Over the years, there have been many ideas about how Christians should be engaging the culture. Recently, writer Peggy Noonan responded to President Obama’s policy toward faith driven institutions in respect to his recent birth control initiative. In responding to that policy, I found an interesting strategy for engaging the culture on a number of issues from a spiritual perspective. Read her strategy suggestions and let me know what you think:
The church must be resolute and press harder. Now is the time to keep pounding—from the pulpit, in all Catholic publications and media, in statements and meetings. For how long? As long as it takes. The president and the more radical part of his base clearly thought the church was a paper tiger, a hollow shell, an entity demoralized and finished by the scandals of the past 20 years.
Now is the time for the church to show it’s alive. How?
• Educate. Unconfuse the issues. Take a different aspect of the ruling and its deeper meanings every week, and pound away.
• Reach out. This is bigger than the Catholic Church. Go to the mainline Protestant churches, evangelicals, synagogues and mosques. Plead for vocal, public and immediate support: “If the church is forced to go against its conscience, religious liberty in America is not safe. If religious liberty is not safe, you are not safe.”
• Know your people. Mr. Obama carried secular Catholics overwhelmingly in 2008. But churchgoing Catholics were evenly split, 51% to 49% for John McCain. These are the voters the president could lose by huge margins over the ruling. And he will, if they fully understand it. Such a loss could determine the 2012 outcome. He knows it, you know it. Have faith in the people in the pews. Give it to them straight, week after week, and they’ll back the church overwhelmingly. The White House is watching. Pound away.
• Call for Democratic support. Religious liberty should not be a partisan issue. Republicans have come to the fore, but it’s better for the church if Democrats do too. They’re starting to come over. Make clear from the pulpit that members of both parties are absolutely essential in this fight. “All hands on deck.”
You can win. Keep the faith. Literally: Keep it.