As the culture wars continue across the United States, a leading Australian public relations specialist who deals with churches and faith-based organizations across the world has urged American churches not to be afraid to speak out about their values.
Lyall Mercer, Managing Director of Mercer PR, revealed that Australian schools are increasingly taking gender-neutral positions on issues like names, dress and behavior despite the opposition of the vast majority of Australians, and believes that "America isn't far behind."
He said that many churches seem reluctant to stand up for their traditional values because they are too afraid of the potential backlash on social media and in the mainstream media.
"As a public relations adviser, I would say this concern is reasonable and churches must be careful what they say; however, there is an argument that churches should take a stand because it is the right thing to do.
"If public comments are made in a respectful and measured manner, any criticism will be countered by the vast weight of public support."
Mr. Mercer said the so called "silent majority" is real and are just waiting for someone to take the lead.
"Unfortunately in Australia—and increasingly in the USA—labels like bigot, dinosaur, homophobe and intolerant are tossed around, usually by those who are displaying their own intolerance against any position they don't agree with and are trying to prevent a legitimate debate of issues that everyday people care about."
He said churches and faith-based organizations are still held in high regard in America and should use this position to influence the debate.
"I lived in the USA for almost seven years and I was amazed at how much respect the church still has compared to other parts of the western world, so when the American church speaks it does so from a position of strength not weakness.
"The lack of a voice by the church continues to cede ground to those with alternative agendas and views, so church leaders should not be fearful of standing up for what they believe."
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