The Senate Judiciary Committee has become the battleground over Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to serve as an associate justice on our nation’s Supreme Court. That battle became absurd when Barrett used the term “sexual preference” when referring to people’s choices and sexual practices. I say ‘absurd’ because changing terminology does not alter truth and reality.
Paul warned Timothy not to “wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers,” 2 Timothy 2:14. Sadly, our Senators on the judiciary committee probably do not give much attention to Paul.
This ‘word wrangling’ highlights a point made by Bonnie Kristian in an article she authored for Christianity Today titled, “The Supreme Court Isn’t All Powerful.” She opines that the culture has had more influence on judicial decisions than judicial decisions have had on the culture.
Kristian writes “if the rulings of the past five years are any indication, religious liberty far more than abortion is the social issue for which SCOTUS composition presently matters. But religious liberty advocates are deluding ourselves if we think the court is what matters most. Far more important is the fact that a chasm of incomprehension is widening between practicing Christians and other devoutly religious Americans on the one hand and the nominally religious and irreligious on the other. This cultural misunderstanding is politically dangerous, and adding Barrett to the Supreme Court will do nothing to halt its expansion.”
I think Kristian is right, the culture has had more of an impact on the courts than the courts have had on the culture, but I think this is because the culture has had more of an impact on the Church than the Church has had on it.
Kristian continues, “If Christians and other religious people—Barrett during her hearings included—cannot better communicate to our fellow citizens the significance of faith in our lives, our governance will increasingly reflect the assumption that it is not very significant at all.” Nominal Christianity won’t get it done.
The Church is simply losing its case in the court of public opinion because of a failed strategy. The Church needs to get back to the basics. Peter admonished, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence,” 1 Peter 3:15.
Kristian thinks the court of public opinion has greater influence than the United States Supreme Court and makes what is arguably a good case for her perspective. But the real Supreme Court does not convene down here whether it be the court of public opinion or the United States Supreme Court. The Church will give an account to a higher Tribunal.
If the Church hopes to see our culture transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ then it will have to see it has transformed us.