Where did man find clear judgment to abolish slavery? Was the logic found within the man himself or from without? Was it found within the seismic shift of the culture to do away with such wicked acts? Was the decision based on an overwhelming decrease in the popularity of slavery at that time? Or, was the defining pivot of a nation based, instead, on what was perceived as immutable, indisputable, and undeniable Absolutes?
A Civil War, followed by Jim Crow laws, Ku Klux Clans, and deadly protests speak to the infamy of going against the status quo or rocking the boat during those tumultuous times. Popularity begged for conformity. In fact, life itself begged for submission to the “existing state of affairs”, as President Abraham Lincoln soon discovered in 1865 at the fatal end of John Wilkes Booth’s gun.
The framers of our constitution wrote, “WE hold these Truths to be self-evident (obvious, clear), that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…”
These words would go on to steady the heart and mind of President Lincoln when he said “I believe the Declaration that ‘all men are created equal’ is the great fundamental principle upon which our free institutions rest; that Negro slavery is a violation of that principle…” [i]
He went on to say:
“And when this new principle [that African Americans were not covered by the phrase “all men are created equal”]…is brought forward, I combat it as an evil tendency, if not an evil design; I combat it as having a tendency to dehumanize the Negro — to take away from him the right of ever striving to be a man. I combat it as being one of the thousand things constantly done in these days to prepare the public mind to make property, and nothing but property of the Negro in all the States of the Union…. That is the real issue…
It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong – throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same spirit that says, “You work and toil and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.”…it is the same tyrannical principle.”[ii]
The Declaration of Independence was written some 85 years before the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, yet its influence on the man was obvious. Unlike our current leaders who are in competition with one another to unchain themselves from tradition, history and all piety. In stark contrast, President Lincoln is often heard in his speeches giving deference to the minds of our Founding Fathers as being “greater than our minds now.”
In a speech regarding the Constitutionality of slavery, President Lincoln’s warning then continues to ring true today, “…if we would uproot the opinions and policy of our Founding Fathers in any case, we should do so upon evidence so conclusive (i.e., so air tight), and arguments so clear, that even their great authority cannot withstand…”[iv]
Again, our political leaders today stand in stark contrast to this warning to change foundational policies ONLY when we have conclusive evidence and arguments that are so clear they can withstand any great authority.
Case in point, yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two pivotal rulings that found their basis on little to no objective evidence. Instead, they were rooted in personal thoughts and experiences. Such behavior may be deemed appropriate for our next door neighbor, but most ardently not so for the highest court in the land.
1. In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Section 3[v] of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman, is unconstitutional. This decision compels the federal government (i.e. taxpayers) to provide federal benefits to homosexual couples who have “married” in states that have legalized the oxymoron union, known as same-sex marriage.
• This decision does not require states to legalize same-sex “marriage.”
• However, Section 2 of DOMA declares: Power reserved to the states. Citing that no State would be required to recognize or legalize the laws of another State that has legalized same-sex “marriage”.
1.In other words, Section 2 sought to address concerns that States would be forced to legalize or recognize same-sex “marriage”, as it becomes legal in other States.
2. So, although yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court does not now compel States to legalize same-sex “marriage”, it did, in fact, render Section 2 impotent.
3.Section 3 of DOMA was declared unconstitutional. Section 3 simply defined what the overwhelming majority of Congress understood marriage to be – a union between one man and one woman.
4.Section 3 gives meaning to Section 2. So, if you do away with Section 3 what are we now left with? A 3-legged stool. Our sense of balance is not very secure at all.
2. Also, in a 5-4 decision, the Court paved the way for same-sex “marriages” to resume in the state of California by ruling the party who escalated the ban on same-sex “marriage”, Prop 8 bill, do not have legal standing to bring the case before the court. The people of California passed into law Prop 8, which established marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The passage of this bill, in effect, overturned the same-sex “marriage” law in the state of California. Prop 8 was later challenged and voted down by the federal court in California. •The Supreme Court’s decision today has the destructive result of allowing same-sex “marriages” to resume in California…
•Effectively, the Supreme Court voted against the will of the people who voted for a ban on same-sex “marriage”.
