(Part I of II. See Part II here.)
A wise man once uttered the words, “A man reaps what he sows.” The last week or so of the culture war has provided ample evidence to this truth.
American Evangelicals have spent much of the last several decades waging a bitter war for the the very soul of our country and culture. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that our single-minded quest for victory has resulted in the forfeiture the gospel. The still-scarred combat zone of The Battle of Chick-fil-A is demonstrating that in this war, like all wars, there are no true winners. There are only those who have lost the least.
We’ve lost everything by reconfiguring our God-given mandate to make disciples into a war of attrition over ideas, morality, and political power. We were called to love our enemies. Instead, we’ve taught them how to boycott.
What’s even worse is how inadvertently successful we’ve become. I’ve heard a lot of talk over the years of being ‘culture changers,’ or challenges to ‘impact the culture,’ or desperate pleas to be used by God to ‘transform culture.’ But even though recent events reveal we’ve actually waged a pretty successful war, no one seems to be celebrating.
I’ve felt the heat of outrage generated by comments from Mayors Menino and Emanuel (more on my own reaction in the next post). Their unsuccessful attempts to levy political pressure in the arenas of business or religion were labeled “fascist,” “communist,” and my personal favorite, “un-American.”
I wonder if Menino and Emanuel learned their tactics from the politicians (many of whom were evangelical) who tried to levy their influence against the construction of Park51 (aka Cordoba House/Ground Zero Mosque). Let me be clear: if you denounced the attempt then to build a “mosque” in such close proximity to Ground Zero, then you must now support any attempts to block Chick-fil-A. Either you support religious liberty or you do not.
But even more importantly, the way you approach your politics teaches others either how to love or how to hate.
I can do nothing but smile ruefully at the growing consternation stemming from the public reaction to Cathy’s statements or the impending Chick-fil-A boycots. Our reaction has been to simultaneously assume the role of Crusader and martyr, alternately hammering our fists into our palms in anger or pleading with others not to punish individuals or companies simply because their religious beliefs may be different than our own.
Then I hope we get a “take-back” on that whole Disney boycott. And the JC Penny/Ellen Degeneres boycott. And the JC Penny Father’s Day add boycott. And the Target boycott. And any boycott involving “Happy Holidays.” And the Levi’s, Starbucks, and any other boycott we’ve screamed about until our voices grew hoarse.
I know a ton of people who consider the idea of a ‘Same Sex Kiss Day’ at Chick-fil-A to be over-the top, abhorrently offensive. They consider it an act of war, not of love.
Which is EXACTLY how my other friends view those of us who hold placards outside a Planned Parenthood.
It would seem that those who need our love the most have begun to mimic our tactics, but now that the mirror is turned all we see looking back at us are acts of war and aggression.
We’ve fought the culture war for decades now. Too bad we’ve been successful as Hell.