When liberals are a minority, they usually talk about diversity and tolerance. But when they form a majority they often snarl at their conservative opponents. Conversely, I cannot think of a single responsible conservative who disputes the right of liberals to state their points of view. But when liberals are in charge, as is often the case on college campuses, every degree of leftist is entitled to speak at commencement ceremonies but conservatives are routinely rejected. Tolerance is replaced by a snarl.
The snarl of liberalism was on display recently in the New York Times. Following the approval of same-sex marriage in Ireland, an editorial declared, “The outcome in Ireland sends an unmistakable signal to politicians and religious leaders around the world who continue to harbor intolerant views against gays and lesbians.” Note the thinly veiled threat and the judgmental word (intolerant) in that sentence.
Op-ed writer Frank Bruni, a homosexual activist, wrote that Christians who hold on to “ossified,” biblically-based beliefs regarding sexual morality have no place at America’s table and must be obliged to rewrite their moral code. Note the snarl of compulsion in his statement.
Bruni trashed all believing Christians as “bigots,” saying that Christians’ negative moral assessment of homosexual relations is “a choice” that prioritizes scattered passages of ancient texts over all that has been learned since—as if time had stood still—as if the advances of science and knowledge meant nothing. “Religion,” he wrote, “is going to be the final holdout and most stubborn refuge for homophobia. It will give license to discrimination.” Therefore, religions should be made to “take homosexuality off the sin list.”
Notice that Bruni does not suggest that liberals and conservatives should debate their differences in the free marketplace of ideas. Instead he argues that the major religions of the world should be forced to change their convictions. Even in America where the First Amendment is supposed to protect free speech, orthodox Christians who regard the Bible as God’s inspired and authoritative word should be prepared to face the snarl of liberalism.
Dr. William R. (Bill) Bouknight serves as Associate Director of the Confessing Movement and on the Executive Committee of the United Methodist Congress on Evangelism. His undergraduate and most of his seminary education were received at Duke University, with the final year of the Masters of Divinity work completed at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland).