Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Afflicted Heart of the Legal Profession

I participate in an international online discussion group of Christian lawyers. The talk on this list is often terse and to the point. A lot of it has to do with sharing resources, strategies and making referrals. But sometimes the discussion is profound. Last night, the topic was the morality of California lawyers resigning from their various state legal organizations that oppose California Proposition 8. Proposition 8 is a ballot initiative which, if successful, would result in a state constitutional amendment banning so called gay marriage. I read the following post from a D.C. area attorney comparing the current moral crisis for Christian attorneys to the decision many Christian attorneys made over a decade ago to leave the ABA over their support for abortion rights, etc. With that attorney's permission, I am repeating his post here for public consumption:

I too resigned from the ABA over the abortion issue in 1998. Like others on this string, I got a form-letter reply to my note of explanation regarding why I, in good conscience could no longer remain part of that organization. In the years after my resignation, I received form-letter invitations to rejoin the ABA. I ignored them.
I have thought a lot about why abortion proponents are so resistant to any kind of morally based logic as to why abortion is an affront to the concept of justice, that is defending the innocent from predators and a grave moral evil. I have concluded that the heart is the portal to the human mind. It is from the heart of man that great wickedness in the world emerges.
In Romans 1, Paul warns us that, when a person turns his face from God, his thinking becomes "futile" (NIV) and his "foolish heart" is "darkened." Romans 1:21. So, when a person rejects God, he becomes, in essence, an "afflicted person." He loses the capacity to evaluate data and draw moral inferences from it, even in his own self-interest. This affliction walls off the mind from any idea that the heart has rejected a priori. Because the portal to the mind is closed to facts and reason, no argument, no matter how compelling, can be honestly evaluated. It is this "heart affliction" that has turned the light of reason off in the minds of so many of the most gifted intellects in our remarkable, yet deeply troubled, civilization. The collective "afflicted heart" of our profession has brought us to the place where the Rule of Law lies on its deathbed, barely capable of drawing a breath.
C.S. Lewis observed that the human heart is like a citadel, a mighty fortress that nurtures the great lie of the hegemony of Self implanted in the soul at the Fall of Man. Lewis proclaimed that the only thing that serves to breach the great wall of moral rejection endemic to the human soul is enduring pain which takes it down to the bare metal of despair. "Pain," Lewis observed, "plants the flag of truth in the fortress of the rebel soul." It is through this pain that heart of man is opened, giving him "ears to hear" and " eyes to see." Prayer and winsome civility during these times of pain are just about the only things that stand a chance of cracking open the hardened heart.
Well said, Counselor.


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