I can certainly appreciate that no one group of people is perfect or above reproach. Nor do I, in any way, wish to canonize or glorify the wisdom or actions of a body as diverse, eclectic, and varying in their demeanor, approach, attitudes, and methodology as "conservative Christians." After all, while I would be lumped in that group, so would individuals that I have sincere and staunch disagreements with on theological, moral, and political grounds. We all err, no one is perfect, and every faction has plenty of sins and shortcomings, individually and collectively.
That said, I do think this observation is worthy of consideration:
At the memorial address for the slain at Columbine High School, then Vice President Al Gore thundered the words, "In a culture rife with violence, where too many young people place too little value on human life, we can rise up and say no more."
I had just started college, but even then remember joining a host of other folks on the "Christian Right" who were pointing out at the time (and every day since) that we simply cannot be surprised that "too many young people place too little value on human life." If we really did want to rise up and say no more, it should be with more than platitudes. It should be with an awareness that:
- When you teach kids every day in biology class that human life is nothing but a cosmic accident with no purpose
- When you teach kids every day that murdering an infant in the womb for convenience is a legitimate moral choice
- When you teach kids every day that killing off the elderly is socially justifiable
- When you teach kids every day that exterminating the sick and the dying is ethical
- When you teach kids every day that suicide is courageous so long as it is assisted by a physician
…you simply cannot be surprised when those kids grow up believing that human life has no real value. That's precisely what you've taught them.
But polite society scoffed at the theocratic Christians attempting to impose the moral dictates of their "Sky Daddy" on everyone else. Polite society knew better. A million gang-related, mass-shooting, suicide-spike deaths later, they're still pretending that it's about high capacity magazines and "assault weapons."
Likewise, when the culture was surging in support for so-called "gay marriage," it was the Christian right that pointed out what was taking place wasn't an issue of "re-defining" marriage to include people who "love differently." We said it was a matter of "un-defining" the institution – embracing the deadly notion that all moral boundaries placed around marriage were discriminatory and bigoted. The consequence, we warned, would be a complete breakdown in society's moral order.
What would be said to three people who want to be married? Why should someone get to draw a moral boundary line to say that the institution must be limited to two individuals only? And what about relatives? And shouldn't the age of consent be revisited for people who "love differently" as well?
All those warnings were scoffed at as slippery slope fallacies. "Why are you Christians so obsessed with everyone's sex lives?" the elites scoffed. "Letting people express themselves and who they are isn't about sex, and you must be the ones with the problem if you think so," they shouted. And here we are.
Moreover, it was the Christian Right that warned for decades that just as the physical universe operated by unchanging absolute laws, the moral universe does as well. You can't just walk off the edge of a building proclaiming that you don't personally accept the law of gravity and refuse to be bound by its supposed parameters. Neither can you violate the moral laws of God's universe and think there won't be consequences.
God, we said, is the foundation of all science, logic, and reason. Therefore, rebellion against Him is necessarily rebellion against all science, logic, and reason. But polite society knew better here too. Christians could live by their archaic, patriarchal, antiquated notions of moral boundaries, but a brave new world would finally be embracing science over superstition, reason over regressive beliefs. And here we are.
I don't say all this as some petulant, taunting, "We told you so." I don't want to argue about it. For my part, any sense of vindication I feel by all that is unfolding is completely cancelled out by an overriding sense of grief and dread that this sick society is the one we must all now attempt to raise children in, somehow teaching them to understand right from wrong when, as Scripture warns, "everyone does what is right in their own eyes."
I know we can't go back. But in the hope we can make better, wiser choices moving forward, how about we at least spend a second or two considering the thoughts of those who have been pretty much spot on in their predictions for the last 40 years?