Liberals might learn a thing or two about evangelicals and political conservatives from the outrage they stirred up in Houston by their subpoena of pastors’ sermons.
Evangelicals and political conservatives are feeling a great deal of frustration bordering on anger as a result of the actions of the Obama administration, liberal judges, and bureaucrats that are fundamentally changing America in ways hostile to Christianity. However, for the most part Christian and political conservatives feel helpless, are at a loss for anything they can do other than talk. But given sufficient abuse and a clean target, and they are more than happy to vent their frustrations by pulling the trigger. We saw this before with the Chick fil A response.
These situations also tell us a few things about ourselves as we ponder why the aggressive response in these situations as compared to relative passivity otherwise. Let’s consider some reasons why conservatives have responded in these rare situations while generally failing to put up a scrap.
• An obvious reason for responses to these situations is just that: they were responsive. Conservatives did not need to take the initiative. The fight was brought to them. It seems that conservatives, Christian and political, are more responders than initiators.
One problem with this trait is that we are always acting defensively. A major principle of war is found in the need to be on the offensive. Hardly ever does an army take ground, but instead usually loses ground, by being on the defensive. The offense can develop and implement a strategy, while all those on the defense can do is wait to see where they will be hit next and hope that they will not lose too badly. This offense/defense contrast fairly well paints the history of how liberals/conservatives have fought the culture war, with the inevitable outcome.
• A related reason for the Houston response is that liberals painted us into a corner. Their subpoena for sermons was so intrusive that it constituted a call to fight or die. It seems that conservatives have to be pushed really hard before they respond.
The positive aspect of that characteristic is that we don’t fly off the handle, we are thoughtful in our responses, and we are not pugnacious people. The downside, however, resides in the danger of waiting too long, allowing the opposition to become too strong, to take too much territory, so that by the time we do act it is too late. This seemed to have been the case with the Christian opposition to Hitler when he came to power.
But why this tendency to be in the defensive mode, this need to be cornered before responding?
• I believe at least part of the answer is that liberals, including moderate Republicans, tend to live for politics and power while evangelicals desire to serve the Lord and enjoy their families. These are wholesome objectives, and we can be glad for them.
However, somewhere on the list we must include the work of maintaining an environment where we can do those things. We are like a CEO of a company whose focus is on productivity and personnel, which are good things, but who overlooks maintaining his facilities and equipment. This will not work. We live in a world in which the second law of thermodynamics is at work in every area of life. Regardless of the sphere, it will run down unless we maintain it. This is true in any case but especially so in the American political scene with liberals on the loose, working their destructive schemes.
Nor does it do for this CEO to wait until something breaks, being reactive rather than active in caring for facilities and equipment. He needs to develop and implement a strategy, to stay ahead of the problems. Likewise with evangelicals and political conservatives in America. We cannot afford to exclude politics and civic well-being from our sphere of concern. Today, because we have not maintained the facilities and equipment of American government we have a lot of makeup to do, and it must be done on an emergency basis. The real question is whether evangelicals will tear themselves away from church and family soon enough and with sufficient commitment to keep our nation from going over the cliff.
The good news in all of this is that the solution is in our hands. If we are willing to be actors rather than reactors, to go on the offensive, to carve out sufficient resources to deal with our political crisis, I am convinced that with the Lord’s help even at this late date it is not too late to salvage America from liberal ungodliness.