It’s a new year in America (and around the world, of course). With a new year comes new hopes, new goals, and new challenges. For Christians, despite what “new” may come our way, we can be confident that we have the exact same God sitting on the throne of the universe, in control of all things. And included in “all things” are political things — elections, Supreme Court cases, cultural battles, you name it.
So along with settling on a Bible reading plan, making it back to the gym, and finally getting organized, here are three major political issues to put on your “to track” list for 2023:
If you are a regular reader of the Freedom Center, you will be well acquainted with this case. Christians should be tracking this because it is primarily about freedom of speech and religious liberty — two fundamental pillars of our faith and practice of Christianity here in the United States.
303 Creative v. Elenis is a case about the freedom of speech of a website designer, Lorie Smith, but it is also one of the most critical cases related to religious liberty that the Supreme Court has considered for years. As the Freedom Center has explained, Smith, a devout Christian and the owner of 303 Creative, sued the state of Colorado over its Anti-Discrimination Act and whether or not she would be forced to create websites celebrating same-sex marriage against her religious beliefs. She lost at both the federal district and appellate levels before the Supreme Court agreed to take up her case.
While it hasn’t been quite as high profile, 303 Creative v. Elenis nearly mirrors Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado, in which a Christian baker refused to custom-design products that violated his religious convictions.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life, is arguing the case for 303 Creative and Lorie and, by extension, for people like you and me. They write,
“After realizing that Colorado was censoring her and after seeing Colorado use this same law to punish Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, she challenged the law to protect her freedom and her art studio.”
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for 303 Creative in early December 2022. By all accounts, it appears to have gone well for Smith. The decision will most likely come down in June 2023.
Christians should track this issue because a right ruling in 303 Creative will go a long way towards protecting and preserving our First Amendment freedoms to live as Christians in America. It would ensure that Christian business owners and other Christians in the public square aren’t coerced to participate in speech, content creation, or ceremonies, etc., that go against our biblical beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman (for just one example).
This is, currently, the biggest Supreme Court case of 2023. If Lorie Smith and 303 Creative prevail, Christians will have great cause for rejoicing this summer
2022 was an incredible, historic year for the pro-life movement at the federal level. On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its entirety, along with Planned Parenthood v. Casey — the two legal decisions that created the nationwide abortion regime that ruled in America over the last 50 years.
That centralized regime is gone. The question of the legality of abortion has, for the time being, been returned to the states. Some states, like Texas, enacted bills that banned all abortions except in the case of life-threatening medical emergencies. As a result, LifeNews.com just reported, “New data from the Texas health department shows abortions have dropped to 0 under the Texas abortion ban, saving as many as 5,700 babies from abortions.”
In states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas the state-level pro-life fight has gone well. But unfortunately, in the wake of the Dobbs decision, many other new pro-life ballot measures lost and horrific pro-abortion measures prevailed.
After a disappointing showing at the ballot box in November 2022, I wrote an article trying to explain the losses and galvanize Christians for future action — action that is coming down the line in 2023:
“To faithfully follow Christ in the political realm means only voting pro-life as long as such an option is available. It means always casting an effective vote against pro-abortion politicians and ballot measures.
The pro-abortion movement is entirely united. Because of this, they are winning. They are standing, even as the pro-life movement post-Roe falters. Why? Because Christian compromisers sowed seeds of division into the wind for years, allowing people like Tim Keller to confuse Christians everywhere about this most basic duty. On Tuesday night last week, we reaped another whirlwind of setbacks for the pro-life cause.
Time for the division to end. It starts with each one of us, wherever we are. Own this position: Being unapologetically and only pro-life. Talk to your pastor. Volunteer at and donate to the local crisis pregnancy center. And for the love of life — precious, unborn life — stop giving cover to Christians to vote for pro-abortion politicians and political initiatives. If we don’t, the record of pro-life ballot measures in a post-Roe world is going to get a lot worse than 0-6.”
I am confident that pro-lifers and Christians will make a better showing in 2023. LifeNews.com has a helpful and encouraging article outlining the 29 possible states that may ban abortion by the end of 2023. They set out three categories:
Pay close attention to that last category, which includes Florida, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Alaska, Montana, and Kansas. If you live in those states make sure to get involved.
Or consider the state-level work of End Abortion Now (EAN) and Action for Life (AFL). They are “working on bans that begin at specific points during pregnancy” and “working to abolish abortion from the moment of conception, providing preborn people with the same rights and protections as people after birth.” A recent interview records that “Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Colorado, and Arizona are the main states AFL is focusing its efforts in for 2023, through working to pass legislation that will outlaw abortion and secure the same rights for preborn children as born children. In other states like Idaho, Texas, and Oklahoma, Action for Life is coming alongside other organizations to help with the cause.”
Again, if you live in a red state, or one of the states listed above that has the potential to ban abortion, make sure to be aware of any ballot measures or legislation related to protecting life, call your state representatives, and get out to vote!
Finally, Christians need to continue tracking the fight to protect children from the horrors of transgender ideology, including medical treatments/surgeries that permanently damage children’s bodies, discussion about sexual orientation and gender ideology that confuse and sexualize children, and public school curricula and programs that seek to drive a wedge between children and their parents.
Last year we saw Florida take the step to ban any conversation about sexual orientation and gender ideology in public school classrooms from kindergarten through 3rd grade. Other states will most certainly take similar actions this year. For example, a state legislator in Texas has introduced a bill that, if passed, would prohibit public schools in Texas “from teaching gender identity and sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.” The bill’s sponsor, Jared Patterson, said,
“Parental rights are paramount to the safety and well-being of a child. Therefore, I filed HB 1155 to ensure no school teaches radical gender ideology to any child from K -8th grade, and where parents must review and sign off on any health-related services.”
Beyond working in their own state to elect conservative legislators and school board members that can prevent the transgender poison from being taught in public schools, Christians should also be active in contacting their members of Congress and pushing for similar legislation at the federal level.
What’s more, Christians should pay close attention to legal efforts undertaken by “de-transitioned” youth to sue the gender clinics and doctors that provided them with “gender-affirming” care that has destroyed their bodies.
For example, the Washington Examiner reports on the case of Chloe Cole, an 18-year-old woman, who “is suing the doctors she claims coerced her into harmful gender transition procedures in the name of affirmation when she was just a child.”
If these types of lawsuits prevail, it will go a long way towards shutting down the truly barbaric gender clinics across our country, like the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Vanderbilt Medical Center’s transgender clinic that Matt Walsh’s reporting helped close for the time being.
Preserving religious liberty. Protecting unborn life. Stopping the transgender war on children. These are three of the top political issues that Christians should be tracking in 2023.
Our concern for these issues comes directly from biblical teaching on each one. While some issues may be complicated, these are not. The clear commands of the Christian faith, as found in the Bible, compel us as Christians to worship God rightly (Romans 12:1-12), protect life (Genesis 9, Psalm 139), and defend the creation-order reality of men and women (Genesis 1:27-28, Matthew 19:4).
There are other serious political issues, like the rise of artificial intelligence, transhumanism, economic hardship from inflation, biomedical tyranny, and so forth. But the ones cited above are the fundamental issues, along with preserving biblical marriage.
As you head into 2023, make sure to get educated and stay informed about how and where you, as a faithful follower of Christ, can play a political part in ensuring positive outcomes on preserving religious liberty, protecting unborn life, and stopping the transgender war on children. God will be glorified and our country will be better for it.
Follow William on Twitter! @William_E_Wolfe
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.
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