Where Were You?

A hallway in my high school, enjoying the privileges of a newspaper press pass when I went by the A/V area and noticed people gathered around a television screen.  That’s where I was when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986.

Just waking up before starting a day of teaching college students.  A phone call from my parents telling me to turn on the television.  That’s where I was on the morning of September, 2001, arguably the most defining turn in American culture and politics since the Civil War.

Waking up in a hotel room in California with a text from a colleague in Nebraska.  Turning on the television to try and wake up before gathering with 300 Lutheran pastors and lay people for a District Convention.  That’s where I was when the Supreme Court confirmed yet another undeniably critical turning point in American culture and politics.

If you’ve been on Facebook you’re undoubtedly already inundated with all sorts of comments and graphics and other stuff regarding same-sex marriage.  For years proponents of this change argued that it was no big deal.  Same-sex marriage will have zero impact on heterosexual marriages and families.  A lot of people believed that and a lot didn’t.  Now it doesn’t matter because just five people have redefined marriage for a nation of over 300 million people.  Of whom less than five million are same-sex oriented.

The impact of this ruling isn’t going to change marriage landscape for today’s adults much.  At the convention the most expressed concern was how it would impact churches and their ability to do weddings.  This isn’t the biggest issue by a long shot.  First off, at least for the time being, churches will retain their right to religious beliefs that exempt them from being forced to perform same-sex weddings.  While it’s clear that such freedoms are in serious jeopardy based on comments from certain presidential candidates, freedom of religion will hold for the time being.  And when the law changes and we’re no longer allowed to refuse same-sex weddings because of religious belief, then we’ll simply give up doing weddings all together.

No, the biggest immediate danger to Christians isn’t going to revolve around being forced to conduct same-sex weddings.  Rather, the biggest danger will be how radically this Supreme Court decision will alter the world your children and grandchildren grow up in.  Same-sex proponents have been lobbying aggressively for the last decade to rework curriculum in primary and secondary educational institutions to push for greater exposure to and approval of same-sex individuals and lifestyles.  Entire states have been mandated to change their history curriculum to highlight same-sex individuals of historical significance.

Religious schools are where the impacts of this Supreme Court ruling will be felt first.  I expect that any Christian (or Muslim, or Jewish, or Mormon) school that accepts Federal aid of any kind, or relies on Federal student loan programs will be rapidly pressured to alter their curriculum, suppress their religious convictions, or face the removal of eligibility for Federal aid and Federal student loan monies.

Your children and grandchildren are already being shown in media that homosexuality and alternative lifestyles are acceptable and cool.  Increasingly their curriculum will insist that they affirm these values or risk failing tests, essays, classes, perhaps even entire grades.  If your child goes to a public school, you need to watch for these things carefully.  You need to sit down with your children and grandchildren and your family and talk about what it is they’re going to hear and see and be told to believe and accept.  The dream of a prestigious academic career for your children or grandchildren will be more and more directly challenged and even thwarted in public schools if students are not willing to conform to expected beliefs and even practices.

And as a heads up, just because those young people go to church every Sunday doesn’t mean they’re equipped to deal with the thoroughness of their indoctrination otherwise.  Pastors and youth leaders and congregations are going to need to figure out how they equip their young people to deal with what they are being told to say and believe in school.  Congregations need to take this very seriously.  Many congregations are already struggling for survival.  How many congregations continue to survive will, I believe, be based around how well the Church does what the same-sex lobbyists began doing decades ago – taking seriously the fight for the hearts and minds of the next generation(s).

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