My good friend and pal the Jollyblogger has written an insightful piece on the recent Focus On The Family newsletter which encouraged a grassroots effort against the recent Michael Moore movie, Fahrenheit 9/11.
Some food for thought:
1. Political activism seemed to be a panacea for Christians in the 1980's to solve the irrelevance that the church felt. In a sense, we did not know how to be a part of public dialogs. (By the way blogging is a part of public dialog.) We were sloppy at it. When we lost we did not know how to be a gentleman or a lady and loose graciously. Without the ability to loose graciously we are left with tyranny, even if its done by the "good guys". However, I'm not against political activism, but its not the job of the church. The job of the church in context of the nation is lead it in the spiritual formation of the people, individual and corporate. In other terminology, disciple the nation. But as citizens of our nation, Christians should be activists, but ones who show love and are competent in discussing issues without slinging mud.
2. Focus On The Family is not a congregation, a denomination, or a mission agency. I'm not sure I see how their only sphere of influence is to go on the defensive if Christians are being persecuted. I'm not sure that is the role of church leaders in general. I'm frankly confused by that line of thinking, I think the idea is that if it was the case that Michael Moore was attacking Christians for the cause of Christ, then we would love him as someone made in the image of God. Since he is merely attacking a politician, we should ...
3. I have to say that I disagree with Focus On The Family's publishing of a personal mailing address is irresponsible. If they wanted to get this information to Michael Moore they can do so without putting him at risk.
4. Michael Moore is not playing fair. That does not mean we need to stoop to his level. Where is the technically competent, artistically excellent film which gives a balanced account of the war on terrorism and the Bush administrations handling of it. I know they are not perfect.
5. I understand that the left would like to take the tax exempt status of select conservative non-profit institutions. From my understanding of history and strategy this is not an attempt at making a level playing field but a power play.
6. We have to be careful as Christians that we don't fall into the strategy. For instance they want to say religion is the sphere of the personal. Politics is the sphere of the public and never shall the twain meet. Religion and politics are both public and personal. My behavior in my own home is not outside the sphere of the law. Nor is public policy outside the transcending law of God. (Note to all who see these, I'm not in favor of a theocracy.)
So in summary, the role of the Christian in public debate and politics is complex. Simple solutions will usually cause us to get cornered by our adversaries. A thinking Christian who is also virtuous is what is in demand. Let our hearts be affectionate for truth, justice and liberty. Not a mere motto, but real ideas that can make the nation great.