Bigot Busters

Not long ago, a young woman in Washington decided to sign a petition to put a measure on the ballot in her state barring special rights for gays. But as she approached a booth set up at a neighborhood store, suddenly she was surrounded by a hostile gang of young men. "Nazi!" they screamed at her. "Hate-monger! Bigot!" The frightened woman backed away. In fact, she was so intimidated that she never did sign the ballot petition. It's all part of a new strategy by militant homosexuals to overpower their opponents. They form aggressive groups dubbed "Bigot Busters," who intimidate voters. Election officials believe their techniques of harassment have effectively kept initiatives to bar special gay rights off the ballot in several states. It's become a cliché to say that America is embroiled in a culture war. But if the Bigot Busters continue to have their way, the biggest prisoner of war will be democracy itself. As America loses its moral consensus, radicals on both the left and the right have given up trying to argue their cases rationally. Instead, they're turning to force and even violence. This dangerous new trend is explored in James Davison Hunter's new book entitled Before the Shooting Begins. Can democracy survive, Hunter asks, when citizens no longer share a moral consensus? After all, when there's no common moral framework, then discussion itself becomes impossible. Rational discourse is displaced by force and violence. Consider the hottest issues of our day. Animal-rights activists have broken into laboratories and destroyed years' worth of research. Gay-rights activists have invaded churches and desecrated the altar. Prolifers have actually shot and killed abortionists, and abortion supporters are shooting back. Is there a way to stave off social chaos? Can we reconstruct a common moral framework for our society? The first step is to understand why that framework was lost in the first place. As Hunter points out, the culprit is a completely privatized view of truth and values. In his own interviews with people on the subject of abortion, Hunter found almost no one who could give rational, well-thought-out reasons for his or her views. The average American falls back on, "That's just the way I feel." But if truth is merely private, then trying to convince others of one's opinion is seen as a power play—an attempt to impose one's private morality onto someone else. And once people make up their minds that the issue is merely power, then why even bother trying to persuade others? The only thing left is force. That's why the watershed issue of our day is truth—the biblical teaching that truth is not private but transcendent, rooted in ultimate reality. When radicals like the Bigot Busters try to strong-arm the democratic process, we need to do more than complain to election officials. Christians must boldly cultivate a biblical world view, dismantling the postmodern notion that truth is whatever "feels right." For if we do not, then the culture war will inevitably degenerate into an all-out shooting war. And the ultimate casualty will be America's democratic freedom.


Chuck Colson


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