What would you do if you knew you had one week to live? What would you change? One thing that would be evident is that you would live each hour with intentionality. You would want to make sure everything you did had value . . . lasting value.
Passion Week is the time believers use to commemorate the last week of Jesus’ life prior to the cross. When you study the Gospel accounts from his arrival in Bethany to the cross, every action and every word has meaning for all men and all history.
This week is historical for our nation’s history, too. Who would have thought that these United States would come to the place where a discussion even exists about the sanctity of marriage and more specifically about same-sex marriage? Children, cover your ears this week!
This week the Supremes will listen to arguments regarding the constitutionality of a popular vote by the people of California called Proposition 8. Once you move past all of the legal jargon, the essence of the issue is that a minority, which has an agenda to establish legal credibility for multiple forms of marriage, could not win at the ballot box. So, they are counting on the moral sterility of the Court to overturn the will of the people.
At the same time, those who prefer a central politburo in Washington, D. C., to govern the people instead of separate states governing, are seeking to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This statute, adopted during the Clinton years, provided a guarantee for each state to determine the definition of a legal marriage. Instead of a constitutional amendment defining marriage, DOMA brought the representative form of government on social issues closer to representation of the people. At least that was the legal theory of the authors.
Again, those who desire for Washingtonian uniformity of the laws of the land want this statute overturned. If they get their way and DOMA is overturned, there will be an outcry for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage. It will be necessary to hold the tattered fabric of the nation together.
The basic problem is that Washington, D. C., has become an aberration of governmental power that has at the very least overstepped the historical context of its purposes. The vision of limited federal government by the Founders is now something of the past and the Great Experiment is in uncharted waters.
Another example of federal overreach is the recent ruling by a federal judge declaring unconstitutional the Missouri law giving businesses and non-profit ministries of our state cover for religious convictions.
The revisions to Missouri’s insurance law (SB 749) that passed last September respected the fundamental right of institutions and individuals to exercise their religious convictions in the healthcare insurance marketplace. The federal HHS had given a pass or exemption to churches (at least for the present). But what about ministries of churches such as universities, medical clinics, children’s homes, associational camps, Christian bookstores, or Christian publishers and printers?
According to observers, Attorney General Chris Koster, representing “the people” (that’s us), gave a spirited defense of this protection of religious liberty for Missouri citizens. Unfortunately, Judge Fleissig’s decision March 14 now leaves Missouri law with a contraceptive mandate and no conscience protections. This is unacceptable. Missouri Baptists may want to encourage our Attorney General to appeal the case for religious liberty to the Appeals Court. To politely encourage him, you may do so by contacting his office at 573.751.3321.
These are historical times. Just remember this: The measure of today is not determined by our level of progressive democratic activity. The true measure is what an individual does with the One who during His last week on earth lived and died to redeem people from their slavery to the world and their flesh. The Lord Jesus lived, died and rose again to intentionally give us, each of us a life of significance and security that the world cannot possibly contain or understand.