Why I’m Not Despairing Over the Marriage Rulings

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The family and I have, ironically, just landed in Washington D.C. for a tour of historic Williamsburg. From the small television in the back of the seat on the airplane, I watched the proceedings from the steps of the Supreme Court as reporters analyzed the news coming from inside the historic building.

Today’s Supreme Court rulings overturning part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and failing to rule on California’s Proposition 8 case are deeply disappointing.

Together, the Court neglected to uphold the will of the people through their elected representatives in Congress and the public votes of more than seven million California citizens.

Yet, however disappointing the rulings may be to those of us who embrace natural marriage, the decisions should not elicit a spirit of despair.

To be clear, the Court rulings responded to two complex cases asking narrow legal questions.  Legal experts will spend days dissecting the pages of opinion and case law. And yet, for most Americans, the big picture is more of what the Court did not do:

  • It did not create a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage as it did for abortion in 1973.
  • It also did not declare same-sex marriage a civil right on the order of ethnicity or nationality.

Today’s two rulings do not touch the 38 states across our nation that enshrine natural marriage as law. And the two rulings don’t diminish the job of the Church to proclaim God’s truth to a culture that desperately needs it.

The critical role of man-woman marriage is not diminished by these rulings today.  The essential need for children to have both a married mother and father is not lessened by the opinions.

Proponents of same-sex marriage are hailing today’s rulings as a turning point for the institution of marriage and, indeed, the debate will continue.

That’s why, especially in the days to come, the Church will have a new opportunity to shine its light into a confused culture.

It is time for everyone who supports the natural definition of marriage to recommit and affirm the sanctity of their own marriages. We must humbly confess the damage we have done to marriage by our own collective careless treatment of it. As we continue to distance ourselves from God’s design for marriage and family, Christians will need to take their oath and commitment to marriage more seriously. Though the divorce rate among committed Christians is lower than among the general populace, it remains far too high.

The single greatest argument we can present to the world on this issue of marriage is to personally live out marriage in all its God-ordained fullness and radiant beauty. 

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Carmena Anderson More than 1 year ago

--Exactly: So if you aren't fretting over the rulings that mean that no harm has come to you or your family from two people of the same sex marrying... DUH!

Dan Haynes More than 1 year ago

--@FWeaver: I don't know about you, but I don't want to be lumped in with the Westboro Baptist Church and Bryan Fischers of the world. Let's not lump these few violent assailants in with the greater LGBT community. And this incident has been denounced in many places, both on mainstream media panel discussions, in articles, and in blogs. There is no CEO of Gay, Inc. to call a press conference to apologize on behalf of all LGBT people and their families, friends, and allies.

Also, this is a very isolated incident. I can't remember anything like this happening very often, if ever, whereas I can very easily come up with a long list of gay bashing incidents. That doesn't make this OK, but we are being dishonest with ourselves if we pretend Christians are being singled out on a widespread basis for violence.

Here's another thing to think about: What kind of reception were the protesters expecting with signs like "Repent Or Else"? There was a photoset and article making the rounds on Facebook and Tumblr a while back where a group of men from the Marin Foundation showed up at a Chicago Pride parade in matching shirts with 'I’m Sorry' written on it. They had signs that said things like 'I’m sorry that Christians judge you,' 'I’m sorry the way churches have treated you,' 'I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, sorry.' etc. They were received with tears and hugs, not fists. If you look at their website they do not compromise their beliefs or condone homosexuality, but somehow manage to get their message across without being hateful.

The SSM ship has sailed. That is a fact. We can either stand on the pier shaking our fists at it as it steams over the horizon, or we can get busy being the hands and feet of Christ.

Frederick Weaver More than 1 year ago

--This video has been making the rounds online (warning:  some profanity is in the post):

"Christian street preachers assaulted at gay pride festival in Seattle [video] "

As yet, this incident has not been denounced by homosexual activists and their Christian allies.

