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End culture war, World Vision head tells Christians

As it dawns on the Republican Party that the American people are not entirely down with the Norquistian anti-tax pledge, so is it dawning that the upper hand in the culture war may not lie with religious conservatives. So along comes Richard Stearns, president of the evangelical international aid agency World Vision, with a call to Christians to lay down their arms.

On Election Day, he blogged on Huffpost that "we are quickly moving toward a secular society."

As this cultural shift has occurred, many Christians have reacted in frustration. We have fought to place the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and Christmas crèches outside town halls. We have sued over public prayers and crosses in state parks. One court recently weighed in on whether cheerleaders at a Texas school should be allowed to post Bible verses on their banners.

On Sunday, he returned to the theme, declaring that "engaging in a bitter 'culture war' in order to preserve America's formerly dominant Christian culture has been largely a failed strategy. We cannot win in the courts and at the ballot box that which we have lost in the court of public opinion."

Stearns' idea is that you can catch more flies with a strategy of Christian love. More power to him.

But the new strategy won't succeed, I'm afraid, unless Stearns' Christians decide to back away from tougher culture war battles than Ten Commandments plaques and crèches in the public square. There's abortion and same-sex marriage and, yes, Obamacare's contraception coverage mandate that provide the real tests for whether they can make their peace with today's secular civic order.

If they don't disengage from those battles, it will be as Jeremiah said: "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace."

Topics: Politics, Law & Court

Comments

  1. I have no dispute with Stearn’s call to consider letting go of battles such as 10-C monuments.  However, given Mark Silk’s unholy surrender demands. it’s clear that Christians have no choice but to pray hard and fight hard, regardless of politics.

    It’s time for Christians to prayerfully stand up to Goliath and say out loud that abortion-on-demand, legalized gay marriage, and truncated freedoms of religion and speech, will NOT be given a free pass.  Christian love does NOT mean Christian compromise.

  2. Don’t you get it, floydlee?  Nearly a quarter of all Americans have turned their backs on religion; not because they have not heard the Gospel, but because they don’t like what they see us doing.  They have separated Jesus their savior from the institutional churches… especially the churches fighting the culture war.  We have lost a couple of generations.  Ask these 20 somethings or 30 somethings why they turn away from the Church.  It’s a common refrain: We don’t want your culture war.

  3. It is not so much that the country has become secular - which indeed may be so - but that it has become more spiritually and religiously pluralistic while becoming more politically polarized; and there’s a huge swaths of those others - moslems; nones; and Christians of all sects who’ve become more tolerant of difference - that’s growing. They may or may not believe in your Jesus, or a different Jesus or no Jesus at all, but they are wary of people who want to impose a belief on non-believers.

  4. There are too many mean-spirited Christian-fundamentalist “manifestations” that are causing many to hate anything to do with Christianity before they even know how rewarding spiritual mindedness can be.

    What did he say?, “Behold I stand at the door of your mind and am knocking so let me come in and we can talk together”.

    Now .... who’s gonna open that door knowing that the top representative of so much mean-spiritedness stands knocking?

  5. Saw an article by a pastor in a local paper when he mentioned a man in the street interview where interviewees had generally positive views of Christ, but negative ones of Christians.  There may be something here.  There’s less “See how they love one another” and more “See how they condemn one another”, and that turns many people off.  Increasingly Christian culture warriors define themselves by what they’re against, they don’t seem to be for anything positive.  They may say that they love the people they’re condemning or whose rights they trample underfoot, but that is not convincing to many.

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