News of the Supreme Court’s decision to impose same-sex marriage on all 50 states spread quickly on Friday.
Unpacking what this decision means, and its implications, will take a lot longer.
We’re starting that process of better understanding what the redefinition of marriage means to our country and our religious liberties on today’s Focus on the Family broadcast. We discuss this important topic with two noteworthy guests: former Focus board member Dr. Al Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theology Seminary, and Dr. Helen Alvaré, who serves as a professor of law at George Mason University School of Law.
Both agree the impact on religious liberties and rights of conscience in this country will be significant. Dr. Alvaré pointed to a troubling quote from Justice Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion to underscore the point:
“It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.
“The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”
As Dr. Alvaré summarizes, the assurance that those of us who believe in the biblical definition of marriage may “advocate” and “teach” these foundational truths of our faith is a far cry from the First Amendment’s guarantee that we can truly exercise our faith in our day-to-day lives.
The Court’s diminishing of the rights of people of faith to live out their convictions only reflects what many in the culture believe.
I shared my reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision with numerous media outlets on Friday, and was a bit taken aback by a question I fielded from a reporter representing a high-profile outlet. He asked, “So, when will the church pivot on the issue of marriage?”
“On core issues, Christians don’t pivot on the whims of the culture,” I answered, “Throughout 2,000 years of history, we have stood firm on bedrock issues like marriage.”
It saddens me to tell you this journalist seemed shocked at my response that the Church will not jump on the same-sex marriage bandwagon.
His response seems to validate a point Dr. Mohler made during our conversation that many Americans look to the Supreme Court to discern what is right. This means the pressure on Bible-affirming Christians to buckle and accept – even celebrate – the redefinition of marriage will increase. We’ll receive more intimidation at work, in our families and communities. Some of us may even feel that tug at church and in other religious circles.
How do we respond?
That’s something Dr. Mohler, Dr. Alvaré and I also discuss during the program today, “Responding to the Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage.” I hope you’ll tune in. It’s a sobering program, but one that is also balanced by the fact believers have not lost our great hope. Indeed, in one sense we have gained an even greater opportunity to engage and witness to the culture through our words and marriage. The Holy Spirit is still moving, and there is work to be done.