Bullhorn Theory

When I was in High School, I ran for Student Body President against a student who was a prominent member of the “popular crowd.” I, on the other hand, had settled nicely into the drama-geek crowd after a floundering performance as a popularite athlete-type my freshman year. It was a political battle worthy of space on Politico.com. My opponent’s campaign slogan was “Go With The Fro” making reference to his afro (which was of interest because he was Caucasian). I went for broke with my slogan, “It’s Time” despite having naught but the slightest idea what that meant. I really didn’t figure that I had a chance running against the same guy who had been Junior Prom King the year before… I won.

I won because the term “popular” on high-school campuses means roughly the same thing as the term “mainstream” in the American religious or political arena. The popular crowd on a HS campus is made up of a very small percentage of kids who maintain a higher profile generally due to flashiness and volume. Those who live on the outside of “mainstream culture” are often those who do not have the financial means to purchase their way I “in.” But the pop crowd, by no means, reflects the social, economic, political or religious makeup of a given school accurately. They don’t represent the rest of the populace. This is the same principle I find with “mainstream christianity.”

I am talking about what is called “bullhorn theory”, or so I have heard it called… unless I just made it up, in which case it will soon be copyrighted. Bullhorn Theory is the idea that the loudest voice in the room seems, by evidence of sheer volume, to be speaking for everyone when, in actuality, it is only the loudest voice.

Case in point: Many times in the last few years we have heard pundits wonder aloud where the voices of the moderate Muslims are. The idea is that the only Muslim voices the American public is familiar with are voices calling for “death to America” or “Death to Israel” and even “Death to Smoochie,” (the worst of the lot). An outside observer of American Evangelical Christianity might wonder the very same thing. What with the loudest voices of the Christian populace being those who speak in war-like ultimatums about everyone from gays to liberals to Muslims to public educators.

I am learning that the vast majority of persons are more temperate and mature in their religious, social and political opinions; this does not make us weak in our faith or compromised in our principles; only complicated in our humanity.

I don’t need to defend the Person of Jesus I do, on the other hand, want to do my level best to chip away at the perception that these men and their ideas make up the “mainstream.” I sincerely believe, despite the sometimes earsplitting discourse to the contrary, that…

-The vast majority of the Church in America does not believe that supporting or funding AIDS research places one in direct opposition to God’s efforts to punish homosexuals for their sin.

-Most of us do not believe that AIDS is the punishment of God in direct response to Homosexuality to begin with.

-Many us struggle with the inconsistency of a pro-life platform that is a bit too comfortable with the death penalty, despite its failure to be an effective deterrent for murder.

-Many of us believe that dealing with the issue of poverty is a legitimate way to deal tackle abortion.

-Most of us can receive the Bible as the Word of God while recognizing the value of it’s poetry as well; rather than having to swallow the idea that bats are birds (Lev. 11:13, 19) or that the universe was created in 144 hours.

-Most of us have at least the sneaking suspicion that there is more to “salvation” than saying a magic prayer and then waiting around to die so we can go to heaven.

-Most of us are at least willing to engage in a conversation about the balance between biological orientation and choice or will regarding homosexuality; which does not make the issue of homosexuality any less about sin, only more complicated than damning people to hell.

This list could go on for a very long time. The subject, in general terms, could take up volumes. I hope I have made my point somewhat clear in what room this forum allows.

A word on encouragement to the disenfranchised masses: There are more of “us” than there are of “them” and there is something very unifying about recognizing how many of us there are that don’t feel like we fit in.


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