Do we live in a pluralistic society or is that changing?A pluralistic society is simply one that is built on religious freedom, a principle that originates from the New Testament. On the other hand, pluralism as a worldview is the notion that all religions, values, philosophies, and truth claims must be seen as equally valid.As a nation we’re headed toward adoptingpluralism as our national religion.And, just as Christians seek to advance the message of Christ so too pluralism has its “evangelists” as well.
The question is whether or not the government has the right to be one of those “evangelists.” America’s founding documents make it clear that the government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion nor may it establish or force religion. When the government protects all religions, when it protects a pluralistic society, it adheres to our founding documents and principles. On the other hand, when it advocates the position that all religious positions and/or values must be seen as equally valid, it seeks to establish religion, i.e. the religion of pluralism.
It should come as no surprise that confusion over the role of government vs. individuals will only swell in a culture increasingly committed to pluralism as a worldview. It should also come as no surprise that the government, in subtle ways, has become an “evangelist” and apologist for pluralism. By way of example, “David Hansell, acting assistant secretary for a children and families agency within the Health and Human Services Department [of the U.S. Government], [recently] touted the Obama administration’s ‘acceptance and embrace of the LGBT community,’ including its efforts to encourage same-sex couples to adopt children. LGBT refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. The “Adopt Us Kids” web site, described as ‘a cooperative agreement with the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children & Families, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,’ includes resources for same-sex couples who want to adopt. It also posts studies that claim to support the benefits of having children raised by same-sex couples.”
Now, here’s the larger issue: “Over the past couple of years, we made a concerted broad-based effort to attract more LBGT families to the site and to make it easier for them to adopt,” Hansell said.[i]From the “Adopt Us Kids” web site itself, there is a resolute commitment to “support the efforts of States, Tribes, and Territories in recruiting and retaining lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) foster and adoptive parents.”[ii]Don’t miss that: the government is now recruiting LGBT foster and adoptive parents as well as propagating a message that says children raised by same-sex couples are benefited as a result.
Government in its best form is limited to a protective role. When formalized government exists, its function is to protect the liberty of a free society so that the members of that society can pursue or propagate their interests themselves. When government recruits homosexuals to be adoptive parents, not only does it exceed the bounds of its role, it actually engages in the promotion and establishment of values. In other words, it has intruded into the business of religion if not gone into the religion business. The notion that homosexuality is a legitimate lifestyle and must be accepted as such by society underpins this government practice. (Would it go unnoticed in our present society if the government publicly and intentionally recruited evangelicals as evangelicals to be adoptive parents? Surely not).
But here’s the real point. We Christians know that human government necessarily arrogates more power to itself over time. Because of human sinfulness, government will tend toward tyranny over time. Empire in general, and indeed every empire in history, demands allegiance to its idea of what’s right. Freedom of religion and speech can only flourish when those concepts are tied to an objective standard (the New Testament), not majority opinion. As is the case with all non-Christian ideologies, pluralism tends toward tyranny in that it is ultimately intolerant. Pluralism cannot tolerate those who do not accept that all worldviews are equally valid.
Of course, when a culture is held captive by tyrannical ideas, of far more serious consequence is the fact that the vast majority of people in that culture are held captive by Satan. The consequences of that are eternal. And that brings us to purpose and fulfillment for Christians. Only a biblical worldview, that is, promoting the ways of God, will bring spiritual freedom to individuals and situational freedom to a culture. It is Christ who changes hearts and minds. We therefore have purpose in promoting the ways of God and fulfillment in so doing.
We need not merely lament where America is headed; we, the church, have some work to do. And it’s not the work of legislative battle, but the work of changing hearts and minds. When hearts and minds are changed, the legislative battle will have already been won.
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About Paul Dean
Dr. Paul Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. He serves as a Regional Mentor with the International Association of Biblical Counselors, speaks at several conferences throughout the year, and provides training for ministers and churches on a regular basis. Paul resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife and three children.
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