As the Culture War Heats Up...
- Monday, June 04, 2007
Yet, such a dynamic is not new nor are we without hope. God’s people have been put in this culture at this time for a grand purpose. The issue for us lies in the realm of responsibility. As the culture war heats up, and it will, what will be the result and what should we do?
First, as the culture war heats up, Christians will be blamed for the problems in the culture. A biblical parallel occurs in 1 Kings 18:17-21: “Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, ‘Is that you, O troubler of Israel (v. 17)?’” King Ahab blamed Elijah for the judgment that had fallen upon the nation. In context, the force of his words indicates that he believed Elijah should be put to death.
This reaction to Christ and His messengers is all too common throughout history. Nero blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome. Decius, in 249, blamed the Christians' refusal to sacrifice to Roman gods for the ills befalling the empire. Persecution followed.
A similar trend is operative in our culture. Creationists are accused of hindering scientific progress; pro-life advocates are accused of hindering freedom; Islam is taught in schools while Christian talk of any kind is banned in the same setting; homosexuality is declared to be normative while Christians are regarded as dangerous.
There is no small amount of blame placed upon Christians for societal woes or potential woes. In the promotional material for Chris Hedges book, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, it should not surprise us that the entire Christian right is mistakenly lumped together with radical theonomy and called fascist. “Hedges argues that the [Christian Right] movement currently resembles the young fascist movements in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and '30s, movements that often masked the full extent of their drive for totalitarianism and were willing to make concessions until they achieved unrivaled power. The Christian Right, like these early fascist movements, does not openly call for dictatorship, nor does it use physical violence to suppress opposition. In short, the movement is not yet revolutionary. But the ideological architecture of a Christian fascism is being cemented in place. The movement has roused its followers to a fever pitch of despair and fury. All it will take, Hedges writes, is one more national crisis on the order of September 11 for the Christian Right to make a concerted drive to destroy American democracy. The movement awaits a crisis. At that moment they will reveal themselves for what they truly are -- the American heirs to fascism.”
Just as Elijah was being fingered as the scapegoat for Israel’s woes, so too will Christians be increasingly fingered for the woes in America. By necessity, religion in general is not the object of scorn, but Christ and His followers.
Second, as the culture war heats up, Christians will be marginalized while others will get state support. Don’t miss the last phrase of v. 19. The prophets of Baal and Asherah “[ate] at Jezebel’s table.” Jezebel was Ahab’s wife. The pagan prophets were supported by the king while Jezebel massacred God’s prophets. Those who were not exterminated by the state survived only by hiding in caves (1 Kings 18:4).
Our context is no different. Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and other organizations of that ilk receive state support while Christian God-talk is systematically removed from the public square. It’s only a matter of time before marginalization becomes ban.
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