That is a word that comes to mind when I think of the average Christian church today. It is really important for Christians to be nice, to not say anything that will offend. We believe that this is what Jesus would do, this is how He would act if He were here. Jesus would find a way to steer every conversation toward agreement. There would never be serious disagreement, and certainly not violent disagreement, between Jesus and any interlocutor. Christianity is a social lubricant, it helps ideas – any idea –slide uncritically into our mind. This is the use to which we put our Christian faith today.
To do anything else, to disagree with anyone on the basis of one’s Biblically informed conviction, is to make oneself kin to the people who burned witches in Salem, or worse.
The only thing better than a nice Christian, is a nice secularist. At least the nice secularist isn’t burdened with a superstition. And so it is that disputes between Christians involve the character and quality of our niceness. It simply won’t do to allow non-Christians to out nice Christians. Jesus, after all, is the author of love. And love, everyone knows, is about accepting “whatever.”
Pastors must be careful to keep the focus away from war, and conflict, as they minister in our communities. They must operate as master politicians, avoiding too much discussion about controversial matters. It simply would not do for pastors to tackle America’s obesity epidemic, even though the Bible speaks to that. So the government must confront it.
Pastors know that they cannot condemn abortion as evil. They have to be nice. Christians take their cues from super evangelicals. I heard one super evangelical tell a prominent national television news magazine program a couple weeks ago that sign waving pro-lifers are not welcome at his church. Basically, he told the reporter that it wouldn’t be nice to condemn abortion. Someone who had an abortion might be driven away from Jesus as a result, he claimed.
Above all others, homosexuality is the issue that must be handled most delicately by Christians. Here the niceness really shines. In order to prove our tolerance we must be careful not to use the word “sodomy” in reference to “gays and lesbians.” My favorite nice phrase in reference to this evil is the ever popular “gay and lesbian community.”
While the chattering class of Christians invests enormous time developing elaborate theories in defense of being nice to gays, lesbians and abortionists, common people yearn for the truth. As their families melt down around them, they learn firsthand of the reality of the spiritual world. Yes, Satan exists. And he is at work destroying families; and ultimately it is belief in God which is the mainstay of the family.
Alas, those charged with the task of confronting evil most directly – Christian pastors – are too busy being nice to lead Christians in belief. Some of them are even too busy testing out fashionable sins. The common people are left to sort it out for themselves while worship times grow to resemble a weekly meeting of the local service club more than a time for joyous celebration for having survived another week in a fallen world.
Christianity teaches that the world around us is more like a war zone than a nursery. It is a world in which Satan, the master deceiver, is very busy working to destroy goodness. His favorite tactic is to deny people the capacity to decide between good and evil. Look around yourself today. Look within yourself. We are falling beyond the loss of a capacity to disagree with one another on principle into a bottomless abyss of niceness that destroys our ability to decide between good and evil.
This is not true of everyone on earth. Osama Bin Laden has no problem with this matter. He and His god are good. We, and our entire society, are evil.
Bin Laden likes nice.