In a recent entry for his Patheos blog, progressive Christian blogger Benjamin L. Corey made a bold, but increasingly common accusation against his conservative Christian brethren.
“Most of the anti-Sharia Christians are gross hypocrites….Conservative Christians often aren’t really anti-Sharia, they’re just anti-Islamic Sharia. They’re actually very pro-Sharia, highly engaged in trying to establish more Sharia, but instead are trying to establish Christian Sharia.”
Putting aside the fact that Sharia is distinctly Islamic (making the very concept of “Christian Sharia” oxymoronic), what did conservative Christians do to earn this accusation?
We’ve seen this most notably in recent history with conservative Christians fighting against LGBTQ equality….Most recently, they went to the polls in Houston to vote down a bill that would have given transgender individuals the legal right to use the correct bathroom in public, instead of being forced into the humiliation of using the opposite gender bathroom. And, they won’t stop there. Between now and election day, Franklin Graham will be touring the country encouraging Christians to run for government office so they can “turn America back to God.” Which, I can translate for you: he wants more Christians to run for office so we can make laws that reflect a very particular conservative Christian viewpoint. AKA, he wants more people to run for office so they’ll have the numbers to overturn their losses and expand Sharia law when it comes to LGBTQ individuals (and a host of other issues)….[T]hose who systematically fight agains [sic] the rights of LGBTQ citizens on the basis of their individual religious conviction, already support Sharia law. Just not that Sharia law, cause, you know, Muslims.
There are so many loaded accusations it is difficult to know where to start.
Corey equates legal attempts by conservative Christians to protect children from disproven, deconstructive sexual ideologies and potential sex offenders to theocratic totalitarianism. This is especially odd, considering that civilizations have forbidden people to choose their own bathroom since the advent of public restrooms. If Corey is to be believed, then everyone practiced tyranny until he arrived on the scene to bring us freedom.
As for Corey’s contention that Graham wants elected conservative Christians to expand Sharia, he would do well to remember that Graham comes from the Baptist tradition, which fathered religious freedom in the United States.
Furthermore, it is beyond insulting to suggest that “very particular conservative Christian viewpoint[s]” are equivalent to Sharia. Mainstream conservative Christians do not call for the death penalty for members of the LGBTQ community, insist that non-Christians be taxed for their beliefs, or demand the removal of religious freedom.
Corey fails to grasp the difference between theocracy and religiously informed policy.
He thinks the mere fact that Christians want their convictions reflected in their public law is indicative that they want a theocratic government like that of Saudi Arabia.
“Next time you encounter a Christian who wants US law to reflect their personal religious code on LGBTQ issues, let’s ask them why they support Sharia law in America.”
However, he proves himself wrong with his own position.
Considering his status as a “scholar in the areas of theology and missiology” and his advocacy of what he calls “the radical message of Jesus,” one can assume that his convictional support for transgender bathrooms, government sanctioned threats to traditional marriage, and the separation of religious conviction from U.S. law is rooted in his “personal religious code.”
So unless he wants to call himself a Sharia theocrat, Corey’s reckless charge has no merit. It is clearly possible to have a religious morality inform or advise the state without giving the Church power over the sword or mandating a Puritanical theocratic government.
In the end, Corey’s article is an object lesson in letting an unbridled tongue run wild (James 1:26).
Just as it is unacceptable for conservative Christians to recklessly paint every liberal Christian as a theocratic communist, it is improper for liberal Christians to charge their conservative brethren with harboring Islamic theocratic ambitions merely because they stand up for Biblical admonitions on human sexuality.
May the Lord keep this in our minds and hearts as we proceed in our dialogues.