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About today’s Supreme Court ruling

27 June 2013

The Supreme Court has decided that there is no reason to privilege traditional marriage; one can only believe it should be privileged because of hatred and malice. That is the opinion of the majority of the justices.

Now that that has been encoded into a decision by the highest court in the land, I am wondering how much longer it will be possible to teach traditional Christian morality, and traditional Christian Cosmology, without risking the possibility of prosecution in this country.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Henry Peters permalink
    27 June 2013 1:43 am

    “My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us” (Acts 15:7-9).

    “No distinction.” God makes no distinction. All are his beloved. And all who love are blessed.

    • 27 June 2013 11:07 am

      Peter was affirming here that God “made no distinction” between Jews and Gentiles with reference to the matter of salvation. In other words, both Jews and Gentiles were to be redeemed in precisely the same fashion.
      I think that you are on weak ground if you are trying to use this passage to say that God NEVER makes any distinctions. How, for instance, could you reconcile that blanket assertion (of no distinctions ever) with the separation of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25?

  2. Michael permalink
    27 June 2013 1:50 am

    Please don’t count your martyr’s crowns quite yet, my friend. I have every confidence that you will be able to proclaim the joys of heterosexual matrimony and childbearing without being thrown in jail or cast to lions.

    I have has the privilege of attending two same-sex unions, one of them counting as a marriage in the District of Columbia.

    NO ONE was forbidden heterosexual matrimony as a result of those unions.

    NO ONE was forbidden to go forth and multiply.

    And NO ONE was put in jail for disliking those couples — who are devoutly Christian by the way, even though you deem them in error.

    My friend, I was in a heterosexual marriage for twelve years, trying desperately to be straight even though I am not emotionally or sexually fit for that. And yes we had children. And I ended up in severe depression for denying my true affections all those years, and our marriage unraveled.

    I tried your path — and yes I am thankful God used it for good by giving me children whom I adore — but ultimately I am gay, gay, gay and simply could not be the husband I yearned to be — the passionate husband my ex-wife deserved.

    Look up “Alan Chambers” and “Exodus”, please, and count the carcasses of wounded lives and failed attempted marriages on account of the false “ex-gay” movement, which is finally shuddering to a deserved end.

    But I fear my life, my words, and my example will mean little to you, because you are fighting an imaginary war with people you fear will throw you in jail. And you will choose to ignore the thousands of Christian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed (look it up) people out there who devoutly believe in God and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and who view you as a brother even though you spurn us as the enemy.

    I profit much by your references to our dear Lord and to the sayings of the saints, yet you automatically assume that I am brandishing torches to burn you at the stake.

    No. The stake is onlyin your imagination

    • 27 June 2013 3:31 am

      I appreciate your assurance of good intentions, but am not at all sure that you can speak for everyone else. Did you see the vulgar and hateful responses to my recent post: https://lifeondoverbeach.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/gay-marriage-a-case-study-in-conformism/

      I think that he editors at National Review Online got right what some Christians seem not to want to notice. Either traditional thinking priests, pastors and lay Christians face up to the urgency of the moment or consign their children to the status of societal bigots akin to the Klu Klux Klan or skinhead Nazis:

      ‘The Supreme Court declined to rule that every state in the country must recognize same-sex marriage, but do not be fooled. Five justices have taken the position that there is no rationale other than hostility to homosexuals for defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. When they believe the time is right to issue a more sweeping ruling, they will. This issue will no longer be one on which democratic deliberation is allowed….

      Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the four Democratic appointees and himself, argues that the motivation for the law was a “bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group.” The Court is not saying merely that supporters of the historic understanding of marriage are wrong, or even merely that this understanding runs afoul of the Constitution (in some unspecified way: As Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent notes, Kennedy’s opinion is hard to pin down on the question). It is saying that the supporters bring nothing but bigotry to the discussion….

      ‘Five justices could not resist the temptation to pretend that the Constitution picks a side of this battle, and condemns the other — Scalia sees this plainly — as moral monsters. The justices have not yet decided that we who disagree are to be permitted no influence whatsoever on the country’s marriage laws, but the clock is ticking, and this Court has no patience for self-government.’

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/352107/marriage-court-picks-side-editors

  3. 27 June 2013 1:41 pm

    Although I understand that you are disconcerted for the future of your beliefs, it should not be a tradition of government to carry forth the traditions of the church. It is plainly written in the first amendment that there is to be a separation of church and state — this government, by necessity, was made for all of us, not one type of us, under God.

    Because of this, marriage in the traditional Christian sense has to evolve in the eyes of government due to the programs available. It just has to in order to be accepting of all of the people who reside in it, to respect their lives and treat them as equals. Christian values will remain Christian values — there will never be a court ruling, as long as government is not corrupt, claiming that they must change.

    All the same, if you expect that respect for your own beliefs, it must be a level playing field for others.

