Aaron Fischer is coming to comic books in June. Part of the “United States of Captain America” series, he is the “Captain America of the Railways,” protecting runaways and homeless youth. He is also openly gay. The comic featuring him will be published in June for Pride Month.
My point is not that the first LGBTQ-identifying Captain America will soon enter popular culture. Nor is it that we should be shocked, or that we should be shocked if we’re not shocked. It is that introducing a gay Captain America in a comic book aimed at youth is nothing if not strategic.
In other news, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to Harvard University, has officially recognized polyamory. It is the second city in the state to do so. The Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition gave input concerning the change in Cambridge and hopes that it “will be a wave of legal recognition for polyamorous families and relationships in 2021.”
Meanwhile, a Canadian father was jailed for contempt of court after publicly objecting to his young daughter taking testosterone. A judge earlier warned him that if he did not affirm his daughter as male, he would be implicated in the criminal offense of “family violence.”
“That the next generation might know”
Let’s think about what these stories mean not for the present but for the future.
Comic books normalizing and glorifying gay characters are strategically intended to persuade our children and grandchildren in intuitive and emotive ways. Polyamory proponents want a world in which children are brought up in polyamorous families and thus accept such relationships as normal and healthy. Courts that threaten parents who oppose their children’s gender transitions send signals far beyond the parents themselves.
Just as proponents of the sexual revolution intend to impact future generations with their version of sexual morality, so we must do the same. Such thinking is not only strategic for God’s people—it is biblical.
In words that could have been written last week, the psalmist reported that God “established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalm 78:5–7). This was so “they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God” (v. 8).
The only way the next generation will not follow this generation’s slide into moral relativism and decadence is if you and I act strategically and courageously to change their spiritual trajectory.
Four biblical responses
What are some biblical ways we can use our influence to intervene for the sake of our children and their children?
The first is obvious: defend the unborn.
In the face of plans to expand federal funding for abortion, it is vital that we stand and pray for life at its most perilous stage in our culture. The psalmist testified: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). Ronald Reagan was right: “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”
Second, defend girls and women.
Female athletes, survivors of domestic violence, and civil rights for women and girls are all at greater risk because of recent governmental actions and the so-called Equality Act. God made “male and female” equally in his image (Genesis 1:27). We should pray and work for equality and opportunities for both.
Third, defend our children from immorality in our culture.
The most recent Grammy Awards featured immorality I will not describe here. The good news is that advocates for sexual abuse survivors were quick to protest the show’s promotion of prostitution and pornography. We are called to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18) and should do all we can to protect our children from the decadence of our culture.
Fourth, defend freedom of speech in our schools.
According to a recent report, 62 percent of college students surveyed “agreed the climate on their campus prevents students from saying things they believe.” The “Civics Secures Democracy Act,” educational legislation recently introduced in Congress, has been described as “a massive boondoggle in support of politicizing students and teaching them to trade away equality and individual liberty for identity politics” and “imposing a de facto national curriculum on the states.” The author calls this challenge “the greatest education battle of our lifetimes.” We are to “live as people who are free” and extend this freedom wherever we can (1 Peter 2:16).
A prayer worth praying every day
We will say much more about these priorities in the future. For today, let’s close with a familiar prayer that has become very special to me in recent weeks.
You’ve no doubt seen a famous prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi; it has been set to music and published in a wide variety of media over the years. I have begun praying it every day, slowly and with attention to each word, and have found it to be encouraging and empowering. I invite you to pray these words intentionally with me today and in the days to come:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.