A Surprising Twist in the Culture War

“The culture wars rage all around us and Christianity is under attack. As Christians we can’t retreat but must stand our ground and fight back while there’s still a chance to win the battle.”

I have come across Christians using that kind of language in fundraising appeals, radio spots designed to get out the vote, and calls rallying churches to protest the latest threat. But all the warfare talk seems to miss one big point: Love. Even if you think of another person as your enemy (and I’m not sure that’s usually a very wise way to see people), Jesus tells us to love them.

Earlier this year the Huffington Post ran an article by Shane Windmeyer, a self proclaimed homosexual activist, about his surprising friendship with Dan Cathy of Chick-Fil-A. (The article appeared in the “Gay Voices” section so if you’re offended by ads containing homosexual content, don’t click on it.) Shane is an activist who has led many protests against the restaurant long known for its support of biblical morality and traditional marriage. But in this article he “comes out” as a friend of Dan Cathy who owns the business that he’s been protesting.

According to Windmeyer, Dan Cathy reached out to him through a series of phone calls and meetings that led to a respectful friendship between the two men with such radically different lives, beliefs, and political perspectives. Here’s a couple paragraphs from the article…

“It is not often that people with deeply held and completely opposing viewpoints actually risk sitting down and listening to one another. We see this failure to listen and learn in our government, in our communities and in our own families. Dan Cathy and I would, together, try to do better than each of us had experienced before.”

“Through all this, Dan and I shared respectful, enduring communication and built trust. His demeanor has always been one of kindness and openness. Even when I continued to directly question his public actions and the funding decisions, Dan embraced the opportunity to have dialogue and hear my perspective. He and I were committed to a better understanding of one another. Our mutual hope was to find common ground if possible, and to build respect no matter what. We learned about each other as people with opposing views, not as opposing people.”

I say that we need more of this kind of outreach and less of the culture wars. As Christians we need to listen, learn, and love rather than attack and alienate. I admire Dan Cathy for holding firmly to biblical morality while listening and respecting those who vehemently disagree with him.

We need to resist the temptation to see those we disagree with as our enemies. Jesus didn’t call us to retreat from the world nor wage war on it. No, he calls us to follow his example of treating everyone with respect, spending time with “sinners,” and pointing them to the same Savior that we so desperately need.  

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