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-Are Conservative Christians Now Cultural Exiles?

by Dr. D ~ June 29th, 2015

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I have literally read hundreds of different responses to the Supreme Court decision on marriage. One major theme coming across from both sides of the spectrum is that the tide has shifted in America against conservative Christians. Many saying that the future is now bleak for those who still believe in the teaching and authority of the Bible.

Are conservative Christians now cultural exiles in their own country? Are evangelicals headed for the underground? This is what some are saying the future holds for Biblical Christians in America. Does the Supreme Court decision for same-sex marriage mark the beginning of the end for the ‘culture wars’ in America? In some respect I believe that it does. Here is one author’s take, Rod Dreher, on this question from Time.com:

It is hard to overstate the significance of the Obergefell decision — and the seriousness of the challenges it presents to orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. …its radicalism requires of conservatives a realistic sense of how weak our position is in post-Christian America.

…when a Supreme Court majority is willing to invent rights out of nothing, it is impossible to have faith that the First Amendment will offer any but the barest protection to religious dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy.

For another, LGBT activists and their fellow travelers really will be coming after social conservatives. The Supreme Court has now, in constitutional doctrine, said that homosexuality is equivalent to race. The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions. The more immediate goal will be the shunning and persecution of dissenters within civil society. …

But orthodox Christians must understand that things are going to get much more difficult for us. We are going to have to learn how to live as exiles in our own country. We are going to have to learn how to live with at least a mild form of persecution. …

It is time for what I call the Benedict Option. In his 1982 book After Virtue, the eminent philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre likened the current age to the fall of ancient Rome. …We await, he said “a new — and doubtless very different — St. Benedict.”

Throughout the early Middle Ages, Benedict’s communities formed monasteries, and kept the light of faith burning through the surrounding cultural darkness. Eventually, the Benedictine monks helped refound civilization.

<Read the whole article>

Response:  Does the Supreme Court decision for same-sex marriage mark the beginning of the end for the ‘culture wars’ in America? Yes it does.

Is freedom of religion going to be affected by this decision. Yes it will. At least 4 of the justices expect it will be an issue and the majority at least mentioned it.  It is just a matter of how much and how soon.

LGBT folks have now gained the same legal status as race in America. There will be legal and economic consequences for conservative churches and Christian organizations and institutions which maintain their traditional Biblical views and practices.

Are conservative Christians now cultural exiles in their own country? A lot depends upon where you live. On the ‘blue’ coasts for sure but in small town America not so much.

Are evangelicals headed for the underground? No. I do not fully agree with the author in the article above. In fact I believe that most conservative churches will now stand up as never before and renew their efforts to bring Christ to a fallen country. The time may come for the church to go into separate communities and take the ‘Benedict Option’ but this not that time. Now is the time to be a beacon of light and love within our present cities and communities. That is the true ‘evangelical option.’

There is also another option- the ‘Prayer and Revival Option.’ Already prayer warriors are on their knees crying out for revival and a new awakening in America. In spite of everything else, prayer changes things and people. This is not a time to silently go into the night but to stand up and be counted in our neighborhoods and communities and on our knees in our homes and churches.               *Top

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2 Responses to -Are Conservative Christians Now Cultural Exiles?

  1. Brian

    If you look backwards in time, Dr. D, Evangelical Christians in the USA have almost always been marginalized. In Colonial America, by law, Baptists (who are the antecedents of pretty much all Evangelicals today) faced discrimination. There were special taxes, limitations on property rights, and restrictions on political participation.

    Everyone remembers Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists Association (it is, after all, the source of the words “Separation of Church and State”). But no one remembers WHY Jefferson was writing them — he was responding to a plea from the Baptists in Connecticut for help in ending the ongoing legal restrictions/discrimination that the Baptists were facing from the State of Connecticut – a vestige of Colonial anti-Baptist laws. In several New England/northern states, these anti-Baptist laws do not go away until about 1830 or so. Jefferson’s response was ‘sorry, you are clearly being wronged but the Constitution prohibits the federal government from getting involved due to a separation of church and state.”

    In the South, while legal restrictions went away early, the impact of generations of these legal restrictions continued. Baptists (who were now beginning to morph into other Evangelical groups) were outside the power structure. For decades, it was possible in a southern state to find ZERO Baptists in state office, even though the Baptists/proto-Evangelicals might have been the most numerous religious group in the nation.

    This pattern only begins to change after WWII. Evangelicals, who have now evolved into a broad array of groups, spread out across the country and, for the first time, have substantial financial resources. Compare the mega-churches of today (built by nouveau rich Evangelcals) with the grand religious buildings of a century ago – – which tended to be built by the Mainline Protestant groups – and you can see which group gained big time in the mid-20th Century.

    Pushback began almost immediately and will, no doubt, intensify. My point, however, Dr. D., is that the Evangelical Protestant community has a long history of religious marginalization, broken only by a brief “Golden Age”, which will now be replaced by renewed marginalization.

  2. Dr. D

    All true Brian. I remember in the early 50’s that Pentecostal churches were always in shabby buildings on the wrong side of the tracks. I guess we are heading there again?

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