By PASTOR JOHN ANDERSON
feet are swift to shed blood... Do not be deceived. Neither
fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor
sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor
extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." (Romans 3:15 and 1 Cor
year 2003 is being remembered as "the year of Iraq," understandably so
with the war in Iraq, the capture of Saddam Hussein, and the ongoing
military struggle while coalition forces try to rebuild that country.
However, in spite of all of the challenges and perils we face in Iraq,
the rest of the Middle East, plus those in the larger war on terror, it
could be that other things which happened in 2003 may well match those
dangers—and could far surpass them.
If Iraq had not been such an issue in 2003, the year would have to be
remembered as the time when major and radical assaults were successful
against another of our most basic institutions: marriage, specifically,
marriage between a man and a woman.
2003 was the year in which the United States Supreme Court tossed out
laws against sodomy and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Council
(SJC) approved “same-sex marriage” ordering the state legislature to
come up with a “same-sex marriage” law in 180 days. Plus the Episcopal
Church consecrated its first openly homosexual bishop.
"What is happening in our culture is an unraveling of all that we once
considered normal," columnist Cal Thomas wrote, responding to the
Massachusetts SJC ruling ordering “same-sex marriage.”
2003 could be called a banner year for sodomy. Our northern neighbor,
Canada, began issuing “same-sex marriage” licenses in June. California
expanded its "domestic partnership program" by giving same-sex couples
almost the status of marriage. Plus all Democratic candidates came out
strongly in support of legal rights for same-sex couples with three of
them fully supporting “same-sex marriage”. American TV sitcoms
continued showcasing homosexual sin alongside heterosexual sin.
Thirty years ago, in 1973, we made another radical assault on a
fundamental institution, the sanctity of life, when the US Supreme
Court approved abortion.
So now we have two egregious evils—abortion and sodomy—that we've
institutionalized into law, thereby giving them official sanction.
From all of this, a couple realities should give us serious pause: we
have laws now that assault the very principles upon which those laws
rest, something akin to societal suicide, and we're "sinning boldly."
Since our beginning as a nation, with our roots deeply in
Judeo-Christian ethics, we've held dear two values. One, a high view of
human life, with every human life regarded as special, precious,
sacred, made in the image of God; and Two, marriage was between a man
and a woman.
Now, sadly, a secular, utilitarian ethic hammers at both values. Most
telling, it is pounding from the privileged position of law.
We know what we are doing. The Chief Justice of the Massachusetts SJC,
Margaret Marshall, writing for the majority which ruled there was a
constitutional right to marriage for those practicing sodomy, said,
"Certainly our decision today marks a significant change in the
definition of marriage as it has been inherited from the common law and
understood my many societies for centuries." Then she added, "But it
does not disturb the fundamental value of marriage." This last
sentence, as columnist Jeff Jacoby observed, is either the most
dishonest assertion or the most naive.
It would seem self-evident that laws that are at war with their own
foundations portend societal self-destruction. Assuredly the cracks in
our foundations are evident from all the pounding.
Yet all this didn't happen in a vacuum. No, it's the consequences of
years of permissivism and the rationalization of public sin. We're now
at the place where we're "sinning boldly," where we not only sin, but
also we argue for sin, even vehemently. We do not call it public sin we
call it social progress.
The whole struggle over partial-birth abortion is a grim, but graphic
example of how bold we are sinning. An outspoken segment of our culture
has become so contentiously extreme that they are determined to give a
woman the "right" to kill her unborn baby even if the baby is almost
born, and killing him or her could be called infanticide (as the late
Senator Daniel Moynihan did). Yes, a law banning partial-birth abortion
was recently enacted by Congress and signed by President Bush. However
that ban was barely hours old when strident pro-abortionists went to
court in three states and had judges issue retraining orders. Another
example could be the abortion politics that drives opposition in the
Senate, primarily from Democrats, to various judicial appointments by
President Bush. Certainly bold sinning drives the intense push to
include same-sex couples in holy matrimony.
Our sinning boldly exposes how callous and stubborn our public
conscience has become, a condition that resembles Israel's when the
Prophet Hosea said their sin "broke all bounds and bloodshed followed
bloodshed" (Hosea 4:2). Hosea warned Israel they would be judged and
called them to return to the Lord. Grievously, Israel ignored God's
mercy and was judged.
All this raises pivotal questions: Why are we not judged? How long can
we last? What may be ahead in 2004?
We'll discuss those questions in our next visit.
Let us join in prayer:
Our gracious heavenly Father, we are sinning boldly and we're
assaulting the very foundations of our society. We have forgotten You.
Forgive us. May the ministers of our nation proclaim Your Word and call
for repentance. And may the response be a wholehearted return to you
birthing a spiritual awakening. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.