Monday of this week I read an editorial in the New York Times that stopped me right in my tracks. Most of us who are Christians, in America, have had the feeling for some time that we are a nuisance to our nation. In the last week I have read of the fire chief in Atlanta being fired because of his faith, a wounded soldier monument removed from a park in King, NC because it had a cross as part of the display and hatred spewed toward Christians by protesters who are fighting for same sex marriage. However, until Monday I just felt that we as believers were a nuisance to our nation. After reading this op/ed it was clear to me we are seen as a nuisance.
Frank Bruni takes his pen and musters enough gall to tell Christians exactly how he feels about us. I will summarize the article but you can read Frank Bruni’s article here. Frank Bruni’s NY Times article. Here are Bruni’s thoughts in summary:
1. Frank Bruni seems to be a homosexual who is angered by Christians who oppose same sex marriages.
2. Christians are intolerant people who use their beliefs to practice their intolerance.
3. Bruni equates Christians opposing same sex marriage today with Christians supporting segregation in the past. He sees homosexual marriage as a civil rights issue and we as opponents to civil rights.
4. Bruni declares Christian fundamentalists claim they are being marginalized and kept out of the public square but they are all over the public square.
5. He argues that Christianity has favored status in America and is promoted above other religions.
6. He feels Christians should not have the right to practice their beliefs in public by denying service to others based on religious beliefs. This means Christian florists must arrange flowers for a homosexual wedding and can’t deny service by arguing religious beliefs.
7. Here are his final two paragraphs, “AND I SUPPORT THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO BELIEVE WHAT THEY DO AND SAY WHAT THEY WISH – IN THEIR PEWS, HOMES AND HEARTS. BUT OUTSIDE OF THOSE PLACES? YOU MUST PUT UP WITH ME, JUST AS I PUT UP WITH YOU.
Allow me to share my opinion on Frank Bruni’s thoughts.
1. I am overwhelmed at his hypocrisy.
This man gets paid to share his opinions for the public to view. It is his opinion that Christians should keep their beliefs to themselves unless in their pews, homes and hearts. He gets to enjoy the first amendment but we do not.
2. We are Christians 24/7 wherever we are.
Jesus told us in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” We are believers wherever we are. Sometimes you will read of the concept of sacred vs. secular in the life of the Christian. This concept holds some things we do are secular, such as drive an 18-wheeler or practice being a nurse and some things we do are sacred such as worship and reading the Bible. However, the New Testament teaches us that really everything Christians do is to be sacred – devoted to God. Colossians 3:17 reads, “ And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
It is wrong for Bruni to say to Christians check your beliefs as you exit your homes.
3. Our constitution is clear we have the right to practice our religion – everywhere.
The first amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” Mr. Bruni just doesn’t get it. No Christian who owns a car wash should refuse to serve a homosexual couple who bring their car through to get cleaned. However, the union of husband and wife is part of the foundation and fiber on which our belief system stands. Paul shares several thoughts on the husband and wife in Ephesians 5. In 5:30-32 Paul describes how the husband/wife relationship is a portrayal of the believers’ relationship with Christ. We must not participate in practices that pervert and corrupt this most important teaching. To refuse service to a same sex couple is indeed practicing our faith. We are to be obedient to the laws of our government until they demand we violate our beliefs or commit sin. Then we must become civil disobedient.
4. I have never been more discouraged for our nation.
I met Monday with a group of pastors to pray. The conversation turned to the terminated Atlanta fire chief, Kelvin Cochran, and the removal of the cross from the monument in NC. As Christians we often speak of being in a culture war and we are. Some pastors want to rally, petition and boycott. I feel such actions may be futile and useless. Our nation ignores the wishes of the majority and appeases the minority. One person complains about a cross in a public square and a judge orders it removed. We can have 2 million people in Mississippi sign a petition to display the 10 commandments in our schools. This means nothing. A judge will rule and the wishes of the majority certainly would be ignored. Though discouraged we must still remain on the front line. We must remain up on that proverbial wall. I know worse is coming. In his article Bruni hints that churches should not have the right not to hire and fire ministers based on sexual orientation. Bruni claims Christians should only be able to practice our beliefs in our homes, pews and hearts. Read closely and you will see he doesn’t even want us to have freedom in the pew.
Some of the things Jesus taught us to do are hard. I prayed for Frank Bruni to be blessed today!