27 June 2008

Hand Baskets and SCOTUS

My great grandmother had some unique expressions. When the gaggle of kids that made up her great grandchildren would run barefoot through her tiny home and yard you could hear her in exasperation yelling at us to put our shoes. She didn't use our names preferring to describe us a bunch of "heathens" or "yahoos." The latter of which she pronounced with a long a sound. If she caught you doing something silly she would say, "If they put your brain in a hummingbird it would fly backwards!" Of course we would giggle and tell her, "But Grandma, they do fly backwards!" One of the things she said most often when we were naughty, "You're going to hell in a hand basket!" I still don't know what a hand basket is precisely but I do know, praise God, I am not headed to hell. Not that I don't deserve to go there directly, I do. God in His mercy has seen fit to spare me. I can't tell you why. It's not about me, that's for certain. I do know the depth of my sin.

Working for 17 years in public safety, I am seldom surprised by the depth sin and depravity demonstrated by anyone, not even our government officials. I have seen perfectly reasonable people do absolutely horrendous things. All it took for them to become monstrous was a push. Just the right bit of pressure can change everything. I have also seen people who were downright evil. I doubt they have ever taken a perfectly reasonable breath. Still, the reality is we are all made from the same dirt and have the same sin debt to pay. I had a verse posted in my locker at work, before it became politically incorrect to post things in your own workspace. It was Proverbs 17:15. "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent-- the LORD detests them both. (NIV)

I put the verse on my locker to humble and remind me of my place in the universe. When I first started working in law enforcement, I was a bleeding heart liberal. The problem with taking that position (besides the fact that it doesn't do any good) is that I was a professing Christian. I thought that being a Christian meant I was supposed to be liberal and extend second chances to the poor criminals who lacked the self-esteem to live without breaking the law. It didn't take me long to become conflicted and realize criminals feel great about themselves. It's other people they don't esteem and so they steal the belongings, break into the homes and violate the persons of others with remarkable ease.

I remember talking to the man who was my pastor at the time. We were talking specifically about the death penalty. He introduced me to the Noahic covenant. I had no idea what he was talking about because I was ignorant about doctrine and theology. He explained that everything that was held in the covenant God made with Noah was still in effect today and then opened his bible and read from Genesis 8 & 9. He also showed me where men of God still had consequences for their actions although their sin debt was paid. For example; Moses never got to step foot in the Promised Land (Numbers27, Deuteronomy 1, 3, 32,34) and the sword never departed from David's house (2 Samuel 12). I was challenged by our discussion and found myself reading the Bible and looking for answers. It wasn't long before I connected some more dots.

Recitivism had always been a point of contention in my liberal worldview. The jails and streets of any community are filled with repeat offenders. It isn't so much that the same crime is repeated over and over. It's that the crimes commited by repeat offenders get worse and worse. It's that whole Romans 1 thing Paul warns us about. Each action breeds a bigger, more depraved action. Think about it. Start taking drugs, you need more and more. Start stealing for money and you 'need' more and more. Pornography, lying, drinking too much alcohol, they all follow this pattern. Sin is a downward spiral that, when left unchecked, makes each step away from God easier and the sins committed become more heinous.

June 25th the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 5-4 decision that raping a child does not merit the death penalty. If you haven't already, you can read about their decision here.

My friends, we are dangerously close to that hand basket my great grandmother warned about. James White, a man from whom I have learned much had this to say:

A culture that cannot protect itself from a child rapist, but instead must coddle him, feed him, clothe him, and in general tax the rest of the citizenry to provide for him for life, is a culture of death indeed. It is the Insanity of the Merely Human, the Foolishness of the Creatorless Created, given full expression.

1 comment:

Hobster said...

Sorry, sorry, so, so, sorry! I just remembered I was supposed to send you the quote this morning. When I got home from work, I went right to sleep for a few hours and didn't get online until now.

I await the half-dozen or so noogies you'll be meting out as punishment.