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The Pagans are coming!

March 10, 2014

I saw an article this weekend about a group of Christian leaders who sent a letter to President Obama.  It thanked him for his words expressing support for global religious freedom and then, gently they hoped, took him to task for the way his administration is acting to curb religious freedom in the U.S.

I give the letter high marks for tone.  They did try to say their piece in gentle words.  In terms of potential for effectiveness I’d rate it at the other end of the scale.  The likelihood that the President will read the letter, smack the heel of his hand against his forehead, and say “I never realized that what we were doing was a threat to religious freedom!” seems pretty low.

Come to think of it, I don’t think there is much of a chance that he will read it at all.  Working on the assumption that President Obama doesn’t actually open his own mail that means someone else will open it, read it, and make the decision whether or not to give it to him.  I’m betting “no.”

I think the senders are pretty intelligent guys.  I say “guys” because it seems there were no women signers.  I’m pretty sure that they have no more expectation of giving the President an “Ah ha!” moment than I do.  This makes me pretty sure that the letter really wasn’t for him.  Was it for the media?  Well, since I haven’t seen any “Breaking News!  Religious conservatives don’t like Obama” headlines, I don’t think that was the goal either.

I can only conclude the whole exercise was a “rally the base” effort.  The people they were trying to reach were sitting in the pews of American evangelical churches.  They were trying to convince us that being told that our professional bakers can’t refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings was the same as Christians being murdered in Nigeria or Libya or, at the very least, a step down the “slippery slope” to us being gunned down here as well.  It isn’t.

Yes, the pagans are coming.  Yes, religious pluralism is the future of our country and that includes pluralism that accepts non-religious people.  Yes, that means we need to change our assumptions on how we live and work on a daily basis.  We no longer get to set all the rules for public debate or even all the rules of governance.

Our goal however is not to scream, kick and whine about this change but to ask ourselves how to we demonstrate the grace, love and mercy of God in this new setting.  Persecution of Christians, real and deadly persecution, has been going on since the dawn of the church and goes on now.  How silly we look when we try to pretend we are the victims.


From → Christianity

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