So comes Idaho riding a gimpy donkey into the gay mirage circus. Look at us go! Other states have persecuted bakers and tar and feathered photographers — bunch of weenies. At least Idaho has the balls (pardon the irony) to go after the real enemies: Christian pastors. Which is where this has all been heading all along. The target of the homo gestapo is not and has never been marriage equality, tax benefits, hospital visiting rights, or even the constitutional right to perform anal probes on your buddies — whatever all the teary-eyed defenders say. The target is Christians. The target is people who believe that the Bible is God’s perfect, authoritative word to the whole human race.
But I’m not just tossing rhetorical grenades here. This is not me going Yosemite Sam on the blog. Keep Calm and Pass the Peanut Butter, that’s what I always say. But let me try to explain.
People far wiser than me have connected all these dots long ago before I was a twinkle in my Dad’s hockey skates, but oh well, better late than never. And what I mean is this: sin is not nice, sin is not fair, sin does not play by the rules. You cannot march through the streets of cities demanding the right to sin and honestly think that your pet sin will just stay there all cute and cuddly. This is like demanding that you have the right to eat rat poison and then honestly believe that the results will be limited to that little buzz you get when it first goes down the hatch. Sin is a cancer. Sin is a poison. Sin is a black hole. And it doesn’t matter how small or how insignificant you think the sin is, it’s still going to suck life out of you, your friends, and the world around you. But people do honestly believe that they can have a pet named Sodomy and dress it up in a tuxedo and call it dignified. It’s an honest mistake. Or rather it’s an honest deception, if we can speak that way. It’s honest like black jack dealers in Vegas honestly didn’t count on people ruining their lives at their table. In other words, it’s really only honest in a very slight, ignorant sort of way. Even though there are plenty of people that have been strung along by friends and lovers and oppressors, incentivized with money and favors and friendship.
But let’s not run too far afield. The point is that sin is rebellion against the God of heaven. It’s high-handed defiance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is that Jesus died for the sins of the world, fulfilled the just demands of the law which we could not fulfill, rose up triumphant over sin, death, and the devil, and ascended to the right hand of the Father to reign over the whole world until it is full of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Therefore, to sin, and more than that, to celebrate sin, to insist on sin, to cling to sin in unrepentance is to spit on the cross of Jesus and tell Him that He suffered for nothing, He bled for nothing. You didn’t need Him to die. Which is actually (rather ironically) to say, you wish He was dead, that He had stayed dead so that He would quit interrupting your life.
And this is why we have to recognize the gravity of institutionalized lawlessness. It’s one thing for a sleazy senator to be a womanizer, and when the story breaks, it’s a scandal and the press hoards descend and everybody at least feigns shock and dismay. But it’s another thing entirely to enshrine a man’s right to be a womanizer. And to march in the streets, holding banners and flags insisting on the goodness of womanizing because God made certain men to need to consume many women, like so many candy bars, like cans of coke: sweet, refreshing, and every one just like the one before. But that’s ridiculous somebody will say. Okay, how about something more reasonable then: a man’s right to molest little boys. That’s even more ridiculous? Nah, we’re already working on it in the New York Times and the University of Cambridge is holding conferences on how normal and natural it is for grown men to be sexually attracted to children.
But here’s the thing. Even if I can’t convince you of the social or political gravity at work here, you must understand the logical gravity and even more importantly and more powerfully, the theological undertow. First, the logical pull: there is nothing whatsoever logical about telling a man that he may marry one man or one woman but not both at the same time. And Utah has already blown through the polygamy barrier, so now all the Mormon creeps with their secret harems can come out of hiding. But of course in Muslim culture and fringe Mormon culture, it’s not considered deviant to marry a girl as soon as she reaches puberty (just do some reading on Mr. Mohammed). And there’s absolutely nothing logical about insisting that she be eighteen years old or have parental permission. Remember how a girl has constitutional reproductive rights? And she doesn’t need her parents’ permission for a doctor to go fishing in her uterus for baby limbs? Yeah, don’t forget about that. You don’t have any logical reason to insist that she can’t join some guy’s harem at 13 or a boy of the same age and maturity is not old enough to decide if the old man should be putting his hands there or not. Otherwise you’re just stuffing your culture down somebody else’s throat, you jingoistic nazi. You see, once you codify the legitimacy of sexual deviance, you have no logical ground for protecting children from sexual predators.
