“The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light” (Lk. 16:8).
Modern conservative Christians are cowards. We are cowards by many different measurements, but one will suffice. We have almost entirely lost a culture war in which we had the greater numbers, greater resources, better positions, and the distinct moral advantage of being right. But winning the war would have required resistance, pain, danger, and loss. The definition of courage is the strength or ability to accomplish something in the face of fear, pain, and danger. From the legalization of abortion to the legalization of homosexual mirage, conservative Christians have simply refused to fight.
Now I know that there are many shining counterexamples. But the numbers still don’t add up. A tiny perverse minority of god-haters has conquered the land. Look at the polls, look at the maps, look at the statistics. And the reason we don’t have courage is that we don’t have the blessing of God. If we actually had the blessing of God, we could be the pitiful minority and still be leading: “Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand…” (Lev. 26:8). But instead, the tables are turned, and tiny bands of Philistines chase the Christian Church into hiding. We are like Israel before the gates of Ai, and our hearts have melted and become like water (Josh. 7:5).
So what must we do? Of course we must repent of our sins, cry out to the Lord Jesus for mercy and salvation, and pray for courage to obey Him. But one of the things Jesus tells us to do is to learn shrewdness from the sons of the world. How have our enemies cornered us? How have they been able to chase us? Of course we are constrained by the law of God; we may not sin and justify it by some higher “good.” Nevertheless, Christians are by and large simpletons and fools. If you’ll pardon the baseball analogy, it’s like we’ve been playing a team that always steals two bases at a time, but we think that’s a little rude and unfair, and therefore we only take one base per play. But why not take two or three?
Learning this kind of shrewdness doesn’t come overnight, but surely the people of God ought to begin with the most extreme cases, where the greatest evils reside in our society. So we should begin with the holocaust of abortion in America. Abortion is not the only evil in our land, and surely it is the manifestation of many forms of rebellion against God but it is the clearest, cruelest form of rebellion that is currently protected by law. And many Christians just wring their hands and shrug, feeling powerless, hoping to elect another pro-life representative, governor, president next go round who will at best make some small noises about the need to, maybe, if it would be alright with everyone, perhaps, to think about, reconsidering… And meanwhile we, as a nation, carry out terrorist attacks of 9/11 proportions on our own children Every. Single. Day.
Now of course some Christians have gone the Operation Rescue route of peacefully blocking abortion clinics, others (in growing numbers) are open air preaching, counseling, and peacefully picketing the clinics. And still others remain steadfast on the front lines of crisis pregnancy counseling, ultrasound services, adoption services, and so forth. And thanks be to God for the faithful and courageous stands represented here. And meanwhile we fast and pray for the overturn of Roe v. Wade, perhaps while passing incremental restrictions along the way.
But one of the biggest and most glaring holes in this picture is the fact that meanwhile marijuana has been legalized in a number of states and a number of cities, counties, and a growing number of states refuse to enforce federal immigration laws. In other words, while Christians wring their hands and keep running political plays on the federal issue of abortion, a bunch of other people have just passed their laws at the state level and refused to play along with the Feds.
Who could have imagined the legalization of marijuana could be such a gift to the Church?
So, for example, in the last two years, Idaho criminalized doctors prescribing abortifacient drugs over the Internet. Then, when the Feds started prosecuting, the State of Idaho rolled over and repealed the law. But think about this for a moment. What would happen if the Feds started sniffing around the Colorado or Washington State marijuana laws? Or what about states that have declared that they will not enforce illegal immigrant laws? I’m pretty sure the states wouldn’t give the Feds the time of day. At the very least, they would throw every legal book at the Feds, drowning them in litigation and paperwork and excuses and extensions and obscure Latin obscenities.
And Christians in the states need to do the same thing. Idaho needs to completely outlaw abortion and then tell the Feds that we will not even talk to them until they address the backlog of defiance from other states that have legalized pot and declared themselves sanctuary cities, counties, and states. Come talk to us when you’ve closed down all the pot shops in Washington. And until then, you are treating the State of Idaho unjustly. The Feds are discriminating against Idaho or any other State that chooses to outlaw abortion if they are only targeting abortion laws. They are being arbitrary and capricious in their application of federal law. And the states need to call this out and refuse to show up in court until this injustice has been addressed.
The fact of the matter is that there are many millions more Christians in America who deplore abortion than people in America who want legal pot. But the people who want legal pot want it more than Christians want abortion to be illegal. The people who want legal pot believe in their cause far more than Christians believe in life. The people who believe in amnesty for all illegal immigrants believe in their cause far more than Christians believe in amnesty for the unborn. You can tell because of the extreme outrage and protests that erupt when Trump signs an executive order that slightly limits immigration. You can tell because of the similar backlash that would erupt if the Feds went after the states that have legalized marijuana. But the Feds have learned that Christians are cowards. The Feds have learned that we don’t believe in the sanctity of human life as much as the hippies believe in their right to get stoned.
But what if that changed? What if the states began one by one outlawing abortion? And what if they didn’t care what the Feds said? What if they did what the states have already done with marijuana and immigration and called the Federal bluff?
In Idaho, one of the great protests is the fact that nearly a third of our budget is supplied by federal funds for federal lands. The shorthand version of this is that the federal government stole a bunch of our land and now very generously pays us for the inconvenience. But if you put all of this together that means that Feds are bribing us to kill our children. We are afraid of losing a third of our budget. And so we allow an average of 1,300 children to be killed every year in our state. But the billions of dollars we receive from the federal government should not be enough for the life of one child. If a thug offers you a hundred billion dollars for the right to occasionally shoot a child in your neighborhood, do you take the cash? Who cares what you might do with all that money? It’s blood money. What profit is it if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?
Most of the states in America have majority populations that would vote tomorrow to outlaw abortion. And many of those same state legislatures are filled with professed pro-life politicians. But they have been cowed into believing that the only way to make any progress is by a slow incrementalism. But that’s only because they’ve been cowed into believing that they have to do whatever the Feds say. But that isn’t true. If the federal government requires us to do something against God’s Word, it is the job of the states to say, “No.” And if they want to take our federal funding, fine. But it’s high time we stood up and said, “Enough is enough.” Not another Idaho baby gets murdered on our watch. You can’t pay us enough for that.
Cowardice begets cowardice, but courage begets courage. If a few faithful and courageous men stand up in Boise and in the other state capitals and tell the truth about what’s actually being done here, I believe God will bless it. We need to pass laws outlawing abortion in our states and then we need to refuse to show up in federal court. We’re not going to play that game any more. And as it turns out, we have a professed pro-life president and vice-president, and it doesn’t look to me like they really care about being polite or nice. So let’s take advantage of it. Do you really think Trump is going to order troops to invade Idaho or revoke all our funds because we outlaw abortion? Not likely, but in the event that he does? It would be totally worth it.