The problemChristians have a duty mandated upon them to oppose certain things, privately and publicly. In a Christian worldview, some things are right and some things are wrong. It is therefore right and good to oppose those things that are wrong in one's own private life.
It is also right to oppose those things in the public square. Christians are charged to be good citizens (Titus 3:1), and if there is a sincere belief by Christians that God's ethic is true and leads to good living, then Christians must argue for a Godly ethic.
Today, this can be seen in a number of areas, though there are two big ones that are dominant in the mind of today's culture: opposition to homosexual marriage and abortion. Many (most?) Christians are opposed to both of these, and make their opposition heard. A person who has never engaged with the church probably knows the church's opinion on these subjects. Some Christians, I think, argue very persuasively on both of these topics.
So what's wrong? Well, nothing. As mentioned above, opposition is a good thing. However, it breeds a picture purely of opposition in the minds of the non-Christian public. Christians are known for the things they stand against. Furthermore, Christians are seen as oppressive and vindictive. Resentment builds as people ask "What right do these people have to tell me what to do with myself?" A view is created that Christians are sexist homophobes, which is very understandable.
The solutionSo what should a Christian do? Giving up opposition isn't really an option if a Christian is convinced as to the rightness or wrongness of an act. What needs to happen is positive opposition.
What does that mean? It means promoting a positive, healthy outlook on those against which someone is opposed. For example, gay marriage has been the holy grail for non-Christian campaigners of civil rights. For many, the battle will seem to have been won when there is marriage equality and my assumption is that focus will drift away from people that are homosexual. However, while marriage equality may benefit mentally healthy people with a stable income, loving partner and a home, people that are gay suffer tremendously from far greater issues than marriage inequality. For example, did you know that ((http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02))
- In a study conducted on twins, homosexual people were 6.5 times more likely to try to kill themselves and suffer from mental health issues.
- More than 50% of lesbians have been victims of domestic abuse (up to 90% in some studies), and many of them report it happening more than 10 times with it getting worse each time. Gay men suffer from domestic abuse at double the rate of those in heterosexual relationships.
- While 2-5% of people are homosexual, in the USA over 40% of homeless people identify as LGBT (with similar percentages expected for Australia). ((http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/americas-shame-40-of-homeless-youth-are-lgbt-kids/))
Or think about abortion. I think abortion should be condemned in the highest possible terms, and the fight should be fought. However, did you know that:
- 75% of women who have abortions state the cost of having a child as one of the reasons.
- 75% of women who have abortions state that it interfering with work or schooling as one of the reasons
- 50% of women who have abortions state being a single parent as one of the reasons
- People who are poor are disproportionately represented among those who get abortions.((http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html))
- Of women that wanted to have an abortion but were unable to, only 5% regret not having an abortion.((http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/magazine/study-women-denied-abortions.html))
Crisis pregnancy centres have been doing exactly this all over the world. The Babes Project is one such organisation in Melbourne. Imagine if the church was known for supporting places like these!
The conclusionImagine if the church wasn't seen as anti-feministic and homophobic, but was seen spending considerable resources of time, money, and experience in promoting the wellbeing of women and people who are LGBT. Let's promote a positive opposition, still opposing those things that need to be opposed but bringing about positive outcomes for all involved. How hypocritical of a non-theistic culture to spend so much energy on marriage equality but turn a blind eye to social equality! How hypocritical of a non-theistic culture to proclaim itself as feministic by promoting abortion but ignoring the plight of women that drives them to abortion clinics! How hypocritical of the body of Christ to give strong opposition without first sacrificially of itself to the least in society!
Be a positive opposition.