Recently in the news, there have been many stories about Kim Davis of Kentucky and her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. There has a been a firestorm of judgments about this, and on social media it seems that there is a stark division between the two sides of this discussion. I’m not going to try to tackle this issue so much. Her options are to either issue the licenses or stand by her convictions and that choice is hers. If she stands by her convictions, she will likely face more legal punishment, but once again, she has to be the one to make that decision…and that’s what I want to discuss right now…standing by our convictions, or the way have heard it referred to many times, “standing our ground.”
In an increasingly divided culture, we are continually facing more situations wherein moral issues come into question. Morality comes from belief. No matter what we do or don’t believe in, there is a particular belief system that governs our personal approach to morality. Morality is what someone believes is right or wrong…and in order to believe in right or wrong…one must believe that there is an objective moral law, which is to say that there is a universal right and a universal wrong. I could go much deeper into this thought process but it wouldn’t be profitable right now. Suffice it to say, that we are a culture that is continually struggling internally to decide what our standard of right and wrong is.
In this struggle, there are lots of extreme viewpoints that come forward. We have the crowd from Westboro Baptist Church that seems to believe that it is wrong to love anything or anyone and it is right to hate everything and everyone. They seem to believe that the best thing to do is be against everything in the world. I firmly believe that if that group got everything to go their way culturally, then they would probably be mad about that as well. They are an extreme example of what’s called, “hate-mongering,” but unfortunately because they are a church, they tend to taint the rest of the Christian church with their reputation.
Several years ago, I was at a pastor’s meeting with Dr. Frank Page, who was serving as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the time. One of the things he said has always stuck with me. He spoke about how he was always being asked to respond to certain sociopolitical issues, and that he would generally tell the interviewer that they were really wanting to know what he was against. He said that he would rather tell people what he was for. I really appreciated that and I still do. The reason I appreciate it is because, while Dr. Page is surely not in favor of many of the directions our nation is taking, his attitude is non-combative (at least it was then; I haven’t heard much from him in recent years).
Because of our different beliefs, our nation will continually struggle to figure out what our moral positions need to be going forward. There will continue to be serious, emotionally charged discussions and debates about these issues. I believe that it is vitally important that we stand by our beliefs and our convictions (of course, while allowing room for growth and learning as well). The thing that troubles me about all of this, however, is the attitude with which we do it. Never should we look at a people group or a segment of society as our enemy. Never should we approach one another with dehumanizing tones or language. There are many things that you would think I’m totally wrong for believing. Some of them might surprise you…whether you’re a liberal or a conservative. I’m okay with that, and I’m far from being done growing. I’m open to discussion and I hope you are as well. But what I hope and pray that I never do is come off in an attacking or harsh manner. If I do that…please let me know…because while I believe in standing my ground…I don’t believe in walking on you.
*Image taken from: http://americanvision.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Kim-Davis-mugshot.jpg