“How do you determine right from wrong? Is it by the vote of the legislature? By the act of a president or executive? The decision of a judge or judiciary? Human society ultimately breaks down when laws derive from the politics of the moment rather than the standards of the Almighty.” That statement was made by Dr. George Wood, a lawyer as well as the leader of one of the largest denominations in America.
He went on to say that “Any branch of government losing the perspective that laws come from God will descend into the quicksand of moral relativity and ethical chaos.” I think there’s no better way to describe the danger facing us as a nation than using the terms moral relativity and ethical chaos.
I must admit that at times I am shocked by the declining moral values in our nation and especially here in Rhode Island. Just when you think it can’t get worse, it does! However, I am always encouraged by the voices that seem to arise out of nowhere to call us back to our true north.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one such voice, and Black History Month is a time to celebrate and remember how God used him in a powerful way. Rosa Parks was also someone I would have loved to have met. She refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus in 1955. Her actions led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which ended with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that bus segregation was unconstitutional – no small victory indeed!
Black voices don’t have to be heard at a national level to have impact. As I have been involved at the Rhode Island State House, over the last ten years, one voice that got my attention and admiration was that of Sen. Harold Metts, an African-American legislator. He represented Providence (District 6) in both the House and Senate from January 2005 until September 2020. Senator Metts championed causes for the poor and marginalized in Rhode Island’s urban areas.
What really impressed me was that he was not afraid to stand up for the biblical values he espoused. I remember him bringing his Bible to judiciary hearings to emphasize that values are important. During his time in the legislature, he began and led the non-partisan Capitol Ministries Bible studies, which help prepare lawmakers to make those tough decisions. I had a chance to visit one of their meetings and was impressed with the group.
Sen. Metts’ has retired, and his voice is no longer in the legislature. While his name might not be nationally known, during Black History Month I want to take this opportunity to do two things. First, I want to say thank you to Sen. Metts for his 15 years of service in the Rhode Island legislature and being a constant voice for godly values. Secondly, I’d like to challenge another “Black Voice” who has the same godly values to take his place. That would make his legacy complete.
For Faith and Family in RI,
Chairman, Board of Directors – Rhode Island