At least, according to Salon.com and Alternet.org, two liberal webzines that take consistent delight in mocking evangelical Americans. The list represents yet another intentionally confrontational diatribe by left-wing writer Amanda Marcotte. In fact, such predictability almost makes Marcotte's list insignificant. Ho-hum.
Except... sometimes, we as a cohort don't advance the most Biblical or factual narratives in the public square, and lists like these can actually be useful to help us get back on-track with being legitimate salt and light in our culture. At other times, however, the frustration that differently-faithed people direct at evangelicals exists purely because we believe different things that are diametrically opposed to each other. And yes, everybody has faith in something, whether it's faith in themselves, or in government, or karma, the "greater good," or any deity other than God.
Sometimes, we will need to agree to disagree, despite our differences. We live in a democratic republic, ostensibly, where we all have the right to voice our opinions. In this case, determining where we truly differ will depend on how absurd this list of supposed absurdities is.
And what are these "most absurd, self-pitying gripes?"
- First on the list is the liberal claim that it's absurd for evangelicals to think gay-conversion therapy works, absurd for us to allow it to be conducted upon minors, and absurd that we should be upset that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has banned it in his state.
- Second, liberals say it's absurd for evangelicals to oppose governmental mandates for insurance coverage of objectionable contraceptive procedures.
- Third, they say it's absurd for evangelicals to dislike using "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
- Fourth, they say it's absurd for evangelicals to pout over the Supreme Court's ban on student-led or teacher-led prayer.
- And fifth, they say it's absurd for evangelicals to oppose gay marriage.
Which, actually, puts Salon and Alternet in a weird position themselves, for, in effect, equating issues as serious as gay marriage and gay-conversion therapy with something as relatively trivial as whether or not people say "Happy Holidays." The odd bedfellows in this list cast a serious question regarding its overall legitimacy. The "absurdity" really swings so far between "Merry Christmas" and gender identity within the span of five bullet points? Perhaps a better way of looking at this list is that it reveals the true motive in producing such a list in the first place: yet another way to promote sexual relativism.
It's the same message from the liberal media that we've been getting for years, only with marginally different packaging.
Besides, Christie's ban of gay-conversion therapy by licensed clinicians may be an indictment against Christianity, but it's also anti-Muslim. How's that for irony? The big deal about this law, and California's before it, involves what appears to be state encroachment on federally-protected religious rights. Having said that, however, considering the weak evidence of gay-conversion therapy's success rate, Christie's ban is probably no great loss - or gain - in the debate over nature v. nurture when it comes to homosexuality, or a person's personal desire to be freed from, well, the desire. The recent disbanding of Exodus International, the former ex-gay ministry, because of the way homosexuality has been improperly addressed in the evangelical community kinda pulled the rug out from under Christie's ban anyway.
If liberals bothered to look beyond the press releases of a few ossified lobbying groups and listened to the conversations Bible-believing Christians are having with how we can better apply Christ's truth to the homosexual debate, they'd see that it's only the people who don't care what we believe who want us to care about what they believe.
Second, to belittle any American's religious convictions about something as important as procreation - or the prevention of it - betrays a flimsy understanding of the Bill of Rights. If you own a business, shouldn't you have the right to choose what benefits you're paying to provide your employees, particularly if the purpose of the proposed "benefit" offends your faith? Cheap shots do not a well-founded argument make, and there are people on both sides of the political aisle, by the way, who oppose abortion - what various forms of contraception can mimic - in any form.
On the third complaint, meanwhile, liberals may have a point. We Christians need to concede that Christmas isn't the only holiday that falls on or near the end of December. There's New Year's, for one; both the eve, and the day. And there's Hanukkah. Sometimes even Ramadan, although not every year, since the dates for Ramadan shift in accordance with the Islamic calendar, which has fewer days than ours does. For government offices and retailers, it's easier and cheaper to just throw everybody into the same holiday pot, and what self-respecting right-winger doesn't like saving money? Plus, it's not like America's cultural Christians really celebrate the true meaning of Christmas anymore, anyway.
So, chalk one up for the liberals. Just don't get mad when I wish you knew how to have a "Merry Christmas."
The whole thing about prayer in schools is another area where evangelicals probably need to keep their knickers from getting in a twist. What Christ-follower would want their children exposed to prayers to Mary, or Mohammad, or Allah, or any pope, saint, or religious figure other than the God of the Bible? Freedom works more than one way - and frankly, I want the freedom to not have to hear a prayer to a deity in which I don't believe. Besides, most schools don't forbid kids from praying silently before a test, or for a Bible club to meet as an extracurricular group. Considering how pluralistic post-Christian America is, we evangelicals should tone down the squawking over public prayer in schools. We might not like it if we get it.
Mocking the conservative position on gay marriage, however, since the concept represents such a significant cultural shift, virtually betrays an ignorance by liberals about the role of religious faith in a person's life. Suffice it to say that marriage isn't even a political or governmental institution; it is an institution created by God for His people. The fact that heathens are even allowed to co-opt it for themselves comes from the grace God's people have displayed in allowing governments to use marriage as the convenient regulator for societies that God knew it would be. If we evangelicals could pragmatically revoke any government's unwritten franchise on marriage, we should. But we can't, so we argue for its integrity instead.
Oh - and heterosexual marriage isn't championed just by Republicans and evangelicals. Catholic Democrats tend to support it, too.
So, two out of five. And that last one, gay marriage, really doesn't belong with the rest, so take it out, and you've got two out of four. Fifty percent.
Half of your complaints are valid, left-wingers. See? We're not as absurd or self-pitying as you want to think we are.