The venom of cultural restriction is startling to anyone who has seen the venom of diatribes against God’s recorded actions in the Old Testament. Atheists are outraged at the God who ordered the Israelites to separate themselves from ungodly people or ordered the execution of all unbelievers in besieged communities, right down to the babes in arms. They contend that such a God is evil and vicious and not to be tolerated. They say that he should apologize to the heathen he condemned. Yet these are the same people who contend that an unborn baby is a nonviable mass, or that a 100-year-old woman should not have surgery to make her life more comfortable. God Almighty, in their view, has no right to decide when someone’s life ends, but these very people believe that they have the right to end millions of lives every year.
In light of that attitude, it is hard to accept the behavior of secular celebrity voices such as Chris Matthews and Whoopi Goldberg who condemn anyone who disagrees with them to fates worse than death. How do people who instigate a campaign to destroy the Washington Redskins football team have the temerity to accuse God of wrongdoing? Humans who have arrogated to themselves the role that Christians leave to God’s judgment are callous in the extreme, far beyond what the God they reject has ever done to anyone.
As a follower of Christ, I will say quickly that God does not need me to defend him. I bring this subject up only to compare the actions of people who believe that they are their own gods. People who say God does not exist must somehow deal with all the problems of the universe, and the evidence demonstrates that they are arrogant far beyond anything they criticize in God Almighty. People who deny God declare that they know what other people should have and what other people should do. People who are removed from the class of aborted fetuses only by the event of having been born alive declare that nothing is too huge, too important, or too complicated for them to control.
Among other things, secular thinkers believe that they have the right and the obligation to interfere in the operations of businesses. They believe that they should tell businesses what products to sell, or what to wage to pay employees, or whom the businesses should hire, or what health insurance to offer employees. When the owners of businesses reject the pressure, the secular thinkers believe that they should destroy the businesses. Secularists have tried boycotts of retail businesses and Twitter wars against global enterprises. They have even tried to threaten the advertising sponsors of media personalities they disagree with.
Secular thinkers believe that nobody has a right to question the morality of what they do, because they determine the morality of their actions according to whether it makes them feel good. Apparently, it makes them feel good when they eliminate a baby or an old person or a business that is preventing one of them from feeling good.
Some Christians have lost their connection with Christ’s teachings and have engaged in reprisals that mirror the cultural strategies. When secularists launched an attack on Chick Fil-A over the issue of same-sex marriage, Christians launched an attack on Starbucks over the same issue. This is a huge error on the part of the Christians. It is at complete odds with Christ’s teaching. Christ said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:43-45 ESV). Christians cannot engage in destructive, petulant reprisal over differences of political opinion. Christians may not be their own gods and still claim to belong to Christ.
When Christians embark on destructive campaigns to destroy businesses because of the expressed political or even social views of the owners, the first thing wrong with the campaign is that Christ taught us to love, bless and pray for everyone. The second thing wrong is that many, many innocent people get hurt. The employees of companies have no control over the political views of their employers, yet if the destructive campaign succeeds, then Christians have destroyed the livelihoods of those employees. The third thing wrong is that it becomes impossible to distinguish Christians from secular thinkers. Jesus said, “Whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:21 ESV). Jesus expects the actions of Christians to be a testimony to their faith. That is why refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding is the right thing for a Christian to do, while boycotting a business over a political argument is wrong. Refusal to participate in a same-sex wedding is a testimony to God’s plan for marriage and families. A campaign to destroy Starbucks over the opinion expressed by its owner is no testimony to God; it is a testimony to the power of a mob, the same message expressed by a secular mob action against Mozilla.
The words and deeds of secular thinkers express their rejection of God’s authority and his very existence. The words and deeds of Christians must express their testimony to God’s authority and their conviction of his existence. When Christians reject a cultural movement that conflicts with God’s authority, their expression of that rejection must not compromise their obedience to the law of love. A Christian can and must refuse to facilitate disobedience to God. A polite refusal to participate in wrongdoing need not include a curse on the people involved. In fact, if they are enemies, then the Christian response is to love them and pray for them to see the light.
The culture increasingly insists on words and deeds to state support for things that Christians must, on principle, refuse to do. Where that pressure will lead is still unclear. Christians in countries like Saudi Arabia and Laos wind up in jail when they reject the cultural norms. Christians in the US must be prepared for the culture to push the government to enforce its will. It is time for all Christians to pray for wisdom and courage, and to pray for the election of leaders who will pull governments at all levels back inside the Constitutional boundaries that protect First Amendment rights.
Secular thinkers believe that everything they do is guided and bounded by reason, an impersonal concept, but in fact, they themselves testify that they know what is right by observing what makes them happy. Clearly, it is self-gratification, not reason, that guides their actions. Christians must commit to Christ’s truth as their guide and watch carefully to assure that they do not delude themselves that they are serving Christ when they are actually serving self. It is self-serving in the extreme to attempt to stand in the place of God and shut down a business whose owner holds an undesirable political view. Secular thinkers are extremely vengeful when they try to stand in the place of God. Christians must be alert to avoid being lured into such behavior by their own willingness to serve self instead of Christ.