(This was originally posted in July, 2013. However, it seems to ring just as true today, in today’s political and social climate, than it did over two years ago)
What does the Supreme Court’s recent rulings regarding California’s Prop. 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act say about everything BESIDES marriage?
In these decisions, a number of things happened and were said that will affect Christians and others of strong faith in the years to come. First of all, in regards to California’s Prop 8, the most significant thing I noticed in the decision is that no defense was allowed for the legal challenge made against the vote of the people (mine included).
If you remember back to 2008 when this proposition was voted on, there was a lot of social activism on both sides with engaged citizens actively campaigning and speaking their minds – EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED FOR A HEALTHY, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC. But, since the “powers that be” (two Governors and a State Attorney General) didn’t like the outcome of the popular vote, they chose not to defend the will of the people when it was challenged.
What that means to me is that a significant number of citizens (then a majority, now a significant minority) have no representation by their government. More significantly, their government is actively opposed to them and their expressed will – enough to deprive them of their rights as citizens.
At least two really bad things can come from this: First, a persecution facilitated by the government, the courts, and their media accomplices. The second bad thing is social strife. I don’t know first hand what happens when a society realizes that its government no longer represents them or their God-given rights, but I do know a little bit of history and I know that it’s never good.
As people of faith, we need to come to grips with the new political, social, and moral climate in which we are living. The government has taken sides and has made itself perfectly clear: It’s not on the side of those who hold a traditional, Judeo-Christian worldview. Which means that those who seek to destroy the institutions and traditions that have made this society prosperous and peaceful have an incredible amount of power. And they will be using it.
As for the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, I think the most troubling aspect of that whole episode is this: Justice Anthony Kennedy, who for some reason is now the “Most Powerful Man In America”, wrote in the Majority Opinion that in passing DOMA, the lawmaker’s purpose was “to disparage and injure same sex couples” and the motive of DOMA was “to demean and impose inequality, to impose a stigma, to deny people equal dignity, to brand gay people as unworthy, and humiliate their children.”
So, what we have here is an unelected, unaccountable judge going way beyond his responsibility to look only at evidence, and proclaiming that there can be no legitimate moral argument for traditional marriage.
Justice Scalia went so far as to say in the Minority Opinion that Kennedy’s statements branded those who disagree with him as “enemies of the human race”.
So, it seems we have a double-whammy here. Not only do we have corrupted government and courts that decided to take sides in the “culture war”, and wield its power against us, we also have a thoroughly corrupted media doing their bidding. Additionally, the government, courts, and media have also presumed to know our hearts and motivations for advocating what we do.
And, we’ve been declared “BAD”…”personably bad”! And “not worthy of hearing”.
So, what does this all mean for us?
I’m not going to waste too much time bemoaning the decision. It’s simply the latest in a long line, and there will be more to come.
What I will say is this: The “earthquake” has hit. The “tsunami” is now bearing down on us. The “life guards” have declared us unworthy of rescue, and I’m not sure how many of us can swim against the tide.
Because now, for the first time in American history, it’s going to be difficult to be a Christian. Not just unpopular, or awkward, or embarrassing, but difficult. Soon, it will be risky. Then it will become dangerous. And finally, it will be unacceptable.
So, it’s time to count the cost. What price are we willing to pay for our faith?
What price, in terms of our jobs, our finances, our family and friendships, our children, how we raise our children, WHO raises our children, or our medical care are we willing to pay? What price in terms of our freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion are we willing to pay? And finally, what price are we willing to pay in order to remain faithful to the One who paid the ultimate price for us, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the victorious King who will return one day (hopefully, but not necessarily, soon)?
As I’ve said several times before, the victory is already His. The wicked may be prospering now, for a time, maybe even a long time in our view. But God will win out. And we’re about to see who – including myself – really knows and believes this, and who will stay faithful and obedient because of it.
If our focus is on His eternal kingdom, not our comfort or safety in the here and now, we will persevere.
That is my hope and prayer.
In closing, it’s time for the Great Cloud of Witnesses, the segment of our podcast where we meet and hear the stories of those who have given, and some who are still giving, their lives by faith in the promises of God and of whom the world was and is not worthy. (Hebrews 11-12)
In light of today’s topic, I find this story especially significant.
Today’s “witness” is YOU… and ME.
That’s right, this week, I’m forgoing my typical story of a Christian martyr and I’m going to apply Hebrews 11 and 12 to us today.
Most of Hebrews 11 talks about the great success stories of Biblical men and women of faith that we all know about. But then, towards the end, it turn anonymous and kind of gruesome.
Verse 35-40 says:
35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for that kind of persecution. But I can read these verses and think that if this Cloud of Witnesses took all that abuse for a reward that they couldn’t see, I can take a little heat for standing up for God’s Word today. I’ve even been thinking about thanking God for the times we are living in, asking Him to give me an excitement for the “privilege” of possibly facing persecution – even small persecutions like we face today.
I’ve been thinking about it.
I’m not there yet. And I’m certainly not there yet for my wife and children.
But if we really believe what we say we believe, what choice do we have?
Reading on, Hebrews 12 starts off like this:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
You see, really believing in God and His Son, Jesus, means that we value His kingdom more than anything else, especially comfort here on earth. And if God is testing us by allowing trouble, we should trust in Him and welcome it.
We should even thank Him for it!
Well, there’s a huge Cloud of Witnesses looking down on us from on high, and some looking back at us from up front, wondering if we are going to lose heart and ignore the battle, or maybe even fire at them from behind. Or, will we come up to the front and stand with them?
It’s time to find out who’s going to be part of the Great Cloud of Witnesses of whom the world is not worthy.