August 2000 – When I was a child, I loved ice cream, especially chocolate swirl. I once ate an entire half-gallon of chocolate swirl ice cream. To say the least, I had a bad stomachache.
It earned me a lot of attention, but little sympathy. “Teach you not to hog the ice cream,” is what my two sisters said. To this day I haven’t eaten another bite of chocolate swirl.
Unfortunately, that’s how many Christians now feel about the culture war. They’re sick of it. I understand. I feel the same way sometimes.
Recently a group of pro-family leaders, including myself, met with executives of Procter & Gamble (P&G) at their corporate offices in downtown Cincinnati. We asked for the meeting after P&G pulled its advertising from Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s upcoming TV show, slated to debut this fall. On her popular radio show Dr. Laura has said that homosexuality is a disorder and is deviant. We felt Procter & Gamble, though they would never admit it, had pulled off because of pressure from homosexual activists. We were there to confront them about this.
We talked, they listened. They talked, we listened. They said they wanted to avoid advertising on controversial shows. They said they “just wanted to sell soap.” We said we appreciated that, but what about Fox network’s Ally McBeal, which last February included a mouth to mouth kiss between two men? Procter & Gamble advertised on that show. “Is that not controversial?” we asked.
They said nothing. They had no defense. However, they did admit there had been some breakdowns in their monitoring system and they were going to review their ad placement selection process. I believe they were sincere. But the fact remains – homosexual activists applied pressure and another corporation gave in to their demands. This is happening regularly in corporate America as well as in government agencies.
I co-host Today’s Issues, a one-hour daily radio talk show on American Family Radio. (You can also listen on the Internet at www.afr.net) The show airs at 10:05 a.m., Central Time. Before each show Marvin Sanders, my co-host, and I meet to review the day’s topics and learn about guests we have scheduled. Almost every day brings something about the homosexual rights agenda. In one recent month, we had these headlines:
➤ The U. S. Supreme Court decides the Boy Scouts can bar homosexuals from being scout leaders.
➤ Vermont decides to allow same-sex “civil unions.”
➤ Ford, General Motors and Chrysler simultaneously announce “domestic partner” benefits.
➤ The United Methodist Church says no to homosexual marriage and ordination.
➤ United States Senate passes hate crimes legislation. (This would make punishment more severe for people who commit acts of violence against homosexuals than for those who assault heterosexuals.)
➤ First Lady Hillary Clinton marches in a Gay Pride parade in New York City. (She walked a few steps behind a man in a pink tutu and another wearing only a thong.)
See what I mean? It’s everywhere. And, for now at least, it is not looking good for those of us who hold to the biblical view of sexuality, marriage and family. So far, praise be to God, we have been able to fend off the forces pushing to legalize same-sex marriage. But this will continue to be a battleground.
Some say we need to give up the fight. Retreat to our own little Christian world. Recently I got into a public debate about this Christian isolationist idea with columnist Cal Thomas, who had written a piece about the Supreme Court decision outlawing voluntary student-led prayer before high school football games. Cal says our emphasis needs to be on personal holiness and lifestyle evangelism, and we should disregard these types of decisions by our government. He thinks change through political or social structures just doesn’t work and that Christian leaders who lead people to believe otherwise are wrong.
I agree with Cal on his first point and disagree with him on his second. First, I believe Christians are called to live holy lives and share the Gospel.
But we can’t give up on social action. We cannot stop holding up a standard in our culture. We can’t quit talking about it. Decisions that affect us all will be made in governmental bodies as well as corporate boardrooms. Great decisions about public morality, freedom and religious liberties. These decisions can have repercussions that last for generations.
Did you know that in the Beatitudes the only keyword Jesus used twice is the word righteousness? Obviously, righteousness – not “self-righteousness” – is important to God. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Later he says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
One way we show our hunger for righteousness is to live righteously in our private lives. Another is to stand against public acceptance of evil. Frequently that is done through the legal or political process. Abortion, sexual immorality of any kind – including homosexuality and pornography – are glaring examples of the issues of righteousness that we cannot ignore.
Let us both privately and publicly, with no shame or apology, heed the words of Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”