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The moral case for embracing polarization


Amidst the handwringing over our nation’s “polarization,” a growing chorus of voices is urging Christian voters to sidestep tough conversations and recoil from political discourse altogether, fearing they’ll fan the flames of division.

Figures like leadership guru John Maxwell, for instance, reportedly advised pastors of large churches to shun political sermons to prevent congregational rifts, while Ed Stetzer of Biola University has derisively labeled conservative activism as “culture war theology.”

Then there’s Clay Stauffer of Vanderbilt University, who implored evangelicals to “focus more on Jesus and less on partisan politics” and instead find “common ground” to “restore unity to a fractured nation.”

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More recently, former Republican speechwriter Peter Wehner scolded white evangelicals on the pages of the Atlantic for viewing politics as a “contest between the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness.”

Yet, lost in this effort to present the Gospel as apolitical as possible, is this lingering question: Is “polarization” truly undesirable?

What if our deep divides today serve a useful purpose in that they demarcate right from wrong, sanity from distortion, and virtue from vice?

Consider this blood-boiling story out of a Michigan school district as an example of what I mean.

Jennifer and Dan Mead’s daughter attended East Rockford Middle School until two years ago. The young girl was going through a difficult period both academically and emotionally, which prompted the parents to seek help from the school’s counseling team.

As Mrs. Mead put it, “I had what I thought was … a trust between us as parents and the school system to help our daughter succeed and help her wellbeing. I was disclosing intimate, private information with the school. They [the counselors] were letting the staff and teachers know so we could make the best decisions for our daughter. I really trusted them.”

How did East Rockford Middle School officials use this “trust?”

Oh, by trying to “socially transition” the Meads’ daughter into a different gender!

The 13-year-old allegedly expressed signs of gender dysphoria during her sessions, and rather than relay this critical information back to her parents, employees at the school took it upon themselves to start treating the girl as though she were a boy.

She was given a male name and male pronouns as well as explicit LGBTQ reading material. She was also egged on about exploring “chest binders” as one potential way to conceal her budding female body.

According to one media account, the parents only discovered what was happening “when a school psychologist inadvertently included the child’s masculine name in one section of a report that was sent home.”

The Meads firmly asked that their daughter be addressed at school as the biological girl she was. The staff, however, “refused to comply with their wishes” and told the Meads that “the child’s demands supersede parental rights.”

The couple eventually yanked their daughter from class and sued the school district, courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom.

This episode is even more alarming when you find out that the teen was diagnosed with autism, possibly explaining her gender confusion in the first place.  

“I thought they were in our daughter’s corner,” Mrs. Mead said. “I was shocked and I was hurt. This hurt our family and this hurt our child.”

This is not a one-off incident, as you know. It’s part of a broader trend where government schools are imposing radical gender ideology on gullible students.

Which brings us back to the crocodile tears over “polarization.”

In a decent society, there would be unanimous agreement that our youth deserve protection, not experimentation.

Unfortunately, we do not have that kind of unanimity.

To the contrary, our societal divide has deepened, fueled by progressive factions advocating for the administration of puberty blockers to children, the introduction of graphic LGBTQ+ content in the classroom, and events like “drag queen story hour” in public libraries across America.

Meanwhile, the White House openly encourages transgender “surgeries” for adolescents, which include, as they describe it, top surgery — “to create male-typical chest shape or enhance breasts” — and bottom surgery — “surgery on genitals or reproductive organs.”

The silver lining is that amid the polarization, we gain moral clarity — who stands on the side of child butchery and promoting a gazillion different genders, and who doesn’t?

Why should we strive for superficial harmony without confronting the progressive fanaticism at the core of our social rot?

We shouldn’t, of course.

But if you listen to certain Christian groups, that’s the impression you get: a form of unity for unity’s sake.

Take those awful “He Gets Us” ads as an illustration.

The organization behind the campaign stated that their aim was “to move beyond the mess of our current cultural moment to a place where all of us are invited to rediscover the love story of Jesus,” which has apparently been hindered by the “polarization of our politics,” among other things.

They claim that “many have relegated Jesus from the world’s greatest love story to just another tactic used to intensify our deep cultural divisions.”

Okay, fine.

Now, what are you going to do about government officials who believe they must transition kids behind their parents’ backs or who insist that females compete in sports against biological men and share the intimacy of a locker room to boot?

Should we docilely accept this radicalism and mute our objections at school board or city council meetings, at town halls or on social media, or in our churches for fear of worsening “deep cultural divisions?”

Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer expected to turn a blind eye to the persecution of Jews or forgo plotting against Hitler to spare the sensibilities of his Nazi neighbors?

Was William Wilberforce supposed to curb his crusade against the slave trade to avoid unsettling the plantation owners and merchants in the British Empire?

Was Martin Luther King Jr. presumed to stifle his movement’s outcry because it troubled those clinging to the racist ways of Jim Crow?

Do you think biblical men like Elijah, John the Baptist, or Jesus Himself would have sought “common ground” with a political class that attempts to lure kids to another state to receive irreversible bottom or top surgeries?

Or would there be a stern decree aimed at those in authority: Corrupt one of these little ones, and you might as well wear a millstone necklace and take a cold plunge into the Pacific Ocean?

The emasculated “He Gets Us” version of the Good Shepherd tiptoes in cowardly silence, favoring the comfort of wolves over the safety of the sheep.

So, here is your permission to embrace the division.

It means that you land on the polar opposite position of those who are obsessed with transing children, aborting them in the womb, and undermining the jurisdiction of the family.

This isn’t an invitation to act like a loud-mouth jerk.

Far from it.

It is an invitation, though, to restore the boldness sorely missing from many pulpits and stand with fervent defiance against a pagan cabal fixated on calling good evil and evil good.

Originally published at the Standing for Freedom Center. 

Jason Mattera is a New York Times bestselling author and Emmy-nominated journalist. Follow him on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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