Two things that impact the way many evangelical Christians view freedom:

(1) Anytime Christians see something in the world they don’t agree with, they think we should seek to ban it. Not very long ago I was in a church service where the pastor asked the congregation to stand and pray that sex shops would be banned and prohibited, by law, from being set up in Belfast. I refused to participate. A better prayer: that the Christians standing there would waken up and get a concept of what they were doing. Here they were, in a nation which gives them the right to stand and participate in a building they opened for a very specific purpose, and here they were using it in an attempt to try and deny others that same right! If you don’t like sex shops (although I would be interested to hear why, and what you think is sold in such shops) then perhaps you shouldn’t go to them. If you want to be afforded the freedom to open a church, you need to be prepared to be mature enough to afford others the right to open a sex shop. In this instance, Christians are failing to distinguish between a) what is personally regarded as immoral and b) what is an infringement on the rights of someone else. Strangely they never asked us to pray that alcohol consumption would be prohibited by law… yet the same people believe it to be wrong too.

(2) Any time christians approach an art form which deals with actions that they consider to be immoral, they denounce the art form itself, rather than the action(s) depicted. This inherently assumes that because a particular piece of art explores a certain action which they consider to be immoral, then by partaking of that art, one would be somehow in agreement with that action. They cannot distinguish what is ENDORSED from what is simply DEPICTED. For example, assume that Mr. Joe Christian believes certain words to be wrong (commonly known as swear words – can anyone define ‘swear word’ by the way? Answers by email); and also believes that sex before marriage is wrong. Now when Joe sits down in front of the TV one night, he begins watching a movie which turns out to contain swear words and a short sex scene with unmarried partners. By the above logic (which I have found to be intensely common among Christians of most flavours), Mr. Christian will believe that by watching the ‘immoral’ actions DEPICTED in this art form, he considers that he has somehow ENDORSED those actions and that it was wrong that he has done so. In this instance, exploring mindset in art of any kind is confused with endorsing the actions explored. I’m quite sure he would not feel the same guilt watching a murder mystery like Murder She Wrote, and yet it depicts the act of murder – while CLEARLY not endorsing it!

John Wright