Salvos in the Culture War

Syndicated columnist Ramon Mestre compares it to the deadly Ebola virus. Political activist Barry Lynn calls it "dangerous." No, they're not talking about some deadly new disease. These and other hysterical voices are ranting about none other than the Christian Coalition's "Contract with the American Family." The way they're talking, one would think that Ralph Reed and his associates had put out a contract on the American family. The liberal media's outraged reaction to the Coalition is just the latest salvo in the culture wars. What the battle raging on Capitol Hill really comes down to is one simple question: Do Christians have the same basic constitutional rights as all other Americans, or are we alone to be excluded from political involvement? For many liberals, the answer is: We don't have the same rights. Oh, they don't put it that way, of course. Rather, they obscure the issue by raising the specter of religious fanatics imposing their views on the rest of the country. Thus we have the Miami Herald solemnly warning that the Christian Right intends to establish a "theocracy" based on its own "dogmatic, intolerant" values. The ACLU was also quick to get into the act. It claimed that the Contract would "have a disastrous effect on democracy and civil liberties as we know it." This isn't the first time we've heard alarmist language. It sounds just like the 1950s when Senator Joseph McCarthy's Committee on Un-American Activities spewed forth this kind of rhetoric about suspected Communists. These days we're seeing the same old fear-mongering, but with a bizarre new twist: It isn't Marxists but Christians who are accused of subverting American society. The shrill rhetoric about theocracy and Christians "imposing their beliefs upon others" is paranoid absurdity. The Bible commands us to be good citizens, which means that Christians have an obligation to bring truth to bear in every area of life, including the political arena. And as every ninth-grade civics student knows, it takes a majority to pass a law—any law. This is a pluralistic society, and we respect that. That means unless the Christian Coalition can persuade—not impose upon—a majority in Congress to agree with their concerns, the Contract with the American Family will fail. So one wonders what is really behind the angry left-wing denunciations of the Contract. Could it be fear—not of subversives or of theocracy—but that the American public just might agree with the Contract's pro-family proposals? Columnist Alston Chase states the issue clearly when he observes that "today, demagogues masquerading as liberals [are using] McCarthyite tactics to silence opponents." That's why it's so vital for Christians not to be intimidated by bully tactics. We ought to speak up and let our elected officials know what we think about the pressing moral issues of our day. And it's equally important that we not let the alarmists frighten our neighbors. Why don't you use this commentary to explain to your friends and neighbors that Christians aren't trying to impose their views on anyone. We're simply trying to bring into the political process the answer to the ills that most affect American society.


Chuck Colson


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