Jared, I think I can agree with every point and disagree with their application, all at the same time, depending on how the term “culture war” is being defined.
I have serious problems with a certain form of the culture war; at the same time, I don’t think you’re going to find many takers who will raise their hands on this sort of restatement:
- laws or policies can make someone a Christian
- illegalizing sin can create or recapture a people for Christ
- Christians should coerce others toward better behavior
You’ll get a hearty “amen” from me that each of the above ideas is contrary to the gospel. And of course I couldn’t agree more with your closing paragraph.
But what do you make of what Martin Luther King Jr. said here?
Now the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you’ve got to change the heart and you can’t change the heart through legislation. You can’t legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion.
Well, there’s half-truth involved here.
Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart.
But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated.
It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also.
So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government. [emphasis added]
I think there’s a way, say, to be an activist on behalf of life without throwing the gospel under the bus or imagining that all Democrats are going to hell.