A reasonable follow up question to my recent post on Rush Limbaugh and Jesus is: why the obvious lean towards being willing to be mistaken for right-wing nut jobs? Why not speak more even-handedly about being associated with left-wing nut jobs too?
Well in principle, that is of course true. We should be willing to stand with Jesus whatever the threat. If I stand up and say biblical principles require that nations have very lax immigration laws, and that we should grant amnesty to all illegal immigrants with no criminal records, I suppose there might be a few conservatives who give me a squinty look. If I suggest that our military has been grossly entangled in economic charades and treated other nations so unjustly and shed so much innocent blood that Christians ought to stay away and get out, I might get a few nationalistic shrieks and boos. What if I endorsed various plans to gradually reduce government spending, taxing, welfare, etc. while continuing benefits for the most at-risk demographics? I’m just an annoying luke warm moderate at the end of the day and not a real threat to anybody. I will receive no hate mail, no bomb threats. Yawn.
Another way to make this point is the fact that, Rahm Emanuel notwithstanding, there are no liberal retards. There are no left-wing nut jobs. There are only right-wing extremists. Now I know that there actually *are* some on the left, but they don’t get tarred and feathered in the media. They don’t get strung up and chased out of town with laughter nipping at their heels. Al Gore shouldn’t be given the time of day. Al Sharpton shouldn’t be anything but a loon. But instead they get time on CNN with people asking them serious questions. On the other hand, Sarah Palin is a complete goon. Ron Paul is a crazy old fart. If Kirk Cameron mentions that homosexuality is a sin, he gets trounced. If an ESPN correspondent is cornered on the air with the same question and politely shares his belief, he gets the red-faced, mouth agape, finger pointing chatter of the media monkeys. Anybody that has a real independent, vaguely biblically informed worldview is a complete nutcase buffoon. But now a guy with the last name Weiner comes along, whom heaven has laughed at previously for having an obsession with the member for which he was named, and now he’s running for mayor of New York City. Heh.
This is because there are no liberal clowns. You can be as inane as Anthony Weiner and have the name to go with it and still mount a campaign to run for mayor of New York City and be taken seriously.
All of this is to say that all the gravity, all the pressure is pushing the other way. Since we really aren’t partisan, we can just as easily say that Mark Sanford should have been laughed back to his South Carolina mansion for his adulterous stupidity. But you can tell which “right wing” guys are absolutely no threat to the liberal project because they get a pass. Why wasn’t he dismantled? Because he plays along. He has his pet issues, but he’s no real threat to the powers.
The other thing that I think we need to understand is the fact that so long as we are biblical when it comes to abortion and sexual morality, we are right wing morons to the establishment. It doesn’t matter if we don’t own guns, are highly suspicious about foreign entanglements, are cool with amnesty for illegal immigrants, and despise big business crapitalism. If we believe that life begins at conception and that sex is only to be enjoyed under the blessing of God in the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman, we are viewed as intellectual idiots.
What I’m seeing though (in some of our intellectual/reformed circles) is a slow moving tendency to down play the abortion and sexuality issues (without completely denying them) while running other issues up the flagpole (immigration, foreign business practices, war, etc). Of course I think Christians should stand for biblical morality on all these issues regardless of whether any party’s platform agrees. But thinking Christians also have to notice which way the current is pulling and lean against it. My post is obviously meant to lean toward the right. That’s not because right wing positions are all biblical. But because I’ve become convinced that it’s easier to fight right wing idolatries than left wing idolatries.
I’d rather duke it out over foreign policy and economics with people who are committed to basic Christian morals than join forces over labor laws in Indonesia with somebody who murders babies. As my dear baptist grandmother would say, that’s bassackwards.
Though my “let’s play fair” instincts have made me reluctant, I’ve become convinced that it takes more and more of an intellectual/moral backbone to stand for biblical positions on abortion and sexuality. Other positions held by the right may be unbiblical but are often at least held honestly. You have a much greater chance of talking to a person who unfortunately has a wrong headed view of the US military than you do when talking to a card carrying liberal robot. There are still going to be problems on the right, you’re still going to have people following in the crowd, giving thoughtless “correct answers”, but they have to put up with a lot more hatred to be there over time and the logic of their positions is likely to be far more biblical.
Now if you’ve got an awesome orphans and widows ministry, a sex trade rescue operation, or some kind of foreign aid ministry and you’re outspoken about biblical sexual morality and the life of the unborn, then more power to you. And Christians must be faithful in bringing grace to our hurting world in these ways. But as Louie Giglio found out, you’ll still get disinvited to the parties even if you’ve tried to avoid the hot button issues. That’s not good enough. And in the end, I think it’s a waste of time and effort and sends mixed signals to younger Christians. We must obey all that Jesus says. We must love our neighbors, care for the poor, preach the gospel, clothe the naked, be faithful to one wife, visit the prisoners, train up our children in the Lord, and feed our enemies. But lots of people want to “just do ministry” and not be political, but I’m afraid what that really means is that they don’t really want to take up their cross and follow Jesus. They don’t really want to be crucified for His sake, and they are out in waves that are carrying them down the beach far from where they began. And one day, they will wake up and not recognize the land around them, even though they were quoting Bible verses and going to church the whole time.
We need anchors, and the best anchors are heavy doses of biblical truth, especially the stuff that might actually get you in trouble. Nobody cares if you like helping orphans, but if you believe in spanking your children, headship and submission in a Christian marriage of one man and one woman, door to door evangelism, and think it should be illegal to flush little babies down the toilet, well my friend, welcome to extremist-ville. You’re a right-wing nut job. You are *that* guy. Now figure out how to be faithful to Jesus there.