Social Conservatism is a Hard Sell in the Upper Reaches

As this Shiny Sheet editorial/article (the way it’s placed, it’s hard to tell) illustrates vividly:

It’s unfortunate it took this long for officials at Susan G. Komen for the Cure to reverse last week’s wayward decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.

It’s unfathomable that it took the charity three days from when the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars became public to restore the funding, which went to breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services. Why did it take the charity giant — which was founded by part-time Palm Beach resident Nancy Brinker — numerous denials, futile explanations and a public-relations firestorm to make an about-face from a decision that shouldn’t have been made in the first place?

One of the things that I’ve always found strange in my wanderings in Evangelical Christianity in this country is the juxtaposition of social conservatism with prosperity teaching.  That’s because, as a product of long-term success and having the historical memory that goes with it, the two in my view mix about as well as oil and water without an emulsifier.  In saying that, I’m making the assumption that prosperity teaching and its related lines of thinking have as their endgame placing at least some of its people at the very top of the society and not just to get their house paid off in time for the next major offering.

But the truth is that, although there are exceptions, on the whole people at the top of our society have attitudes on typical social conservative stances that range from indifference to rabid hostility.  There are a long list of reasons for this, but the central one is simple: people who have resources find it easier to throw money at the problems that result than to either restrict or redirect behaviour.  That’s not an option for people without these resources for events like unplanned pregnancies–unless, of course, there’s a well-funded organisation out there like Planned Parenthood to cover the cost.

In the past, it was fairly simple for a society to have a legal system with all kinds of restrictions for the many while the few took care of the results of such behaviour “on the side.”  But in these times such “on the side” solutions are more difficult to conceal, and so the impulse to remove the restrictions for everyone becomes stronger.  The results of this are a large reason for the social collapse–and subsequent impoverishment–of the lower reaches of our society these past fifty years.  Yet the results of reversing are so distasteful to contemplate for the well-heeled “beneficiaries” of the changes we have experienced that they’ll do what it takes to at least keep things the way they are, and the blowback to Komen’s decision to cut Planned Parenthood loose is a good example of this.

The sooner that Christian leaders wake up to this “cost of discipleship” regarding social issues (and a wide variety of other things) and level with themselves and everyone else, the better.  It would not only revolutionise the church, it would even affect the way we approach our political involvement.  We’ve seen evidence of this in the current presidential nominating campaign and doubtless there’s more to come.

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