Marriage, Faith, and the Public Square
I watched in utter disbelief this evening as I watched the news report that the California Supreme Court has overturned the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and in so doing, decided that they know better than several thousand years of history and 4.6 million Californians, not to mention God.
This is frightening and enlightening on several levels.
First of all this is a LEGAL matter as it relates to our country. Our Founding Fathers never envisioned a handful of people being able to decide policy and law for the population as a whole. That was and still is supposed to be the role of the legislative branch. It is the legislative branch that is duly elected directly by the people. That is why they are responsible for crafting laws and legislation. Every 2-6 years they must face the same people that elected them and answer directly for the choices they have made during that time. It is that direct accountability to the people that was designed to keep legislators in tune with the needs and moral code of the people they represent. The role of the judicial branch was to evaluate the legality of new laws in light of the U.S. Constitution, not based on their personal preferences and agendas. You see, the U.S. Constitution is the guiding document of our entire system of government. It was painstakingly and brilliantly written by men who wanted to lay the foundation for a system of government that would stand the test of time. And it has… until recent years. It amazes me how this country worked so well (that is not to say without error or flaws) for generations with the Constitution as our guide. But somehow we have reached a new age. An age where a small number or even individual judges can make legislation driven by thousands or millions of Americans and crafted by the legislators they elected meaningless. Further, we have reached an era when the judges who are accountable to no one can even dictate law, even though there is absolutely no provision for that in the document that we base our government on. What has happened to us?
In many ways, this is similar to what we as Christians have done with our guiding document – The Bible. You see, the Bible is supposed to be our source of truth. It is “a light unto our feet and an light unto our path”. We declare it to be the inspired written word of God to us. It is the source of our faith and where we go to learn more about our faith…. and about our founder.. Jesus Christ. But a funny thing has happened in recent years. All of a sudden, it seems to be open to interpretation. As if God didn’t really mean what he said. I guess he was just old-fashioned and out of touch. Surely the fact that WE are more enlightened now should allow us to make adjustments and even changes to what God put in place. Just because something made sense back then doesn’t mean we should abide by it today, does it? Shouldn’t we be free to legislate from our own bench? We should be able to dictate what faith should be today instead of being restricted by a document that was written a long time ago shouldn’t we? This is part of the allure of the New Age movement and what Oprah Winfrey is promoting these days.
I marvel at how frustrated I can be with our wandering away from our national founding documents, but how I can at times justify my own wandering from the dictates of God’s Word. It’s amazing how we can be so committed to certain principles as long as they don’t threaten our preferences. But as soon as our personal agendas begin to clash with other demands, suddenly we become very willing to put long-standing wisdom and principles at risk. What is it about us in our humanness that always thinks that our reality is different…that our situation changes the playing field…that we suddenly know better than the collective wisdom of the ages…or the truth of God?
Further, this is enlightening in that those of us who care about the moral code and foundation of our nation (Christian and non-Christian alike) must make our voices heard. You can be guaranteed that voices are being heard that contradict ours. And those voices are winning the day more and more often. One of the clearest ways to be heard is through your vote. It’s time to realize that our votes may be more important for those who will be supported and placed in judicial roles than in legislative or presidential roles.
Please pray for our country. And please ask God for help to place the proper value and role on his Word in our own lives. I know I am.