Friday, March 09, 2007

God wants YOU to serve on jury duty!

Recently, I asked readers of this blog their opinion about voting their conscience while sitting on a jury. Since there were no responses, I’ve been pondering what kind of scintillating follow-up piece I could dream up to engage readers in a topic that is very close to my heart. Because this post is read mostly by my colleagues in The Christian and Missionary Alliance, I decided to frame the debate in an issue that may hit closer to home: sharing the gospel.

In America today, our right to freedom of religion, particularly public witnessing, has come under increasing attack. Some of you may be familiar with the case of the Philadelphia Four, in which four Christians faced a potential sentence of 47 years in prison for preaching in public at an Out Fest. While I don’t embrace the in-your-face, fire-and-brimstone style of preaching these believers employed, “even gay advocacy groups said the arrests were unconstitutional and wrong,” according to Christianity Today. Thankfully, the case was eventually dismissed.

Imagine for a moment that such a case did go to trial because a law had been passed designating public witnessing a hate crime and forbidding its practice. Imagine also that you are the person on trial, and that you were arrested for sharing the gospel with a spiritual seeker in your neighborhood. An atheist overheard you and was offended. During the trial, it is established beyond the shadow of a doubt that you broke the law. You face a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. By the time you are eligible for parole, your children, now in grade school, will be in their 30s.

Should the jury find you guilty? Is there any reason why a jury shouldn’t convict someone who has knowingly and willfully defied the law of the land?

What if you were the juror in such a case? What would our legal system require you to do, and would your legal duty be compatible with God’s requirements? Is it possible that serving on jury duty can help you fulfill your Christian as well as your civic duty?

Could it be that God wants YOU to serve on jury duty?

Tune in next time to find out!