What Would Jesus’ Agenda Be?

April 25, 2012

My state legislature is debating an…interesting bill.

It’s the “don’t say gay” bill.  The intent is to keep public schools focused on core curriculum, like math and science, and not topics like sexual orientation.

It’s an interesting thing because the military just recently repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and at the same time, some of our lawmakers are attempting to add gun owners to the list of people who businesses can’t discriminate against.  That seems kind of redundant, since gun owners can just shoot people who discriminate against them, but whatever.

It makes me wonder if we should just have a blanket “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule when it comes to everything.

What’s On the Agenda?

When it comes to things like this bill, the goal is always to protect “good, decent, family values” Americans from the gay agenda.

The funny thing is, gay rights people always deny the existence of a “gay agenda.”  Of course gays have an agenda.  And it’s faaa-bulous!

And conservatives, who are always stirring up fear about the gay agenda, usually can’t name one specific incident of the gay agenda in action.  Even the bill’s sponsor couldn’t think of a specific incident off the top of his head when asked.  He cited some vague nonsense about how he heard “it came up in story books.”  If you’re going to sponsor a bill, you should probably have specifics you can name.  It can’t be one of those things that you just “know it when you see it.”

That’s too bad, because it might have been a good bill to start with.  Public schools waste all kinds of time and money teaching kids things that are better taught at home.

What Was Jesus’ Agenda?

Now, let’s be honest here.

How many of you evangelical Christians have whined and moaned about the removal of prayer from public schools?

Or about science classes not teaching intelligent design?

And how this country is going to hell and we have a culture war to fight?  We have to take back the country from the secular progressives.

That’s because we have a “Christian agenda.”  Somehow, the word “agenda” doesn’t seem so evil with the word “Christian” pasted in front of it.  But most of our agenda is hardly inspired by Christ.  It’s just us doing what all people do, trying to control other people.

If you want the gay agenda to be gagged in America, then we’d better be willing to be equal-opportunity oppressors.  How many of us are willing to give up the Christian agenda?  Can any of us even agree what the true Christian agenda is?  It seems like it’s “convert everyone, or at least annoy the hell out of them.”  How many of us would be willing to completely give up our social and political power and let ourselves be oppressed (just because Jesus himself did it?)  How many of us would be willing to give up the evangelism and the lobbying the extreme mass-market commercialization of Jesus?

Anyone?  Didn’t think so.

We’re Just Born This Way

For a while, geneticists have been trying to locate the “gay gene.”  Whether it exists or not, gay advocates insist that sexual orientation is by birth, not choice.

And for a while, geneticists have been looking for a “God gene,” a genetic predisposition toward gullibility and small-minded belief in supernatural deities.

Chances are, most of us find the suggestion abhorrent.  To think that our personal relationship with Jesus is just our minds tricking us, hard-wired in from birth.

But maybe we, like the gay community, need to embrace the possibility of the “God gene.”  Maybe we need to admit that we’re just born this way.  We can’t help it.  Being a Christian is by birth, not by choice.  The same people who try to empathize with Islamic terrorists would look at us and suddenly understand us.  We’re not trying to be jerks or to embarrass ourselves.  We’re just acting on impulse.  We aren’t responsible for our behavior.  I mean, really, who would believe all this nonsense if they weren’t genetically flawed in the first place?

It would certainly give new meaning to Calvin’s “elect.”

What say you?  Should Christians be willing to give up all the “family values” rhetoric, if we’re going to gag other groups?  In other words, we just have a universal “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule?  Should we start chanting that we really are just born this way?

26 responses to What Would Jesus’ Agenda Be?

  1. Jesus’ agenda would be to expose us (all of us) for what we are…sinners in need of a Savior.

    And then He would give us exactly what we need. Love and forgiveness and new life.

    ___

    For those who believe Jesus would be politically active, just look at how politically active he was against the Romans. Not at all.

  2. Obviously you haven’t been to my older sons’ school to see that it isn’t simply a matter of Christians pushing an agenda or not. It’s the fact that at schools, only the gay agenda is OK. The entire school is plastered with “OK by me” signs, signifying that being gay is OK. The administration must approve every sign, so obviously it’s OK with the gay agenda.

    Find me a sign that says, “Gay behaviour is wrong!” There aren’t any. Somehow stuff like that never makes the approval process.

    I’d like the schools to teach mathematics, science, literature, some music perhaps. I’m not interested in their feeding and clothing the children or being their mommies. Also not interested in their moralising or sex ed. My middle schooler reports that they recently spent an entire afternoon on anti-bullying stuff which consisted of their acting out skits in which a child is teased for having “stupid” shoes. They also handed out “warm fuzzy” yarn necklaces and gave each other compliments.