Three things are clear from this incident.

First, this is more proof that redefining marriage leads to attacks on the constitutional rights of Christians.

Second, it demolishes the "gay rights=civil rights" narrative pushed by homosexuals.  I don't recall Rev. Martin Luther King assaulting people who disagreed with him.

Finally, it further explains why even liberal Black Christians want nothing to do with homosexual activists and their tolerance of KKK-style tactics.

Tim Smith More than 1 year ago

"--@Tim. Homosexuality is genetic. People are born gay. Some people are born somewhere in the spectrum of bisexuality, others are born pretty firmly in the heterosexual or homosexual camp. This goes back through human history and throughout the animal kingdom. Maybe you feel better justifying your prejudices by saying all of these people made the choice, but they didn't choose to be gay just like you didn't choose to be straight. Deal with it."

@jsun -- First, to my knowledge, there is no evidence of a "gay gene" despite frantic efforts to find it.  Secondly,  even if such a gene were found, it would not legitimize homosexual behavior.  For instance, if a person were born with a cleft palate, we as a society should do all that we can to correct that deficiency so the person could have a better quality of life.  Similarly, if it were proven that homosexuality was a genetic trait (nature not nuture) we as a society should do all that we can do correct that deficiency as well.  I've heard many gay people say that they did not chose their homosexuality, and that they would become hetrosexual if they could as the homosexual lifestyle is so difficult.  If they are serious, there are organizations that would be happy to help them with this transistion.  By the grace of God, many homosexual's have indeed turned away from that behavior.  

As for the "animal kingdom argument," it is true that this behavior occurs in the animal kingdom, but it is also true that we see animals eating their prey alive and even their own young.  We see savagery, cruelty, and extreme brutality.  Yet, we do not condone such behavior in our own society.  

@Nemo -- There are stark differences between being gay and being black.  There is no doubt that being black is, very obviously, an inherited trait.  A black person cannot chose to NOT be black.  A black person HAS to be black.  A gay person does not HAVE to be gay.  They can chose NOT to act on those impulses.  Just as a hetrosexual Christian man, if he follows Christ, choses not to act on his impulses to have sex outside of his marriage.

@Cchilton -- I'm curious, as a "real Christian," what do you do with Jesus' statement in Matt. 5:17 (NASB) -- "Do not think I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."  Also, what do you do with other passages in the Bible that condemn homosexuality (i.e. 1 Cor. 6:9; Rom. 1:27; 1 Tim. 1:10, etc.)?  Calling homosexual behavior -- that is clearly a sin given the verses cited above -- wrong is NOT bigotry any more than speaking out against hetrosexual sex outside of marriage is bigoted against "straight" people.  Ad hominem attacks against Bible believing Christians (e.g. calling them "bigots, "haters," and the like) may win you the argument in the minds of the uninformed, but in the end the TRUTH still stands:  John 4:6

Jules Nemo More than 1 year ago

--@CRobinson, I'm sorry but the horse has left the barn. You already will be persecuted if you try to take the Bible literally.  Regardless of your convictions you cannot stone or otherwise kill your neighbors wife for her adultery. I'm afraid that you are going to have to treat homosexual persons with kindness, grace and human dignity, just like Jesus would.

Frederick Weaver More than 1 year ago

--jsun -"Look brothers and sisters, you can run around saying that gay people are satanic all you want. People said the same thing about African Americans, and especially about black people and white people getting married."

And yet Black people, especially Christian, are the staunchest opponents to marriage being redefined.  This was demonstrated when Illinois could not pass a "gay marriage" bill because Black Democrats would not support it:

www.breakpoint.org/.../22605

Why is that?

Being Black and Christian, I can answer the question with these three reasons.

Reason 1:  The Bible

Nowhere in the Bible is being Black listed as a sin.  Hence, anyone who claims otherwise is not telling the truth.  However, there are plenty of verses about homosexuality being a sin.

