Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christian Haters, What's Up With That?

     I was reading a blog today by a gentleman named Michael Weinstein, a lawyer, author, civil rights activist, and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  Mr. Weinstein is militantly opposed to Christianity, particularly the exercise and or spread of Christianity in our nation’s armed forces.  In the subject blog, posted April 16 of this year, Mr. Weinstein addressed fundamental Christians as “monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.”  The tone of this blog, in conjunction with its vitriolic nature, clearly reveals Mr. Weinstein’s lack of civility in the matter and furthermore his complete lack of understanding or perception as to what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  I would, therefore, like to address a few of what appear to be the underlying presumptions of Mr. Weinstein’s position concerning Christians and what we believe. 
     First, Mr. Weinstein seemed particularly bothered by the Christian position against homosexuality.  At one point he accused Christians of being part of “homophobic” organizations.  He went on to say Christians are guilty of “rejecting gay rights.”  Perhaps we could clarify exactly where Christianity does stand concerning homosexuality.  God does not hate homosexuals.  He proved His love for all mankind by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to pay for the sin of the whole world.  Therefore, Christians as a whole do not hate anyone, including those who practice homosexuality.  Even though God loves all mankind, He is holy and sin offends Him.  God has clearly identified homosexuality as a sin, a practice He never intended for us to be engaged in.  As Christians we have an obligation to simply say what God has said.  Christians are not being judgmental, God has already done that.  Concerning the legality or “right” of homosexuality, the law of the land says its legal.  Since homosexuality is not against the law of the land in which we live, I say to those who choose to sin in that fashion, have at it.  However, Christians have a constitutional right, under the law of the land, to speak out and say it is wrong.  Not only do we have a right by the law of the land, we have a conviction from the God who created us and saved us from our sin to warn others of the danger and harm of sin.  If there is an unfairness transpiring in this nation concerning the matter of homosexuality, it is the agenda of the homosexuals to silence conservative Christianity.  The homosexual movement does not like what Christians have to say so they are trying to villainize Christianity and keep Christians from saying anything.  Before throwing accusations around, perhaps Mr. Weinstein should take a look at his own body of written work.
     A second underlying current in Mr. Weinstein’s rant seems to be a lopsided idea of tolerance.  Most dictionaries define tolerance as putting up with something you don’t particularly like.  We often endure the middle seat on a crowded airplane, even when we don’t like it.  We tolerate the middle seat because we want to get to our destination.  It is common for words or terms to take on new meanings as they are used in society.  Toleration is used more and more today to mean accepting all beliefs, actions, and lifestyles as being equally true or correct.  There is a basic philosophical flaw in such a view or definition.  One of the basic laws of philosophy is called the law of non-contradiction.  That means two opposing views concerning the same issue cannot both be right at the same time.  For example, God says homosexuality is wrong and secular society today says it is right or at least okay.  One of those views concerning homosexuality is wrong and here is a hint as to which one; God is never wrong.  The same is true concerning religious philosophies and doctrines.  There are not multiple ways to be forgiven of sin or to go to heaven.  Every religion in the world cannot be correct or right at the same time.  Jesus said He is the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Him (John 14.6).  That’s a pretty definitive statement.  The law of non-contradiction is even true when it comes to atheism.  There is either a God, a first cause of all things, or there is not, the two positions cannot both be true at the same time.  By the way, the evidence is overwhelming that there is a God.   The point here is this, we can indeed tolerate one another under the laws of our land, but it does not mean we must accept as true and or correct every deviant practice or idea sinful man can come up with.  Christianity has a right to speak the truth just as the lost man has a right to speak and promote his sinful lifestyle or philosophy.
     Finally, concerning Christianity in the military, I am a retired Naval Officer with over 20 years of service to this nation I love.  I served in combat zones and sacrificed large portions of my life to defend the freedom of this nation, including the freedom of every person who lives here to think and live as their conviction directs.  The men and women who served under my command came from every section of society.  Their religious beliefs or lack thereof were an important part of who they were as individual sailors and Marines.  Those who serve in the military cannot divorce themselves from their spiritual lives just because they are on active duty.  If a group of Muslims want to huddle together and pray, there is no reason why they cannot.  If a group of Christians want to have a Bible study, it is fully voluntary and in no way diminishes the readiness of the command.  In fact, happy fulfilled sailors and Marines serve and perform better.  Furthermore, if the command makes available the opportunity for voluntary participation in religious functions, there is no constitutional infringement. 
     Some closing thoughts concerning leadership and the military.  The Transformational Leadership Theory includes the elements of individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence.  Without getting into all the details of this leadership theory, individualized consideration includes fulfilling an individual’s self-worth and helping meet the needs of their personal lives, perceived and real.  The fact is, faith is a key element in the lives of most people and cannot be simply turned on and off just because they are in the military.  The military was never designed to be, nor has it ever been sterile of religious beliefs.  Christians are not monsters in the military.  Christians bring many helpful and constructive moral, ethical, and relational contributions to any organization, including the military.  The men and women who served under my leadership never suffered because of my devout faith in Christ.  Not only did they not suffer, they benefited from the fact that I genuinely cared for each and every one of them and did all I could to help them be successful in their military careers.  Mr. Weinstein, Christians are not a danger or threat to the military.  Perhaps your articulate energies could be better applied to some worthy endeavor that would grow young men and women of our military services into the dynamic leaders we need in the defense of our nation.  Jesus Christ is not your enemy and neither are those of us who love Him and follow Him.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Dr. Ball for your well thought out and reasoned response. It is sad that today Christians are thought as intolerant because they love the One true Living God. They do not force their belief on anyone, but choose to share our love for our Lord and Savior. Those who oppose us not only want us to accept their belief's, but somehow we must also denounce our own. Christians have an obligation to love others just as Jesus loves us and while we might disagree with choices made by others, we choose to pray that their heart will be turned to the Lord and strive to provide a clear example through our lives that point to Jesus our Savior. Pastor Ball is a living example of this loving lifestyle and I pray that Mr. Weinstein will some day know the love of God. May God bless America and may we be a beacon of light for all the world to see.