From Bible-blocker justices to the Daniel Option
by Marvin Olasky
Posted on Friday, June 26, 2015, at 11:54 am
Drugs called beta-blockers lower blood pressure, thus lowering the risk of a stroke or heart attack. Supreme Court justices who are “Bible-blockers” also affect the heart and circulation, but they raise blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke or heart attacks among Christians.
Chief among the Bible-blockers is Justice Anthony Kennedy. His worldview may not be all that different from the other four justices who joined him in making same-sex marriage the law of the land today, but conservatives remember that President Ronald Reagan nominated Kennedy to the Court in 1988.
Kennedy’s path to his post was circuitous. First, the Senate rejected Robert Bork. Reagan then nominated Douglas Ginsburg, who withdrew his name from consideration after admitting to marijuana use. (Yes, children, there was a time not long ago when smoking pot, or overtly committing adultery like Gary Hart, was a knock-out blow.)
So Kennedy achieved the jurist’s dream. In 27 years he has often been the swing vote in Supreme Court 5-4 decisions, most notoriously on abortion and now same-sex marriage. We may consider the disaster of Kennedy entirely the product of chance circumstances, but the Bible tells us that nothing happens outside of God’s will, so some will conclude that God is judging America and designating it for destruction, with Anthony Kennedy a tool in that process.
Maybe so, but Psalm 131 is a dissent from the notion that we can know why God allows Anthony Kennedy to be in this spot at this time:
“O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.”
Kennedy’s decision will lead more Christians to think we should pursue the “Benedict Option” and opt out of mainstream America. Maybe, but think back 2,600 years ago. The Babylonians broke down Jerusalem’s walls. Israelites had lived in a land where every aspect of life was to point them to the holiness of God. Suddenly, they were exiles in Babylon, a land of idol worship—instant culture shock. Suddenly, many of us are in an America where idols also are supreme. But Jeremiah instructed Israelites-in-exile to build houses and businesses, and work for the good of the whole city.
Daniel was the most prominent of the exiles. He had no clear career path. Twice he almost was put to death. Sometimes he had power, often he did not. The Bible gives us a highlight reel of his seven decades in Babylon. He spent his entire career as a dissenter among people of different beliefs. He stood on the wrong side of history. He dared to be a Daniel. We are now in exile. We can do the same. We can try the “Daniel Option.”
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent of today’s decision, “Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall.” If we are hubristic enough to think we know God is commanding us to drop out, then the fall of America will certainly come. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his dissent that the Majority Five’s conception of liberty will have “inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society.” Yes, especially if Christians drop out.
I don’t know if Martin Luther actually said this, but some attribute to him the wise statement, “If I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would plant an apple tree today!” Yes, Christians are in exile in America. Yes, dropping out may be the smart thing, but let’s not be so smart. Let’s take the Daniel Option. Let’s plant Kennedy trees.