    Your tax dollars at work…

    • Oh no one thinks public schools waste time and money more than me! I’m totally with you.

      Would you really want anti-gay posters up at your kids’ school? We wouldn’t tolerate blatantly anti-Christian propaganda, though maybe we tolerate being ignored.

      • Matt, see, the whole idea of someone being “anti-gay” is a little odd. No one says “anti-liar” or “anti-thief.” Simply believing someone’s BEHAVIOUR is wrong for one reason or another doesn’t make one anti-that PERSON. I also think objecting to something a person is doing is NOT a form of hate.

        Anyway… IMO school is not the place to discuss such things precisely because of the feeling behind your words. No one likes to be indoctrinated. I am simply stating that the “OK by me” signs all over the school are a form of that. And that is wrong.

  3. Too often I think people forget that as American citizens, the government is US. Congressmen and Presidents are meant to be our representatives, not our rulers. We have a duty as American citizens to involve ourselves in the political process. In the course of that duty, we should be guided by our Christian morals because all human laws are expressions of morality.

    If I were to summarize the homosexual agenda, I would do so in this fashion: “silence criticism to make it publicly acceptable behavior.” No sinner wants to be told that they’re sinning; the person committing adultery is no different than the homosexual in this regard. They are merely two varieties of sexual sin. When schools got into the business of teaching about sex they made themselves instead of parents the ones who decided what a child needed to know, and how they teach about the different acts has an affect on how children view those acts, acceptable or not acceptable. And talking about as just another form of sexuality implies acceptability by giving it equal footing. There’s basically two approaches to solving this: either have them teach it as wrong, or have them stop teaching about it at all. Looks like this bill is attempting to take the second route.

    As for Jesus, no he wasn’t politically active against the Romans. He came here for a specific purpose of dying for our sins and preparing the first witnesses to spread the Gospel, and into an autocratic society where his people had no voice in who led Rome or what they did. He was, however, openly critical of the Jewish civic leaders for their hypocrisy and mistreatment of their people. That sort of argument tends to forget that the Sanhedrin was a political body that governed Jewish affairs within the boundaries Rome allowed. Jesus was taken to Pilate because the Romans did not allow the Jewish rulers to hand down death sentences without Roman approval.

    As American citizens, we have a responsibility to be politically active. As Christians, we havea responsibility to conduct ourselves in accordance with Christian principles of right and wrong.

    A quote from George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796:

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness – these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, “where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?” And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”

    • You make some great points Jonathan, but let me play devil’s advocate. You say the gov’t is our representatives, not our rulers. So was it the schools that got into the business of teaching sex or the parents who gave them that responsibility? I think the latter.

      As far as your definition of the gay agenda, I’d agree…and say that it sounds remarkably like everyone’s agenda. Everyone wants their ethics to rule and to silence critics. :)

  4. Matt, I understand where you were going with this but I think it’s more complicated that just the surface issue of “agenda.” For example, in California they passed a law requiring classes teach about great “gay” Americans. If someone tried to do that with Christians, we’d see a huge outcry regarding religion being taught in the schools. Yes, there are “agendas” if you want to call it that but most of the time it’s just people exhorting their views in the public area as we’re called to do as Americans. (We render unto Caesar it’s demand that we educate ourselves and participate in a participatory republic such as ours.)

    Attempting to silence opposition is nothing new in America. The “gay agenda” tries to do it with false accusations of bigotry or hate because it sounds good in the news and we have a lot of people who won’t stop to think when an accusation of hatred is raised but rather condemn the supposed “hater” without question. It’s actually a very effective political tactic.

    Personally, I try to avoid the political stuff. It’s tedious. Hate drives both sides of the debate most of the time. No one really listens and no one really changes their views on anything. Elected officials don’t care unless you either agree with them or threaten their money base. But we can’t really say that in America we’re not being like Jesus if we involve ourselves because in Jesus’ time he didn’t have the government providing Him an opportunity to be involved like we have in America. Not voting, not speaking out and not participating in the process goes against what “Caesar” has wanted from it’s citizens for 200+ years.

  5. if we could all just blame someone for our choices! Blame a gene, blame my family, blame predestination. I am the sum of choices I have made…my fault…I am responsible. But somewhere in that mix is God’s sneaky grace that captured me in the middle of my ignorance. I am not sure how all that works.

    I know this; the church started in the most anti Jesus, ungodly, unchristian and completely God ignorant time in history and turned the world upside down w/o even a new testament! It can happen again.

  6. We’ve been talking about this for a while now in one of our classes, and here’s the conclusion I’ve come to: we can’t legislate morality. The temperance movement is proof of that.

