I liked this column from Joel Belz so much that I’m posting the whole thing.
Please read this as an unambiguous call for evangelical Christians to
set aside all embarrassment over putting such an emphasis on issues
like abortion, homosexuality, and traditional marriage.
"Life is more complicated than that," say our liberal critics. "Reality
is more nuanced. There are too many shades of gray to allow folks to
reduce the public debate to those few issues."
"Evangelical Christians run the risk," I heard one evangelical leader
say last week right after the election, "of allowing themselves to look
simple-minded." Christianity Today devoted its main editorial during
the recent electoral frenzy to a warning against "single-issue
The condescending arrogance of such a caution is rooted in two giant falsehoods:
Falsehood No. 1 is the assertion that abortion, homosexuality,
and marriage are just not the black-and-white issues some of us would
like to suggest they are. They all probably need—ahem—a good bit more
Falsehood No. 2 is the assumption that those of us who harp on
abortion, homosexuality, and marriage have never given thought to
issues like poverty and economic justice, to racism and minority
rights, to war and international fairness, to healthcare and
Both those falsehoods have gotten lots of ink and airtime since the
discovery by the media, right after the Nov. 2 election, that "moral
values" had played a big part in motivating those who voted for
President Bush. Neither comprehending what this was all about, on the
one hand, nor being willing, on the other hand, to concede such moral
high ground to Mr. Bush’s backers, many in the media and on the
Democratic left have repeatedly stressed these two points. But like so
many falsehoods, they sound much more plausible than they really are.
So what makes the debate about abortion, homosexuality, and traditional
marriage quite different from the debate about the other issues? The
answer is amazingly simple—and don’t let anyone talk you out of that
fact! The answer is that on the issues of abortion, homosexuality, and
marriage, one side is claiming that certain behavior is just plain
wrong, while the other claims it is not only right, but to be defended.
On the other issues, the debate is not about right and wrong, but about
extent and about appropriate methodology.
Where, for example, among mainstream conservatives or evangelical
Christians do you find those who are affirming the moral rightness of
racism? Where do you find those who say we should expand oppression of
the poor, or withhold justice from them? Most of us, to be sure, might
be rightly charged with having insufficient concern for the ravages of
racism or for walking by on the other side of the road when we see our
brothers and sisters in need. But that is quite different from
proclaiming that disinterest as a virtue.
Yet that is precisely what defenders of abortion, homosexual rights,
and new forms of marriage are doing. They are saying that the act of
killing human babies is behavior that should be defended. They are
saying that those committed to homosexual behavior should be encouraged
to take pride in that choice. And they are saying that same-sex
marriages might well be models of commitment from which heterosexuals
might properly learn.
Let’s quit pussyfooting. Besides claiming that all the wisdom of human
history concerning such matters has been wrong, these assertions are
outrages against our basic humanity. What is there to discuss about
killing a baby? Or, as a friend of mine noted several years ago,
anybody who’s ever played with Tinkertoys knows that homosexual
behavior just doesn’t work. And the claim that Heather Has Two Mommies
is preposterously false on the face of it; nobody in biological history
ever had two moms or two dads.
So here’s a word to our liberal critics:
Nail us to the wall for having overly hard hearts. Hang us out to dry
for sometimes seared consciences. Demonstrate for all to see that we
are inconsistent when we may have used the government to feather our
own nests while opposing programs that would have improved the lots of
others. We confess our hypocrisy—sometimes inadvertent, sometimes too
But don’t ask us to pretend that wobbling carelessly around the road,
or even crossing the middle line sometimes, is the same as deliberately
driving at 80 miles an hour the wrong way on a one-way street. Some
"moral values" deserve a good bit of discussion. Some need none at all.