Back in the 90’s I remember a news story (or maybe it was a bit in a movie) from the US where a prevention of cruelty to animals type group was prosecuting some satanist cult for the way they were sacrificing goats. My recollection is that at the time people (including myself) had very little sympathy for the satanist cult and felt that it was fair enough that they should be stopped from cutting goat’s throats in the manner they were.
The problem we have now is that normal Christians are being viewed by society they way that satanists were back then. And we are usually unaware of it. Sure, we were always aware that there were fringe elements who hated Christians – be they atheists or ‘lefty’ environmentalists. But we figured that the vast bulk of society kind of believed the things that we did and were ‘on our side’.
But the recent hoo-ha over the Bible Society’s video and the subsequent boycott of Coopers beers should teach us something else. While it may be a small group on the active fringe who instigate trouble for Christians, huge segments of the general population are more than willing to pile on. Who would have thought that a whole bunch of pubs would boycott a brewer because they didn’t think they were sufficiently pro-same sex marriage? This isn’t a fringe element, this is the mainstream of society. Trying to harm anyone associated with a traditional Christian view.
Christians need to understand that most of society views us the way that we viewed a satanic cult back in the 1990’s. That most people don’t differentiate between mainstream Christians and cults. That it isn’t just the fringe.
In Australia, this is a very different experience. A couple of generations ago, Christians were considered generally the same as everyone else, just a bit too serious about the things we all broadly believed. This has changed to the point where the more educated and ‘intellectual’ considered Muslims better people than Christians, with the less educated not too far behind.
Too many Christians are diagnosing the problem incorrectly. They think that the majority of the population share our beliefs, and all we need to do is encourage those who think like us to be politically active to preserve Christian values in law. But this will never work. At the current counting, less than 2% of the WA electorate voted for a Christian party. In the upper house, more than 4 times that thought that Pauline Hanson better represented their values. And she hadn’t had a political party in WA before this year.
The problem, if that is the correct word for it, is that Christians follow Jesus, and Jesus said that anyone who followed him would suffer and be persecuted. We are so unused to that, or think that the very trivial things we face are actually suffering, we have forgotten that things in our culture have been out of the ordinary for a long period of time.
And so, Coopers, a company that describes itself as fostering Christian values, has learned that that is like to cost you money in our society at the moment. And so they traded away Christian values (marriage and God’s intention in creation) for money and social acceptability.
Its a reminder that Christians will have a choice in our society – Jesus, or something else. For too long we have thought we could have Jesus and something else. We can no longer delude ourselves that this is the case (and we were deluded if we thought that). We need to choose – Jesus, or not. And its only Jesus who will last for eternity, so make your choice wisely.