This isn’t about gays. This isn’t about blacks. This is about Christianity.
Why would a substantial sum of individuals living in a country that had never elected a non-Christian president be so offended about a public figure reaffirming, however unskillfully, that he believes in principles outlined in the Bible?
Because while we are a country that wants our public figures, our representatives, our leaders to have faith – that’s all we want them to have.
Call if comfy Christianity - the kind of Christianity in the good news section of the local paper or the night time news. The terminally sick child that is now well after his community prayed. The local church that traveled to a community struck by disaster to lend a helping hand or the starlet in a Hollywood movie that had faith she’d find her one and only.
How many of the people who claim to be outraged at the treatment if Phil Robertson would make the same type of public statements tomorrow, even if the consequences were not the same? How many teachers, lawyers or factory workers would walk into their workplace tomorrow and give an impassioned justification of why homosexuality is a sin even if they knew their employment would not be threatened? My theory is that there would not be many. It’s not pleasant conversation.
And it’s not the same as telling people at your workplace that you agree with Phil Robertson. Or Pat Robertson. Or Ted Cruz. These types of declarations are easy fodder for a quick water cooler conversation, recognition that you are well aware of the latest overblown political event and that you fall on one side of the argument, usually the one that is most popular in that part of the county, red or blue. And they’re usually made to people who either agree with the outlook or wouldn’t object if they didn’t.
But telling your coworkers how you feel A&E is wrong for suspending Phil Robertson isn’t the same as explaining to them why you feel gay marriage is wrong. Complaining that the liberal media is attacking Christianity isn’t the same as explaining why abortion is murder.
People like to hear that your church’s youth group built houses in New Orleans but when you go in detail about how “the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers —(they) won’t inherit the kingdom of God,” you’re likely to get a polite nod as they scamper away and try to escape back to the refuge or work. Lest be stuck talking to the Jesus freak.
Why do the people stray for those theological discussions? Why do we as a society govern religion out of school and the workplace when, at the same time, the idea of the US electing a Jewish, or a Muslim president is so improbable, and the idea of electing an agnostic or atheist seems so impossible? And a cable TV star can be suspended for talking about what’s in the Bible.
Maybe it’s because we want that comfy Christianity. We want the better parts of Christianity to be the bigger parts of Christianity. The doctrine of the Bible will not change but society wants to have the same feeling about God that we have watching the uplifting stories on the news without constantly focusing on the few points that seem to put us at opposite ends of an argument.
As brave as many feel Phil Robertson was for telling GQ what he thought about gay marriage it was much braver what Pope Francis said in an interview in September.
“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”
It’s pretty comfy not sitting by the Jesus freak.