    There’s a big God out there — and many of us believe you can’t constrain him to a single book. It’s a complicated debate that will change with society and the times over what the right way to worship and love is. Inevitable.

    The trees that remain standing in strong winds are ones that bend, though. If you practice humility, patience, acceptance, and most assuredly love, your own beliefs will be accepted by others giving you the same respect, I promise.

    • 27 June 2013 2:34 pm

      Your comment if full of false and obnoxious assumptions about me, but I will try to not respond in kind.

      I would like very much to leave homosexual people alone. I don’t want to run anyone else’s life for them. And to tell the truth I’m tired of the whole issue. But when you want to change laws. Changes that initiate a grand social experiment that I think will further destroy the family structure, and thus impair the lives of many in my community, then that is my business.

      The problem with all this isn’t that gay people are living together as married. They always have been, and always will be. I am not acquainted with any marriage traditionalist who lies awake in bed at night worried that somewhere, gay men and women in love are sharing quarters. It’s a moral argument, and there are many people today who simply are not able to understand a moral argument. Many young people particularly are so full of the cultural marxism/political correctness that they were taught in school that any discussion of the morality of an issue like this one just gets translated as hate.

      The really important question in this is what this massive social shift in the definition of marriage will mean for the family, and what it will mean for religious liberty when Christian, and Jewish, and Muslim orthodoxy on marriage is seen in law and by the public opinion as being simply bigotry and hatred.

      • 27 June 2013 2:53 pm

        My apologies for any misunderstanding, my comments were based on my own experiences. I live with fundamentalists and came across your post, so I assumed you were having similar moral dilemmas as them.

        I don’t think allowing marriage is going to create a bunch of gay families that wern’t already there. I also don’t believe that religious liberty is being threatened by allowing people to marry.

        If you want to take a stance that you are morally opposed to gay marriage, don’t hate it, and still don’t accept it, then it boils down to non-acceptance all the same. That’s what people care about at the end of the day, I think. Call it what you will.

        Take care

  4. Mike permalink
    27 June 2013 1:45 pm

    Thank you for voicing what many of us fear, my friend. The biblical understanding and teaching of marriage has been lost in our generation. I am wondering if Christian clergy should not just stop performing marriage services, let the civil servants handle that part of it and let the couple come back to the church for the Christian blessing. The justices just do not understand matrimony.

  5. Fr. Carlton Kelley permalink
    27 June 2013 2:55 pm

    Orthodox Christian morality has been many things and will continue to be many things. The creation accounts are emphatically not about marriage – they are about how men and women came to be. The Hebrew Scriptures certainly don’t have much understanding of this one man/one woman concept.
    Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

  6. Pollack permalink
    27 June 2013 3:31 pm

    The Bible alone does not have to be used to demonstrate this understanding of marriage. The biblical viewpoint of marriage has been the universal understanding of marriage in every human civilization in world history. History argues against gay marriage. Modern secular psychology recognizes that men and women are psychologically and emotionally designed to complement one another. In regard to the family, psychologists contend that a union between a man and woman in which both spouses serve as good gender role models is the best environment in which to raise well-adjusted children. Psychology argues against gay marriage. In nature/physicality, clearly, men and women were designed to “fit” together sexually. With the “natural” purpose of sexual intercourse being procreation, clearly only a sexual relationship between a man and a woman can
    fulfill this purpose. Nature argues against gay marriage.

  7. travlindr permalink
    27 June 2013 3:38 pm

    The law should allow each person to follow his or her own beliefs. None of the marriage equality laws in existence require clergy to perform ceremonies they object to. Freedom of religion is freedom for all, not just certain groups. Marriage licenses are issued by the State, s secular function. A couple may be married by a judge or JP is they wish in a secular ceremony.

    • 27 June 2013 3:50 pm

      It appears to me that those of you who assert that it is inconceivable that Churches will ever be prosecuted over this are already wrong. Churches already have already been sued in court by same sex couples who weren’t permitted to rent church property. Sued and lost.

      “The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights said its investigation found that the refusal of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to rent the oceanfront spot to the couple for their same-sex union in March 2007 violated the public accommodation provisions of the state’s Law Against Discrimination.”

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/06/will-churches-be-sued-over-gay-marriage-its-already-happened-and-a-judge-ruled-church-teaching-irrelevant/

      • Michael permalink
        27 June 2013 6:05 pm

        There is a huge difference between the use of a piece of land — generally used freely by the public in that location — and a church being prosecuted because of religious practice or belief.

        I am gay. I am also a pastor. I assure you that in 21 years of ordained ministry, I have never been obligated to preside at *any* marriage. That just isn’t how it works.

        I believe you may be mistaking “marriage” (a category of the state) with “holy matrimony” (a sacrament). They are two different things.

        Example: the Roman Catholic Church simply does not recognize civil marriages of its members, nor does it recognize the civil divorce of its members!

        The Catholic Church keeps its own books on who has received the sacrament of matrimony.

