Specific issues, here we come.
As inadequate as it is, I think I’ve done the best I could to provide a preliminary foundation in order to optimally discuss several important current affairs.
In a circuitous route we’ve discussed the culture that forms us; what it means to have knowledge or know something; how we are driven to certain beliefs by wanting to belong to particular groups; what love actually is; and ideal methods of locating our identity.
The themes of these posts have all been intentional to get to this point, where we can adequately address the most difficult and contentious issues that face us as individuals and as a society.
There is no such thing as pure objectivity without bias, but I’m hopeful that the work to get to this point has us in a position where we can understand where our ideas and motivations are coming from; begin to recognize if they are coming from places of brokenness; and respectfully consider everyone’s opinions.
In all cases, the opinions I express are by no means intended to be oppressive, nor are they necessarily static – I’ve been convicted otherwise on several of them throughout my life. Please thoughtfully disagree with me if you do and we can talk about it – I’m not out to force anyone’s hand on any of this but instead to present what is in my view an ideal. Naturally, I may be wrong on any or all topics.
I think we have to start by asking whether anyone has the right to politically legislate moral opinions: am I my brother’s keeper?
Like it or not, law and legislation by definition ARE morality. A law is a moral position – i.e., murder, theft, and fraud are illegal because those who passed the laws found these acts to be immoral. Any law that is passed that either limits or delimits freedom is expressing some group’s moral views. The question we have to ask ourselves is: whose morality should we legislate?
Speaking from my own perspective, the Christian is in an incredibly awkward position here. We think our beliefs represent reality and thus are ideal for humanity to thrive. Yet the methods of the Kingdom of God are not supposed to be coercive – ours is a Kingdom that is intended to operate underneath the powers of worldly authority, not to impose authority in the same manner as the world.
Part of the intention of the Gospel – that God loves us unconditionally – is that we have to choose to love Him in return; it isn’t something that can be forced. And of course so many Christians don’t live this out in their lives, as those on both the Christian Right and the Christian Left (yes, there is such a thing) attempt in their own ways to operate like every other worldly power and control policy.
The quandry for a Christian is thus our call to spread the Gospel (which includes our morality) in a way that isn’t mandated, which would include being an influence on policy and legislation without explicitly forcing anything down anyone’s throats. That’s done by…uh…uh…
Suffice to say it’s not done easily. I’m really not sure if there is a black-and-white list of “do’s and dont’s.” The best thing for a Christian to do is live his or her life as an example for others regardless of what society’s laws are or aren’t. But I can’t say that necessarily entails a Christian ALWAYS remaining silent concerning political issues. I can think of several instances where I think Christians are called to enter the social discussion. I can also think of several instances where Christians should probably shut up.
That being said, let’s discuss!