Does the Court’s behavior sound imperialist to you? If so, you are in great company as one of their own, Justice Antonin Scalia, agrees. Justice Scalia said it best in his condemnation of the majority opinion:
“This case is about power in several respects. It is about the power of our people to govern themselves, and the power of this Court to pronounce the law. Today’s opinion aggrandizes (or enlarges) the latter, with the predictable consequence of diminishing the former. We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.
[S]etting aside traditional moral disapproval of same-sex marriage (or indeed same-sex sex), there are many perfectly valid—indeed, downright boring—justifying rationales for this legislation. Their existence ought to be the end of this case. For they give the lie to the Court’s conclusion that only those with hateful hearts could have voted “aye” on this Act. By holding to the contrary, the majority has declared open season on any law that (in the opinion of the law’s opponents and any panel of like-minded federal judges) can be characterized as mean-spirited.”
One may ask, where is the “conclusive evidence and clear arguments” the Courts used to come to this monumental and nation-altering decision? As Justice Scalia states above and as evidenced by the majority’s own writing, there is none – none that is objective, at least. For example, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion for the majority, stating:
“The federal statue (in DOMA) is invalid, for no legitimate purpose except to disparage and injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity…By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.”
Justice Kennedy’s less than objective logic, in essence, says if you don’t think like us then you are just mean-spirited, hateful, and a bully, your disagreement is without merit. His comments are in stark contrast with the House Judiciary Committee’s language which stated that the overwhelming passage of DOMA was intended by Congress to “reflect and honor a collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.” DOMA’s congressional sponsors stated, “The bill amends the U.S. Code to make explicit what has been understood under federal law for over 200 years; that a marriage is the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, and a spouse is a husband or wife of the opposite sex.”[vi]
We are indeed entering a dangerous kind of government when Truth becomes relative and the seismic shift in a man’s understanding is whether he will call good evil and evil good. But, for such a time as this, we are here, in this time period facing a different kind of gallows. What would God have us to do?
Here are some undeniable realities to take into consideration:
As a person who is both Black and a Woman, I have personally benefited from the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s recognition and protection of my “unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
The Civil Rights bill created protected classes of people based upon rights our framers declared to be natural, inherent, and unalienable. They are the “absolute rights” of individuals independent of the government. They existed before the Constitution was created and before the government was organized.
With this in mind, consider the following:
• To be a Black Woman, is scientifically provable, biologically verifiable, and immutable. Whereas, being a homosexual is none of the above. Homosexuality is not a genetically created class of people. Homosexuality is a behavioral inclination, a liking, a choice.
• Being a Black Woman is immutable – it does not change. I cannot role out of bed tomorrow morning and not be black and not be a woman. However, there are innumerable examples of men and women coming out of the gay lifestyle, choosing to change their tendencies. The former Exodus International and PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays) are two such programs that have assisted thousands in choosing new behaviors.
• The traits that identify me as Black and a Woman, namely my skin color and anatomy, cannot be hidden or lessened as to not attract the attention of a racist or misogynist. However, the oftentimes wildly exaggerated behaviors of a homosexual can be hidden or diminished as to not attract the attention of a would-be assailant.
It is important to note, according to the latest available FBI statistics, out of a reporting population of over 278 million people, those crimes that were committed against a person based on them being gay was a whopping .0005%.
• THERE IS NO GAY GENE! To be a Woman requires a specific distinction to be made between a male and a female. Specifically, two X chromosomes makes a woman, and a X and a Y chromosome makes a male. This Truth is scientifically provable. Try as they may to prove otherwise and after many studies, one is still NOT born gay. It is a choice.
So, with all this said, what would God have us to do now? Our starting point, is found in the memorable words of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians church, “…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”[vii]
1. Pray for God’s forgiveness, guidance, humility, wisdom, and peace of heart.
2. Study to show yourself approved, able to rightly divide the Word of God and apply it appropriately to our culture.
• Wake up from your slumber and prepare yourself to engage the culture for Christ.
• Become intentional about setting aside daily time to engage your mind.
