Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Supreme Court Decisions and Living the Christian Life

I was surprised at how hard  the decision hit me. I was really hoping they'd go for truth and wouldn't let popular opinion sway them. I was surprised at how fervently I began praying for my country, which I was surprised to realize I love so much, in the midst of its folly.

So — I was surprised by a lot of things. And left feeling adrift, shaken, devastated.

What helped me was two things.

I share them with you in case you're also struggling.

First, I continued my reading of The Everlasting Man, G. K. Chesterton's look at the spiritual journey of humanity through history. After an hour, I switched over to a history of Catholicism from The Teaching Company. I didn't intentionally select these to help my mood. I was just casting around for listening material.

History was the perfect corrective to remind me that this isn't the first time a country has gone off the rails. And the faith persists, because the believers continue to testify to the Truth wherever they are.

Secondly, we had dinner with a young couple that night. When our talk finally lighted on the topic, both said they were dreading having to turn down invitations for gay friends' weddings. The man said that he'd been wrestling all day with how hard this all was.

I'm condensing our conversation here, but in essence he said, "I realized it should be hard. Christianity began as a humble, downtrodden religion. If we fit in too well then something is wrong. We shouldn't be too comfortable."

Those words have come back to me again and again in the days since.

"It should be hard."

That works on a lot of levels.

What hits me in terms of regular life is how hard it is when things become personal rather than an ideal to argue about.

I imagine gay people whose invitations are turned down may think it is because of harsh judgment or bigotry. I'd bet that much more frequently these are reluctant decisions made because the dictates of conscience and faith must be followed no matter how much we love those friends and family.

I always thought of Jesus' words in Matthew 10:34-38 as those for new converts with disapproving relatives. I see that these timeless words apply right now to our society in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man "against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household."

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Do we love them less?

No. But we love Jesus Christ, the ultimate truth, more. So eventually we are driven to choose.

In other words, "It should be hard."

That's how much we should love and pray for those who put us in the position of choosing.

Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul
Chattanooga, TN

Finally, John C. Wright wrote a fine piece about what helped him begin to be able to pray for the conversion and salvation of those who have so wounded us.

It begins in a church. It ends with some of his thoughts. No one can be more inspiring when he gets going. Here's a bit.
In one hundred years, when this ruling is only an historical curio, like the Dred Scott Decision ... the One, True, Apostolic and Catholic Church will still be in business, still preaching and teaching the same truths that she has always taught.

And the Church will still speaking the language of sacrifice and self-denying love to a race of fallen beings ... who are so selfish and self-centered that this language is folly and a stumbling block to them.

Selfishness cannot understand selflessness. The darkness cannot comprehend the light, cannot surround and cannot besiege it, cannot defeat it, even in their hour of victory.

Because when we pray for the souls of our deadly enemy, our prayers are answered.
I'd forgotten the Dred Scott decision.

The outrage we feel now must be the same way people felt back then. Not all of them, of course. But over time we have all come to realize the obvious injustice. Which has been corrected.

That's the third thing.

Let us pray.


  1. It was an outrageous decision. You would have thought SCOTUS would have learned something from the horrendous Roe v. Wade decision. But they haven't. After the events of the last half dozen years, this no longer feels like my country any more. i just live here.

    1. But they don't feel that Roe v. Wade was wrong. So from their point of view there is nothing to learn.

  2. Julie - this comforted me so much, like your writing so often does. If you ever doubt that sharing your faith as you do makes any difference......please don't. You have a gift from God to communicate as you do, and bless you for doing so, I'm certain it isn't always easy.

    1. Thank you so much for this. Indeed I wondered if I should post this, if it mattered to anyone, but thought I'd go ahead in case anyone else was in the same distress that I was ... and so I doubly appreciate your kindness.

  3. I truly appreciate your post. You're right: this is where the sifting begins, and "it should be hard." Thank you for being an encourager, shining the light in troubling times. ~ Rosemary A.