country has become more accepting of every deviation from biblical teaching regarding sex, sexuality, and family. We went from tolerance and “hate the sin, love the sinner” to affirmation and “love is love” in a single generation.
The left celebrates these changes because they see the LGBTQIA+ movement as a powerful political force. The right tolerates them because non-religious conservatives are functionally libertarian when it comes to matters of personal behavior. Christian conservatives reject them because we know any society that rejects God’s design for mankind and any limitations on human behavior cannot have true freedom.
The left is motivated by political power, conservatives by constitutional rights, and Christians by biblical order.
For liberal Christians, the cart of faith is typically dragged by the horse of politics. This is how professing Catholics like President Biden or ministers like Senator Raphael Warnock can also be advocates of abortion.
This is what ideological subversion and cultural capture look like. We still have a “closet”; we’ve just changed who is in it. The people who feel compelled to acknowledge that Lia Thomas and Dr. Rachel Levine are men claiming awards and opportunities meant for women know that they are the ones who may be fired from their jobs, shamed on social media, and shunned by their peers. They see elected officials in a congressional hearing refer to pregnant mothers as “birthing people” and understand who is winning the culture war.
America has been completely queered.
Thankfully, Christians have a biblical foundation for sexual ethics that can last longer than two election cycles. God created males and females and marriage as the lifelong union between one man and one woman. Sex is blessed within the context of these unions and, barring old age or medical issues, children are a blessing that point to the fruitful outcome and reproductive purpose of sex.
Deviations from these standards, whether through fornication, adultery, abortion, homosexuality, or the rejection of the gender binary, are sins because they distort the order and purpose of God’s creative design.
This may sound overly judgmental to some people, but our position is not rooted in hatred. Christian love is expressed first and foremost through care about the eternal resting place of a person’s soul. This is why we share the good news that true liberty and freedom can be found by all who turn from their sin and follow Jesus Christ.
It is also why we wonder how a country that reveres Dr. King for using the Bible to refute the evils of racism can vilify people who use the same text to affirm the intricacy of the human body and the primacy of the natural family.
The left is largely responsible for that, but there are also many Christian churches and pastors who have completely failed to shepherd their own flocks and speak with moral clarity about SSMF to the broader culture. These Christians have been ushers in a world that needs guardians.
These evangelicals, both black and white, have been so focused on making “racial reconciliation” the primary goal of the American church that they fail to recognize – or choose to ignore – the threats on the horizon.
In less than a decade, we went from ESPN giving Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Nickelodeon promoting gender ideology to toddlers through one of its most popular shows.
Adults are clearly trying to introduce issues around sex and gender identity as early as possible, but even they have not fully thought out the implications of their ideology.
If 100 men in peak physical condition were stranded on an island with 100 transgender women, in 100 years not a single person on the island would be alive and no new generations would have been created.
That’s a fact, not an attack. The question we should answer as a society is whether enshrining such radical changes in our laws and culture is a sign of progress. In 15 years, there will be thousands of adults with serious mental illness and conversion regret who will be rightfully upset at the adults who failed to tell them the truth in love. Some of these individuals will be missing hunks of flesh from their legs and other parts of their bodies that were used to fashion artificial sex organs.
Christian leaders who are largely silent on these issues are neither loving nor kind. The evangelical church should be taking the lead in answering those questions, but an honest observer can see the unspoken compact between the sacred and secular realms that has developed over time.
Evangelicals who speak out against racism and sexism can have their political views featured in the Atlantic, their books reviewed in the New York Times, and their music promoted on "The Breakfast Club" if they tread lightly when it comes to LGBTQIA+ issues. Self-professed Christians across the political spectrum are rewarded handsomely as long as they leave the idols of the broader culture in place.
Green is the color of their compromise.
Christian conservatives have an opportunity to be the engine that leads our country back to embracing God’s design for sex, sexuality, marriage, and family. Along the way we may find ourselves making common cause with other conservatives who don’t share our spiritual convictions. People who reject God’s saving grace can still produce work that benefits society and highlights God’s common grace. We just need to ensure that our view of man is always flowing from our view of God. Our theology should determine our sociology.
We should also feel free to engage politics, especially at a local level, as full citizens. We should be clear on our values and vote for candidates we believe represent our interests. When situations require us to speak up, we should do so with equal parts grace and truth.
Our life experiences, cultural norms, emotions, alliances, or financial interests can never be our guiding light. All are vulnerable to corruption because each of us is a sinful being in need of God’s grace. Our unity should always be found in Christ alone.
The fight will be hard, but it is worth it if we endure to the end. We must, because for us, the choice on this side of eternity is simple: We can either have Christ or chaos.