“A leopard can’t change its spots” goes the well-known idiom. It comes from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah where the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah tries to persuade an evil shepherdess to become good but when he realizes that it is impossible to convince her, he says: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” This ancient perception still lends descriptive strength today as we collectively as a nation witness a movement bare its teeth, revealing its true nature.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that there is a nominee to the Supreme Court of the land awaiting the United States Senate confirmation vote. Chances are you are aware that there is some pretty strong opposition to his nomination. I am totally satisfied that you are tuned in to the absolute fire storm that surrounds the Senate proceedings as well as the accusations leveled at this good man. What I want to remind us is that beneath the surface, there is a reason for this anger and rage. The answer is life!
“I think that this today is a travesty. I think that it is disgusting. I think that this hearing should never occur in America. This is a case in which this sleaze, this dirt, was searched for by staffers of members of this committee, was then leaked to the media, and this committee and this body validated it and displayed it at prime time over our entire nation. How would any member on this committee, any person in this room, or any person in this country, would like sleaze said about him or her in this fashion? Or this dirt dredged up and this gossip and these lies displayed in this manner? How would any person like it?” These words from the Senate hearing room came from the candidate for a seat on the highest court in the land. They did not come however from Justice Kavanaugh; they were spoken in the fall of 1991 by Clarence Thomas.
Gary Bauer, Former President of the Family Research Council who stood with Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings in October of 1991 said “That’s what we’re going through now… A circus.” He then spoke of Thomas’ time and influence on the Supreme Court, “When the history books that matter are written, it will show that because of Clarence Thomas’ fifth vote, time and time again, that this country is a better place than it would have been otherwise,”
I am convinced that the deep-seated fear of those who desperately oppose the appointment of Justice Kavanaugh is not just about him or his family; it’s not even about the current president of the United States who appointed him for the position. This is about the sanctity of human life, about the belief that we are truly created by God and that life begins at conception. For the first time since the 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America, those who champion the cause of taking the life of the unborn, who devalue the precious child that resides in the womb of a mother and even commit the unspeakable act of profiting from selling the body parts of aborted children are terrified that the culture of death that has permeated our cultural landscape taking the lives of more than 55 million babies could finally come to an end. There’s the answer… it’s about life!
So, an incredibly good man’s name is besmirched, accusations are made and inconsiderate protesters behave in such a way that the mother of his sweet children must quickly and with tear filled eyes usher them from the Senate confirmation room as their daddy is verbally attacked. His character is attacked, his past is scrutinized, reinvented and his good name is destroyed by the all-powerful media machine. So, what is all this about? Again, the answer is life.
For millions, Elisabeth Elliot has been a voice of mature, comforting, and sometimes bracing biblical counsel for decades. Her writings some years ago addressing the “Abortion Culture” posed questions that still to this day penetrate the mindset of our culture: “If any human life, however frail, however incapable of retaliation, is entrusted to us shall we nourish and cherish it, or may we–by some enormously civilized and educated rationalization–convince ourselves either that it is not a person, or that, although it is a person, its life is not worth living, and that therefore what we do with it is a matter of individual choice? We are faced with only one question. Are we talking about an object, or might it by any stretch of the imagination be a person? … For my part, I will try to regard whatever bears the marks of humanity as God’s property and not mine.”
We as a culture are still dealing with the life issue. I pray we take this opportunity and do the right and noble thing because I fear the generations to come will hold us accountable for our decision. “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.” Then as now… It all begins with life!
Tim Throckmorton is the former executive pastor for Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, and Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene. He is currently senior pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.