Have you noticed that many Conservatives blame us for political losses? I hear it all the time: “If the Christians would just shut up about social issues, we’d have a chance!” Well, they’re wrong—but not fully. Fact is, every group within Conservatism has made mistakes, and we are no different.
The problem isn’t our values, but rather our attempts to limit opposing values. Here’s the key mistake: We assume that preventing non-Christian choices outside the church is somehow a Christian thing to do. But if it were, wouldn't Jesus and the Apostles have done it?...or at least commanded it? ...or recommended it? ...something?
Sometimes, in our honest desire to serve God, we go beyond His example. Remember, Jesus and the Apostles offered and modeled their views—they didn’t force them. Never did they advocate using governmental power to limit non-Christian choices. They never felt Christian values were sustained by the state, and they never deemed non-Christian choices as damaging to their “institutions” (when did we adopt such terms?).
Observe God’s model in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2:16-17, God says, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
His message is clear: “I can make you choose the right trees, but I won’t. It’s your call; your consequences.” Not surprisingly, Jesus and the Apostles still used God’s “Choice” model centuries later. Truth never changes—and we must employ it today.
Tell me, should we want the government to limit choices for people who hold other beliefs? Whenever we get 51% of the vote, should we make them live our way?
Of course, I’m not saying God’s model allows all choices. If we truly embrace choice, we’ll limit choices that remove the choices of others. For instance, if a man chooses to steal, then his choice robs someone else’s choice of what to do with their money. Or if a man commits murder, then his choice robs someone else’s choice of whether to live. On the principle of protecting one choice from another, all laws are built. But should we go beyond this principle, making our religious values into other people’s laws?
Look at abortion. Seeing the unborn as human lives, I consider abortion as one choice robbing another choice. Thus, I support laws restricting it. I defend the defenseless, but not to impose my values. I just don’t
want one choice erasing another. But when someone doesn’t believe the unborn are human lives, they’ll feel
no choice is being robbed. This doesn’t make them evil; we simply disagree. We will battle, even passionately, but neither of us should be silenced. Jesus silenced no one.
I recently spoke with a fellow Christian regarding legal unions for homosexuals. He mentioned abortion, citing how Roe V. Wade brought death for millions. I agreed. He then said legal unions would likewise damage the “institution” of marriage. But I wondered, would Jesus and the Apostles have said this? Sure, they never endorsed homosexuality, but would they see legal unions as a threat to Christian marriage? Really? I’m sorry, but I see no evidence of that.
Do I want compromise? Quite the opposite. I don’t believe we’re being too Christian, but rather not Christian enough. The desire to force one’s values on those holding other beliefs is purely Leftist, not Christian.
Virtually every Democrat law features control, favoritism, forced redistribution, political correctness (censorship), bias—all things never imposed on unbelievers by Jesus. No wonder God was booed at the DNC—they hate His standards. Even Colorado’s Legal Unions law overruns religious liberty and free speech. That’s not surprising. The Left always seeks freedom at the expense of other people’s freedoms—they want one choice to rob another. Unlike God, who allows us to choose our own trees, the Left mows down trees they don’t like. After that, we’re free to eat. Ohhhhh….goodie.
God says, “I don’t have to approve of something to allow it.” A Liberal says, “If I don’t approve of something, it must be disallowed.” Liberals crave control, God offers choice. Liberals silence dissent in public schools, while God lets Job curse life and shout at Him. Ever wonder why there’s no Christian Jihad? Simple: God isn’t
Here’s our problem: By equating “allowing” choices with “approving of” choices, we help the Left. Seriously. When both sides push control, society sees no option of grace—no freedom to choose trees. Remember how the crowds listening to Jesus saw the Pharisees as control freaks? Today, Americans would see the Left this way, but we intervene. Demanding the removal of choices we oppose, we join the Left in seizing the control that God refused Himself in the Garden. This validates our rivals.
At present, Americans see two parties demanding that their values be everyone’s laws. But what if only one party did this, with the other allowing all choices that don’t rob the choices of others? Suddenly, Americans would see Grace versus Control. Reason versus Selfishness. Good Guys versus Bad Guys.
Jesus understood that when our opponents want to be the bad guys, we should let them. Don’t bail them out
by copying control; use grace instead. Offering and modeling our views, we are free to expose the Left for
seizing control—now there’s a difference! When I picture Jesus frustrating Pharisees with His approach, I weep at the confidence we’ve given Leftists today.
But I understand. I really do. We see America slipping away, forsaking a path that led to happiness and prosperity. So, we forget Christ’s example and try to force things. Ever grab a handful of sand, only to see it slipping through your fingers? Try clenching harder—see how that works. Just as forcing control causes more loss, so barring choices of unbelievers causes more political losses for Conservatism.
And worse than political losses, we shrink our audience. Think about it: Would you rather listen to those who offer and model their views, or those who control you when they have the majority? Who is more likely to win you over? Who will you tune out? Is it any wonder why many Americans won’t even listen to us?
In the end, we can’t sell liberty with control. It makes no sense. And the solution lies not in silencing ourselves on social issues or branding fellow Conservatives as “too moderate.” Neither we nor they are solely to blame, but we can all do better. For our part, we Christians can shun control and offer what God offers all humankind—choice.
Leave control to the Left, and it will be their undoing. Fight them for control, and they’ll have the upper hand. As I recall, Jesus never gave them the upper hand.
So why should we?