Of Cakes, Guns, and Children

We have cakes.  Evangelical Christians have been wringing their hands about whether or not they might have to bake cakes for the weddings of gay couples.  Even after the recent SCOTUS decision, they are still wringing their hands thinking the decision didn’t go far enough or settle the matter for good.

And they’ve been wringing their hands about laws making conversion “therapies” illegal—these are attempts to get a gay person to “convert” back to (or for the first time—have) opposite gender attraction.  I wonder what it’s like to lay awake at night and worry about people different than one’s self, their sexuality, and the travesty they may be afforded the same privileges others enjoy.

For a generation of Christians who have been divorced, had affairs, and been addicted to pornography, it is fairly amazing they are so concerned about what gay people can do or not do.  After the “MeToo” moment, after scandals, after decades of marriages and families as dysfunctional as the general populace, the fact people different than themselves might be afforded the same rights and privileges still concentrates their minds.

Instead of turning inward and addressing their own significant failures, they spend time and resources policing the sexual lives of others, writing books, preaching sermons, writing emails, letters, and supporting law makers who will do their bidding.  This seems foremost in their minds—they are vocal and active.

And we have guns.  We have many Trump evangelicals concerned about cold pieces of steel that have one purpose:  Violence.  How dare the law or government separate any gun owner from their gun.  We have rights and our guns are important to us.  We will march, we will lobby, we will spend money defeating any effort to separate us from our guns.  We will be loud and proud when it comes to anyone trying to separate us from our guns.

And then, we have children.  We have babies, toddlers, and children being separated from their mothers and fathers at our border.  If they were embryos or fetuses, I’m sure these same Christians would take notice.  If they were guns, I’m sure these same Christians would take notice.  But, they are neither.  And, because these strangers, these “others,” were born in the wrong place, at the wrong time, to these parents, due to no fault of their own, they are in cages, removed from their mothers and fathers.

For too many Trump evangelicals and groups like Focus on the Family, these families, do not seem to matter.  I guess their focus is still on gays and guns.  While baking cakes and two people of the same gender loving each other, or inanimate objects that deal violence are causes for shouting, preaching, campaigning, raising money, getting angry, and being vocal, the separating of families, often by force, is a cause for shrugging the shoulders and remaining silent.

Yes, I know Franklin Graham has spoken out and the great majority of religious traditions have voiced their opposition, but too many rank-and-file, white evangelicals in the pews, remain silent regarding this purposeful and evil practice of separating families along our borders.  And too many evangelical pastors remain silent too.  They fear their congregations, but I would suggest their fear is misplaced.  There are far more important things a pastor should fear.

The recent executive order signed by Trump (which is like the arsonist calling the firehouse after he’s been found out) doesn’t mean this issue is over.  Over 2000 children are still separated from their families, many taken hundreds of miles away from their parent(s).  At the moment, there is no plan as to how they are going to be reunited.  Further, Trump’s invective, his claiming that immigrants are “infesting” America, is still a clear and present danger, regardless.

Silence is complicity.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. noted:

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Right now, the silence on the part of white evangelicals is deafening.

If we are bothered by the sexual lives of others, or the protecting of gun rights, more than we are the actual, current, suffering of children and families, then may I suggest we might be spending more time listening to Fox News and other right-wing propaganda than we are the gospels.  Whatever it is we are listening to, it certainly isn’t the Bible.

And please do not tell us one is concerned about both.  First of all, they aren’t even in the same universe of moral weight or worthiness of attention.  And second, one cannot say he is concerned about that which he has been completely silent.

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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    If you want to get evangelicals in motion, there has to be a threat to something they perceive as a sign of their power and influence in society. Conversely, they will throw all their support behind whatever they think will preserve their power and influence in society.

    In one on one discussion in the context of a good pre-existing relationship, it might be a different story, but I’ve sort of lost my motivation to try to appeal to “evangelicalism” on moral or even biblical grounds on these political issues. Those things just don’t hold a candle to feeling like you run the show.

  • Very eloquent! Thanks.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Suppose you’d be perfectly fine with the children never having been born, with having been aborted to reduce the surplus population of poor countries, which contributes significantly to their political, social, and economic problems. You’re supposing that it’s either/or. What about those people who aren’t religious, for whom it’s both/and-both abortion legalized and people only allowed in legally?

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Church is boring. It should lose its tax breaks and housing allowances.

  • Phil Ledgerwood

    Agreed.

  • jekylldoc

    Franklin Graham came out against separating children from their parents at the border? I didn’t realize! Hallelujah! The angels in heaven are rejoicing! (Seven Spanish angels, perhaps.)