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I believe the June 24 Dobbs decision overturning the decades-old Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade precedent poses an existential opportunity and, conversely, an existential threat to the universal Christian community. There has not been an opportunity like this to be the Church in my lifetime. If we don’t act and swiftly and strongly, the chance of overcoming the tide of anti-Christian sentiment in society today doesn’t have a chance.
Indulge me in a Poker metaphor. With last week’s Supreme Court decision to rule against Roe vs. Wade and the 50 years of precedent, you could argue that the Christian community in America has a winning hand (as in the game of Poker). My question is: Will we fold? Do they think we are bluffing?
I am not an expert at Poker, but I’ve played it for fun, and periodically, I’ll watch a segment of the World Poker Tour on the TV. If I’m at your table, you’re sure to take my money! I don’t have a poker face and I’m not good at bluffing. Bluffing is knowing you don’t have a winning hand, yet betting like you do to get other players to fold or give up the winning pot to you. If they call your bluff and don’t fold, you’ve lost all your bets in this hand and the pot.
Picture a Texas Hold-em hand with the ace, jack, and 10 of hearts turned up on the river. This represents that ruling by Supreme Court. In our society, the cards shown by the court make a Royal Flush possible. A Royal Flush is the highest and only unbeatable hand in Poker. It’s 10-through-ace of any suit. The skill in poker comes in playing the two cards facing down paired with what is visible to all on the river. Are you holding the 5 and 6 of clubs? Or are you holding the queen and king of hearts?
Of course, this is all figurative, but it offers an important and necessary perspective for all Christians given this Supreme Court ruling. If you as a Christian believe you are holding the 5 and 6 of clubs, you have a losing hand no matter how you play it. You can fold, giving up your previous bets and the pot, or you can play on, attempting to bluff your way to victory.
The question for you as a Christian and for us as a Church in this scenario is, “Will society or those with contrary opinions to the ruling give up or fold?” Every indication I have is there is no way that will happen. Competing forces are calling the bluff of the Christians, believing we are playing with only the 5 and 6 of clubs.
Too often we love and give and care for others out of only our excess, transactionally vs. relationally, and when levels of sacrificial commitment are required, we play like we are holding a losing hand. Please, I’m not convicting those who tithe and give generously to the Church or multiple philanthropies. The Christian church is most generous enterprise on the planet, as it should be. What I want to draw your attention to is that the greater culture and society think we are bluffing and are incapable of caring for mothers and unborn children like we assert. Consequently, they’re not going to fold.
They are not going to give up. They are calling our bluff.
Translating this opposing position to the Dobbs decision regarding Roe v. Wade, the greater society believes the Church is too much form over substance; too shallow of a concern for mothers with unplanned pregnancies and the fathers thereof; too focused on self-preservation to reach out and support the temporal and spiritual needs of those who living in circumstances that most would agree makes the decision to have a child almost impossible to imagine. They think we are playing with the 5 and 6 of clubs in our hand.
Now is the time to know we are holding the queen and king of hearts!
The U.S. bishops prophetically planned and put into place resources and strategies to help parishes be the church once Roe v. Wade was reversed. See Walking with Moms at this site.
I pray someone at your parish or church will step in to lead the effort to embolden and mobilize the sacrificial and irrational love we are called to as followers of Jesus Christ at this moment in time.
We all have a role to play, but Christian leaders must envision all this work and clarify how each person can contribute his or her gifts in service to moms and fathers blessed with an unplanned pregnancy.
Our beliefs tell us that God works all things for good and that perfect love casts out all kinds of fear. We are playing with a Royal Flush! It’s time to play and bet like it.
Are we bluffing?