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How to respond

"How to respond" Continued...

Issue: "Osama bin Ashcroft?," April 27, 2002

Conservative Christians, along with pointing out the trespasses of others, should show journalists whenever possible that we are aware of our own trespassing tendencies, and are committed to biblical understandings that also allow us to function as good citizens in a pluralistic society. To that end, I've drafted ways to respond to 10 accusations that liberal journalists frequently throw at conservative Christians. Some of these understandings may be controversial, and I list them as proposals, not commandments.

1. Conservative Christians are divisive.

No, we take to heart the commands transmitted in Jeremiah 29:4-7: "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: "Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.'" God adds, "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare, you will find your welfare.'" We are citizens of the United States and also citizens of God's kingdom. We try not to confuse the two by assuming too much about what we can accomplish societally in our American Babylon. Instead, we follow God's instructions by praying for America's peace and prosperity, and by building families, homes, and businesses.

2. Conservative Christians are gullible followers of potential dictators.

This is a spin-off from the decade-old Washington Post charge that Christians are poor and uneducated. Not true, the newspaper later acknowledged in an apology, nor is it true that Christians tend to bow down to any human authority: We obey a higher authority, and are taught not to put our trust in princes. We are political skeptics in relation to Washington orthodoxy. We are strict constructionists concerning both the Bible and the Constitution. We read the Bible to learn what God was saying, not what thoroughly modern millennialists wish He had said. We read the Constitution to see what the nation agreed to in 1787 and what the nation has changed in it through the amendment process. We know that more centralized power brings more reason for bribery and more bribes (or large payments for "access").

3. Conservative Christians are likely to fall for morality-legislating panaceas.

Actually, we are less likely than others to do that, because we believe that triumph will come only when Christ returns. We know that sin cannot be wiped out, because it is within everyone; we just don't want sin to gain governmental backing. We're not suckers for government-surplus stain removers that in practice grind the evil deeper into the social fabric. We believe that God instituted government for the prosecution of wrongdoers and not the promotion of evil. We are not trying to gain power to force change million by million from the top down, because (among other reasons) we know that does not work. We do not believe that by societal restructuring we can liberate the natural "goodness" of man, because we don't believe that natural goodness exists.

4. Conservative Christians are anti-choice.

No, we understand that the American Babylon is a pro-choice society. We ourselves are used to choice. We like our dozens or hundreds of TV choices, music choices, sports choices, food choices. We are pro-choice in not only shopping for goods but shopping for schools. We want private schools to be an option for everyone, not just the rich. We want theories of intelligent design to be taught alongside theories of evolution. We are pro-choice for unborn babies, who should not be killed before they have a chance to make any choices in life. We are pro-choice concerning social services, so we want addicts, alcoholics, and others among the poor to be offered faith-based along with conventional liberal programs. We don't want the poor or anyone to become dependent on government for biweekly bread, because when we are dependent we can no longer make free choices. We don't want judges to take away legislative choices.

5. Conservative Christians hate pragmatism.

No, we believe that a lot of politically correct activities are pragmatically incorrect. That's because God created the world and knows what works best for His creatures to live happily in it. Cruising homosexuals have a low life expectancy, even when AIDS is factored out. Abortion often has dire psychological consequences for mothers, along with even more dire consequences for babies. Pornography is based on taking advantage of others, but it pushes people to take advantage of themselves. Adultery leads people to act like children. We understand that politicians are often pragmatic, so we don't expect purity in politics. We do not compromise our own views, but we do compromise our expectations. Despite Washington frustrations, we haven't taken our ball and gone home, and we understand the difference between a .350 hitter and a .200 hitter.

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