Putting Fat on the Bones: Good News From the States
By Rob Schwarzwalder
Rob Schwarzwalder is Senior Vice President at Family Research Council. This article appeared in Religion Today on February 21, 2013.
"Good news," Solomon tells us, "puts fat on the bones" (Proverbs 15:30). Well, many of us likely would prefer having some fat removed from our bones - but the essential idea remains true across the centuries. Good news, whether anticipated or not, is like food to a starving man.
Some of us have felt pretty starved of late. The reelection of President Obama, the victory of same-sex "marriage" in four states, and 55 million unborn children lost after four decades of Roe v. Wade have been discouraging to many concerned Christians. And believers, though redeemed, are still human: We need encouragement as much as anyone else.
That's why the news from the states is so welcome. Here are some updates from just the past two months that should remind each of us that our labor is far from in vain:
- Following testimony last month by FRC's Dr. David Prentice and Anna Higgins, J.D., the North Dakota legislature approved five of six pro-life bills under consideration. Included was a measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy due to scientific evidence that babies of that age and older can experience pain. Arkansas' Senate and House passed a similar "fetal pain" bill in February.
- On December 31, 2012, Texas Judge Gary Harger ruled that the Lone Star State was within its rights to deny state funding to doctors and clinics that encourage abortion. And as Gov. Rick Perry said of Judge Harger's ruling, "The Texas Attorney General's office will continue to defend the Texas Legislature's decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women's Health Program."
- "Planned Parenthood [has] announced it will be closing four [Wisconsin] clinics ... due to state funding cuts. All four locations offer the morning-after pill, which can induce an abortion."
- The Supreme Court of Alabama, in a January ruling, upheld "the widespread legal recognition that unborn children are persons with rights [and] should be protected by law."
- In Florida, a Senate committee defeated a "domestic partnership" bill that would undermine marriage. Wyoming defeated one earlier this month.
- Virginia passed campus religious group protections. This measure "protects the free association rights of students on public college campuses [and] ensures that religious and political organizations will not be discriminated against because of their beliefs and values."
- In New York, a hospital was forced to issue a new conscience-protection policy such that its employees will not have to assist in abortions.
- And even in liberal Hawaii, the state House Judiciary Committee "decided not to schedule a hearing for a bill that would legalize gay marriage, which means the issue is likely tabled for this legislative session."
So, the fight for life, religious liberty, marriage, and family goes on. And actions in the states are not only important in their own right, but they also help build momentum for legislation in other states and, ultimately, action here in Washington, D.C.
"Our greatest weakness," said Thomas Edison, "lies in giving up." For Christians, giving up is not an option. Win or lose in the arena of public life, our calling remains the same.
Believers are called to be faithful in standing for those with no voice, in protecting those who have been abandoned, in sustaining the liberties and institutions which enable our society to function peacefully and justly.
"Learn to do good," God told Isaiah. "Seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow" (1:17). Those are causes worth never giving up - especially when the potential for long-term victory remains so great.
And, above all else, there is One Who triumphs in the end. Take a look, it's in the Book.