Welcome to Post-Christian America, Part 1

On Friday, the Supreme Court handed down its “gay marriage” ruling, single-handedly throwing out thousands of years of law, fact, and history and redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, and imposing that on all fifty states. In doing so, SCOTUS has dismantled most of what remains of our connection to common law. This is the telos of the Sexual Revolution.

Welcome to post-Christian America. It’s been here for a while, but on Friday any remaining doubters were silenced.

Does this mean that government is going to be rounding up Christians and putting them into prison camps? Does this mean that government is going to start shutting down churches? Not by a long shot. At least not for a couple decades.

But make no mistake: if you are a Christian and hold to the Biblical teachings with respect to life and sexual ethics, then the public square has become an order of magnitude more hostile. Where the perspective of the Church was once afforded great respect, that is no longer the case in America.

What it does mean: people who hold to particular viewpoints are going to be increasingly marginalized. This is already happening, and you can expect this to intensify.

  • If you’ve ever publicly expressed support of historical marriage–in word, financial contribution, or membership in a church or related organization–you may have trouble finding a job in many companies. This is because (a) the Internet is forever, and (b) businesses use data warehouses and data mining to get the goods on almost anyone. And the HR departments go to great lengths to screen out potential employees who “may not be a good fit for our progressive and forward-thinking organization.”
  • If you’ve ever publicly expressed support of historical marriage–in word, financial contribution, or membership in a church or related organization–you may be in danger of losing your job. No, your boss isn’t going to call you into his office and say, “You’re a homophobe; you’re fired!” What is more likely to happen: when layoffs become necessary, then your name will be on a short list of those first to go. It will be couched in terms of “fiscal fitness”, but in reality it will be a personal decision.
  • If you’re in the military, you’d best keep your mouth shut. Chaplains are already under assault: a Ranger chaplain has received a career-ending “letter of concern” for providing Biblical references in a suicide prevention class, and a Navy SEAL chaplain–who was called the “best of the best” on his latest evaluation–is on the verge of dismissal for sticking to Biblical teachings regarding homosexuality.

If you’re a business owner, you have seen the handwriting on the wall. Bakeries, caterers, and florists must accommodate gay weddings; religious-based objections have been shot down in court. Expect more such encroachments on Christian business owners.

While Hobby Lobby won their case over contraception funding, the same cannot be said of those businesses that directly serve the wedding market. Freedom of association is dead, unless you are a Muslim business, in which case no one will touch you for fear of getting beheaded.

As for churches and parachurch organizations, you’re going to have to look long and hard at the whole tax-exemption paradigm. President Obama’s own Solicitor General, when asked about this in the SCOTUS hearings in Obergefell v. Hodges, admitted, “[it’s] going to be an issue.”

If your church or organization is tax-exempt and refuses membership to gays, that tax-exemption will be on the chopping block. It won’t happen tomorrow, but make no mistake: it will eventually happen. You need to prepare for that eventuality, and you need to do that sooner rather than later. Now is the time to start thinking about an exit strategy from that tangled web of tax-exemption.

A good friend of mine, a pastor at a church in Kentucky, has done this with his church from day one: when he started it, he did not go for tax-exemption. Churches like his won’t be facing the financial crunch when the shoe drops, at least not on that front.

If you’re starting a church, then you would do well to forego tax exemption. Yes, it will be a pinch in the wallet, but at least it’s easier to build from that baseline now than have the rug ripped out from under you later.

Once that happens, the losers here will be the needy. Fact is, the soup kitchens, orphanages, and homeless shelters are supported by financial contributions from churches–many of them large churches. The loss of tax-exemption will directly impact the outflow of services to those in need.

The one good thing here: many pastors will leave the ministry. Why is that a good thing? The good ones–whom God has actually called into ministry–will remain. As for those who leave, I have two words: good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you in the rear-end. The good ones may go underground, but they’ll be bold, strong, and courageous.