3. After you’ve done all that you understand to do, stand firm on the Word of God and His promises.
We must remember, this battle is not ours. It is the Lord’s. Yesterday’s ruling by the high Court did not take God by surprise. In fact, He called it into existence. It happened according to His divine timing. Take courage in knowing that God is Sovereign and nothing happens outside of the confines of Him and He is a faithful God.
We live in a culture today where the blind is leading the blind. No one seems to care about studied reasons. Everyone seems to only revere personal experiences and expressions of the same. Take to heart the words of President Lincoln, “…no one has the right to mislead others, who have less access to history, and less leisure to study it, into false belief…thus, substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument.”[viii]
Legislatively, what are our options? Again, President Lincoln cautions a people and the high Court saying,
“…the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government concerning vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made…the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the Court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink, to decide cases properly brought before them…”[ix]
To this end, we must understand the following:
1. No single entity – not the President, Senate, House of Representatives, state Governors, nor anyone else – has the power to overturn a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Supreme Court decisions cannot be nullified by other parts of government.
2. However, if the Supreme Court should have a moment of clarity they could reverse this decision by making a contradictory decision on a future case. Thereby, nullifying their current ruling. (Likelihood of this happening = little to none)
3. Congress could modify the law until it is such that the Supreme Court does not consider it to violate the Constitution, then pass it again.
•Likelihood of this happening = little to none.
•Marriage has been understood by our government over the course of 200 years as a union between one man and one woman.
• What exactly could Congress modify about this definition in Section 3 of DOMA that would make it constitutional according to the Justices?
4. Congress and the States can overturn this decision by amending the Constitution. •Likelihood of this happening = unknown.
•Given the current collapse of logic in our culture and the ineffective Congress the odds are not in our favor.
5. The President could obstruct or fail to enforce this decision. •Likelihood of this happening = 0%
•Particularly because shortly after the Court’s ruling was announce, President Obama tweeted on his official account “#MarriageEquality” “#LoveIsLove”.
6. Congress strips the Supreme Court of its appellate jurisdiction over certain types of cases to deprive them of the ability to overturn a law or policy. •Likelihood of this happening = little to none.
•Given the current collapse of logic in our culture and the lack of any political courage, once again, the odds are not in our favor.
7. The State passes a law that clearly violates the Supreme Court decision, forcing someone with standing to challenge the new law’s constitutionality. Afterwards, the whole process repeats itself.
Ultimately, our hope must not be in this world system[x]. But, it must be solidly positioned in Christ and Christ alone. Yet, we have a duty to physically engage our culture. So, as we place our hope in Christ, we must resolve ourselves to the ensuing battle.
Speaking of his duty to stand against slavery, President Lincoln said, “If our sense of duty forbids this (slavery), then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively…LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT (emphasis added by Lincoln, himself).”[xi]
[i] The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, “Letter to James N. Brown” (October 18, 1858), p. 327.
[ii] Seventh and Last Debate with Stephen A. Douglas, Alton, Illinois, October 15, 1858
[iii] The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, “Speech at Cincinnati, Ohio” (September 17, 1859), p. 440.
[iv] Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on our Sixteenth President edited by Brian Lamb and Susan Swain, 1st Edition (2009) “Cooper Union Address”, p. 309
[v] “Defense of Marriage Act”. United States Government Printing Office. September 21, 1996. Retrieved January 18, 2009.http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-104publ199/html/PLAW-104publ199.htm
[vi] “Defense Of Marriage Act 5/96 H.R. 3396 Summary/Analysis”. Lectric Law Library. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
[vii] Ephesians 6:13
[viii] Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on our Sixteenth President edited by Brian Lamb and Susan Swain, 1st Edition (2009), “Cooper Union Address”, p. 316
[ix] Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on our Sixteenth President edited by Brian Lamb and Susan Swain, 1st Edition (2009), “First Inaugural Address”, p. 331
[x][x][x] Sopheia McMorris, Certified as a Professional Motivational Life Coach, www.FaceBook.com/SopheiaMcMorris
[xi] Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on our Sixteenth President edited by Brian Lamb and Susan Swain, 1st Edition (2009) p. 3241 comment