So, a pro-LGBT rights organ reported on a defense appropriations bill this morning. Last week the armed forces committee passed an appropriations bill which requires, “the government to grant religious organizations it contracts with “protections and exemptions” consistent with the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.” In other words, the bill requires compliance with the law. The reporter speaks, in conspiratorial tones, of this being a “stealth” attack on LGBT rights because , “these laws don’t contain any LGBT anti-discrimination protections, so harmonizing federal contracting requirements with them could override President Obama’s 2014 executive order barring discrimination by federal contractors on either sexual orientation or gender identity, in effect creating a backdoor channel to implement stalled measures like the First Amendment Defense Act. FADA would prevent the government from ‘discriminating’ against faith-based groups that discriminate against LGBT individuals and ‘ensure speech supporting natural marriage is not chilled.'”
The substance of this argument is troubling enough, but pitting executive orders against duly passed laws is a recipe for chaos – it represents a near break down in our governmental systems. This is not an issue, this is the foundation on which we argue about issues. I know, I know, the courts can settle it. But all that does is move us one step closer to the courts exercising monarchical power. Really, frightening stuff.
Our impatience with the process of changing the public’s mind which directs our government and then the process of government acting threatens to return us to earlier times that we worked so hard to escape. But the church existed before American democracy and it most certainly will exist after it.
My devotion this morning examined Revelations 21. In it, friend of Hugh’s show Mark Roberts says:
In the vision of Revelation, nations and kings play an essential role in God’s future. They are ultimately brought under God’s full authority in a way that is not true in the world today, though, in a sense, all political authority comes from God (see Romans 13:1-5). In the future, according to John, the kings serve God, not under compulsion, but willingly.
I think of Christ saying, “render to Caesar….”
Our government is in God’s hands, even when it does not appear to be. Therefore, we must be patient with the process. If the process produces conflict pitting executive order against the law or it produces unpalatable candidates we must know that God is at work. Our hope does not rest in the law or in the candidates, but in the hands that hold them both. The future is uncertain – God is not.