Sooner or later, we have to choose
September 5, 2012
Many of us, in the 60s and 70s, were drawn into the liberal fold because of our opposition to a war, our concern for the poor, and our yearning for a view of life that transcended what we saw as a narrow fundamentalism that dominated our churches. Liberalism promised all that and more: sexual “freedom,” fun drugs, do-it-yourself morals, “I’m OK, you’re OK” acceptance, etc.
It was a lie, of course, but liberalism wasn’t going to tell us that. We would have to figure it out for ourselves. Many of us didn’t, and that’s why the ranks of liberalism/progressivism are as gray-headed as the occupants of our home churches’ pews.
Many of us managed to maintain our denial of the truth through the decades, in spite of the mounting evidence that “free love” isn’t free, abortion is far more than birth control, “fun” drugs make you stupid, and do-it-yourself morals mean the pedophile has as much right to affirm his sexuality as the homosexual.
Now a seemingly insignificant change of phrase in the Democratic Party’s national platform brings the fundamental issue into perspective. This year’s platform changes this statement:
“We need a government that … gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”
The change removes “God-given.” Democrats who are still Christians might argue they don’t want to offend non-believers. This is, after all, a secular democracy. Christians don’t have a right to impose their belief in God on people who say there is no God.
Leaving aside the questions about whether the US is /should be a secular democracy and whether the platform’s generic references to “faith” and “religious” people have any meaning at all, we ought to think for a moment about “offending” non-believers and “imposing” beliefs about God. If leaving “God-given” in place would be imposing belief in God on people who don’t believe, how is removing the phrase not imposing secularism on Democrats who profess to be God’s people?
The confrontation is between a worldview that says there is no God and our world is alive through meaningless chance, and a worldview that says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.” The one rejects the idea of moral values that are true for everyone, everywhere, all the time; the other asserts that the only way to know what is right and wrong is to look to what God has to say on the matter. The one says religious and moral truth is whatever an individual thinks it is and that all paths lead to whatever “god” a person chooses to seek; the other looks to a teacher who says, “No one comes to the Father but by me” and “If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father.”
Is that harsh? Jesus also said he did not come to bring peace, but a sword. He said his followers would be hated by the world, even by family and friends. Jesus said trees bear either good fruit or bad, and that trees bearing bad fruit are cut down and thrown on the fire. If you’ve read the Gospels at all, you know Jesus drew a clear line between those who would be set free by the truth and those who want to accommodate worldly people and values. No man can serve two masters. Either you build your house on rock, or you are building it on sand.
It’s the choice between being Peter, who at first denied, then gave his life for Jesus’ mission, and Judas, the “friend” of Jesus who betrayed him with a kiss.
The choice of words in the Democratic platform is not a do-or-die moment. Neither of the major parties’ elites care anything about Christians, except how they can be persuaded to vote for the party’s candidate.
The fundamental issue is there, however, and will only be more sharply defined as secularism/materialism continues to mold this country through the liberal/progressive worldview. Christian faith isn’t just another opinion in a world of opinions. The facts are that God is real and Jesus is alive. Once you understand that, it makes all the difference in how you relate to unbelievers and how you engage in community life at every level.
Christians can love every neighbor, but they cannot be everyone’s friend, any more than Jesus could be friends with the religious leaders who wanted him dead. He had to choose between their acceptance and enduring the cross.
Sooner or later, we have to choose as well … if we haven’t made that decision already.