Sacred Cows

Our integrity can be judged based on how we hold accountable those who own the same Sacred Cows we do.

It is much too easy–especially if we perceive ourselves to be in a defensive position–to overlook and excuse the harmful or radical beliefs of people who own the same Sacred Cows we do. Whether our Sacred Cows are spanking, traditional gender roles, feminism, Calvinism, creationism, science, abortion availability, or the second amendment, we often do a poor job of requiring our Sacred Cow allies to have standards that reflect our foundational beliefs.

I should never excuse or ignore harmful positions and behavior because I consider the person an ally in another arena. I see this all the time: both secular and religious people do not speak out against behavior in an ally that would spur lengthy and forceful criticism of an opponent. This double standard damages our credibility.

We should condemn those who do not protect the weak, even if we agree with their commitment to male headship.

We should object when unkindness and personal attacks are made, even if we disagree with the person being attacked.

We should stop supporting Christian leaders who are abusive, manipulative, dishonest, and vindictive; even if the leader is part of a church movement that has given us back our faltering faith.

We should call out people who peddle hate, even if we like that they support the second amendment.

We should never support a candidate whose behavior and language indicate hatred of minority groups, even if we like his blunt “honesty.”

We should speak out when organizations we support do wrong. (See my next post.)

Someone holding reverence for the same Sacred Cows I hold should never get a pass for actions that are harmful.


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