Whose Moral Issues?

This week news reports predict that hundreds of thousands of gays and lesbians will march on Washington on Sunday. Last week news reports described a first-ever meeting of a president with gay and lesbian leaders in the Oval Office. The week before, the news was that the president wants Congress to renew federal funding of abortion. It seems every time we pick up the morning newspaper we read yet another item about homosexuality, abortion, or some other social issue. But wait a minute, wasn't this the president who campaigned on the economy, not values? Didn't the media tell us again and again that values were not the issue? And since the election, hasn't the Republican party been desperately trying to repudiate those troublesome moral questions? For months the message has been the same: Moral issues are not only irrelevant but also downright divisive. Yet as soon as the new president was securely ensconced in the Oval Office, what a turn-about! In his first days in office the president signed resolutions erasing all federal restrictions on abortion. Abortion-one of those divisive moral issues. And as the first 90 days of the presidency draw to a close, which initiatives come to mind most vividly? His efforts to allow gays in the military. Gay rights-another one of those divisive moral issues. Even religion is finding its way back into the public square. Liberal religion, that is. President Clinton recently held a closed-door meeting with the National Council of Churches. No, whatever we might think about President Clinton, we can never say he's ignoring the social issues. The religious right is out on its ear, but the religious left has been welcomed in to take its place. And where is the outcry in the media? Where are all those heated diatribes we heard so recently over the dangers of injecting moral values into politics? Dare I say it? It seems the so-called "danger" of injecting values depends on who's doing it, and what the values are. When Republicans played the values card to social conservatives, media liberals warned of looming fascism. "Exclusive," they charged. "Divisive." But now that their own crowd is pushing a liberal values agenda, media pundits are singing another tune-treating abortion and gay rights as just a matter of civil rights. But listen to the mucous debate over gays in the military and tell me with a straight face that it's not divisive. Look at the Freedom of Choice Act, designed to wipe out even the most reasonable restrictions on abortion, and tell me it's not exclusive. The reality is that politics always involves values. Policy inevitably reflects some concept of the ideal society, some vision of the way people ought to behave. The only question is, which values shall prevail? So don't be intimidated when people use that old put-down, You're just trying to impose your values on the rest of us. The point is that some values will always prevail. And Christians have the same right as all other citizens-indeed, the duty-to argue for the values we believe in.


Chuck Colson


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