So, any Christian who argues that homosexuality is like being Black clearly has not the Bible.

Reason 2:  Jim Crow

Like all Black people of her generation, my mother lived through Jim Crow.  IN all that time she never saw a guy forced to the back of the bus or have to drink from a different water fountain because he liked guys.  

Hence, the "gay rights=civil rights" myth is tends to breed resentment among Black people familiar with history.  And it's really a hard sell to any Black person who lived through Jim Crow.

Reason 3:  Protecting the Family

Back in the 1960s, Black people listened to "experts" who said that tolerating fatherless homes would have no impact on our community. Despite warnings from Black leaders including Rev. Martin Luther King, many Black Christians fell for this lie in order to be "loving."

This proved to be a disaster that as fatherless Black households became the norm rather than the exception. The embrace of this sin led to rampant crime, suicide, drug addiction, poverty, high school dropout rates, fornication, etc. Thus, many once vibrant Black neighborhoods became hell on Earth.

After learning this hard lesson, there is a renewed focus among Black people (pastors, community activists, etc.) on rebuilding our families and by extension our communities. Not surprisingly, supporting "gay marriage" runs counter to these efforts.

Thus, White evangelicals should not feel guilty over defending God's design for marriage despite accusations. As Black Christians can tell you, homosexuality isn't like skin color, and redefining marriage is not a civil right but a recipe for social collapse.

Carol Robinson More than 1 year ago

--I see a bigger issue regarding gay marriage. Proponents say they want to take their fight to states that don't allow gay marriage. Will they try to convince devout Christians that they should disregard parts, if not all, of the Bible? What if followers of Jesus are ridiculed or persecuted because they adhere to the teachings of the whole Bible? I believe there are some Christians who love their gay brothers and sisters but choose to follow a strict interpretation of scripture. What if, one day, the fight for marriage equality comes down to a choice between the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution? I will leave this confounding issue in God's hands.

Craig Chilton More than 1 year ago

--As an ACTUAL Christian (i.e., a person who OBEYS Jesus' command in Romans 13:8-10) and thus an egalitarian, bigotry is anathema to me, and I oppose it every chance I get.  I have nothing personally to gain by being a straight ALLY of the gays in Civil Rights Movement II -- but the important human rights gains we've been able to make have been most refreshing and heartening to me!

   It was very disappointing that the Court didn't do the same thing for Marriage Equality for the gays that it did for interracial couples and  for girls & women in "Loving vs. Virginia" (1967) and "Roe vs. Wade" (1973) respectively, and apply it to ALL 50 states.  But you can rest assured that this added impetus will make it easier for us to slog it out and ensure that the 38 remaining bigoted states will become FAIR states, just as soon as possible.  We saw the start of that on Banner Day 11-6-13, when the voters in ALL THREE of the states where Marriage Equality was on the ballet voted to make their states FAIR states.  And Victory Day 6-26-13 just drove a stake squarely through the heart of anti-social agendas of bigotry.  Anti-Gay agendas soon will be as extinct as segregation and pterodactyls --- and America will be greatly enhanced for being RID of them!

Sundy Jason More than 1 year ago

--Look, considering this can be a pretty controversial topic, I think the conversation has generally been rational and respectful. I'm listening to what people have to say and providing my own perspective. I never claimed to be academic or superior so I'm not sure where you're getting that from.

But honestly, the burden of argument isn't on those who advocate equality. If you want to discriminate against your fellow human beings, if you want to tell two consensual adults who love each other that their relationship is inferior to yours and they should be systematically denied rights, it's on YOU to provide a compelling argument, and I'm not hearing one so far.

Andrew Dudones More than 1 year ago

--No, both of you have YET to contribute a compelling argument. All the two of you do is respond with, "nuh uhhhhh!" and declare yourselves scholastically superior to everyone else. It'd actually be funny except for the fact you guys are serious.

