What do we do now? That question seems to reverberate among many evangelical Christians as we ponder the June 26, 2015 decision of SCOTUS regarding marriage. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled, “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.”
While I sensed that SCOTUS would rule in this manner, it still took me by surprise. In fact, it pretty much ruined my day. For that moment and for the first time in my life, I was not proud to be an American. America, in my opinion, has the responsibility of leading the world in moral, ethical, political, and economic choices. Unfortunately, we are failing in about every area. It is sad, but during my lifetime, I have watched as America has fallen victim to political correctness and moral infidelity. In 1962, the dye was cast for removing prayer from school. The prayer in question was, “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen.” The ruling fundamentally changed our understanding of the First Amendment. In 1973, SCOTUS made abortion a constitutional right. Of the many interesting issues surrounding this ruling, perhaps the most intriguing is the fact that the ruling was based upon a lie (Jane Roe had originally claimed she had been raped). Now 42 years later, nearly 58 million abortions have been performed (LifeNews.com).
The political issues that surround this new ruling are three-fold. First, the Supreme Court has taken a moral issue and has made it into a civil rights issue. Second, five unelected individuals have successfully trounced upon the voting rights of millions of Americans. Third, a battle now ensues regarding States’ rights. The good news is that the attorneys for the states in question have 3 weeks to file for reconsideration. I have a feeling that Ronald Reagan just turned over in his grave when Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with 4 liberal judges. Just the mention of that idea – four liberal judges – shows that this ruling is not about an interpretation of the Constitution – it’s about a cultural war. The problem with this ruling is that it says that homosexual individuals have the fundamental right to marry. No longer does a society have the right to determine the boundaries of morality within its borders. In the court briefs, Justice Scalia asked whether ministers would be able to refuse to marry two gay men. The answer was that it has to be worked out under state laws. He said, but that could happen — it could happen that a minister would be forced to marry two gay men, in violation of his beliefs. Justice Alito then asked, “Well then why not marry four gay men together? Why just two?”
So how should we as Christians respond? What does this ruling say to us? Let me offer these suggestions. You may discover other ideas that I do not address in this analysis.
1. Christians need to get serious about what it means to be a Christian. For too long, believers have been guilty of cultural Christianity. We have made faith a side-line to our schedules and have refused to make Christ and His Church our priority. It’s time to get serious again. We compromise with the world because we like certain TV shows, movies, musicians, and social media outlets, yet these things are eroding biblical fidelity. And we are buying into the bias. We need to get serious about the Christian faith.
2. Churches need to protect themselves regarding their beliefs about marriage. Lawsuits have already been filed trying to force churches to allow gay couples to use their facilities. Churches must have a Constitution and By-laws that define marriage as between a man and a woman only, thus protecting its right of refusal.
3. Christians had better prepare for an increased persecution. If you stand for biblical marriage and voice that opinion, get ready for the vicious onslaught of an angry vicissitude of words and actions. Because gay marriage is now a civil right, it may become illegal to call homosexuality a sin or to say that gay marriage is wrong.
4. Churches must prepare to have certain fundamental rights removed. Because of the 1st Amendment, churches are exempt from paying certain taxes (understand that churches pay taxes; the exemption is only for a limited type of tax). I doubt that churches will be forced to perform gay marriages, but if a church refuses to do so, it will lose its tax-exempt status. This decision will force churches to either cave into political pressure, pay the financial price, and maybe close their doors.
5. Churches and Christians must get serious about the gospel. The only solution to the sin problem of our world is Jesus. We need to get serious about the gospel. We need to live our lives as witnesses to the world and share with the world the salvation found in Jesus. This issue is a sin problem. The only hope in resolving a sin problem is Jesus.
6. Christians need to vote based upon biblical values. We have now reached the time that voting along party lines is a thing of the past. The election of the President of the United States is critical to the future of our nation. The president sets the moral tone. The issue moves far beyond economics and the ecology. Many prognosticators are saying that we have moved beyond post-modernism to a post-Christian era. One way that we can make a difference culturally is through the voting booth. How you vote does matter.
7. Christians cannot focus on hate. If we end up hating homosexuals because of this ruling, we are guilty of sin. We must never condone any behavior that is contrary to biblical standard, but at the same time, we must realize that the reason that people act the way that they act is because they do not know Jesus as Savior. It’s not about hate; it’s about the gospel.
8. Churches need to teach on the biblical model of the family. We have stepped away from the family because we are afraid of hurting people’s feelings. It is not a statement of condemnation against those who are single or divorced if we teach what the Bible says about the family. Therefore, let’s teach what biblical marriage is, what being a godly parent looks like, and how families can become strong together.
I had someone argue with me recently that churches should not be against gay marriage because we have condoned heterosexual couples living together for years and there is no difference. Both are sin. While I understand this person’s logic, the problem is that 2 wrongs don’t make something right. If some churches are condoning cohabitation, they need to repent of that action. We cannot compromise, however, on the issue of marriage in any case. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Genesis 2:22-24 states, Then the Lord God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called woman, for she was taken from man. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Jesus affirmed this perspective when He said, “Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that He who created[a] them in the beginning made them male and female,” and He also said: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate”(Matt 19:4-6). And the Apostle Paul concurred as he wrote in Ephesians 5:31-33, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband. In each case, the quotation references a man and a woman, nothing more, nothing less.
Let’s stand together for that truth. I realize that emotions run high with this subject, but we cannot be swayed by emotion.
Do not lose hope. Jesus sits on the throne of Heaven, and He is coming back. Maranatha!!! Therefore, we must be driven by Scripture. Speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15); love the outsider and those who disagree with you (Matt 5:43-44), and do not waver in the power of the gospel (1 Pet 3:15). Remember, Jesus is still in the life-changing business.