Now that the Denver Broncos are done for the season we need to go elsewhere for our sports/religion/culture war cocktail. The latest comes from Beantown, where Bruin goalie Tim Thomas refused to visit the White House with his teammates because
the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. … This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House.
Marvin Olasky of World Magazine – the Christian publication – applauded Tim Thomas, calling his move “an admirable stand” and saying “he’ll be able to tell his three children and grandchildren that he did not salute madness.”
Governor Deval Patrick – the Massachusetts liberal – had a different assessment:
“He’s a phenomenal hockey player and he’s entitled to his views, but it just feels to me like we’re losing in this country basic courtesy and grace.” Patrick said. “I didn’t think much of President Bush’s policies – two wars on a credit card, prescription drug benefit that we couldn’t afford, deficit out of control – but I always referred to him as ‘Mr. President.’ I stood when he came in the room…”
If this disagreement was a hockey fight Governor Deval would have Olasky’s shirt over his head. And that’s too bad, because there are some distinctively Christian resources that could have helped Mr. Olasky with his response. We respect ministers not just for their gifts, but for the office they hold. We believe in the church not just because we liked the sermon on Sunday, but because it’s a divine institution. Then there’s something called the fifth commandment, nicely detailed by the Westminster Larger Catechism:
Q. 128. What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?
A. The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them; envying at, contempt of, and rebellion against their persons and places, in their lawful counsels, commands, and corrections; cursing, mocking, and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonor to them and their government.
(If this is your first look at the Westminster standards, Tim Thomas would be an inferior and President Obama would be a superior.) But there’s no hint that Olasky drew from any of these resources. He couldn’t put down the culture warfare sword even for the President of his country. Worldview momentum wouldn’t allow it.
Poor Governor Deval, who only had the light of nature to guide him. But the light of nature was enough for him to know that there is a basic respect due even to those with whom we disagree. It was enough for him to see that it bodes ill for the future of the American experiment when opposing parties refuse to engage in basic civility toward one another, and citizens no longer honor office.
If you’re keeping score, that’s one goal for the light of nature and none for World(view).