        So the state has decided to offer certain legal protections and responsibilities to same-sex couples under its category of civil marriage. Isn’t that okay?

        And Theophilos, remember please that some of us serve and live within Church bodies allowing the blessing of same-sex union.

        Evangelical Lutherans, Episcopalians, United Church of Christ, and United Presbyterians have allowed he blessing of same-sex union *all by themselves without government intrusion*.

        Really, now, do you imagine that the United States government should decide whether YOUR church or MY church is correct? Do you really want that?

        Again I say it — the civil and religious categories of “marriage” vs. “holy matrimony” (or “holy union” for those of us who have that) are not the same!

        Theophilus, I have friends who have been physically and verbally harassed and bullied for years simply for being gay. Trust me, there are crowns of martyrdom enough to go around.

        And again, NO ONE is forced by this ruling to preside over a same-sex wedding; NO couple is prohibited from going forth and multiplying; NO heterosexual couple is forbidden to marry.

        Don’t let your fears rob you of your peace; and don’t attempt to use the government to forbid MY church from solemnizing a same-sex union. Many thanks.

  8. Michael permalink
    27 June 2013 6:11 pm

    And by the way, certain comments above were snide, mean-spirited and uncalled for. I imagine the writers had themselves experienced harshness from certain Christians, which may explain their language, but still it is regrettable. Theophilus, you do us a great service.

  9. Michael permalink
    27 June 2013 6:17 pm

    Upon reading more about you, dear Theophilos, I see you are a priest. I did not mean to insult your learning when I made the distinction between civil marriage and holy matrimony. But I do believe many people mesh the two categories together, and imagine that the state is the arbiter of marriage before God — which of course is not the case.

    Clearly we are not of the same mind on this issue. But I greatly appreciate your blog, your constant, prayerful posts, and the way you help us lift up our hearts to Jesus Christ. Thank you!

  10. Fr. Carlton Kelley permalink
    27 June 2013 6:22 pm

    There is no single Biblical viewpoint of marriage. Nature does not argue in favor of “heterosexuality” but quite the opposite.

    • Michael permalink
      27 June 2013 11:21 pm

      Fr. Kelley, I quite agree. There are hundreds of examples of exclusive same-sex pair bonding among animal species. But when I bring that up, the same people who *just* got through pointing out that heterosexuality is argued by Nature, then turn around and accuse me of getting my moral guidance from animals. One simply cannot win on this question.

  11. Sheila S. Conrads permalink
    28 June 2013 11:47 pm

    I am so glad to be on the Barque of Peter, my blessed Episcopal church seems to have run on to rocks. The catechism based on the Bible (read it) says one man, one woman is a marriage. Of course homosexuals are beloved by God. But since by natural law they do not physically fit together, it is not a natural marriage. The Church asks that homosexuals try celibacy as a way to holiness. But then the Catholic Church does not think that sex is the end all and be all of life. Please don’t throw the sinful priests into this. Better that a chain put around their necks. Don’t say what they did was because they were not married, they were evil. If marriage is a matter of civil rights then many different kinds of marriages will follow – polyandry, polygamy and whatever people bring up as a civil right will happen. So be it. Yes, one must love all, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with all.

    Peace in Jesus – Sheila Conrads

  12. 2 August 2013 1:57 pm

    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/gay-couple-to-sue-church-over-gay-marriage-opt-out/

    This is almost certainly not going to happen in the US, because we have a First Amendment. But I am quite certain that SSM activists like these two in Britain are going to use the law in the coming years to inflict as much mischief on churches as much as they possibly can, simply because they now can.

  13. 28 August 2013 4:28 pm

    I think that this falls in the “I told you so” department:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mike-judge/church-sued-over-gay-marriage_b_3804548.html

      • Michael permalink
        28 August 2013 8:28 pm

        I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me finds it odd that a photographer should be required to take pictures of anyone or anything.

        On the other hand, would the photographer refuse to serve two divorced people who were getting married? If not, why not? Would she refuse to photograph a Muslim ceremony? A black, Indian or Hispanic couple? The line between unjust bigotry and individual rights is at times fuzzy.

  14. Michael permalink
    28 August 2013 8:19 pm

    I’m not acquainted with the British legal system. But isn’t the Parliament the ultimate authority? As such, how can a legal suit force the Church of England to perform same-sex weddings when Parliament intentonally forbade this?

    Of course, the whole system of an established Church seems both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is some measure of social and religious stability. The curse is that the Church is under the thumb of the Parliament. I wonder if disestablishment would

    • Michael permalink
      28 August 2013 8:22 pm

      (Continued) be such a bad or even unrealistic thing, given that the present spiritual temperature of England doesn’t seem to be at an all-time high. I’m a gay clergyman myself, but it seems to me that the Church of England — and Christianity in the West in general — is in need of a revival. That will come not by civil law, but by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit from the Risen Christ.

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