Recently the new governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, was speaking in a church service and made the Biblical assertion, “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”
When word of his witness became known to the public, you would think he had murdered someone. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called his remarks “shocking.” The president of the Birmingham Islamic Society said he should keep his faith confined to his “private life.” An opinion writer for The Birmingham News blasted him saying, “He is not a civilian anymore; he is not a private person anymore ….” It seems that it is the opinion of non-believers in modern society that once people enter public life they have to check their faith at the door. While this concept may seem reasonable and right to many, what is being asked is hypocritical on the one hand and impossible on the other.
The hypocritical part relates to the fact that the ones doing the criticizing are advocating for their own faith. They would not be complaining if the one speaking said things they agreed with. It is only because Bentley was advocating a specifically Christian position that they got all bent out of shape.
But the real crux of the matter is that the critics’ desire for Bentley to be strictly neutral is a total impossibility. The reason for this is that a, so called, neutral position is, itself, a faith position. Every position that everyone takes on every topic has an underlying foundation that is built on the faith presuppositions of the individual.
For instance, the whole focus of the ADL is “tolerance.” What this means to them is that no belief is more correct than another. As such, all should be treated the same no matter what. This is, in fact, a faith presupposition. It assumes that there is no such thing as truth and that all expressions of faith are equal.
Of course, the presuppositions of the president of the Birmingham Islamic Society are obvious on the surface. They believe Islamic teachings are the truth and object to a public official advocating another point of view. It is interesting, though, that you never hear them criticizing public officials in Islamic countries for advocating Islam – even while participating in official government activities.
As for the opinion writer for The Birmingham News, he appears to be a secularist. But secularism is also a faith position. Like the ADL, he is assuming that there is no such thing as objective truth. That being the case, the governor should not be speaking as if there is.
The question is, why should the faith position of these other people trump the faith position of the governor? By not speaking out, he would be agreeing that the other faith positions are more valid than the Christian one.
Now, certainly, as governor, he is not tasked with making religious pronouncements and working overtly to make converts on the job. But the values which inform his work come from from somewhere – they are either Christian values or values from some other system. There simply is no such thing as a value neutral approach to life.
But in this case, Governor Bentley was not even acting in his capacity as governor. He was a private individual expressing his Christian faith in a Christian church. Based on this, his critics have gone over the top.
Unfortunately, this is where we are in America. And the problem is not limited to those in public office. All Christians are being pressured by those with other faith presuppositions to give up their faith and kowtow to the faith of political correctness.
As Christians, we have a different mandate. Our marching orders should come from God, not from secular American society. We are commissioned by Christ himself to share our faith with non-believers. We are admonished in the Bible to recognize that there is such a thing as objective truth and that true truth is found in the Bible. The Bible does teach that those outside of Christ are not spiritual brothers and sisters with believers. The Bible does teach that those who don’t know Christ won’t experience eternal life. Advocating a different position means that a person is operating from some other – non-Christian – point of view.
Whether it is a state governor or a private individual, Christians need to be willing and able to stand up for the truth of the gospel, regardless of what people from other faiths say. Our faith is not inferior to theirs. In fact, it is the getting away from Christian principles and turning to non-Christian values that has created most of the problems that our society is experiencing today. Christians can be faithful to Christ without being obnoxious. And that is exactly what we need to do. We must begin to stand up and live out our faith authentically if we wish to see the blessings of God poured out on us once again.
© 2011 Freddy Davis