My wife and I are still talking about an ad we saw on television this week. Titled “Now and Then,” it depicts a lesbian couple visiting Las Vegas. One says to the other, “Let’s get married.” The other says, “My parents would never forgive me.”
They walk into a room where friends are waiting for them, along with parents who smile and nod their approval. The tagline then appears: “Destiny Happens Here.”
Children’s show feature drag queens
In other news, two new animated television shows about drag queens are set to debut in America. One is called “Drag Tots!”, a show about toddler drag queens featuring transgender model RuPaul. It begins airing next week.
The other is a Netflix show called “Super Drags.” The preview says, “By night, they tighten up their corsets and transform into the baddest SUPER DRAGS in town, ready to combat shade and rescue the world’s glitter from the evil villains.”
In other news, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a Christian university cannot accredit its law school, since the university’s code of conduct includes abstinence from sex outside of heterosexual marriage.
According to Andrew Bennett, director of a religious freedom institute, the ruling affects more than Trinity Western University. It suggests that freedom of religion and conscience are only to be exercised privately. And it could have broader implications for other professions and for other religious schools.
One more news item: Burger King is apologizing for an ad offering Whoppers to Russian women who become pregnant by World Cup soccer players. It promised a reward of free burgers to women who get “the best football genes” and “ensure the success of the Russian team for generations to come.”
After an uproar ensued, Burger King pulled the ad from its social media accounts and said, “We are taking steps to ensure this type of activity does not happen again.”
The “insuperable advantage” of Western democracy
You don’t have to be sixty years old like me to remember a day when lesbian weddings were not the subject of national ad campaigns. Drag queens were not celebrated as role models for children and Christian universities were not censured for embracing Christian morality. Nor were restaurant ad campaigns built on sexual immorality.
How did we get from where we were to where we are?
British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton is one of the most perceptive cultural analysts of our day. In his recent work, Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition, he makes this brilliant observation: the “insuperable advantage” of Western democracy “over all others so far devised” is that “it makes those who exercise power accountable to those who did not vote for them.”
How did this system come to be? Why is it relevant to this Daily Article?
In the medieval world, Scruton explains, “legitimacy flows downwards from the sovereign to the subject.” In the world of Western democracy, “legitimacy flows upward from the people to the sovereign power.” As a result, “authority is conferred on the government by the people, who are the ultimate source of sovereign power.”
In our system, the people have chosen a “culture of obedience, in which law and community are shared assets maintained for the common good.” We have chosen to be governed by those who are elected by the majority. And those elected by the majority are responsible to both the majority and the minority.
Here’s why I introduced Scruton’s analysis to this conversation: the “culture of obedience” that makes such a system possible is now breaking down. Factionalism has replaced consensualism. Each political party seems to exist primarily to defeat the other. Absolute truth has been replaced by “your truth” and “my truth.” Objective morality has given way to subjective opinions.
In Scruton’s words, “the separation of powers has become the antagonism of powers, with the branches of government competing for the high ground of political influence.” And minority views such as biblical sexual morality are disparaged if not prohibited.
“In its welfare you will find your welfare”
Here’s the good news: none of this bad news is news to God.
In Isaiah 46, he declares to Jewish exiles in Babylon: “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'” (vv. 9-10).
Until Babylon’s idolatry and immorality comes to an end, God’s people are to persevere in faithfulness. One day, our Lord promises, “I will bring my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay” (v. 13).
Followers of Jesus are modern-day exiles in a foreign culture. But as the Lord told his Babylonian exiles, we are to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7).
As a result, you and I are to model and teach the consensual morality our democracy was founded upon. We are to seek the “common good” our democracy was intended to protect and advance.
In other words, we must do for our culture what our culture can no longer do for itself.
Not because we are better than those we serve, but because we have received the grace we now offer to them. As D. T. Niles noted, “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”
Giving bread to those who are starving–is there a more urgent privilege?