I’m a Canadian — born and raised in Saskatchewan. But Kathleen and I lived for 18 years in the United States where I went to college and seminary and where we served pastorates. We now live in Canada but spend five-and-a-half months each winter in Florida.
This means when we are home in Canada we listen to Canadian cultural and political news, and when we are in Florida we get American cultural and political news.
In both countries, it seems the news media we follow report the same culture war between sexual revolutionaries and Christianity.
The sexual revolution is not new, tracing its beginning to the years following the Second World War, intensifying in the sixties of the last century, but in recent years showing open and increasingly malicious opposition to the Judeo-Christian roots of the western world.
The April, 2015 issue of Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, reports a speech given there on this subject in April by David French, a writer for the National Review.
He says, “… the battle is not between gay rights and religious liberty … but between the sexual revolution and Christianity itself.” In his long piece he convincingly supports his contention.
Yet, there is a guarded optimism in his presentation. He contends that “From the grassroots to the intellectual elite, conservatives are girding themselves for the long war, and a long war it will be.”
Those who cast this conflict in favor of gay rights have come forth with fierce aggression. By attempting to overwhelm the culture they try to define committed same-sex relationships as equivalent to marriage.
But French casts a ray of hope. Pointing to the church, he writes, “not a single orthodox denomination is making or even contemplating such (doctrinal) changes” so as to support the same-sex “marriage” drive.
“This means,” he goes on, “that tens of millions of Americans will remain – indefinitely – opposed to the continuing expansion of the sexual revolution.”
At the same time as I read David French I read a news report from Christian Week here in Canada for the same month. It was headed, “Christian Worldview Under Fire.” Christian Week is a substantial and thoughtful evangelical paper published in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Christian Week piece is about Craig McCartney, a member of the Canadian parliament from Vancouver Island, and his decision to leave the conservative party to sit as an independent. He does so, he says, to get greater freedom to speak out more effectively against what he calls an attempt by atheism to silence the Christian worldview.
With a federal election in view, he says, there exists a smear campaign “to undermine and discredit those who hold a Christian worldview in politics, law, medicine and academia.”
This threat can be documented from many incidents. Here are just two examples: On both sides of the border, heavy fines have been leveled against small businesses when, for reasons of conscience, proprietors refuse certain services intended for religious observances. And the legal establishment’s effort to keep a university from creating a law school simply because the university is a Christian institution.
If David French is right when he writes “a long war it will be” then Christians on both sides of the border must face the questions: Is it going to be a war worth fighting? How do we wage spiritual, not carnal, warfare in a conflict like this? In such an environment can the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of marriage be shored up, at least in the Christian community?
Here are three things Christians — whether nominal, Protestant, Charismatic, Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox, etc — can do to make our influence more clearly felt in the ensuing struggle. First, there is widespread need on both sides of the border to take the Christian faith more seriously at the personal level.
St. Peter wrote to Christians in deeply troubled times: “Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:1-3). That could mean revival.
Second, we should commit ourselves by prayer and participation to strengthen the local church we are a part of. Congregations of all sizes are in need of a deepening in both pulpit and pew that will make them greater spiritual powerhouses in our world.
Third, there is need for Christians in greater numbers to make our voice heard more clearly in public life – via comments to or from the various media we have access to, in public discussions, and in private conversations.
May the prophetic words of the prophet, Amos, never apply to the present community of faith on this continent at this critical time: “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion” (Amos 6:1).
Image credit: imprimis.hillsdale.edu