Gay Marriage and the End of the World (As we Know it)

The news is out: the Supreme Court around 10 am on Friday June 26 declared gay marriage a constitutional right.[1]  This decision has been much anticipated and will go down in history as the Roe v. Wade of marriage.  Though the outcome was largely expected, many are being caught by surprise considering the rapid pace of the cultural shift leading up to this massive decision.  It was not that long ago (2008) that Barack Obama won his first presidential election opposed to same sex marriage.  It was not until April of this year that Hillary Clinton herself changer her position of gay marriage as being a constitutional right [2] having first retracted her opposition to gay relationships even later than Obama in 2013.[3] (most Republicans will follow soon enough).  We should not panic, as far as I know it is not the literal end of the world, but things are changing and we must be prepared for what is ahead by being informed knowing how we should react and interact.

Be Informed

The fact of the matter is that this cultural shift has happened fast and as Christians, we must realize that it is not going to stop.  The push against the biblical worldview and the hostility against it is not going to end.  As a matter of fact, all signs point to it getting worse.  Permitting marriage licenses to be given to same sex couples in all 50 states is not the primary goal of the gay rights movement.   The goal of the gay rights movement is nothing less than the abolition of biblical marriage and the silencing of any opposition to same sex relationships. The expectation is that all people not only allow same sex marriage, but also approve and facilitate it, something we can not do as Christians.  This means, without a shadow of a doubt, that this case on gay marriage is not the last case the court will hear relating to this issue, far from it.  In the coming years there will be many religious institutions, and soon enough even churches that will have to stand before the mercy of the court, the same court that declared ‘marriage equality’.  This has already been happening to some extent on a private business level to bakers and florists all over the United States.

This is not an overreaction.  All you have to do is look at the oral arguments of Obergefell v. Hodges and the preceding news articles.  When Justice Alito asked Solicitor General Virrilli if tax exempt status could be taken away from a “university or a college that opposed same-sex marriage?”.  The Solicitor General said this, “You know, I — I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I — I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is — it is going to be an issue.” More than 70 religious schools, including Southern Baptist Seminaries, wrote a letter[4] to congressional leaders concerned about the same-sex marriage ruling putting the schools at risk of legal issues due to it’s dating and housing policies and losing tax exempt status do to their biblical convictions on marriage.  One article from the New York times stated “Legal scholars said the scenario of schools’ and charities’ losing their tax-exempt status over their policies on these issues was unlikely — especially in the short term.”  Notice that last section, “especially in the short term”.  The issue with this is how short is the short term?  I would argue, not very short at all considering the rapid nature of the moral shift that has taken place before our eyes and the near impossibility of it slowing down any time soon.

How to React

But as Dr. Russell Moore said soon after the case was announced Friday morning, “This is not the time for Christians to panic.  We have a God who is sovereign.  The Supreme Court can do many things but the supreme court cannot get Jesus Christ back in the grave”.[5]   Furthermore we remember the words of Paul, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).  The fact of the matter is, we have lived in an unusual society that largely tolerated Christianity and even encouraged it.  We should not desire opposition, but we should expect it and prepare for it.  The Ethics and Religious Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention along with Alliance Defending Freedom teamed up to create a 44-page booklet titled Protecting Your Ministry from Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Lawsuits[6] that helps churches guard themselves from lawsuits to the best of their ability. Every faithful church needs to makes sure they have read and taken this booklet seriously.

How to Interact

On a practical day to day level, what are Christians supposed to do in light of this Supreme Court decision?  The answer is simple, the same things the church has been commissioned to do since the first century: “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), “by the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Tim. 1:14), “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and extort with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4: 2), “Speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).  If you get anything out of this post get this: We don not need another gospel that fits better with our changing society.  We do not need another gospel that is more relevant to the LGBT community and the culture that supports it.  We have the most relevant beautiful gospel there is: Through repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ, sinners like us, sinners like them, can be freed from bondage to sin, can be freed from the fear of death, can be freed from the sexual revolution that only gives the appearance of joy. As Albert Mohler said today, “We are called to be the people of the truth, even when the truth is not popular and even when the truth is denied by the culture around us. Christians have found themselves in this position before, and we will again. God’s truth has not changed. The Holy Scriptures have not changed. The gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed. The church’s mission has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.”

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified,you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”. (1 Cor. 6:9-11)

The gospel is real, and it is for all people, including those who are different than us. I pray that you proclaim it with boldness & love to all people.

[1] Here is the full text given by the court; http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf

[2] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/04/28/hillary-clinton-goes-all-in-on-gay-marriage-love-must-win/

[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/06/26/obama-and-clinton-love-to-celebrate-gay-marriage-now-heres-how-late-they-were-to-the-party/

[4] http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF15F04.pdf

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsp59P1sFro&feature=youtu.be

[6] http://www.thewhiteheadfirm.com/uploads/Protecting_Your_Ministry_ADF_ERLC.pdf