Hold the Line or Dance their Tune

It’s well-known that in a battle one running man or one charging man can turn the tide of battle.  Macarthur’s’ father won the Medal of Honor for picking up the fallen standard of his Civil War unit and continuing the charge. The battle analogy is all through Scripture.  We “war” not against flesh and blood.  Pastor Timothy is admonished to solider on.  The question is will we hold the line on the LGBT or BGLT or whatever alphabet soup represents the embracing of things perverted sexually?  Confidence is not high that we will, and if we don’t hold our line we will dance their tune.

NPR’s “Marketplace” reported this incident at a Starbucks shareholder meeting.  One investor was enraged that the company had lost money by being boycotted by the National Organization for Marriage for the company’s support of gay marriage.  The CEO responded that Starbuck’s wants to embrace diversity and the unhappy investor was welcomed to sell his shares.  The room erupted in applause (11/1913 show; the incident took place March 24, 2013).

TIME, October 14, 2013 reported that Barilla pasta had been boycotted by Gay-rights activists after its chairman said ads would show only traditional families.  He later apologized (9).  The chairman had gone on no “homophobic” rants; didn’t utter the much touted gay “slur.” (I that is to call anything “gay,” but I thought that is what homosexuals wish to be known as?  So there really is no such thing as gay “pride.”) The chairman of Barilla pasta didn’t say only white people or Italians would be used in company ads or that two-mommy, two-daddy, or one man who thinks he’s a woman and one woman who thinks she is a man wouldn’t be used only that traditional families would be.  But Katie bar the door, the gauntlet had been thrown down. How dare he insinuate that there were other families who weren’t traditional!

Good old Coca-Cola sealed the deal with their Super Bowl ad. It dealt with American ethnic diversity against a backdrop of a touching rendition of America the Beautiful. The ad included a gay family.  Theirs was the first Super Bowl ad ever to do so and garnered wide praise, acclaim, and shouts that at long last America has arrived. And in the storied tradition of Sodom and Gomorrah, the time of the Judges, and Paul’s Rome, indeed we have.

These incidents pretty much mark the line our society, our government, and most mainline churches have drawn in the sand on this issue.  Dare we cross it? Dare we even hold our own against it?  The evidence suggests that the LCMS will neither cross theirs nor hold ours.  On other theological issues that were social issues too: the chaplaincy, the Boy Scouts, women voting, and closed Communion, we have not as a body been successful at holding our line let alone charging theirs.  Moreover, we have found a theological way not to defend our original position.

In all of these issues our original, Scriptural, confessional position was regarded as right wing, far right, ultra-conservative.  It is tough to be unpopular.  It is hard not to bolt in fear when Satan whispers, “Give in or wither and die as an organization.”  And when your leaders go out of the way to parse, mince, tailor their words to sound winsome, inviting, and acceptable to the world at large, you feel like the prince of fools for being blunt and forthright neither currying favor nor denying the truth.

Be that as it may, the lines are drawn.  It is for the sake of those on the other side and for the sheep on our side that we speak the truth in love.  Who would have believed that when we did the very popular thing of embracing the military chaplaincy, a scant 70 years ago, the world would ever demand that we dance the LGBT tango?  But when you let the world call the tune, you shouldn’t expect that you will be singing hymns.



About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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