I’ve read many times that Christians who support gay marriage are compromising with culture. This post is not about whether such an accusation is true or not. What is intriguing to me is that those who make such an accusation often do not realize the ways they themselves have compromised with culture.
This was apparent to me last week when I read an article on Internet Monk in response to another article by a conservative theologian: A Response to Owen Strachan on Cultural Courage. The basic point seemed to be that Strachan made the claim that Christians who support gay marriage lack courage as they compromise with culture. The writer at Internet Monk disagreed. Read it for yourself.
I followed the links to Strachan’s blog and noticed that the very next post he had written was titled “American Sniper” Shows Virtuous Manhood in Action. Now I do not want to make this post a debate about that movie either. For the record, I highly value those who sacrifice their lives to serve in the military and have nothing but respect for my friends in uniform. At the same time, as a Christian, it seems to me that celebrating, near idolizing, a man whose claim to fame is killing hundreds of people may also be cultural compromise. Or, to put it another way, using this man as an illustration for what it means to be a virtuous biblical man is a huge stretch. Why, to many, is accepting gay marriage compromise but celebrating death and killing is biblical? The difference, for Strachan at least, is that one is a culture he approves of, it is one that celebrates things like war and violence and killing by the good guys here in the United States. Many evangelical Christians, staunch in their opposition to what they see as the evil of gay marriage, are okay supporting killing and torture (evangelicals have been most supportive of torturing terror suspects among all US groups).
Then we have Jesus who says things like love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you and do not harm those who seek to harm you. I do not think you need to be a pacifist to think that the love and admiration of war and violence just might compromise with this ethic of Jesus.
My point is not to debate the merits of gay marriage or of war and killing. My point is simply that what may look like cultural compromise to you may not be so obvious to someone else, and when you accuse others of compromising they may return the favor by pointing out places where you have compromised.
We all probably do it somewhere. I am sure I do it. Maybe it would help if we were not all so self-righteous about it.