Today is an important day in North Carolina. Today the people of the Tar Heel State will decide if their constitution should be amended to restrict marriage to a union between one man and one woman. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina. The proposed measure, however, would add the ban to the state constitution. Framers explain that such an amendment will prevent the courts from easily overturning the law.
This being an election year, the amendment has gained national attention. Both sides have funded extensive campaigns and prominent individuals have had their say. And with all the caterwauling going on, most Christians are responding tentatively. Oh, certainly, there are those abrasive characters within our ranks that are blessed with more volume than discernment, but they are few. Most believers are simply reluctant to speak out.
The reason for this timidity is not a lack of knowledge. While most evangelicals cannot quote chapter and verse, they know that scripture prohibits homosexuality (Lev. 18:22, 1 Co. 6:9-10, Ro. 1:26-27). Their reticence is due, in my opinion, to a clever sleight-of-hand. Christians have been told by their opponents that their objections are inconsistent with their convictions. If we are truly disciples of Christ, we are told to model his loving, accepting ways. This line of reasoning insists that taking a stand for our Christian principles is somehow unchristian. And not wanting to reflect poorly on Christ, we comply.
But we cannot let secular voices define Christ. His loving, accepting ways are not in doubt, but his holiness ought not to be doubted either. Projecting Jesus as an indulgent figure whose message is little more than ‘be nice’ is a horrible mischaracterization. He is an imposing figure with a message that runs counter to the ways of the world. It is bemusing to me that someone, who emphasized repentance, is often portrayed as a spokesperson of moral tolerance. Contrary to this characterization, Jesus had some hard things to say about human behavior: “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! (Matt. 18:7 NIV). We must be faithful to repeat his words in our times.
If we kindly step aside or choose to stay above the fray, there will be no fray. Unimpeded, the worldly agenda will accelerate and godliness will be constrained. Being the salt and light includes more than acts of charity, it is reflecting all of Christ to all of society. I have no desire to turn every conflict into a crusade, but I desire the courage to fill my love with truth.