Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Having Your Cake and Eating it Too.

On Tuesday, May 26th something not altogether expected happened. The California Supreme Court issued a ruling that upheld the legality of Proposition 8. Prop 8, as it is called, was the response of the people of California (well, at least 52% of them) to the ruling from this same court a little less than a year ago that mandated gay marriage. The furor since that ruling has yet to die down, as evidenced by the whole Carrie Prejean/Miss USA incident. Almost immediately following the passage of Prop 8 dozens of lawsuits were filed contesting the legality of the whole process. Even the Attorney General of California wanted the vote overturned.

What was at stake was nothing less than the right of self-governance. That may sound extreme, but had the California Supreme Court overturned Prop 8 then the very right of democratic, majority rule would have been done away with. Rule by judicial fiat would have become the norm and the masses would have lost their most fundamental right, the right of self-determination.

Having said all that let me say that this isn't what I wanted to talk about. The real issue here is the duplicity of the California court. An additional ruling issued on Tuesday permitted around 18,000 same sex marriages performed in the state in the year between the two previously mentioned rulings to stand. In effect, the ruling allowing these "marriages" to stand is in direct violation of the recently amended constitution. The California court effectively gutted the amendment with the second ruling. The conspiracy theorist in me smells a rat. Why, you may ask?

What few have chosen to recognize, or remember, is that this same court refused to issue a stay of the ruling that started all of this. There is a precedent, a wide one at that, even in this court to issue a stay of a ruling that will most assuredly be appealed. This was the case in the recent past when the court issued a stay in a case concerning the legality of homeschooling in California. The justices cannot claim ignorance, for during the time period given for the state to prepare to recognize same sex marriage a number of legal and political challenges were announced. The Supreme Court was even asked to issue a stay for those very reasons. The court refused. The California Supreme Court created this mess, and their answer to it is to try to give everyone what they want. The problem is no one wins, especially a culture badly in need of stopping an ever quickening decline.

California Supreme Court Justices are not alone in their desire to have it both ways. Such an attitude of compromise has come to characterize the church and Christians in general. The Bible says that we cannot be friends with both God and the world yet that is exactly what too many are trying to do. The result of such compromise is hypocrisy, powerlessness, and eventually, irrelevance. The loss of vitality has robbed our worship of any sense of the nearness of God, and for good reason. God is nowhere near much of what passes for spirituality today and so much of what is called worship, no matter what its incarnation, is merely window dressing hiding the barrenness of our souls from the eyes of outsiders.

Personal holiness is nearly extinct, yet God still calls for us to be holy because He is holy. The time has come for Christians to clean out their hearts and minds and fill them with the Spirit and the word. We will never see revival or cultural change as long as we are virtually indistinguishable from the world in which we live. Far too many of us for far too long have attempted to be like the world on the outside and be clean on the inside. The problem is that the world seeps in and soon we are just as stained inside as out.

To paraphrase Joshua, the great Israelite leader: We must choose to follow God or the world. As far as I'm concerned; I'm going with God.

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