The current battle in Washington D.C. over the new administrations’ nomination of cabinet members and vacancies on the Supreme Court is far more than politics as usual. It is a battle that has been looming in this country since the 1960’s and has more to do with the world view and philosophy of the candidates than it does with qualification of the candidates. The new administration has chosen to nominate individuals to the Court who believe the Constitution is valid as it was originally written, and is still valid for today’s modern society. So far the selections for the court and the cabinet profess that they believe that religious liberty can extend outside the walls of the church, and that an individual’s beliefs may be practiced in the school and business arena. The nominees also believe that the sanctity of life includes the unborn. Each of these issues are important to the future of Christian education and are the point of contention between the so-called left and right political forces in this country.
Historically, when the Supreme Court is controlled by activist and liberal minded justices who believe that the Constitution is a living document to be shaped by popular opinion rather than by principles as intended by the founders, opinions are rendered which take us further away from recognition of God’s Word as the source of truth and justice. An example of this kind of decision includes the opinion in 1962, which ruled that school officials in New York State could not compose a prayer to be recited by students. The next year, the same court ruled that a school teacher could not sponsor or lead Bible readings or the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. It was in these decisions that Christians felt “kicked God out of the schools.” In 1973, in Roe v. Wade, the court ruled that there was a right to privacy that included the right to an abortion. Though Roe v. Wade was not a church-state case, many Christians in Americans saw it as connected to the earlier rulings because when God was ejected from the public sphere of education, morality seemed to plummet. Higher crime, rising drug use, divorce and out-of-wedlock birth rates convinced many Christians that God had withdrawn his protection from the United States of America. The modern day Christian school movement of the sixties and seventies began directly as a result of this perception and continues to be a major factor in the choosing of a Christian school by many parents today. Many of the ideas which led people to leave their local district schools and seek an education for their children in an atmosphere which was more in line with the values of their home and church are the same ideas which became the foundation of the “political right.” Ideas like patriotism, respect for authority, belief in a Creator, recognition of God as the ultimate authority, respect of human life, and the sanctity of marriage and the family fit the agendas of most Christians.
Every four years since that period of time both major political parties, and all of the Presidential candidates, have courted the so called “religious right,” in order to gain the White House. While many “Christians” had stayed away from the ballot box the last eight years, many did participate in this past election and in spite of the choice of candidates, chose to vote based on their view of which administration would restore to the Supreme Court, justices who would honor the original intent of our Constitution and leaders in the executive branch who believe in religious liberty.
The once “moral majority” became the silent minority for many years but to some degree this election said enough is enough. It is still easy to observe that in many of the issues, which once solidified all Christians, there is still no agreement. It is not uncommon in most of our churches today to find Christians who are on all sides of issues like Creation, same sex marriage, abortion, and even whether or not the Bible and Christian faith should be allowed to influence our laws and governing officials. In fact, some research shows that of those people who identify themselves as Christians, only those in the “older” age brackets (over 50) is there a majority who hold traditional Biblical positions on these issues. The facts also bear out that as a group, Christianity’s involvement in sexual sin and broken families, as well as inconsistently living a Biblical lifestyle, has caused a majority of the young adults to become disillusioned with Christianity as a whole and consider the older generation of Christians to be hypocritical and judgmental. It is really not a great surprise that the influence of Christians in American politics has diminished, but maybe, just maybe, the recent election brought people of faith to a realization that to do nothing would hasten the total corruption and fall of our democracy.
Politics aside, it is God who allows human government to have authority. The Bible says, “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord.” At this point none of us know whether or not our elected officials will choose to support the Biblical principle of marriage and the sanctity of human life as taught in scripture. But I will say, that more importantly, we must communicate to this generation that the Christian worldview based on the Word of God does matter. We must graciously communicate our traditional Biblical perspective to a world that has become very suspicious of our “right wing agenda.” May we live our lives so people won’t know us by our political affiliation or who we voted for, but by our walk with Jesus.