Thursday, May 24, 2012

An Open Letter to Young, “Post-Partisan” Evangelicals

David French blogs: "[M]y nonpartisanship had a steep price. I could be pro-life, but not too pro-life. You see, if you’re too pro-life; if you talk about too much, then you can’t be post-partisan. One political party is completely dedicated to legal protection of abortion on demand. The other political party is completely dedicated to repealing Roe v. Wade. If you talk too much about abortion, others will define you, and if you’re defined how can you be independent?

"'No problem,' my hip inner voice said. Pro-life is really whole life. Anti-poverty programs, environmental advocacy — that’s all ‘pro-life’ in the broad sense, right? Can’t I be pro-life and maintain my independence?But my rational inner voice quickly rebelled. If I’m 'whole life' without talking about unborn children then I’m functionally pro-abortion, but if I’m “whole life” and bring unborn children into that conversation in any meaningful way, then I’m right back where I started. Besides, the effect on life of driving a Prius over a pickup truck can’t be measured with a (metaphorical) electron microscope. But if an abortion clinic shuts down or a young mom is persuaded not to abort, a real live human being is born — a person of incalculable worth. Yes, I want them to grow and flourish in a just society, and yes I want them to have economic opportunity. But it’s tough to enjoy justice and opportunity when you’re dead.

". . . [Then] I discovered something shocking: there aren’t that many of us. (What’s that? Are you telling me that Christians aren’t obsessed with gays and abortion? That’s what all the polls say!) As I traveled around the country and spoke at churches, Tea Party rallies, and conferences, I realized that the number of Christians who truly fight the culture war is quite small. How small? In 2011, I researched the budgets of the leading culture war organizations and compared them to the leading Christian anti-poverty organizations. . . .

"Christians are overwhelmingly focused with their money and their time on the poor, not on culture war issues. Then why are Christians portrayed differently? Because the media is obsessed with the sexual revolution and demonizes dissent. If news outlets focus on Christians only when engaged on culture war issues and ignores the much more extensive work we do for the poor in Africa, in Asia, and at home, then it’s no wonder the wider world sees us as politically-obsessed. Anyone who believes that Christians are in control of their own public image does not understand how public perceptions are created in this country. No one is in total control of their own image and reputation. Not even the President — and shame on me for not realizing that in my days of naive rage."

Related, by Albert Mohler: The Bible condemns a lot, but here's why we focus on homosexuality

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