Lady Gaga is challenging Pope Benedict XVI on gay marriage. Over the weekend, the pope urged French bishops to fight a law that would legalize same sex marriage in their country. Now the singer has criticized the pope: “This is not what Christians believe, those who believe in something, that have a religion. It is the point of view of one person.”
Here’s my question: why is it acceptable for a 26-year-old singer to criticize the pope, but it is not acceptable for the leader of 1.2 billion Catholic Christians to criticize a law that violates biblical morality? Lady Gaga declared that opposing gay marriage “is not what Christians believe,” fully confident that she is right and that Benedict, one of the most learned theologians in the world, is wrong.
In another strange news item, Donald Trump has told students at Liberty University that they should “get even” with their adversaries. The school urges students to follow a “lifestyle of biblical morality” that includes Jesus’ injunction: “Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39). But Mr. Trump disagrees with the Son of God.
Is something wrong with our culture when Lady Gaga and Donald Trump are dictating morality to us?
By contrast, consider what’s happening in Judaism today. Yom Kippur began last night at sundown. This is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, known as the “Day of Atonement.” On this day the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifice for the sins of the people (Leviticus 16:29-34). More than 64 percent of Jewish Israelis will fast today; more than 80 percent will spend the day either praying, reflecting, or spending time with their families.
Unfortunately, many in our culture no longer believe in such religious relevance. We are told that truth is what you believe it to be, with the result that Lady Gaga’s position on gay marriage is as significant as the pope’s and Donald Trump’s opinion on forgiveness is as valid as that of the Lord Jesus. How’s our ethical relativism working for us?
Jesus taught us, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). To be “pure in heart” is to commit every dimension of our lives to the Lord. When Jesus is not our Sunday hobby but our everyday King, we will “see God.” We will know our Maker personally and intimately, and experience his “good, pleasing and perfect will” for our lives (Romans 12:2).
God blesses only those who put him on the throne of their lives every day. By this standard, can he bless America? Can he bless you?