There’s a war brewing. No, not the one in Afghanistan or the one in Iraq. It’s a war that is being fought right here in America. It is not necessarily a violent war. Bloodshed is minimal. Tanks do not patrol the streets—yet. Battles are hard to identify, but it is a war nonetheless. It is a culture war and it is being fought on more fronts that we can count right now.
I would tend to say that as long as God has made his standards known, there has always been a culture war brewing. God’s people have always had to stand up against godlessness and evil. This was true throughout the Bible. It has remained true throughout the history of the church. America is not immune to this culture war, and I would argue that we are on the front lines of the most intense fighting we have ever seen.
I wanted to bring a few “battles” to your attention.
On October 7, 2009 the Supreme Court heard arguments about a World War I memorial in the shape of a cross in the middle of the Mohave Desert. The ACLU along with a Catholic park service employee sued the federal government for allowing the monument to exist on federal land because it discriminated against non-Christian veterans. No decision from the high court yet.
A lawsuit is pending from a group of parents who are suing the Unified School District in Alameda, California. They are suing because the school district is requiring all children from K-5th grade to study sodomy. (I will use this term fairly regularly from now on since it is the only word that sums up the “alternative lifestyles” that are so prevalent today.) The curriculum includes studying a book called And Tango Makes Three, about two sodomite penguins raising a baby penguin together.
Then we all know about Carrie Prejean, former Miss California who spoke out against sodomite marriage during the Miss USA pageant. Most analysts believe that her answer cost her the crown. She was summarily fired as Miss California.
Certainly, this list could be protracted over many different situations and issues. But in all of the cases we face, the issue is basically the same. God has a standard that secular culture will never live up to. The problem for the people of God is that they must learn how to fight the war. The Bible makes it very clear that we are in the world but we are not of the world. We also understand that the church cannot isolate itself into secluded religious monasteries, but we must continually engage the culture. If we withdraw from the battle, the war will most certainly be lost.
This is the message from Daniel this week. Sometimes in the culture wars, the culture roars and shows its teeth. And in those times, though frightened and intimidated, the people of God must find a way to remain faithful to God’s standards and maintain our influence in the culture. We will see today that this is what Daniel and his friends do. They tolerate much of the Babylonian culture, but in doing so they never compromise their commitment to God. In fact, they bring glory to God by the way they engage the culture. We stand to learn much from the Culture Wars of 7th Century BC that can help us to fight the Culture Wars of 21st Century AD.
Engaging in Battle,