Dana Mark Struve
In Good Faith
With the popularity of social media, many of our sports heroes have taken to expressing themselves via Twitter, Facebook, etc.
And we have seen at times professional teams and the bodies that govern them speaking out very strongly against specific comments made by some athletes.
At times, speaking out against these athletes was just a small token of what disciplinary measures might be taken against them if apologies for the statements made were not forthcoming.
I have a friend who works in one of the big banks of Canada.
He has explained that this bank has policies that do not permit any comment that could be construed as being negative regarding any employee’s race, religion or sexual orientation.
I enjoy watching hockey and baseball.
When the referee makes a call, or when the umpire calls you out at the plate, there is no point in arguing that the pitch was too low to be a strike.
The umpire has the authority to say ‘ball’ or ‘strike.’ And if you argue, he can throw you out of the game.
We all accept the right of professional sports teams to discipline their members who violate their standards.
We accept the right of a company to set certain standards that are not contravening the laws of Canada.
And even though diehard fans of hockey or baseball might call the referee or the umpire an idiot, we acknowledge the need for someone to make a call, even a tough call that might end a sport’s team’s bid for the Stanley Cup or prevent them from winning the World Series.
Isn’t it strange then, when Christians declare what their standards are, based on the Bible, given to man by God, that many people get all riled up and declare that Christians are intolerant.
If we speak out against the practice of homosexuality (not those who are homosexual but the lifestyle), we are accused of being hate mongers.
If we say that killing unborn children is wrong we are told to keep out of the personal affairs of people.
If we speak of heaven and hell, we are narrow-minded zealots.
Do Christians not have a right to declare their standards: standards that Jesus Christ gave us, even as sports teams have a right to set and declare their standards and companies have a right to set and declare their standards?
But our society has shifted to the point where everyone has rights to say what they believe and rights to practice what they believe, but Christians should be made to shut their mouths about what they believe.
We were a country founded on a Judeo-Christian heritage, and despite that heritage, because we believe in religious freedom, we give Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and any other religions the right to declare what they believe. And I am glad they can enjoy that freedom in Canada which is not available in many parts of the world. Why do we make Christians the exception and try to muzzle their right to declare what they believe?
Why is it that they get labelled as intolerant and no one else does.
The reality is that if we as a society are willing to tolerate everything, then we really value nothing.
But the moment I value something, I must logically oppose the opposite of what I value.
If I place value on the life of a child, then I must oppose any effort to take away the value of that child’s life.
And I should not be opposed when I stand up and declare my belief that every child’s life is of value by cries of ‘intolerance.’
Christians value the principles that Jesus Christ gave us and we should expect Christians to stand up and defend what they believe.
If we want to shout Christians down with statements of intolerance, then we should do the same with every religion, every race, and every sexual orientation. We do not.
Rev. Dana Mark Struve is the pastor of Meadowbrook Church.