I first started noticing it in 2017 at the beginning of the secular “religious” revival spawned by anti-Trump resistance. I saw it often in windows of coffee shops and vintage boutiques in Silver Lake (L.A.), Portland, San Francisco, and other hotspots of progresssive politics. They were signs that said something like “all are welcome here,” with a list of various marginalized groups. The sign became an iconic symbol of progressive allyship and inclusivity. It signaled “safe space zone,” though I often wonder if a conservative, traditional-sex-ethic-believing Christian like me would also be welcome there.
More recently I’ve noticed a 2.0 version of this sign popping up on residential yards. This one makes the “secular religion” motif of progressivism even more explicit, as it begins with creed-like language: “In this house, we believe . . .” There are various versions, but the one I’ve seen most often (in at least a dozen yards in my Southern California neighborhood) goes like this:
In this house, we believe:
Black lives matter
Women’s rights are human rights
No human is illegal
Science is real
Love is love
Kindness is everything
You might not share the politics of the people proudly displaying these yard signs, but don’t dismiss their importance. They should be illuminating and convicting for Christians—ultimately a cause to connect rather than argue with your progressive neighbor.
What’s illuminating about the sign’s language is how each statement—as much as it signals a particular politics with various unhelpful baggage—at root reflects or distorts biblical truth. Let’s take each creedal statement one by one.
Black lives matter. Forget the problematic BLM organization for a moment. Set aside whataboutism (as if saying one group’s lives matter precludes affirming the same of other lives). The basic assertion that “black lives matter” affirms the inherent dignity of human lives (in this case black lives), rooted in the biblical concept of the imago Dei (Gen. 1:27). Not only does Christianity agree that “black lives matter,” but arguably no other belief system offers more compelling reasons to affirm the statement.
Women’s rights are human rights. Sadly the people who put this on their yard sign likely insist that “women’s rights” necessarily include unrestricted abortion access, which immediately undermines any moral authority they have on “human rights.” Unborn human rights are human rights too, after all. But again, the underlying notion of the dignity and equality of women is actually rooted in Scripture (Gen. 1:27, Gal. 3:28), which foregrounds and dignifies women in ways that were unparalleled in the Greco-Roman world. No wonder Christianity was so attractive to women. Further, as Rebecca McLaughlin has pointed out, the very idea of universal human rights comes from Christianity.
Each statement on this sign is at root a reflection or distortion of biblical truth.
No human is illegal. In the context of the progressive political creed, this is a statement about American immigration policy. But removed from the context of borders and policy particularities, the statement is rooted in theological truth. Consider Ephesians 2:19 (“you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God”) or Colossians 1:21–22 (“you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind . . . he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death”). All humans are “illegal” because of our sin, but those in Christ are declared legal.
Science is real. Ostensibly the most “who can disagree?” statement of any on the list, this one nonetheless speaks to a particular political divide, mostly regarding climate change and science denialism. As often as science is pit against Christian faith, however, you’ll find nothing in Scripture that contradicts the reality of science or discourages its value. On the contrary, many great scientists of the past (e.g., Isaac Newton) or the present (e.g., Francis Collins) found no difficulty reconciling faith and science. Neither should we.
Love is love. This three-word slogan is the LGBTQ movement’s attempt to affirm “love” in whatever shape it takes (same-sex, opposite-sex, polyamorous, and so on). It’s the most problematic statement on the list, in part because it is semantically meaningless, but also because it diminishes something sacred and definite to the level of a “whatever you want it to be” free-for-all. If love is anything, then it is nothing. The Christian affirms that love is love, but the God of the Bible—not any rebellious creature—“tells us what this self-referential sentence actually means.”
Kindness is everything. The progressive conviction here refers to human-to-human kindness. Basically, be kind to one another (Eph. 4:32) and obey the Golden Rule (Matt 7:12). This is important and biblical, but where the slogan falls short is in suggesting human kindness is “everything”—as if the simple solution to human depravity is human kindness. The Christian version would add one vital word: “God’s kindness is everything.” It’s a kindness infinitely more powerful and transformative than human kindness. It’s a kindness that leads to repentance (Rom. 2:4), a kindness that saves (Titus 3:4–6).
The exercise above shows that the progressive creed is not miles away from biblical truth. It’s a “post-Christian” creed because it comes after, and is thoroughly marinated in, a Christian culture where truths about human equality, dignity, love, and kindness were first shaped.
For Christians, then, the “In this house . . .” yard sign should be not a symbol of political provocation, but theological and evangelistic invitation. If we can get beyond the political name-calling and fear that often engulf these issues, what a conversation starter this sign can be! Yes, biblical ideas in this sign have been warped and recast in some unhelpful—even destructive—political ways. But that happens on the politically conservative side too. We can identify and challenge where biblical truth has been distorted or manipulated for partisan purposes, even as we find common grace ground.
We can identify and challenge where biblical truth has been distorted or manipulated for partisan purposes, even as we find common grace ground.
The “We believe” creedal structure here powerfully speaks to the fact that all humans are religious, worshiping creatures who need to believe in something beyond themselves. But will the “something” of this particular yard sign satisfy? This is where Christians can engage and—with grace and love—point people to the source and standard (of love, justice, and truth) that will satisfy.
This sign—and its religion-infused sentiments—are practically begging for Christians to engage in loving, curious conversation. Possible starting points are many: “What underlying moral logic allows us to say black lives—or any human lives—matter?” “How do you define ‘love’ in the assertion, ‘love is love’?” “What does ‘kindness is everything’ mean in practice if someone can be publicly kind but privately depraved?”
There are plenty of new challenges to talking about faith in a post-Christian era. This creedal yard sign reminds us that there are also plenty of new opportunities.