Watching the Golden Globes last night, the tensions between “Left” and “Right” in our country were more evident than ever, particularly in Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement award. She criticized the PEOTUS for his mocking of a disabled reporter early last year. She celebrated foreigners, from the American Midwest to countries all over the world, and called for higher standards for politicians and actors alike. She was calling for morality.
It made me realize that there is a debate in our country and within the church about what the most important morals are—sexual ethics or treatment of outsiders. Of course, this is overly reductionist, but I don’t think by that much.
The conservative opinion has been for many decades, and continues to be, that sexual ethics are primary—no sex outside of marriage, no gay marriage or even homosexuality, no adultery, and no divorce (although that has significantly changed). The liberal opinion has been who we are is reflected in how we treat people who are different than we are—immigrants, refugees, the LGBT community, and I could go on.
I’m sure many people, and most Christians including myself, would say both are important components of ethical living. And yet, many people have automatic litmus tests for the categories they put people in—“What do you think about gay marriage, abortion, immigrants, the confederate flag, feminism, __________” Whatever the answer may we put someone in a category— “Do you care about sexual ethics or treatment of outsiders?” Red or Blue. Republican or Democrat.
Hollywood has never been known for being a highly moral place, in large part due to its lack of sexual ethics. However, the face of Hollywood is changing and the morals of the entertainment industry are starting to show. Celebrating diversity and welcoming outsiders are beginning to be done in exciting ways. I’m not blind to the fact that Hollywood certainly has a long way to go in the way that it treats outsiders and celebrates their stories.
I’ve begun to follow a number of Republicans and conservatives on twitter, which has been a great way for me to start to understand people I disagree with. It’s been fascinating to see the way conservatives responded to the rhetoric at the Golden Globes, because they feel preached at by people who no right or moral standing to do so.
I think the battle lines for morality have been drawn. Which is more important—sexual ethics or treatment of outsiders? What is the worse sin? What must we condemn and what must we work with on the long road to sanctification? Based on the way I read scripture, and particularly the way I read the words of Jesus Christ, I have my answer. It’s a strange thing to find the “Hollywood elite” more moral than the Bible Belt, but here we are. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. We will do so by loving “the least of these,” the outsiders, the immigrants, the refugees, the homeless, and the conservatives who hate us.