Matthew Lee Anderson with Mere Orthodoxy writes a brilliant post that eloquently explains his public disagreement with the FRC giving an award to Pastor Baity (background here and here.) He even calls on FRC to rescind the award.
He writes about how the team mentality in partisan efforts inhibits true public disagreement/discourse and is often prized above “vibrant public disagreement.” I love the way he phrased the whole post because it clearly shows how the negative side of a “team” mentality inhibits truth. He makes the case for that pursuing the truth of a situation should be more important than being proven right. Somehow in today’s world that is reversed.
It’s a rarity to find someone involved in culture war/partisan politics wiling to say they are sorry or were wrong without the “team” feeling betrayed and applying pressure to not publicly disagree.
Matthew also writes this in a humble, straightforward true friend kind of way. Seriously, read Matthew’s post and then come back and read the rest of this one .
— and welcome back —
Then after the introduction he continues (Matthew, please forgive the length of the quote and thanks for the linkage):
All that is, I’m afraid, setup for this: the Family Research Council has given an award to a North Carolina pastor, Ron Baity, for his work on North Carolina’s Amendment One. The problem? Baity has described gays and lesbians in ways that go beyond distasteful to the repugnant. (Kirsten Powers has the sordid details, and see also my friend Randy Thomas’ blog).
I suspect I know how something like this happens: the folks at FRC know Baity from his past involvement with their efforts, but don’t bother listening to his sermons or following closely how he speaks about such things. On the whole, he does their sort of work well—so they hand out the award, only to have all this come out sometime after the fact.
And yet there’s no reason not to rescind the reward—unless, of course, they’re worried about publicly discrediting someone who has otherwise been a good role player on the team (to which I say, he has already discredited himself). I don’t know whether that’s their reasoning, but I do know what I’ve seen of this world. It’s difficult to say that you were wrong, especially when it entails that you think someone else on the team was as well. And it’s even harder when it was your intellectual foes who brought the matter to your attention in the first place.
Either way, the team mentality stands in the way of the earnest and sincere desire to be faithful to the truth. Regardless of what sort of good work Baity has done, the sort of statements that he made undermine his credibility as a representative not simply of marriage and family values, but also as a witness to the gospel. It is one thing to object to homosexuality: it is another to do so while shifting the tone of our voice away from the good news. Baity not merely shifted his tone: he began singing in an entirely different register.
I have friends at the Family Research Council. Friends, that is, which means the sort of people who I would rather publicly and spiritedly disagree with about matters of fundamental importance than remain silent and stay on the team. My hope is to see the good formed within the Family Research Council, to see its credibility as ambassador for marriages and families enhanced and not diminished. Which is why I hope, as a friend and not a teammate, that they will rescind Ron Baity’s award.
I agree whole-heartedly. I can’t even come up with something to add. That says it all right there. Thank you Matthew. I do have some thoughts milling around about the negative side of a team mentality… we’ll see if it turns into a follow up post.