April 13, 2015
This past Wednesday I was asked to join The O’Reilly Factor to offer a response to Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points, whereby he voiced his exasperation over the lack of Christian leadership in the face of the most defining cultural debates of our day; debates such as the present uproar over the Religious Freedom Act in Indiana.
My response was to try to encourage “the flock” and to give examples of rhetorical questions that I think the Church should be asking; questions that easily expose the duplicity of its opposition. For example, how is it tolerant to say, “I can’t tolerate your intolerance,” and “please tell me how it isn’t hateful to say, I hate you hateful people?” This is postmodern pabulum and it is self-refuting at every turn.
I went further to suggest that the opponents of the Church seem to be more interested in ideological fascism than intellectual freedom. Opposition to Indiana’s RFRA, for example, looks more like tyranny and forced agreement more than it does a free, open, liberal and tolerant exchange of ideas. I argued that we, as Christians, should boldly declare, “The emperor has no clothes” and, that in doing so, we would likely find that our neighbor standing beside us (silently watching this sad parade) also sees the obvious and agrees! I concluded by arguing that Truth always exposes deception and that by reclaiming it and defending it; the Church always wins.
Mr. O’Reilly’s response was, “but Dr., the big clerics are MIA. You must have the leadership that is going to take that philosophy you just described to the opposition and the leaders [of the Church] have not stood up…”
Several have asked me: “What would you have said, had you been given more time to respond to O’Reilly’s closing comments?”
Well, here it is: Mr. O’Reilly, you are absolutely right!
Where is the Church leader willing to say that whether someone is Mormon, Muslim, Methodist, Buddhist or Baptist they should not be forced to agree with or celebrate someone else’s behavior that is contrary to their religious and moral convictions?
Where is the Church leader willing to state the obvious: That this isn’t about identity? It is about inclinations and that we are much more than the sum total of what we are inclined to do.
Where is the leader willing to say that caring love is a much higher ethic than careless tolerance and that saying that I will “tolerate you” is more of an insult than a compliment?
Where is the leadership willing to confront the prevailing PC narrative as nothing short of pedantic posturing that dumbs down the debate and conflates tolerance with tyranny, liberty with licentiousness, freedom with a free-for-all, and human dignity with human desire?
Where is the Chesterton to point out that there is no liberty without Law and no freedom without fences? Where is the Wilberforce to say that we are men and not animals? Where is the Lewis to challenge that we can do no measuring without a measuring rod outside of those things being measured? Where is the Wesley willing to confront the silly obfuscation of our time by saying, “This is mere playing with words. Explain your terms and the objection vanishes, away”?
Given a few more seconds on The Factor (or any other venue for that matter) this is what I would have said, “Mr. O’Reilly you are absolutely spot on! Indeed the voice of the Church by and large is ‘MIA’ for if it weren’t, leaders like Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, wouldn’t feel as if they are standing alone like little Dutch boys trying to hold back an impending disaster while the rest of the world walks by and doesn’t even seem to care that the cultural dam is about to burst.”