Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and one of the most powerful leaders within evangelical circles called the results of the presidential election an "evangelical disaster." I could disagree more. This election was a gift.
"Mohler says white evangelicals moved in lockstep: Seventy-nine percent voted for Republican Mitt Romney, the same percentage as voted for President George W. Bush in 2004. He says they boldly telegraphed their concerns about Obama, and "our message was rejected by millions of Americans who went to the polls and voted according to a contrary worldview." Mohler says there's a danger that evangelicals won't see this larger lesson -- that they will say Obama won because of his unique story and personality.
"No, it was far more than that," he says. "Four states dealt with the issue of same-sex marriage and after 31 to 33 straight victories, we've been handed a rather comprehensive set of defeats on the issue of the integrity of marriage." That, and the legalization of marijuana in some states, are examples of what Mohler calls "a seismic moral shift in the culture."
Evangelicals have to move our focus away from right wing politics and begin focusing on mission. When I say mission, I don't mean saving souls so much as pursuing the kingdom of God.
Let me give an example. Take the issue of gay marriage and defense of traditional marriage: Mohler and the evangelicals have been fighting what they see as an attack on traditional marriage. Countless hours and dollars flow into this one issue. Mohler and his folks believe marriage is in trouble because of a gay agenda. It doesn't make any sense. How can marriage be in trouble because of homosexuals when until recently (and then only some places) homosexuals couldn't marry? Marriage isn't in trouble because of a gay agenda. Marriage is in trouble because of heterosexuals who cheat on their spouses and bail on marriages instead of sticking around to work it out. It just seems a little foolish to blame the decline of marriage on people who haven't traditionally been allowed to marry. Heterosexuals are the ones messing up marriage. The problem is not "out there," it's "in here."
What I'm saying is that Christians should stop trying to enforce our morality on the country via laws and politics, and we need to start living our morality instead. We cannot argue for the sanctity of marriage in our culture when the divorce rate among evangelicals mirrors that of the culture. We cannot expect to rely on a government to make people be virtuous we we have not become virtuous ourselves. All we can do is to do the critical work it takes to embody the virtues of our faith in our own lives, and allow our lives to bear witness to the fact that following Jesus is the best way to live.
If evangelicals alone would do two things -- just two -- it would have a pronounced and undeniable impact on the country in regard to marriage and poverty:
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