I confess that I’m just not very politically minded, even with a Master’s Degree in political science. I glance at headlines from time to time, and I find the theories that attempt to explain human society and virtues like justice and fairness very interesting, but the ins and outs of Washington or Lansing just seem so far away to me. I barely have enough time and energy to get my dirty laundry to the hamper, let alone stay up on what the Supreme Court is debating. I do vote, though I’m superficial in my research and tend towards party lines. I care more about my family, the kingdom of God, and mountain bikes. Anybody with me?
But is that where I should be? Should I care more about politics and involve myself more in my society, which is on a steady crawl away from the values that I find important? Well, that depends on how excited I am to have my lifestyle shaped by the consequences of my apathy. An example is the recent Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) happenings. This might seem a tad slippery slopey, but here are some of the outcomes I can imagine facing based on where the DOMA debate is moving:
- A limit on my ability to share my strongly held beliefs that same sex marriage is outside of God’s will, that homosexuality is wrong and avoidable (like all other sins), and that the power of God that raised Jesus Christ from the grave is the same power that will save my wicked, putrid soul from hell and can and must save the LGBT person from his or hers, too.
- My children may grow up in a society that normalizes sinful behavior (even more than it is now) and makes it extremely hard to be a Bible believing Christian.
- I may be titled a bigot or bible-thumper and be the recipient of hate speech, threats, slashed tires or brick-shattered windows.
- I may disqualify myself from public office or being able to pray at ceremonies for those entering it (like Giglio).
- I may lose relationships with friends and family members.
- I may not be trusted enough to share with a person struggling with same sex attraction that I love them, that God does, too, and that I can sympathize with their struggle, but can’t condone their behavior.
- I may be imprisoned or assassinated (think Civil Rights Movement).
You may think I’m being dramatic. I’m not. America never has been nor will be immune to the gems of human hatred. Variations of the above scenarios have happened all throughout history and are present in many places right now. I’m glad that most of the above are not full on realities here where I live for the views I hold, but it’s not a stretch to imagine a life where they are. It’s the recipe born of the ingredients of sinful humans and vastly different perspectives.
What makes this complicated is that many of the “consequences” I listed above have been suffered by the homosexual community from people who share some of my values and beliefs. Some might say, “maybe it’s time you narrow-minded fundamentalists take a little of your own medicine.” Point taken. To those who have suffered from the illegal, hateful and violent actions of those who hold my worldview, I’m genuinely sorry. They are poor representatives of our King. Neither side should be ever be venomous, hateful or acting outside the parameters of democratically chosen laws. And my preferred method for winning people to my side is through kind, authentic, and passionate conversations. You know, the kind mature adults have.
But regarding my desire to have society structured as I want it, well, I don’t apologize for THAT. Of course I want a Christian society just like many others want a more humanistic or utility based society. I want the spirit of the 10 Commandments and the Torah (love God and love neighbor) to be translated into the laws of my land. God is a god of order, which is the essence of righteousness–everything properly done–and He calls His people to the same. I look forward to the day when that is realized, and I hope for it here and now. In my understanding of scripture, same sex marriage does not fit God’s proper order. And I can be an American and believe that (for now, at least). But if I really want this society’s laws to reflect those values, I am under obligation to work democratically to uphold them. This is the beauty of our constitution. The LGBT activist and myself have equal right to rally the majority in our favor, to fight for the law to be on our respective sides, and shape society according to our preference. If I can’t rally the majority to vote in my leaders and defend my agenda at the policy level, then I must accept theirs. That’s fairness, and I’d rather have it that way than abandon democracy and have to live by the sword (just ask Africa how well that works).
To be clear, I don’t believe politics are the hope of the world. I believe the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ changing hearts is our only effective hope for a righteous society, but we live in a wonderful country with the constitutional basis for peace and prosperity (even amongst opposed worldviews) and the opportunity to civilly structure our society according to the majority’s preference, while always protecting the right of the minority to attempt to become the majority. This means that I have the possibility of having a society based on Christian principles and can do so fairly and peacefully. It will, however, require me taking seriously my duty as a citizen and making sure my opinions are represented. If I don’t, well, I guess I really can’t point any fingers if society gets DUMBA about DOMA.