Public education will become the new laboratory for the sodomites. You can expect sex education curriculum to become more intense in their indoctrination, eventually beginning in preschool. Academics will write history textbooks and recommend  literature selections in English classes in ways that advance the “equivalence” of sodomy.

Whereas parents once were able to opt their children out of public sex education, districts are going to make it harder for parents to do so.

If you are a parent, then this is the perfect time to consider homeschooling. Christian private schools will be under assault, as their tax-exemption will be threatened. Moreover, tuition may become unaffordable as many parents flock to a limited number of such schools.

Homeschooling, on the other hand, gives you more control over your children’s education. And contrary to the grumblings of the critics, (a) there is great flexibility available, (b) you don’t have to be a genius to do it, and (c) you can ensure that your children receive essentials–reading, writing, math, science, even the classics–while avoiding the leftist social agenda.

Even then, the game has fundamentally changed, and isolation from the world is impossible. Like the Christians of the First Century who lived their faith in an environment more hostile than the post-Christian West, you must live out your faith without compromise while providing for your family. You must interact with this post-Christian world, and your children will grow up in this world and must learn to function in it.

I’ll cover that in Part 2.

SCOTUS: Elena Kagan is a Sacrificial Lamb

The latest SCOTUS nominee–Elena Kagan–has enough problems to irritate both sides of the political spectrum. My take: she is a diversion, and will be a sacrificial lamb.

Obama’s next pick will probably be more liberal than Kagan, but–unless he loses most of his support among Senate Democrats–will be confirmed.

And that is as it should be. As I have long-maintained: Presidents should have a wide latitude with their court appointments. I may not like most of those appointments, but elections have consequences.

Of course, it is possible that potential fallout in November may drive Obama to pick a more centrist nominee, but–seriously–this may be his last opportunity to make a lasting mark on the country. His administration may be over in 2 years.

If he loses both houses, his hands will be tied. If that happens, there’s still hope for him: he could, like Clinton, go for the ride, let the House and Senate make the cuts, and then take the credit for the benefits.

That worked for Clinton in 1996, so there is no reason to believe that Obama can’t do the same in 2012. Especially given the weak field of GOP hopefuls.

But Kagan will undoubtedly fall short.

Another Challenge to Roe v. Wade?

A man who intentionally gave his girlfriend a drug that induced abortion–twice–is now facing FIRST DEGREE MURDER charges.

It can’t be murder if the unborn child is not a person. SCOTUS needs to set the record straight here. Why do we allow women and doctors to conspire to murder their children while threatening a man with life in prison who murders that same child without the woman’s consent?

In both cases the child dies. Why is one legal and the other not?

SCOTUS Pushes USA Closer to Socialism

04/03/2007: The same group of winners who handed us the Kelo decision–which effectively destroys free markets by allowing government even greater carte blanche to seize private assets–have now given federal government the authority to seize assets “to save the earth”.

This is why Czech President Viclav Klaus rightfully called radical environmentalism “the new communism”. Now, we have government seizing assets from citizens to appease the tree-lickers.

Mohler Reflects on Berkowitz, SCOTUS

07/09/2006: Al Mohler, in his latest blog, reflects on Peter Berkowitz’s assessment of the direction of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), and its implications for Christians.

Berkowitz, from a legal standpoint, is right on the money. SCOTUS, since the 1960s–arguably before then–has been moving in the direction of individual freedoms with respect to issues tied to sexuality. The decisions regarding contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut), abortion (Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, Planned Parenthood v. Akron Ohio, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey), and homosexuality (Lawrence v. Texas) seem to follow a consistent pattern, irrespective of the other quagmires they create.

Berkowitz also points out [correctly] that SCOTUS is prepared to legalize gay marriage. The arguments against it–from a pure legal standpoint–are weak. The argument advanced by many conservatives–we cannot have gay marriage because heterosexual marriage is a long-engrained historical institution of civilization–carries no weight. (The same, after all, could be said for slavery.)

