"Their feet are swift to shed blood... Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." (Romans 3:15 and 1 Cor 6:9-10 NKJV)

The year 2003 is being remembered as "the year of Iraq," understandably so with the war in Iraq, the capture of Saddam Hussein, and the ongoing military struggle while coalition forces try to rebuild that country.

However, in spite of all of the challenges and perils we face in Iraq, the rest of the Middle East, plus those in the larger war on terror, it could be that other things which happened in 2003 may well match those dangers—and could far surpass them.

If Iraq had not been such an issue in 2003, the year would have to be remembered as the time when major and radical assaults were successful against another of our most basic institutions: marriage, specifically, marriage between a man and a woman.

2003 was the year in which the United States Supreme Court tossed out laws against sodomy and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) approved “same-sex marriage” ordering the state legislature to come up with a “same-sex marriage” law in 180 days. Plus the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly homosexual bishop.

"What is happening in our culture is an unraveling of all that we once considered normal," columnist Cal Thomas wrote, responding to the Massachusetts SJC ruling ordering “same-sex marriage.”

2003 could be called a banner year for sodomy. Our northern neighbor, Canada, began issuing “same-sex marriage” licenses in June. California expanded its "domestic partnership program" by giving same-sex couples almost the status of marriage. Plus all Democratic candidates came out strongly in support of legal rights for same-sex couples with three of them fully supporting “same-sex marriage”. American TV sitcoms continued showcasing homosexual sin alongside heterosexual sin.

Thirty years ago, in 1973, we made another radical assault on a fundamental institution, the sanctity of life, when the US Supreme Court approved abortion.

So now we have two egregious evils—abortion and sodomy—that we've institutionalized into law, thereby giving them official sanction.

From all of this, a couple realities should give us serious pause: we have laws now that assault the very principles upon which those laws rest, something akin to societal suicide, and we're "sinning boldly."

Since our beginning as a nation, with our roots deeply in Judeo-Christian ethics, we've held dear two values. One, a high view of human life, with every human life regarded as special, precious, sacred, made in the image of God; and Two, marriage was between a man and a woman.

Now, sadly, a secular, utilitarian ethic hammers at both values. Most telling, it is pounding from the privileged position of law.
We know what we are doing. The Chief Justice of the Massachusetts SJC, Margaret Marshall, writing for the majority which ruled there was a constitutional right to marriage for those practicing sodomy, said, "Certainly our decision today marks a significant change in the definition of marriage as it has been inherited from the common law and understood my many societies for centuries." Then she added, "But it does not disturb the fundamental value of marriage." This last sentence, as columnist Jeff Jacoby observed, is either the most dishonest assertion or the most naive.

It would seem self-evident that laws that are at war with their own foundations portend societal self-destruction. Assuredly the cracks in our foundations are evident from all the pounding.

Yet all this didn't happen in a vacuum. No, it's the consequences of years of permissivism and the rationalization of public sin. We're now at the place where we're "sinning boldly," where we not only sin, but also we argue for sin, even vehemently. We do not call it public sin we call it social progress.

The whole struggle over partial-birth abortion is a grim, but graphic example of how bold we are sinning. An outspoken segment of our culture has become so contentiously extreme that they are determined to give a woman the "right" to kill her unborn baby even if the baby is almost born, and killing him or her could be called infanticide (as the late Senator Daniel Moynihan did). Yes, a law banning partial-birth abortion was recently enacted by Congress and signed by President Bush. However that ban was barely hours old when strident pro-abortionists went to court in three states and had judges issue retraining orders. Another example could be the abortion politics that drives opposition in the Senate, primarily from Democrats, to various judicial appointments by President Bush. Certainly bold sinning drives the intense push to include same-sex couples in holy matrimony.

Our sinning boldly exposes how callous and stubborn our public conscience has become, a condition that resembles Israel's when the Prophet Hosea said their sin "broke all bounds and bloodshed followed bloodshed" (Hosea 4:2). Hosea warned Israel they would be judged and called them to return to the Lord. Grievously, Israel ignored God's mercy and was judged.

All this raises pivotal questions: Why are we not judged? How long can we last? What may be ahead in 2004?

We'll discuss those questions in our next visit.

Let us join in prayer: Our gracious heavenly Father, we are sinning boldly and we're assaulting the very foundations of our society. We have forgotten You. Forgive us. May the ministers of our nation proclaim Your Word and call for repentance. And may the response be a wholehearted return to you birthing a spiritual awakening. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.