Sundy Jason More than 1 year ago

--@Tim. Homosexuality is genetic. People are born gay. Some people are born somewhere in the spectrum of bisexuality, others are born pretty firmly in the heterosexual or homosexual camp. This goes back through human history and throughout the animal kingdom. Maybe you feel better justifying your prejudices by saying all of these people made the choice, but they didn't choose to be gay just like you didn't choose to be straight. Deal with it.

Tim Smith More than 1 year ago

--@ BigPapa ----"From a scientific perpsective, if being gay were genetic, natural selection would have weeded them out a long time ago...because a gay relationship cannot produce offspring.

JoshBaker, not to call you out in a harsh way, but this doesn't make sense. When you get right down to brass tacks, only a heterosexual relationship can produce offspring. Every LGBT person who ever existed is the product of a heterosexual relationship when you get right down to it (not counting IVF, etc.). "Natural selection" keeps making gay babies for some reason."

Thus proving the point that homosexual behavior tendencies are NOT genetic and are more likely behavior's that are learned at a very young age.

Dan Haynes More than 1 year ago

--From a scientific perpsective, if being gay were genetic, natural selection would have weeded them out a long time ago...because a gay relationship cannot produce offspring.

JoshBaker, not to call you out in a harsh way, but this doesn't make sense. When you get right down to brass tacks, only a heterosexual relationship can produce offspring. Every LGBT person who ever existed is the product of a heterosexual relationship when you get right down to it (not counting IVF, etc.). "Natural selection" keeps making gay babies for some reason.  

Tim Smith More than 1 year ago

--Sorry, I guess my hyperlink didn't take.  Try this:  www.gotquestions.org/Deuteronomy-22-28-29-marry-rapist.html

Tim Smith More than 1 year ago

--@Nemo -- In no version that I can find do I see any difference in the verses I cited above concerning homosexual behavior (Lev. 18:22; 1 Cor. 6:9, etc.).  They all condemn the practice.  I quick search of http://www.biblegateway.com/ will show that.  

As for your relativism comment, I believe I've already addressed that by showing the differences between Old Testament moral law's, ceremonial laws, and civil law's.  The latter two are the ones that applied to the ancient Israelites.  The former -- the moral laws -- apply to all peoples everywhere at all times.  You can go here to read about the “marrying a rapist” problem.  As for stoning your daughter if she is not a virgin on her wedding night, loss of virginity was tantamount to adultery in the case of betrothal, implied here.  It was considered harlotry.  Physical whoredom was analogous to spiritual unfaithfulness to the Lord, and was therefore deserving of death (Hosea 4:1-19) -- as severe as this sanction may appear by today’s “standards.”

To your comment to Job about missing the point, I have two questions:  You indicate that the Bible is not an adequate standard for objective truth.  What, then, is your standard for objective truth, or are you a relativist as your posts indicate?  Secondly, you say that the passages that condemn homosexual behavior have been debunked.  What is your source for this conclusion, because I have not seen such a source anywhere.

@JoshBaker -- Amen, brother.  Truly one does not need the Bible to know that homosexual behavior is not normal.  Every infant and cat knows that it's an unnatural and painful thing when things go up the rectum (i.e. thermometers).  

