That’s a question I’ve been considering (off and on) for some time. The recent issue with Gideon Bibles in Navy Lodging facilities turned it back on again. Bibles were out and are now back in, at least temporarily, while the issue gets ‘higher’ leadership review. How will it end? God knows, and I’m not even going to hazard a guess, at least in this article. What I will do is repeat the above question:
Can fighting for our ‘rights’ as Christians ever be ‘wrong’?
After giving it a lot of thought, my answer is a resounding ‘Yes!” Let me explain.
First of all, please know that I don’t believe that we should just roll over whenever an atheist starts complaining about the mention of God in the public square (or a Bible in a Navy Lodge nightstand). Neither do I have an issue with legal entities or constitutionalists fighting about it – it’s what they do. I’ll answer the question at hand with another question:
What’s more important, our religions ‘rights’ or the eternal souls of those who rail against God?
To most, if not all believers, that should be a rhetorical question. I like the German term for it – ‘selbtsverstandlich’, or ‘self-understood’. It’s the answer I received from everyone in our Sunday morning Bible study at the Chapel I attend on Ft. Carson, CO. While the answer was automatic, it was also followed by a ‘but’ in some cases and a discussion about America’s founding fathers and the Constitution. Therein lies my point.
There is a lot of fighting for ‘our’ rights going on these days and not a small number of organizations, with the ‘Christian’ flag flying high, engaged in the battle against those pesky ‘atheists’. While it is commendable to take a stand for ‘rights’, what I almost never hear in the midst of all the ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ rhetoric is concern for the lost and dying ‘them’ who are rushing headlong into a Christless eternity while they rail against the God they know exists.
While on one hand I don’t hear much about what we freely answer is more important than our ‘rights’, on the other hand I sense an air of prideful self-righteousness as we stick out our bony ‘Christian’ chests while making our demands. Somewhere we’ve crossed a hard to detect line in the sand and lost sight of the Great Commission – the making of disciples of all nations that, by nature, begins with sharing the gospel with the lost and dying. And I’m guilty. It’s probably connected to the ‘sin hangover’ we all have.
And that’s when I think that fighting for our ‘rights’ can be ‘wrong – when we cross that line. Sadly, one of the results of crossing the line is the image of ‘Christians’ that’s projected to the same lost and dying we should be reaching with the message of the gospel. The ‘us’ vs. ‘them fight that they see eclipses whatever else we are trying to communicate about our Christianity. In a way we’ve aided and abetted the enemy in his never ending quest to discredit our testimony.
So can fighting for our ‘rights’ ever be ‘wrong’? Absolutely! When our rights become a higher priority to us than sharing the gospel, even with those ‘pesky atheists’, we’re wrong.
Think about it.