    Plus, who are we to impose Christian values on non-Christians? Does the Bible advocate that?

    Finally, if we’re strictly looking at the Constitution (which technically, we should be, instead of looking at the Bible), the position seems more clear. I don’t see why people get so angry that our country follows its own laws and not the laws of a group’s religion.

    • Yes! I thought the law was to make the Israelites *different* from everyone else, not give them something to impose on everyone!

    • Let me reverse your question. Who are non-Christians to impose their values on Christians? The answer to both questions is the same: citizens. All laws are impositions of morality. So why does the fact that our morality is religion-based disqualify us from participating in law-making but not them? Why are their values valid but mine aren’t?

      The Founding Fathers had experienced what happens when the state rules the religion, with the English king interfering in religious matters through his headship of the Church of England, and the First Amendment prohibits our government from doing the same. Even the famous “Separation of Church and State” phrase in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists makes this clear if read in the context of the letter, wherein Jefferson was assuring the Baptists (who wrote him expressing concern that mention of religion in the Amendment would give government authority over it) that the “wall of separation” would prevent the government from exercising authority over churches.

      Too many well-meaning people buy into empty arguments because they base their opinions on the declarations of secular experts rather than having studied the text of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution for themselves, as well as the writings of the men who wrote both and the early decisions of the governments created. For instance, did you know that for decades after the new Capitol was opened in Washington, it was opened by federal law to be used for church services on Sunday? It remained in that use until well after new church buildings began to spring up in the city, and no law has ever restricted it from contuing in that use. Church services, Bible studies, Congressional prayer rooms, statues of pastors, Bible verses, engravings of the ten commandments…the Christian religion “imposed” upon the American government from its inception, because it formed the foundational principles of “created equal” on which the government concept rested.

      My dad still remembers when the Supreme Court suddenly decided prayer and Bibles had to come out of schools. Before then, it was unquestioned. Early American textbooks used the Bible and Christian morality to teach the students. Just take a look at the Readers used in the 18th century. One of the earliest public education laws in America states that its purpose was so the people would know how to read the Bible and how to read the laws so they could hold their legislators accountable. The problem is that we as a nation don’t know our history well enough for ourselves and form opinions on the basis of secular “experts” telling us what the Constitution means rather than investigating the men and thoughts that formed it and what they themselves said and wrote about it.

    • My husband says this all the time, and this is one area where we disagree. We punish people for murder and stealing, and lying, which is legislating morality. Therefore, we CAN legislate morality and we SHOULD for the common good. The purpose of the law is to punish people who violate the moral laws. However, we cannot change people’s HEARTS to want to live self-controlled, moral lives. That is Jesus’ job.

      The problem with some of the laws coming out today is that they are trying to control people. Many years ago, I was fine with all the anti-smoking laws because smoking causes so many health problems. However, aren’t they really more behavior modification laws than moral laws? I view the seat belt laws as the same thing. Sure they are helpful laws and benefit many people, but they are really just behavior modification laws to limit sickness, injuries and death so that insurance companies can make more money. And these laws controlling people may be perceived as being needed because, more and more, people are not controlling themselves.

      • I’ve had a similar debate with a guy regarding motorcycle helmet laws.

        My take on it has been that these laws exist to save the taxpayer money–if a guy’s thrown from his bike and isn’t wearing a helmet, he (most of the time) winds up severely brain damaged, on a ventilator and all that (if he isn’t lucky enough to be killed outright)–ultimately he winds up on Medicaid and spends the rest of his life requiring government assistance of some sort. As a taxpayer, I end up paying for that.

        Same thing for folks that go through their car windshields or get respiratory failure from smoking–if they wind up being classified as “disabled” they get on Medicaid and I get to pay for it.

        As such, while maybe no one can “legislate morality”, I’ve got no problem trying legislate stupid behavior wherever possible.

  7. I feel like our approach to evangelism is totally backwards. We’re not sharing the love of Christ, we’re rebuking unbelievers for not loving Christ and living a life that glorifies Him. I’m not going to fight against the “gay agenda”, because that’s secondary. I’m more concerned with someone’s heart and faith than I am with what’s going on under their bed sheets.

    No one is ever going to fall in love with Christ because you tell them the alternative is a fiery Hell. Nor will someone cease to be gay because you take away their rights as a gay person, that’s ridiculous. Our “Christian Agenda” should be nothing more than our personal endeavor to live like Christ. And to love like Christ. Maybe if we learn to do that there won’t be so many people rejecting Christ because of the hardheartedness they’ve seen in so many Christians.

