Monday, June 29, 2015

OUR SUPREME COURT ISN’T SUPREME

In the 1857 “Dred Scott case,” the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the slave Dred Scott was just a piece of property that had to be returned to his owner. The Justices at the time made their decision in the midst of political controversy and under “blind justice” according to law, not according to a justice based on ethical guidance.

Nearer to our time was the 1973 “Roe vs. Wade case,” where our Supreme Court ruled that a developing  fetus wasn’t a separate, living, human individual but merely tissue which a woman’s right over her own body allowed her to exterminate. This decision, made under political pressure in the midst of ethical controversy, wasn’t guided by scientific evidence or moral insight. Even the woman “Roe” in the case ended up rebuking the Justices who had decided in her favor.

Human misjudgments by appointed judicial authorities are open to rebuke, even if they become the “law of the land.” About 24 years ago, I combined my criticism of both these Supreme Court decisions in the following poem:

DRED SCOTT

Dred Scott, Dred Scott!
What is truth, and what is not?
Do the Justices agree?
In your skin of ebony
does a human being dwell?
“No, Dred Scott, go back to hell!
Born a slave, a slave you’ll be.
Only humans can be free.”

Dred Scott, Dred Scott!
What’s the judgment that you got:
not a person, just a sale,
open to a bull whip’s tail,
open to abortion’s knife,
black-skinned slave without a life,
property until the tomb,
modern baby in a womb?

Dred Scott, Dred Scott!
It’s their choice to let you rot.
Highest Court in all the land
cannot see that you’re a man,
cannot hear your silent scream,
cannot raise the moral steam
to refuse a so-called right:
justice blind to freedom’s light!

Dred Scott, Dred Scott!
Some break laws to change your lot.
Maced, they’re dragged away by cops,
while you plow the slaver’s crops.
What is Congress waiting for?
Do they want the Civil War?
Do they want plantations burned?
Babies die while backs are turned.

Dred Scott, Dred Scott!
Justices Supreme forgot!
In decisions where they lied
God will never let them hide!
Abolitionists will win!
Truth in time exposes sin:
holocausts, the death-camp flames,
Murdered babies without names.

— David L. Hatton 10/14/1991

But earlier, when the slaughter of the innocent unborn was sweeping our land, Id already written this poetic critique exposing the lack of supremacy in our Supreme Court:

COURT JUSTICE SUPREME

Court Justice Supreme,
             awakened from terrestrial dream,
             a ghost before real Justice,
             felt familiar spirits dancing
             through his mind again:
             his own thoughts, so it seemed.

Court Justice Supreme,
             glanced briefly from this prancing team,
             and watched a well-known law
             of deathbed will and testament
             point to an older, mother truth
             of unknown will and tests unseen.

Court Justice Supreme
             saw in her ancient light a stream
             of many pristine untried lives
             with fading echoes in their eyes
             from each one’s last convulsing cry
             for justice from the Court.

Court Justice Supreme
             turned back to join the dancers’ scream,
             and stepping to their song
             of rights to freedom’s ease,
             soon found no way to quit
             the jerking, reeling frenzy
             of the dance in demon darkness:
             sentence of the Highest Court.

— David L. Hatton, 9/14/1990

The recent Supreme Court ruling on “marriage” was beyond the legitimate jurisdiction of any human court, because the institution itself predates all earthly governments. But again, this decision came in the midst of nationwide controversy and under an extremely well-organized agenda of political pressure. It’s obvious that the pressure won out, for the unanimous voice of history, culture, biological science and the world's religions did not. But those Justices await their own hearing, where they will have to answer to a much louder Voice than these. And we’re next in line right behind them, for it’s the same Voice to which all of us must eventually listen, trembling either with joyful faith or fearful regret.

In their own upcoming case, these current Justices of our Supreme Court are scheduled to appear before the real SUPREME COURT. At their inevitable arraignment, our Creator and Judge will surely allude to His previous ruling in the first chapter of His Law-Book:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. . .” (Gen 1:27-28a,  ESV)

Perhaps to this He will add, “The gender-distinctive anatomy was there. The physiological reproductive function was there. My authority as the Designer was there. My wisdom as the Inventor of marriage was there. What did you not understand?

Various shouts, rejoicing or decrying our nation’s Supreme Court decision, are presently flooding the Internet. I stand with the call to show love to all without changing commitment to God given in the official statement of The Wesleyan Church, the denomination in which I’m ordained. But I’ve appreciated the insights and implications in the post by Seedbed’s editor, J. D. Walt: “Why Marriage is not about Marriage and What it is about.” I also agree with the critique and message by the young Catholic, “still virgin” journalist Arleen Spencely, who wrote a post entitled, “Why same-sex marriage won’t spark a marriage crisis.” I’m sure other commentaries will attract my appreciation. But my own thoughts remain unperturbed.

In view of the Final Judgment we all must face, I see this recent decision as merely another confirmation of what happens when human wills live in disregard for the will of God. It’s not a time for Christians to get angry, discouraged or apathetic. Our Supreme Court has not and cannot change what marriage really is. But the wayward trend in our social environment confirmed by this contrived legalism offers us a definitive opportunity to refresh our initial commitment to walk simultaneously in God’s love and in His truth.

The call to love and care for those presently celebrating in the LGBT community has not changed in the least. The call to practice and proclaim divinely revealed truth—whether it concerns marriage or any other God-ordained reality abused or redefined by lost souls—is also as firm as ever. In view of eternity, this situation is temporary, transitory, passing, just as all others in life. But it offers another perfect occasion in morally stormy weather to invite those wholl listen to come join us under the everlasting shelter of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

2 comments:

  1. Great blog. Full of truth. The comparison to the other two terrible Supreme Court decisions of the last century and a half and other insights were really well articulated.

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  2. I appreciate and agree with the joint statement, "Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage"
    (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/june-web-only/here-we-stand-evangelical-declaration-on-marriage.html?share=MY4fpRmJwL6ArfP7tWGWLIwwptujfkOR)

    Christians must not mirror the present socio-political blindness that demands love without truth by a reactive religious zeal that commands truth without love. In our commitment to the God of love and truth, we will love people best by telling them God's truth and will tell them best by showing them God's love. Since divine truth isn't in their equation, they may hate us when we tell it. But if we're consistent in both truth and love, their hateful reactions will only expose more fully the blindness of a "love without truth."

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