Pitching Our Tents in This Present Darkness
November 30, 2023
by Nicole D. Hayes
“You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14a, NIV).
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5, ESV).
I serve as CMDA’s Director of State Public Policy. The advocacy and ethical healthcare public policy efforts that I and my fellow team members, CMDA members, partners and others engage in on the state and federal levels is to advance human flourishing by promoting the traditional values of the Hippocratic Oath. CMDA, along with several partner organizations, subscribes to the Hippocratic Oath and serves as an ethical voice to speak on bioethical issues facing the healthcare profession. Our commitment remains to these beliefs and efforts while equipping and encouraging others on the importance of Hippocratic medicine—even as our culture is rapidly moving away from this longstanding foundation of Western healthcare. Whether protecting life from its beginning (fertilization) to natural death or affirming the biblical definition and understanding of humankind as having been created as male and female having equal dignity—two sexes (and only two) uniquely complementary—these standards are dangerously falling away.
This clashing of worldviews calls me and other believers to confront darkness more often than we would prefer as we demonstrate and promote God’s truth and love in a world that pursues destructive answers for healing in the brokenness of our fallen humanity. Such healing only comes through a spiritual transformation, such that we are conformed to the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2). In 2 Corinthians 4:4, we are told that Satan is the “god of this age” who has “blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (NIV). Without the truth of the gospel, without the light and mind of Christ, they are unable to see correctly.
It is grievous to see Satan’s lies played out against those who have bought into the deception. We can speak the truth; yet, it may not overcome a person’s seared conscience. In speaking with fellow believers who confront darkness daily in the government, their vocations and their communities, Hakim Hazim, a dear brother in Christ and founder of Relevant Now global consultancy, says he has come to accept that God called him to “pitch his tent in this present darkness so that he can be a light.” Amen, brother. Will we “pitch our tent” in this present darkness, committed to serve where God plants us to be a light to those who have sought “light” outside of Christ and are not seeing the dangers correctly?
Listed below are a few things to place on your radar as we prepare for 2024 legislation in the states, for which I seek your prayers and involvement (as the Lord leads you) in advancing biblical and medically ethical policies. Each issue will require educating and a softening of hearts among the unbelievers and those of faith.
- 2024 Ballot Measures/Protecting Pre-born Humans: Pre-born life will be on the ballot in 2024 in Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New York and South Dakota, as voters are asked to enshrine abortion access in their state constitutions. Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota and Oklahoma may also file ballot measures in 2024. I will be sharing information with CMDA members in each of these states (and any additional states) as we work with various partners to counter false information promoted by abortion proponents. As many of us mourned the devastating ballot measures passed by voters in Kansas, Michigan and Ohio, much will need to be done to educate the public on what they are actually saying “yes” and “no” to. It’s far more than they understand or bargained Dispelling the myths about abortion with facts is essential. We are also in support of legislation and non-legislative efforts that helps women and couples experiencing unplanned pregnancies so that baby, mother and family can thrive.
- Helping the Vulnerable Value Their Lives at All Stages: Today and heading into 2024, we are working to defeat assisted suicide bills in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan and New York. We expect assisted suicide bills to be introduced in Illinois, as well as reintroduced in Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, Virginia and potentially other states. I am engaging our members residing in these states for ways to advocate against assisted suicide, as well as to educate legislators and the public as to why assisted suicide is not healthcare. No amount of safeguards will ever make assisted suicide safe or acceptable. If anything, we need more healthcare professionals better trained in providing palliative care and hospice care. I also recommend these Americans United for Life state model bills to counter assisted suicide. The model bills are great tools to be proactive in the states instead of always reactive against assisted suicide.
- Protecting Minors and Healthcare Professionals: Now and into 2024, we will continue to support legislation that protects minors by prohibiting healthcare professionals from performing gender transition procedures or prescribing cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers on youth struggling with gender dysphoria. Our children need help—not harm—and they do not need the regret and devastation from mutilating, irreversible surgeries and the lifelong consequences from hormone “treatments.” This year, with the help of Family Policy Alliance, other partner organizations, our members, legislators and the general public, 20 states passed such protections! The Americans for Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed lawsuits against the bans in several states, and those outcomes will be resolved in the courts. In the meantime, we will introduce the bills in additional states. Our collaboration continues with various partners to help ensure conscience freedoms for healthcare professionals and students that free them from having to perform, prescribe, refer for or train for procedures or treatments that violate their conscience and ethics. While some states protect on a couple of procedures, comprehensive conscience freedoms have been passed in Arkansas, Florida, Montana, Ohio and South Carolina. We will engage several other states in 2024.
Brothers and sisters, as we prepare for 2024 legislation that will be introduced in the states and in Congress—legislation that will either advance human flourishing or more devastation, we will need to consider “pitching our tents” in this present darkness as we light the way to Christ and seek the welfare of others. Satan is unleashing darkness in all its forms. God gives us biblical authority to rebuke the devil, to bring His kingdom principles to earth and to battle effectively. While the world is seeking false peace by constructing life on its own terms, Jesus came to send a sword through it all. He is our peace. And for however long He calls you and me to pitch our tents to confront this present darkness, He gives us His peace to endure in these times. Be encouraged!
If the Lord is leading you to advocate and educate others on these and other issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can get involved in advocacy efforts on the state and national level.