I was only an infant when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of abortion in the case Roe v. Wade. Many legal experts then and now believe that the SCOTUS overreached in its decision and “created” rights that were not in the constitution, i.e. the right to privacy in regards to obtaining an abortion. However, in the last 40+ years I have worked alongside millions who believe abortion is morally wrong and have tried to repeal and restrict this decision.
Today, the SCOTUS has used the same kind of reasoning in the abortion case to support the equal rights of homosexuals to be legally married and to have their marriage recognized across all 50 states. Many legal experts are already saying today that the Court has overstepped its constitutional mandate and created a right that was never envisioned by the founders and framers of the Constitution. The court was by no means unanimous in its decision and the ruling fell down ideological lines rather than constitutional ones. For many decades to come, legal pundits, the media and the culture will continue to debate the issue. Today’s ruling in no way settles the issue.
So how do Christians react to the news? There will no doubt be situations and cases that will test the “right” to gay marriage with the explicitly written and protected right of freedom of religion. Today’s majority decision did read, “Finally, the First Amendment ensures that religions, those who adhere to religious doctrines, and others have protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” This gives a glimmer of hope for those who hold that gay marriage is opposed to God’s design that speech and practice will be protected. However, I do believe those freedoms will be challenged.
So where do Christian go from this point? The answer is simple. Continue to love and live a life filled with Christ. The debate of abortion is not over and the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade continues. There will be Christians that God will use in the legal and political arenas to overturn today’s decision. While it is currently the “law of the land” it is far from decided permanently. Christians should continue to stand for truth in love and never load the scales to either extreme. Christians need to continue to remember that it is only through the redeeming love of Jesus and the life changing work of the Holy Spirit that a person can be changed. The world will continue to act worldly and we should not be shocked. We are called to love and respect people and demonstrate the love of Jesus through caring for them and sharing Jesus with them.
From a practical standpoint, Christians will need to make some decisions. What is your church’s policy on marrying non-members? It may be time to reexamine those policies if your church does not want to conduct gay couple weddings. What are your standards for membership? What do you want your children taught in school? With today’s decision, gay marriage has been socially normalized and recognized. As such, parents will not likely be able to disagree with books and curriculum that support gay marriage. As a parent of six children, I realize they are not equipped as elementary students to be salt and light nor should we expect them to be 40 hours a week against adults with an anti-Christian agenda. If you have questions about how to change your child’s school situation with limited resources and time, please contact me and I can help you with creative solutions. We however, can continue to be salt and light in the education career fields and in our local school districts.
What about the military? Christians will also need to consider the spiritual risks to serving in the military. Since President Bill Clinton signed into law the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy in 1993, the military has served as a petri dish for social engineering. As such, in the last few years even Christian chaplains have had their speech restricted on the issue of what the Bible says about homosexuality and military members who hold an opposing view to gay marriage have been and will be persecuted. I come from a long line of military veterans and currently have family serving. We have been proud to serve our country either as active duty or as a military family. However, we are rethinking our advice to members of our family who may be considering serving in the future. There are mission fields for each Christian to pray about serving on, but the playing field is uneven at best in the military and should be considered carefully and prayerfully.
What about the core belief in family? Christians need to stop capitulating on divorce and other family issues. Christian families and churches should be setting the example for society on what a healthy family looks like and not casually accept “no-fault” divorces. This discussion is not on all the nuances of divorce, but on the whole, the Church has been too lax on accepting Christians divorcing other Christians for no other grounds than dissatisfaction. (Notice I’m discussing divorce after salvation here.) If we truly believe that children deserve God’s ideal – a mother and father in a loving, life-long committed marriage – then we should exemplify it, teach it, support it and give opportunities to grow in it.
Are you are aware of the good arguments for traditional marriage besides quoting Bible verses? If not, get educated. Here is a link to a great set of resources: http://www.strategicapologetics.org/study-center/top-christian-resources-marriage-debate-books-articles-videos-podcasts . Good discussion and debate is healthy for every society. Mutual respect in differing views is good. Name calling, ad hominem attacks, cynical remarks on Facebook etc., do not help the discussion. Just as the homosexual community has spent three decades trying to influence the hearts and minds of the general population, so too should Christians. There is a place for Christians in the public square in addition to spreading the Gospel.
Christians need to not compromise on this issue. Just because the SCOTUS has ruled, it does not change the morality of the issue before God. His moral standards are absolute. Therefore, what is normalized and accepted in society does not mean Christians should compromise on the truth. We should however, not become one-issue voters either. We need to continue to support leaders who fit most closely with our beliefs but understand that one-issue candidates never win. We also need to remember to treat others with respect – even if we disagree with how they are living. This is true for every person who walks through the church doors.
Fundamentally, we are to spread the Gospel message and make disciples. That is our first priority as Christians. However, we are also to season society and be in the world but not of it. This requires engagement on social issues and not simply hiding behind the Great Commission as our only mission. However, the way in which we engage can help or hinder the Gospel. How will your words and actions after today’s news reflect your faith in God’s sovereignty and the truth of His saving, life-transforming message?