Wednesday, March 23, 2005Courtesy of our friend Michael Spencer at the Boar's Head Tavern comes this post by Joe Carter of the Evangelical Outpost. Joe rightly notes that the deterioration of marriage laws in America have brought us to the point that we now face. Terri Schiavo's plight would not likely be at this point if common law marriage statutes were still in place. I like Joe's take; Gay marriage should be of concern to us, but "it would take an army of homosexual rights activists several decades to do as much damage to the sacred institution as heterosexuals have done by tolerating no-fault divorce and the repeal of common law marriage."
I think about this often, particularly when I hear the James Dobsons and Jerry Falwells of the world decry the Godless judiciary. (Speaking of these men, can we not find a better spokesman than Pat Robertson? He was just Hannity & Colmes; it was cringe-inducing. Sean should know better.) Oh sure, the judicial branch of our country has gone nuts. I don't pretend otherwise. The whole issue brings me to a question: Where has the Church been the last fifty years of judicial activism? Oh, that's right. Cloistered away in our churches, making our own neat subculture of G-rated cartoons, bad music and pop psychology (see: Osteen, Joel). JP Moreland and Mark Noll warned us that the Evangelical mind was dangerously behind the rest of the world. That doesn't mean that the Church should take after the zeitgeist; these scholars simply asserted that the Church was not producing critical minds. To this end, I believe that the current judicial situation is the rotten fruit we've sown.
On the topic of bedmaking, Jeffrey Overstreet of Looking Closer has a fantastic post. (Some readers may recognize Overstreet as a frequent film critic for Christianity Today) Check out the comments section, where Overstreet poses an interesting question:
Perhaps most disturbing of all: How many of those actively protesting Terry's present crisis have ever gone out of their way to personally minister to someone in Terry's condition? It's so easy to jump on a political bandwagon and wave a flag or shout a slogan. But what about the long hours Terry spent before this crisis? How many were visiting her and contributing to her quality of life, influencing her desire to live, before it came to this? And how will protesters be involved after Terry is saved (if, indeed, she is)?
I would take issue with some of Overstreet's assertions. Terri Schiavo has not been alone in her disability. Her family has been by her side the whole time. While her church and other Christians - the rest of us, in truth - owe her a level of support and comfort, this is not a situation where the visits of random believers was necessary or perhaps even wanted. Yet Overstreet is posing a very important, provocative question.
What do we do then? Do we abandon this fight because we precipitated it by our inaction in previous decades? Heaven forbid. Negligence in an earlier age is no excuse for avoiding activism in the present day. The situation of Terri Schiavo is dire; we cannot help but speak up. If, as in Joe Carter's post linked to above, we have been silent in prior years, then our responsibility to help now is even more urgent. Once Terri's Fight is over, and I fear it may be over sooner rather than later, then we must understand how we can help prevent this sort of madness in the future. While we fight abortion, we must do all that we can to discourage sexual promiscuity and to minister to the unwed mothers in need of care and comfort. While we oppose gambling as a means of funding government programs, we must help find new and innovative ways to support education and the other necessary functions of our state governments.
I won't pretend that there are easy answers to these questions. All we can do from here on out is serve God, humbly and justly, and in all things honor and enjoy Him. We can't forget to include the life of mind, or else the intellectual realm of our society will be ruled and dictated by those who reject the supremacy of God in all things.