Let’s get together
If you believe the polls Americans of all political views yearn for bipartisanship and compromise. This true in spite of the fact that we, in the elections of 2008, 2010 and 2012, sent representatives to Washington that all but assure us that this will be hard to achieve. Nevertheless it is a good idea.
I was thinking about this working together idea this morning when the news bought the story that Angus T. Jones, the teenage actor who plays Jake on Two and a Half Men, has posted, along with his church, a You Tube video imploring us to stop watching the show. The reason he gives is that it is “filling your head with filth.” Well, I can’t argue with that.
Jones goes on to say “I’m not Ok with what I am learning, what the Bible says, and being on that television show.” He further states that “there is no playing around when it comes to eternity.” Wow! In the video there is a man sitting next to him, presumably someone from his church. But this is amazing.
Curious soul that I am I immediately began to scan the morning talk shows and the internet for comments on his video. Even as I type this the story is new so I am sure that many more will come but the early results show an interesting trend.
Early evangelical comments are, as you can expect, largely positive…well, sort of positive. They agree with Jones of course but there are some comments implying that he is sort of late to the game; that we knew this all along. These folks are glad he has finally seen the light but lament that he has been involved in that “filth” for years. There is also a dose of caution in the agreement, like some are sort of suspicious that this may be a trap or something.
Interestingly enough, some of our long-term political allies are not so happy with Jones. Some conservatives with a libertarian bent, people with whom evangelicals often work, feel that what we chose to watch is none of Jones’ business and he should keep his mouth shut. It shows that there are some serious cracks in the evangelical/libertarian alliance that provides energy to the right.
The left too is oddly split. Mika Brzezinski, the left-leaning co-host of the TV show Morning Joe firmly stated that she agrees with Jones and that she does not let her teenage daughters watch the show. Other feminist commentators agreed. On the other hand, some leftist commentators, citing Jones’ references to the Bible and eternity, complain the boy is trying to force his religion down our throats and talk of censorship. They leave unclear how they can claim that one teenager with no power whatsoever to censor anything is such a danger.
What are we to make of this? The lesson to me is that all parties in the political scene, including evangelicals, form alliances with those who differ with them. We choose to “take a stand” and then freely work with others who overlap our views but do not totally share them. At the same time, our “stand” declares other people the enemy even though we have some overlaps with them too. Evangelicals are not alone in doing this but we are not exempt either.
I have always felt that there are clear common grounds for evangelicals and feminists to work together. We are against pornography, against global sex trafficking, against the abuse of women. They are too. Both sides may talk a good game but neither side really wants to work with the other; they set conditions and draw lines in the sand that make cooperation impossible. And this is tragic. Even the early comments make clear that there are huge trust issues that need to be overcome before the “enemy” tags can be put away.
Is it possible for evangelicals to go behind enemy lines and work with feminists? Can we set aside partial disagreements with them, even on important issues, the way we set some important issues aside to work with libertarians? Of course it is. Grace makes that clear. Who then would make the first move? Why can’t it be us?