Mary Holland More than 1 year ago

--@Rod-

To a degree, beliefs must be subjugated by the government. For example, it was some extremeist cults beliefs that the Bible not only allowed them to marry multiple underage girls but encouraged it, we're they entitled and free to believe as they wanted? Yes. But their religious freedoms and rights ended where another individuals rights began. In that case, their freedom ended because it infringed on the freedom and rights of the minor girls to not be forced to marry or be subjected to abuse. In this way, all religious freedom must be weighted against the freedom of others' rights. Otherwise, any wackjob could claim that their religion gave them the freedom to murder every person with, say, red hair, and the government would have to allow that to occur, which is of course ridiculous. The trick is finding that line, where one persons rights don't interfere with or supercede another's. Where does that Christian bakery's rights to refuse service begin and end and where does the gay couple's rights to not be discriminated against begin and end? Would the question be easier if the bakery's owners claimed that their religious convictions made it so that they wanted to refuse service to African American individuals, like so many businesses of yesterday did? Would a black couple have the right to be upset and sue the bakery on the basis of discrimination at that point? Because now the baker's right to religious freedom is infringing on the couples right to not face discrimination. Same question if a nursing mother was asked to leave the bakery? Does their rights as business owners trump the mother's federally legal right to feed her child in any place in which both she and the child are allowed to be? My point being that these areas are not black and white, but are almost all shades of gray that need to be navigated carefully with consideration for all involved.

Sundy Jason More than 1 year ago

--Look brothers and sisters, you can run around saying that gay people are satanic all you want. People said the same thing about African Americans, and especially about black people and white people getting married. But you're not going to be displaying God's love, you'll be showcasing your own arrogant judgement( which, by the way, is a sin itself.) Same sex couples are no longer content with living in repression, or being oppressed. All they are asking is for freedom and the right to make their own choices. They are not trying to impose their morals on your marriage; don't impose your values on theirs. Yesterday's ruling doesn't affect you at all. As I said before, focus on your own marriage instead of stressing so much about someone else's marriage. It'll be healthier for everyone.

Sundy Jason More than 1 year ago

--@retiredcoach There are answers to all of those questions. You can tell your kids whatever you want about gay people. They're your kids, you talk to them. Cake businesses can make their own decisions on whether or not they want to make cakes for gay people. That's up to them to. If someone asks why a child has two mothers, you can respond however you want. One response would be "Some children are raised by two mothers, because not everyone is heterosexual." This isn't as hard as you're trying to make it sound.

Esther Bridger More than 1 year ago

--Wow, first time on focus on the family and i decided to read this article and folks comments. So many comments with interesting things said and shared. I'm learning to thank God everyday for His goodness and Love toward us no matter the situations around me. I hope that we as Christians and Disciples of Jesus Christ will preach His Word with all Truth and Love as Jesus would. May God give us the strength to speak boldly and with Love. Peace.

Levens Lyn More than 1 year ago
--

Approval of Gay marriage all boils down to-what do you say and what do you tell children when you see two men holding hands and kissing?-What does a public school teacher say about a husband and a husband? How does anyone comment on the marriage of,or engagement of two men? What does anyone say about children having two mommies or two dads? Do all school texts and story books have to be discarded and replaced with alternate terms for husband and wife-even male and female (if transgendered). What do pastors and priests say and do about marriage,and how do all of the cake and any businesses having to do with weddings react? How are state and federal marriage laws now changed and affected by using tax money paid by those who disagree with the violation of our religious beliefs?

Finally, how does God, who blessed and aided the establishment of our great Judeo/Christian nation react to this satanically inspired mis-interpretation of secular and yes,Biblical principles?

Sundy Jason More than 1 year ago

--@joshbaker science is on the side of homosexuality. Homosexuality is seen throughout the animal kingdom, throughout human history and throughout cultures in society. It is natural. People don't choose to become gay any more than you or I chose to be straight. That's fact. That's truth. You can ignore it if you choose to, but not all of us are content to walk around with blinders on.

Sundy Jason More than 1 year ago

--My eyes are open, brother. What is your definition of "under fire"? Is any business being forced to provide for a same sex couple? If a private businesses chooses not to accommodate same sex marriages, that is their choice. Their are other business options, competitors, that same sex couples can choose to go to. If a photographer is uncomfortable photographing a same sex wedding, no one is forcing that photographer to work that wedding against their will.

