I enjoyed John’s article, Scientology and Justice (see below), because I often have considered how we as Christians should respond to sin. We often talk about how to bring the Gospel (as an evangelistic campaign) to the world, but how do we bring justice without, as my fellow blogger wrote, seeming authoritarian? Or, for that matter, like crazies?
A lot of Christians in America have tried the heavy-handed approach. Several years ago, there was a campaign by some Christian group to boycott a chain of stores that did not use the word “Christmas” in their winter promotional material. What a nonsensical approach! We are punishing non-Christians for behaving like non-Christians! To become angry and fume about someone not honoring or worshiping Christ (though, I don’t think we necessarily honor Christ by attaching his name to a sale of toy figures that parents will fight over to appease their children for five minutes on Christmas morning) is willfully ignorant when the person is not a Christian, much like expecting a professor of literature to understand the ramifications of E=MC². Of course they don’t worship Christ because they have not recognized Christ as the Lord. A Buddhist could act in just as pugnacious a manner for our refusal to recognize the wisdom of Buddha. As C.S. Lewis put it, should we be surprised that pagans don’t act like Christians?
I think the same approach must be adopted in how we attempt to enforce justice with those outside the church. By recognizing that we live in a democratic state, we can proclaim the arrival of the kingdom of God, but we cannot enforce its morals. “For what have I to do with judging those outside [the church]?” Paul instructed the church in Corinth. “Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? God will judge those outside. (NRSV)”
The next time some court orders the Ten Commandments to be removed from a school, I think Christians, and their protest signs, should be nowhere in the sight of a news camera. What good does it do to protest? Instead, every would-be protester should be in soup kitchen feeding the poor, or proclaiming the good news of Christ to someone.
While not every protest is bad, because some things need to be firmly opposed, I beg every Christian to stop and think before they protest: What good will come of my protest? The Ten Commandments may be returned to a classroom. A store might say “Christmas” instead of “Holiday Season.” Will the result further the kingdom of God?
Will my protest cause people to worship God “in spirit and truth (John 4:23)?”