I’m not trying to defend gay marriage–from a Biblical standpoint, I’m against it–but if you toss the Judeo-Christian foundation out the window, which we have, then anything goes.

In his assessment of Berkowitz, Mohler has this to say:

At this point the Christian worldview offers a much-needed corrective. The Bible grounds human freedom not in a sweeping claim of human autonomy, but in the fact that human beings are made in the image of God. Thus, the biblical concept of freedom comes with limits set from the very beginning by our Creator. We are not given the right, as Anthony Kennedy so sweepingly expressed, to define our own concept of existence “and of the mystery of human life.”

Peter Berkowitz’s analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Constitution, and the culture’s commitment to an ever-expanding understanding of freedom should help Christians to think seriously about the true nature of freedom and its limitations. His article will certainly inform the way we understand today’s cultural conflicts over issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage–but it should also serve as a catalyst for how we should understand a Christian description of human freedom. As this article makes clear, we now face two rival visions of human freedom and its meaning. The future of our culture depends upon which vision shapes the policies of the future.

Sadly, this is where Mohler is right, but futile.

Fact is, even conservative Christians are not on the same page with respect to the Scriptures, human freedom, and government’s role in our lives.

I tend to be more libertarian–I want all states completely out of the marriage licensing racket altogether, and want issues such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research to be taken away from the federal government and resolved by citizens in the several states.

On the other hand, many conservative Christians–such as Mohler and D. James Kennedy–probably differ with me on that matter, preferring a strong federal government with respect to these issues.

I tend to look at federal government as too large and bloated and a continuous usurper of our freedoms: if all these issues must be resolved at the federal level, then relying on five SCOTUS votes leaves us with tenuous freedoms indeed. On the other hand, many conservative Christians look to federal government to resolve the great issues of the day.

I guess the larger question is this: Is the Church prepared to address these issues among Her own ranks?

I’d be interested to know what Dr. Mohler has to say to that effect.

Mississippi Swings for Fences on Abortion

03/01/2006: Mississippi, following South Dakota’s lead, is now looking to ban most abortions. If this becomes law in Mississippi–and it will if it reaches Republican governor Haley Barbour’s desk–we will be seeing another potential showdown with the Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

Like Cal Thomas pointed out yesterday, this is a risky approach by two pro-life states. If these laws make it to SCOTUS–and get struck down–then stare decisis would seal the fate of the pro-life movement for at least three more decades. Currently, SCOTUS is at least 5-4 in favor of Roe. The risk: a 7-2 vote.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito are rookies who are untested on this issue. Sure, they were pro-life during the Reagan years, but that was over 20 years ago. They may easily have morphed into looneys on abortion, as O’Connor, Souter and Kennedy did. Or they may have moved to the right, as Thomas and Scalia have done.

The real issue: if Roberts and Alito are anti-Roe, do they have the ability to win Souter or Kennedy over toward their way of thinking? If not, both laws will go down in flames, by 5-4 votes.

There is an opening: existing legal inconsistencies created by Roe. These are of the nature that a pro-abortion Justice could see enough inconsistency such that–while one may support abortion, such a Justice could support remanding the issue to the states for democratic and legislative resolution.

If Roberts and Alito are able to convince one or more of the pro-Roe Justices of these problems, then Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are history and the real battle will just be starting.

We will soon get a look at the direction of SCOTUS on this issue, when the Scott Peterson murder case makes its way to the High Court.

To uphold the Peterson death sentence, SCOTUS could strike down–or significantly weaken–Roe. Otherwise, they will have to strike down one of the murder convictions–that of Laci Peterson’s unborn child–and throw out the death sentence. If they uphold the death sentence, then Roe could be on the way out.

How Alito and Roberts address this–and the partial birth abortion cases–will provide insights into where the battle over Roe is heading. If SCOTUS doesn’t budge in those cases, then this is very bad news for South Dakota, Mississippi, and the entire pro-life movement.

However, attempting legislation such as South Dakota and Mississippi have done–at this time–is extremely risky.