Let's stick to real world situations. No pastor is being jailed for saying that homosexuality is a sin. That's not happening. But people are being abused, murdered and denied equality because they are homosexual. That's real. We are all sinners, we have all sinned. Homosexuals are children of God, and I don't think any of us has the authority to discriminate them under United States law. You are free to think of them as condemned to burn in hell if you so choose, but you are not free to deny them their rights on earth. That is not your call. I am free to interpret the teachings of Christ as not being against homosexuals, and that is my choice. Neither one of us can impose our beliefs onto others, especially under the constitution or in a court of law.

Josh Baker More than 1 year ago

--i must say that i agree with all of the article, except the final statement:

"The single greatest argument we can present to the world on this issue of marriage is to personally live out marriage in all its God-ordained fullness and radiant beauty."

I do not agree that having a great marriage will make converts to Christianity and persuade homosexuals to go straight.  The homosexuals believe there is no difference between a gay relationship and a straight one.  You can see this in their statement - love is love.

The single greatest argument we can present to the world on this is the truth.

Neither science nor religion are on the side of homosexuality being normal.  

From a scientific perpsective, if being gay were genetic, natural selection would have weeded them out a long time ago...because a gay relationship cannot produce offspring.  Plus, studies have shown that there is a certain part in the brain in a notable portion of gays that is similar to those with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder (one of the big 3, i think CBS, did a story on this).  And, a large portion of the gay community are victims of childhood abuse.  So science is not pointing to homosexuality being genetic, but more that these people are hurting and need help.  But unfortunately they're masking their pain, and their mask of choice loudly being proclaimed to them as 'normal.'  

So science is not on their side.

NOTE:  from a sin perspective, this isn't any worse than a gossip.  God hates gossip as much as He hates homosexuality, but He dearly loves those who gossip and those who have homosexual behavior.  God demonstrated His love for us in the middle of us sinning, He came to us and brought us new life.  Who wasn't a sinner when presented with the Gospel for the first time?!?

From a religious perspective, there isn't a single thing I'm aware of that God said to stone people for doing in the Mosaic law that is broadly accepted by society anywhere.  Nobody accepts a homewrecker (adultry) male or female.  Nobody thinks kidnapping is OK.  Nobody thinks its OK to own a dangerous animal who has killed people before.  These are just a few of the types of things God said to stone people for. [well, the stoning wasn't for owning the animal, it was if after being known as a killer, the owner kept it, didn't restrain it, and it killed again].

The single best argument we can present to the world is that homosexuality is not the design of Nature, nor of God.  And support this argument loudly, consistently, and full of love.

NOTE Also - going straight won't save the homosexual, believing in Jesus is the only thing that saves.  True that homosexuality is not acceptable to Jesus and Christians who live that way will get a sinners reward just like any other sinner.  But still, we aren't saved by what we do, we're saved by what we believe.  Its what we believe that changs what we do.

R DeLosSantos More than 1 year ago

--@jsun  "@rod It's not a zero sum game. We disagree on that. I didn't lose my right to vote when African Americans gained their right to vote. My marriage was not harmed when same sex couples gained their rights to marriage. Focus on your life, your marriage, your happiness, your peace with God. You don't have to agree with same sex relationships, but you don't have the right to take their rights away. "

My friend, this is not a matter of what you and I agree upon.  This is real world fact!  More and more Christian businesses are finding themselves under fire for refusing to violate their sincerely held religioius beliefs and not accomodate gay weddings by providing services.  Don't believe me?  Use your search engine and look it up.  It is also a matter of time before pastors are told that preaching against homosexuality from the pulpit is "hate speech" and will find themselves being fined or imprisoned.  Don't believ me?  Look it up, it's already happening in Canada and it's beginning in America.  Open your eyes!

Sundy Jason More than 1 year ago

--@rod It's not a zero sum game. We disagree on that. I didn't lose my right to vote when African Americans gained their right to vote. My marriage was not harmed when same sex couples gained their rights to marriage. Focus on your life, your marriage, your happiness, your peace with God. You don't have to agree with same sex relationships, but you don't have the right to take their rights away.