The Daniel Initiative as described by Curt Smith [Connecting churches with their communities, Forefront, May 10] poses threats to real religious freedom and civic involvement. Smith says Indiana’s Daniel Initiative derives from a similar undertaking in Iowa called The Family Leader. Here’s just one of many positions found on The Family Leader’s website: The Family Leader affirms sexual relations within the bond of marriage, and opposes distortions of sexuality or special rights to those practicing distorted sexual behavior.
What this Iowa group and presumably the Daniel Initiative proposes seems to be a remake of society around the concept of American evangelical Christianity. This looks to me like a move toward a theocratic orthodoxy that would limit political freedom, stifle human rights and suppress religious diversity.
A Biblical truth that comes up often in both the Old and New testaments is God’s wish for us to be kind to each other, not to control one another.
Smith says the hyper-political culture reinforces an “unhealthy” reaction in churches to withdraw from public debate and discussion. What if in such a withdrawal, an individual might find respite that would truly nourish spirituality. Such is the pathway to a peaceful, just, non-violent, aware, and, yes, participatory society.