And all of this rides on the rejection of God’s law. This is the theological pull, and we’re back at sin again. All sin is disobedience to God’s law, but when people refuse to admit that God is right, when they refuse to agree with God, to confess their sin and admit it was wrong, they are now in affect declaring war on God and His law. There’s no other way. I grant you that there are apparent eddies and tide pools scattered along the shores of unrighteousness. Families and communities might look for a decade or two like they’re just hanging out in mediocre land not really loving Jesus but limping along with mild anger issues and the occasional strip club, but everybody manages to still sit down for Thanksgiving Dinner every year and smile for the pictures. But this is a thin veneer of joy spread like some kind of greasy jam on a piece of mold-ridden toast. That’s not real joy. That’s just the beer smiling in all those photographs. This is because when you reject God’s Word, when you reject His ways, His grace, His goodness, you are declaring war on God. You are cutting yourself free of the anchor that holds your soul fast to the Goodness that created you, and now you are at the mercy of the ocean current of evil.
This is why when an innocent sounding man insists with tears in his eyes that all he’s asking for is the right to be with his lifelong partner in his final moments in the hospital as his legal spouse, Christians must insist that this is not all he is asking for. No, he is also asking that we toss out justice and mercy. He is insisting that we help him defy the God of heaven. Whatever social, emotional, psychological, and cultural factors are at play (and there are likely many), the bottom line is that institutionalizing sin as a human right is a declaration of war on God. And you cannot declare war on God and insist that all you want is to be able to file joint tax returns. That’s like a jihadist landing at JFK loaded with TNT insisting that he’s just here to visit his mother for her birthday, honest. That’s certainly very sweet, son, but, um, no.
You can’t declare war and insist that you mean it nicely. You can’t say you’re an anarchist and insist that you only want to change one small rule. And hear me out, I’m talking about the institutionalization of sin, the codifying of sin. That’s what our land is in the process of doing. It’s one thing to have people who struggle with sin. It’s one thing to have certain areas of town that are rough, where the cops stay busy — that’s bad enough. But what we have going on right now is the institutionalizing of the ghetto. We have cowardly, worthless judges insisting that the law of God be defied, but this means that these judges and mayors and city councils and school boards are setting courses for the complete abandonment of society, rule of law, justice, etc. You can’t throw all the parachutes off the diving plane and then feign hurt feelings when people accuse you of doing great evil. And you can’t point out that you didn’t throw out the seat cushions and they can still be used as flotation devices. Nice. The law of God is being thrown out. War is being declared on the Word of God. Understand that.
Thankfully, God’s grace frequently holds us back from the worst of what sinners demand, and sinners can be wonderfully inconsistent, but all the signs are that God is in the middle of letting us go. He is currently at this moment giving us over to our lusts. He is turning us over to our demons. He’s already given us our inheritance, and we’re already miles down the road into the far country drunk on sex and violence. But that’s hardly reason for despair. This is because on the one hand, riotous living is a dead end and pig food has a way of speaking truth in the digestive track. Reality has a way of being, well, real, despite all the sin induced hallucinations. Turns out two dudes can’t make babies and women still need sperm from a man to conceive. Biology can be a real bother sometimes. But on the other hand, and this is also part of the reality that stares us in the face every moment, every hour: Our Father is waiting. And more than waiting, our Father is looking down the road for us. And when we come to our senses, not if, but when we come to our senses, He will see us from a long way off, trudging up the road, reeking of swine, and He will come running to welcome us home.
We may be a prodigal people, but the good news is that our God is more prodigal than we are. He sent His Son into the far country for every rebel son. His Son took upon Himself our shame, our guilt, our insanity, and it was all born away in Him. And when He rose up from the dead and ascended into Heaven, He led the way back to His extravagant Father, the Love that will not let us go, the Love that is stronger than death.
The days are dark, but Jesus shines brighter than all our sin.