Les Sillars: Calling good evil and evil good

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, July 2nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

LITTLE MISS HOT MESS: Who wants to be a drag queen when they grow up?

That’s a character called Little Miss Hot Mess at a New York public library back in 2017. The Associated Press put out a fawning story on him, and suggested the kids thought it was all just great.

[REPORTER]: Talking, singing, and reading [LITTLE MISS HOT MESS]: We can both be grooms! [REPORTER]: to an audience of preschoolers, toddlers, and their caregivers [LITTLE MISS HOT MESS]: The hips on the drag queen go swish swish swish, swish swish swish.

REICHARD: WORLD Radio commentator Les Sillars says this is no surprise. It’s an example of those who would “call good evil, and evil good.”

But how should Christians react when the culture insists that we say the same—or else?

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: It started, like so many things these days, with a tweet. Some weeks ago the New York Post’s Sohrab Ahmari, a Catholic, got fed up reading about another drag queen story hour at a public library. He wrote, “There’s no polite, David French-ian third way around the cultural civil war.”

David French is an evangelical who writes for National Review. The tweet kicked off a sharp debate among conservative Christians. It’s about how to seek what political philosophers call “the common good.”

Ahmari thinks we’re getting crushed in a brutal cultural conflict. Progressive tactics include discrediting opponents and destroying their institutions. Conservatives need a, quote, “similar realism. Civility and decency are secondary values.” We must, quote, “defeat the enemy” and reorder the public square to acknowledge Christian truth.

French holds to a classical liberal vision of a democratic society based on individual rights. Treat people and their ideas with dignity, and you’ll earn respect and a seat at the table. The Gospel is not coercive. In a pluralistic society we must defend our political and cultural values, quote, “in accordance with scriptural admonitions to love your enemies, to bless those who persecute you.”

And what, Ahmari would ask, has that gotten us? A sitting U.S. senator asserting that biblical teachings on life and sexuality must be banned from the public square, that’s what. The California assembly passing a resolution calling for religious leaders to affirm homosexuality and transgenderism. And of course, Little Miss Hot Mess.

LITTLE MISS HOT MESS: Who is ready for a storeeee …?

Ahmari and French are both right—about the other’s arguments. Appealing to quaint liberal ideals like religious freedom is bringing a feather duster to a gunfight.

But adopting the destructive, power-seeking methods of the progressive left is to surrender Christianity’s moral foundation. Suppose Christians win using those tactics. What kind of a society will we create?

And so it feels like believers are stumbling along the razor edge of a high mountain ridge. Destruction lies on either side. How much longer can we keep going?

Well, we don’t have any choice. And here’s the good news: Every day until the Second Coming the sun will rise. Regardless of how ruinous our culture or dysfunctional its politics, we will roll up our sleeves and “make disciples of all nations” as God calls us to serve. As the Psalmist said, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?” There’s a lot of good work to be done, and there’s nothing to be afraid of.

MUSIC: [Johnny Cash, The Man Comes Around]

For WORLD Radio, I’m Les Sillars.

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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