Sometimes, by refusing to speak, you can shout pretty loudly.
In what seems to be to many a surprise, the Supreme Court has refused to even consider appeals by states that had bans against homosexual marriage against court rulings that declared them unconstitutional. This, in effect, makes homosexual marriage the constitutionally-approved law of the land. I’m not a lawyer, a legal scholar or an expert on the matters such as this. However, it seems to me that this is pretty much the end of the discussion.
- For years, public opinion has been slowly turning. In his first election campaign (2008) Barack Obama supported traditional marriage. It was just 5 or 6 years ago that it was considered necessary to support traditional marriage, even by a Democratic presidential candidate.
- In the 2000s, state after state passed constitutional amendments declaring that marriage was between one man and one woman. Even leftist states like California passed such measures.
- There has been a relentless onslaught by the molders of public opinion – Hollywood, the music industry and the TV networks – to support homosexuality and the right for homosexuals to marry.
- In May of 2012, President Obama declared himself a newly-minted supporter of the right of homosexuals to marry.
- This flip-flop (excuse me – reexamination of his beliefs) seemed to trigger a tsunami of shifting beliefs. For the first time, polls showed that a majority of Americans now supported the right of homosexuals to marry.
- State after state has been able to find an activist judge who would declare homosexual marriage unconstitutional. Most state attorneys general didn’t support the ban and refused to appeal the rulings. At least 5 did, and they sought a ruling by the Supreme Court.
- Today’s ruling that the court will not hear appeals leaves the lower court rulings in tact and means that the right of homosexuals to marry is now settled law in those states where a judge has ruled it unconstitutional. When the Supreme Court declared abortion a human right, it at least left some gray area and those who cared about life and opposed the abortion mills had some room to maneuver. This is pretty cut and dried, it would seem.
Gay marriage is the law of the land. There is little we can do about it now.
I am not a prophet, but I saw this coming. I didn’t think it would happen as quickly as it did, but it was morally inevitable when you see the direction the US was headed. What do Bible-believing Christians do now?
1) One of our primary points of emphasis needs to be the preservation and protection of religious freedom.
Conservative Christians have devoted a lot of time and effort to trying to “turn America back to God” – a noble goal and a worthy effort. However, it has an unintended side-effect. We’ve spent the last 30 years trying to encode our beliefs, which we thought were majoritarian, into national laws.
Baptists, because we were always the minority and because of biblical conviction, tended to prize and advocate religious freedom. As we saw the world rushing into unbelief and liberalism, we joined with the conservative evangelical political movements of the last 30 to 40 years that focused on the (re)establishment of a Christian America.
As I have said, that battle is lost – on a national level at least. American public opinion has rejected most of what we believe and barring a massive, national revival, that trend is likely to continue and become worse.
Perhaps, even in the heady days of Reagan Revolution and the moral majority, we should have made this more of an emphasis, but now we are faced with a reality – we live in a world which disdains our values and beliefs and is demonstrating a strong desire to sanction us. A CEO has been fired for donating a small amount to a traditional marriage cause. Christian groups are being punished on college campuses for not bowing down to the mantra of “tolerance.”
We need to be focusing our effort toward two things:
a) The prophetic ministry of speaking the truth, regardless of its popularity.
b) The protection of religious freedom in America – our right to live by our convictions even if they do not kowtow to the politically-correct, universalist, tolerance-loving majority.
2) We cannot compromise truth based on the world’s beliefs.
Expect the trickle of evangelicals who have followed the world into sympathy with homosexual marriage to grown into a steady stream. Within 20 0r 30 years, it will likely be a river.
There has been a lot of room for evangelicals to improve our approach to homosexuality. We’ve often treated them as beyond redemption, as perverts outside of God’s grace. We can work hard to make sure we treat homosexuals as people, as those for whom Christ died, as divine image-bearers. But we cannot give up on this issue no matter how much pain and grief it causes us.
Those who value the truth of God’s Word, who submit to its authority, who live by what is taught there – the person and work of Christ, the gospel of salvation through Christ, etc – cannot just ignore the clear teaching of God’s Word on an issue like this because it makes us unpopular in the world.
The early church suffered greatly because Christians would not speak the meaningless mantra of the Roman world – Caesar is Lord. They would not bow to the will of the state or to public pressure. This issue has become America’s new creedal confession and those who refuse to “tolerate” homosexual marriage can no longer be tolerated.
As the Roman world demanded Christianity express its cultural loyalty by saying “Caesar is Lord,” our culture demands we acquiesce on this issue.
We cannot. Those who compromise on this issue will soon find it easier to compromise on other issues and pretty soon, the heart and soul of the gospel will vanish.
3) We must consistently love those with whom we disagree.
We have to love homosexuals even while we refuse to give approval to their sinful choices. Well-meaning Christians differ on the approach to this and it is a minefield for us, but it is something we must attempt to do.
4) It’s all about the court!
The most important thing a president does is appoint supreme court justices. If the razor thin balance of the current supreme court shifts at all, American will change dramatically.
There is a lot of gray hair behind the bench and the next decade will be crucial. Economic and foreign policy issues matter. But the most important thing a president does is nominate the federal judges and supreme court justices.
We do not have abortion in the land today because of federal or state legislation. The courts mandated it and have consistently thrown out laws that tried to limit it. Homosexual marriage has been imposed on America by courts (though now, it might well pass through the legislative system).
So, there it is. I’ve got about 8 hours of yard work to do and about 2 hours to do it, so I’d better stop here. But I’m guessing that most of our readers like me are not happy that marriage has been twisted and perverted in this way. But now, by the Supreme Court’s refusal to even consider the issue, it’s something we have to get used to.
Gay marriage isn’t going away.
But neither is the church of Jesus Christ.