Democracy And Evangelicals

I read a lot of articles every week.  I make it my business to be informed both with those whom I generally agree with but even more so those that I don’t agree with.  Even so every once in a while an article shocks me so much that I feel no alternative but to respond.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. on CNN writes an article about the negativity that surrounds Evangelicals, especially in politics.  Generally the perceived viewpoint of Evangelicals is negative, and I agree with him on that.  But he argues in “My Take: Are evangelicals dangerous?” that we all perceive them wrongly.  He says, “Evangelicals worry about the fate of marriage and the family, believing that the pattern for human relatedness set out in Scripture will lead to the greatest human flourishing.”  He further argues that it anti-democratic to exclude them from democracy.  He further claims, “We’re dangerous only to those who want more secular voices to have a virtual monopoly in public life.”

Well why does he say, “We?”  Well he is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention.  And that is a huge problem, because the only people who don’t believe in the danger of Evangelicals are themselves.  Well because they see themselves a right.  Obviously most politicians see themselves or their viewpoints as right.  Hey, even I think the opinions I’ve come to are the correct ones.

But I also realise the importance of compromise, the importance of diversity, new thoughts that can change my opinion.  But when your opinions are taken from a book that can’t be reinterpreted, does that leave room for compromise?  You see Evangelicals are Christians that have a strong belief in the Bible, claiming it to be the inspired word of God.  Unlike many other sects, there is no room for reinterpretations, compromise, or new insight.  In fact I was raised Evangelical.  My first private evangelical school proudly had its slogan as “Quality without Compromise.”

But that’s a problem when it comes to democracy.  Democracy is about diversity and compromise.  It’s about giving everyone a voice.  That includes gays.  That includes treating all men equal (per the US Constitution).  Something we obviously disagree on, especially with his reference to the fate of marriage.  He in a thinly veiled attempt has not wanted a voice, but rather wanted to dictate marriage.  And I’m sure he also wants to dictate the lack of abortion or other secular freedoms.  This isn’t about ‘seculars’ winning.  In fact most US politicians are Christian.  It is about a true separation of church and state.  That’s one morals may differ from the freedoms we grant.  That just because we don’t agree with something doesn’t mean we have to ban it.

So are Evangelicals dangerous?  Yes they are until they can learn to compromise.  We have a lot in common I’m sure.  Compassion, taking care of this earth, and improving education are things we could work together on.  But to stop civil rights or attempt to roll them back is entirely wrong and helps no one including themselves.

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