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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Class Discussion Post: Analyze the Christian Ethics of a current Wall Street Journal Article, 03/30/2022

Facebook Meme: Attribution Unknown?


  • My WSJ Article, “Does the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Say That?”, is from the Opinion section, written by The Editorial Board.[1] 
  • A quote from the text begins my thoughts: “In fact, the First Amendment… to keep the state out of the business of imposing beliefs on its citizens…to protect the church from the state, not to protect the state from the church.”[2]


The ethics of a multicultural society. The article breaks down a law in Florida that attempts to legislate what teachers can speak about in the classroom and what parents have access to. While the law is nuanced, and I can see various angles from both sides, I want to address an underlying faulty assumption driving at laws like this, that is common in my former church traditions. 

US Constitution Error: The American Right and Left both get the 1st Amendment wrong, as Rae does in his quote above.[3] The founders’ primary concern was that government not be in control of legislating people’s beliefs, morals, or orthopraxy. By implication, per the founding father’s, the use of government force to impose one’s religiously held beliefs onto another is a failure to use government well. See also the history of the Baptists, related to these rules.[4]

Hermeneutics error: the American church believes (in error) that she is the “New Israel”, thus views American politics through that lens attempting to force the nation’s inhabitants to come under Yahweh’s sovereignty through political force, as though this were ancient Israel, and Washington DC was Jerusalem. Neither the Church or the USA is “Israel”. Israel is Israel and remains Israel.

The USA, Babylon, and Political Advocacy: A more accurate biblical lens would be to see modern church members as Daniel and friends living in Babylon. As exiles in Babylon, we are given opportunities to speak truth to power, and opportunities to suffer persecution. In all cases, we are exiles in a foreign land.

While we can and should speak correction to both Right and Left powers-that-be, it should be in advocacy for basic human dignity, not to legislate morality or belief onto people who are not already submitted to Yahweh. We should be serving our communities, not trying to boss them around in the name of the Bible or God.

To quote NT Wright: “The whole point of the Kingdom of God is Jesus has come to bear witness to the true truth, which is nonviolent. When God wants to take charge of the world, He doesn't send in the tanks. He sends in the poor and the meek.”[5]


Supplemental / Constitutional Breakdown:

1. The US Constitution: The defacto understanding of most church folk is reflected in the quote from the text above. It’s simply not true, or, doesn’t paint the accurate nuance.

a.       The founding fathers of the USA were coming out of a state-run church/monarchy, in which the King was the ruler of government and church (still is today in the UK, though less so).

b.       Government Run Church legislated the society. In other words, if a person broke a religious law, the civil authorities could arrest them.

c.       Baptists broke away from early colonies because of this practice, stating that the government had no right to enforce its ideas of morality and spirituality on its people. This lead, in part, to the founding of Rhode Island.

d.       These types of developments led to the wording of the 1st-Amendmant. The point was to remove the opportunity for the government to legislate morality based on any one group’s particular brand of biblical understanding.

2.    21st Century Repubstianity/Christublicanism – An entire segment of the church in the USA has become so embedded with the Republican Party and “Conservatism” that they can no longer see any difference between the two. I was among these people for years, and I am firmly not one of them now.

a.       If one takes a step back from Washington DC Politics long enough, and walks away from the Hyper-Conservative Echo Chambers and News Silos, one can begin to see a more nuanced view of American Politics.

b.       I used to say that “You cannot be a Christian and a Democrat, you have to pick one”

c.       I now say, “That, but you can’t be a Republican either”.

d.       The truth is, both the Hyper-Liberal and Hyper-Conservative movements are equal and opposite errors and both enemies of the Cross.

e.       Both movements advocate for positions that early Yeshua Followers would have identified with if they time-traveling to the 21st Century. Both movements advocate for positions that early Yeshua Followers could never have supported.

f.        Prophetic Voice: As long as The Church takes sides, we lose our prophetic voice. The longer I step away, the more clearly I see (as scales coming off my eyes) just how bereft of the Holy Spirit the “Conservative” movement in the USA actually is. We must remain in the messy middle, speaking truth to power, in love, by prophetic unction, to both sides.

g.       Community: Meanwhile, we must lay down our pitchforks, stop storming Washington DC to get our ideas of morality forced on non-Yeshua-Followers, and get to the business of quietly serving our communities. While exceptions exist, the church is invisible on the streets of America. Where we are visible, the visibility is not good. When we start being known for our love for one another, for our fellow humans just because they’re humans who Yeshua loves (not because they agree with us), we will again take up our place as the light on the hill.

h.       The world doesn’t need The Church yelling at them telling them to behave like Kingdom People before they even become Kingdom People. The world needs a hospital wing inviting the hurting and broken to be loved, cared for, and nursed to health, and then invited to become Kingdom People.

i.        Change: Let the Holy Spirit and Discipleship (which means people already IN the Kingdom) be the places we talk about how to be Kingdom Citizens. Let’s not try to force Babylon to act like Jerusalem, when Jerusalem can’t even act like Jerusalem before Yeshua returns to take up his place as King.

[1] The Editorial Board, “Opinion | Does the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Say That?,” Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2022, sec. Opinion,

[2] Scott B. Rae, Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics, 3rd ed (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2009), 19.

[3] “Does the First Amendment Separate Church and State? | History News Network,” accessed March 30, 2022,

[4] Charles Allyn Russell, “A History of the Regular Baptists in Rhode Island, 1825-1931” (Dissertation, Boston University Graduate School, 1959),

[5] Darrell Wolfe, “No Hiding.Faith/Resources,” No Hiding, accessed March 30, 2022,


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