America’s Battleground: Where Values Originate

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and incurably sick – who can understand it?”

Within the first hour of the Supreme Court’s June 26th ruling on legalizing same sex marriage across all 50 states, the ‘‪#‎lovewins‬’ hashtag received over 280,000 hits. Corporations like Target, American Airlines and Visa joined the social media explosion. Honey Maid proclaimed that “love now reigns from coast to coast”.

So if love is the winner, who lost? By making a victory for love a national slogan, are we saying that those who fought for same-sex marriage were fighting for the right to love their partner, as if they would have lost that right if the Supreme Court had ruled against legalizing same sex marriage? No, I don’t think anyone, especially the government, can legislate who anyone chooses to love.

Certainly no one told the LGBT community not to love their partners, and the Supreme Court didn’t grant people some new right to now love one another. In fact, America declared in writing that the right to love whomever you choose is a self-evident truth, that is not guaranteed by government but by God: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Since our beginning as 13 states, America’s Declaration of Independence has guaranteed our moral right for “love to win”. Where did we get this radical value system that we can love whom we choose? The answer is simple – the Bible. It not only gave humanity the Ten Commandments (the greatest moral code ever written) but also the greatest moral rule, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, declared by the greatest moral teacher in history: Jesus Christ. This should be why Target, Visa and American Airlines celebrate.

There is no other religious or secular literature that comes even close to the Bible in forming the moral foundation of Western civilization, and sets the stage for nearly all moral progress around the world. It is certainly the book that formed the foundational values of every major American university, where even today places like Harvard still have their original school motto hanging over many campus buildings: “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae” which means in Latin “Truth for Christ and the Church.”

So, back then to our original question – if love supposedly won in the Supreme Court ruling, who lost? What secular Americans have won is a cultural victory as much as a legal one. Americans have now asserted that their value system doesn’t come from the Bible. When we proclaim ‘#lovewins’, what we really mean is the human heart has won over the Bible as the authority for our value system. The loser is the Bible, the divine code that ironically gave Americans the very right to love whomever they wish.

As our verse this week from Jeremiah teaches us, I am not to trust their heart. Instead, when my heart tries to pull me in a different direction from God’s moral law, He admonishes me to be guided by the Bible: “Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133).

In his article ‘The Bible vs. Heart’, Dennis Prager explains this battle that been raging now in American culture: “For well over a generation, we have been living on ‘cut-flower ethics.’ We have removed ethics from the Bible-based soil that gave them life and think they can survive removed from that soil. Fools and those possessing an arrogance bordering on self-deification think we will long survive as a decent society without teaching the Bible and without consulting it for moral guidance and wisdom.

We live in the Age of Feelings, and an entire generation of Americans has been raised to consult their heart to determine right and wrong. If you trust the human heart, you should be delighted with this development. But those of us raised with biblical wisdom do not trust the heart. So when we are told by almost every university, by almost every news source, by almost every entertainment medium that the heart demands what is probably the most radical social transformation since Western civilization began — redefining marriage, society’s most basic institution, in terms of gender — it may be wiser to trust the biblical understanding of marriage rather than the heart’s.

My heart, too, supports same-sex marriage. But relying on the heart alone is a terribly flawed guide to social policy. And it is the Bible that has produced all of the world’s most compassionate societies. This, then, is the great modern battle: the Bible and the heart vs. the heart alone.”

I think King David got it right in Psalm 119:133 – I will have my steps directed by God’s word, not my heart.