Late in the morning of November 4, 1969, President Richard Nixon welcomed reporters and photographers into the Oval Office. He was less than a year into his first term. He walked them over to his mahogany wood desk, which was strewn and stacked high and wide with reams of telegrams numbering in the several thousands.
Mr. Nixon had addressed the country the previous night on the nation’s path forward in Vietnam. At the time, 31,000 Americans had already been killed in the war, and well over a half-million were currently embroiled in the ongoing fight. In the speech, the president had stated the goal was to stay and fight and win the war – but to also bring the troops home as quickly as possible.
Talking with reporters that next day, President Nixon suggested the telegrams, which were overwhelmingly positive about the previous night’s speech, pointed to a simple and succinct message: “We silent Americans are behind you.”
The idea that a large but muted moral majority stands ready to rise up in the United States has heartened many Christians across the years. In fact, in the late 1970s and ‘80s, pastor Jerry Falwell even gave shape and substance to the belief by launching the “Moral Majority” – a Christian organization that championed and lobbied for legislation and supported candidates who best reflected Christian ideals.
But whether silent or explicit, are there really still a majority ready and willing to finally speak up and support Scriptural truth in America? Tuesday’s election would suggest the answer to that question is “No.”
The prospect of spiritual revival is ever present, of course, and something we should pray fervently for. But I think we need to face the strong probability that American Christians who adhere to orthodox Biblical positions on a wide range of issues are now clearly in the minority. Yes, there are pockets and even regions of the country that still hold. The decline in Christian belief is not something to be happy about – but it’s also not something to paralyze us. It does, however, set up a very real assignment for all of us who claim Christ.
American Christians must be ready and willing to stand alone.
What does that even look like?
Well, in a very practical sense, it might mean voting for initiatives and even candidates who won’t or don’t win. “Always vote for a principle,” said John Quincy Adams. “Though you vote alone, you may cherish the sweet reflection that your vote is never lost.”
It might also mean speaking up on social media or having a difficult conversation over Thanksgiving with a family member, friend, or neighbor. You don’t have to go into every conversation trying to convert the other person. Just share from your heart. Make it personal. When I’ve received angry or insulting emails or letters from readers, I often respond by simply telling them why I believe what I do. Every person is entitled to their own opinion, but it’s sometimes helpful to let someone know how you came to arrive at yours.
Sociological experiments have shown that human beings are vulnerable to believing lies if they’re exposed to enough of them often enough. It’s called the “Illusory Effect,” and it was first tested at Villanova and Temple Universities. Repeating a lie often enough doesn’t make it true – but too many people think it does.
Every day mainstream media trade in falsehoods of all kinds. They suggest men can be women and women can be men. They suggest abortion is healthcare or that it’s humane. They may report on a story about a female same-sex “marriage” and refer to one of the women as the “husband.” They’ve done such a number on so many for so long that many children or grandchildren of evangelical Christians have swallowed the hook.
Standing alone may not make you popular, but something interesting usually happens when you do it. You’ll usually discover you’re really not alone at all. By giving voice to a perspective, you encourage or embolden others to speak up and out, too.
But the very best news of all is that as Christians, we have in Jesus the one perfect model for standing alone. “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him,” we read in John (1:11).
We also know that for Christians, “standing alone” is something of a mirage. In commanding us to go and teach and preach and tell others about Him, Jesus assured us, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
So, keep standing, and remember that as you do, Jesus remains firmly by your side.