A peculiar fellow in a pink shirt stands on the lawn in front of General Mills headquarters. He holds a box of Honey Nut Cheerios and a propane torch.
The man says:
One out of every eight boxes of cereal in this country is Cheerios. This is really the treat now for the homosexuals. And this is our protest of General Mills — right there — advocating same-sex marriages. So we are gonna torch some cereal.
It goes downhill from there. The plastic liner of the cereal box erupts in flames just as a strong gust of wind kicks up and, well, the lawn catches fire.
The video went viral — and not because the people sharing it were impressed with this man’s bold, principled stand in the culture wars.
The odd thing, though, is that everywhere I saw this video linked and posted initially, the man was identified as a Christian or a preacher or some kind of evangelical protester.
I assumed that everyone assuming that was correct, but it was odd because nothing the man says or does in the video identifies him as such. He doesn’t mention God or the Bible or in any way identify himself as a religious person. There’s nothing sectarian in the video at all.
So why did everyone assume that this man was an evangelical Christian?
Because he’s anti-gay.
More specifically, because he’s disproportionately concerned with being anti-gay and he’s choosing to express that concern in a goofy, obnoxious and destructive way.
And in the present age, in 2012 in America, all of that marked this man as an evangelical Christian just as surely as if he were wearing a Jesus-fish necklace and a Newsboys T-shirt.
Please let that sink in. Please contemplate what that means for the witness of evangelical Christians in America in 2012. Please consider what that means for the reputation of the church.
That’s three “pleases” there, because I am begging — I am begging my brothers and sisters, my fellow evangelicals here in America, to step back and think about how we got to this sorry state of affairs.
That video? This is who we are now in the eyes of the world. And they are not wrong to see us this way.
Oh, and as for that assumption that everyone was making the other day, that this goofball with the flaming Cheerios must be some sort of evangelical Christian?