Our side lost
I’ve been thinking about the election results for the last couple of days. Here in North Carolina it would be easy to believe we are about ready to secede from the union again. Our nation elected a President that was the more left-leaning of the two main candidates. In the nine “battleground” states only North Carolina went to the right. Seven have gone to the left and one, dear old Florida, still can’t make up its mind. At least, unlike 2000, we don’t all have to hold our breath while Florida dithers. In addition, in the seven “contested” Senate races – where either side was thought to have a shot – the left seems to have won them all.
Meanwhile, back here in North Carolina, we not only voted for the right-leaning Presidential candidate, we elected a Republican governor and increased Republican hold in both the state house and senate. It has been more than a century since the entire state government was Republican. I’m not sure what this all means but it reminds me of the story about family sitting proudly in the stands at West Point as they were to watch their son parade in with the graduating class. The cadets were all marching in precise form, their legs swinging in robotic unity – except one. To their horror they realized that it was their son Will who was not in unison. Then their little daughter spoke up. “Look, mom, everyone is out of step except Willie.”
This morning I read the following quote over at Ed Stetzer’s blog:
“We must face the reality that we may be on the losing side of the culture war.(Emphasis mine.) For decades, the “religious right” has focused its energies on winning the day through political means. But this year, voters in more than one state appear to have clearly passed referenda supporting gay marriage. This marks the first time for any state to legalize same-sex marriage by the expressed will of the people rather than through court rulings or legislation. While this certainly does not mean we should stop legal or political efforts completely, it does mean that we should begin thinking about what it looks like to be the church in a “post-culture war” era. We need to be prepared to defend the protection of religious liberty as we move into the future.”
If you know Ed’s writings you know that this is not a despondent call to raise the white flag of defeat. He is rather challenging us to rethink the practicality of how we approach our faith in a culture that, more and more, will not share it. His call to alertness in religious liberty is wise, but even here we need to realize that we defend that liberty on increasingly dangerous ground. It will not be enough to just “rally the troops,” we will have to win support from unbelievers.
Our country is still pretty divided between red and blue states. But the blue will be getting bluer and I think much of the red is going to drift toward purple. The reality however is that none of this matters. God is still in control. While we may not see victories at the ballot box too often that may be a good idea. Stetzer again:
“When we mix religion and politics we get just politics.”
From the dawn of the church Christians have lived with the fact that they are a minority, often a persecuted one. Even now reports show that persecution of Christians in the 10-40 window is rising dramatically. America is not on the verge of persecuting Christians; unless you consider mockery by a few critics to be persecution. If the future will see the need to “take a stand for our faith” a little differently than get out the vote rallies and lining up to buy a chicken sandwich to support traditional marriage I can’t help but think that is a good idea.