News of the Week: Drag Queen Story Hours, Abortion Clinics, and What It Means for Christians to Protest

There are two recent stories that highlight the clash between the largely secular culture and a traditional Christian worldview. These same stories also raise important questions about how Christians are called to engage with the surrounding culture.

The first involves Pastor Derek Reimer, the pastor at Mission 7 Ministries in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I won’t take the time to describe this case, but you can read about it here and here.

This story is multi-layered. Think about it. To begin, there is the current phenomenon of local libraries hosting what are called “Drag Queen Story Hours.” These events are a part of the larger conversation around LGBTQ+ issues. Then there is what we think of these events as Christians. Additionally, there’s the question of what, if anything, Christians should do if such an event were happening at our local library.

In the case of Pastor Derek Reimer, I don’t know exactly what transpired. I don’t know what the legal standard is in that situation with respect to protests. But even if his actions were legal, there is the question of whether or not they were appropriate or helpful. Often conflicting accounts of such a story portray it in all too simplistic a way.

Don’t get me wrong. I think “Drag Queen Story Hours” are another example of the moral unraveling of our society. I do not view them as a positive development. Nor do I think it’s possible to have one that is genuinely family friendly, not if we consider the values and beliefs such an event communicates. Simply being less sexually explicit or objectionable doesn’t make such an event “family-friendly.”

But this doesn’t entail automatically knowing how to respond to such an event in our local community or how to relate to the people that either participate in them or are supportive of them. Personally opposing such an event doesn’t necessarily dictate a specific course of action. I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t do anything, only that what we should do isn’t obvious.

Maybe think of it this way. What is the goal of our response? Is it to make our views known? To disrupt the event itself? To build relationships for the purposes of having long-term opportunities to share the truth and grace of Christ?

We should also ask ourselves: are our actions motivated by love for our neighbours or by anger and frustration over what’s happening in our culture and in our community? And what are some of the possible results our actions will have?

Like I said, it’s complex.

The second story involves a protest of sorts, but one that is very different from the above example. Recently in the UK a woman was arrested for silently praying outside an abortion clinic. And while there is a law that prohibits protests within a certain area around the clinic, she was not technically protesting. Certainly it seems not in a manner dealt with by the law in question. Thankfully, as far as I know the charges didn’t stick. You can read about this here.

Considering there were US politicians calling for the shutting down of crisis pregnancy centers in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned, such a story isn’t surprising as much as it is disconcerting.

Needless to say, silently praying on the street outside of an abortion clinic hardly constitutes harassment or disruptive protest. Moreover, her actions were noble and humble. She was simply doing something which she believed to be loving and doing so in the most gracious way possible.

I suppose someone might say, “Couldn’t she have prayed the same prayers at home?” And of course she could have. But those with Christian beliefs and convictions are called to be a light to others, to live out their faith publicly in ways that are loving and truthful.

For those who believe in Christ, who are committed to following him in all areas of life, faith isn’t supposed to remain in your head. It’s supposed to reach down into your hands and feet and follow you into the world of work, of school, of friends — into your neighbourhood. Because as people of faith we also believe that one’s view of these issues isn’t merely a matter of personal, subjective opinion. Abortion is the killing of a unique human being made in the image of God. And a “Drag Queen Story Hour” exemplifies the moral confusion of our culture and the disturbing extent to which we are willing to sexualize children. We should not avoid thinking about these issues or sidestep the calling we have in Christ to be a city on a hill through how we engage these sensitive and controversial issues in our local communities.

These two stories raise the question: How do we live out our faith in the world when so much that is happening around us runs contrary to our faith? There are no easy answers, but that doesn’t mean we avoid the question.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s