    If you’re that worried about what is or isn’t happening in your kid’s public school, take them out. Their foundation wasn’t meant to be laid by teachers, it was meant to be laid by you, the parent. That doesn’t just mean teaching them Bible stories, it means teaching them about the world that they will face, and how to face it without you at their side.

  8. So Matt, have you heard anything about how this law would actually be enforced if it does get passed? How exactly would school administrators make sure that no “gay agenda” snuck into the curriculum? Will the state perhaps hire a “family values monitor” to review everybody’s lesson plans to make sure there was no gay stuff? Maybe visit every single classroom to make sure that no teachers were promoting any gay stuff? Or, better yet, maybe they’ll encourage kids to turn in their teachers if they say anything that might sound like it’s in favor of gayness? (Shades of ’1984′!)

    As I understand it, it sounds like you’ve got your elected officials trying to pass a bill that no one can articulate a concrete need for, and no one will be able to reliably enforce if it does get passed (I’ll gladly bet you ten bucks that these guys won’t pony up any extra money to make sure that this law gets any sort of oversight.) Meanwhile, this malarkey is being debated on your (taxpayer) dime. Did I miss anything?

    Oh, and a couple more questions-

    –Did the guy working on this bill put the same amount of energy into something useful–like trying to bring jobs to your state? Or maybe making sure that the public school kids actually ARE learning math and reading?

    –Does the fact that this bill is being supported by “the party of small government” strike anybody else as ironic?

    –If this were a liberal democrat trying to pass, say, a “Don’t Say Fossil Fuels” bill, how many of your posters would be completely freaking out right now?

    My apologies for repeating myself, but Christians, particularly evangelicals, have GOT to start thinking with the brains that God gave them. Abortion and gay rights have been the best thing that ever happened to the Republican party because they have an instant bloc of loyal voters who will pay attention to those two issues at the expense of everything else. As long as that continues to happen, Christians are going to get played like a bad accordion.

  9. “My apologies for repeating myself, but Christians, particularly evangelicals, have GOT to start thinking with the brains that God gave them.”

    They have been thinking with their brains. They’ve been thinking that following God’s word is better than following that of people who despise God.

    • So, ‘two-issue voters’ are “following God’s word” and those that aren’t are “following those that despise God.” That makes perfect sense.

    • Sorry about that–I’ll dial down the snark now…

      What I was getting at is this–Matt gave us an example of a legislator that is working on passing a bill that, for all intents and purposes, seems to amount to a glorified dog-and-pony show. There’s no concrete evidence (from what I can tell) that it’s even necessary, if does get passed there doesn’t seem to be any logical way of enforcing it, and it’s doubtful that it’s even going to accomplish whatever it is that this guy wants to accomplish with it (I’m pretty sure the “gay agenda”, define it how you will, is going to continue regardless of whether anyone’s allowed to discuss it in school.)

      The whole thing smacks of being a big publicity stunt, and this guy is using up taxpayer money and legislative time to get it done. Meanwhile, as Matt alluded to, the state obviously has more pressing concerns that are being ignored.

      However, more likely than not, this guy is going to have a sizeable population of folks who will probably vote him back into office, regardless of what kind of job he does otherwise, because all they’ll remember is that he “followed God’s word” and “stood up to the gay agenda.”

      Does this not strike you as a problem?

      • Thank you for dialing down the snark, Abby! Please don’t generalize a whole group just because a politician who claims to be in the group don’t use the brains that God gave them. ;-) . I agree that the law this guy is passing is a “behavior modification” law, not a moral law that is essentially unenforcable.

        I am not a one or two issue voter. I believe that the government should be giving a lot of the responsibility they have shouldered to “take care” of people back to families and individuals because, quite honestly, government stinks at showing compassion and it is not their job description. They also are poor money managers. Any CFO who managed money like the government would be imprisoned (a.k.a. Enron). How exactly this could be accomplished while preventing a total economic meltdown, widespread famine and unemployment in the 60% range, requires a plan with finesse, something that is lacking in most politicians. I also believe that abortion is murder and pray that there will come a day when others will see it the same way. In the meantime, I want to make sure that abortion providers are under the same scruitiny that you and the hospital with which you are affiliated are under and that parents who are still responsible for their children know when their children are contemplating abortions.

        The one thing I think Jesus would be telling American people is to stop being so selfish, start taking care of your family and your neighbors as God requires you to do. That is probably the most political that Jesus would get.

  10. I don’t think there are always easy answers to your tough questions, but that’s the point, right?

    I appreciate your boldness in addressing difficult issues head on yet with finesse and creativity.

    As the the Christian agenda vs any other agenda – I think you get to the heart of the matter and issues of demonstrating Christ’s love, taking responsibility for our choices (i.e., God or gay “gene”), and the importance of being informed if we’re going to be politically active.

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