Prop 8, DOMA, and the Unchanging God

June 26, 2013

Astonished

In light of the two U.S. Supreme Court decisions today, I was reminded of something my friend Mike Milton wrote that is pertinent to the issues related to these rulings.  Here is what Mike wrote:

When the rats begin to scramble on board the ship, it is a sure sign that the boat is sinking.

Self-described freedom-loving libertarians, and now Karl Rove, believe that Conservatives can embrace same sex marriage, or just leave it to the State as it is a personal “liberty” matter. The defense seems to be “Let the State allow whoever wants to be married to be married. It is a legal contract, not a religious ceremony, for goodness sake.”

Nonsense.

The nation we live in is grounded in “inalienable rights” that come from God, not from government. Our government was designed to guard and defend these rights, not dispense or arbitrate them, because they are based upon “inviolable” laws which must not be transgressed, dishonored, or broken.

This is not a so-called “religious” matter, but a matter of “natural law” that transcends government and social trends and attitudes. One of those inviolable laws is the law of marriage. It is a “Creation Ordinance” in that it extends to the very beginning of humankind. It is embedded in our species as surely as murdering another person is or stealing from another is.

Jesus, when questioned about divorce, appealed to this Creation ordinance when he said, “It was not so in the beginning.” He went on to describe marriage as between a man and a woman and in that union, spiritually, physically, and socially, they become one. Biology itself defends the arrangement, and without ever appealing to St. Paul, I could appeal the universal law that is placed in man’s heart to defend heterosexual marriage.

The Church did not invent marriage; however, the Church (and the Synagogue) must seek to bless what God has placed in the very nature of mankind and the order of His universe.

To give in to libertarian or muddleheaded notions and cries for transforming what is encoded into the very law of life is to not only go down with the ship, but share in the culpability of destroying it.

Marriage between a man and a woman is an inviolable law that cannot be tampered with by man. It is lunacy and suicidal to think and act otherwise. And that is just what the Republicans are doing if they join the ranks of conscience-seared and sadly mistaken people who so cavalierly dislodge the veritable cornerstone of human civilization.

Be certain of this: a nation which denies the inalienable rights of nature and of nature’s God cannot stand and will eventually perish. Freedom cannot be shackled in the human soul.

I wholeheartedly agree with what Mike wrote.  And I am disappointed with the decisions of the Supreme Court.

I am sympathetic to Jusctice Antonin Scalia’s scathing Dissent of the majority opinion which, as Scalia rightly says, functionally declares that anyone who affirms Biblical marriage between one man and one woman does so ONLY out of the motive to harm homosexuals.  Such an assertion is ridiculous, as Scalia rightly notes:

But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “dis-parage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homo-sexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence – indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.

Further, Scalia suggests the court rulings are redctionistic conclusions, and as The Atlantic reports will “short circuit the debate over gay marriage”:

In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated. It is hard to admit that one’s political opponents are not monsters, especially in a struggle like this one, and the challenge in the end proves more than today’s Court can handle. Too bad. A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament. We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide.

But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better.

I appreciate Scalia’s words.  Earlier this week I was accused of being a “bigot” by a young man who noticed on Facebook that I had “Liked” a brief article on the web page of Manhattan Declaration.  Not only was I a bigot, but so are all who oppose gay marriage.  His logic: “Anyone who opposes gay marriage is a bigot.”  It is that simple to him. It’s just black-and-white, just like Scalia says.  There is apparently no other possible motive; no appreciation of the complexities of this issue.  And that is sad. It is sad when an educated, seminary trained, thirty-something young man makes such fallacious allegations. And it seems sadder still that the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court validates his perspective, with apparently no greater consideration of the complexities surrounding this issue.

Disappointed as I am with the Supreme Court, I found encouragement in an excellent article by Ed Stetzer for Christianity Today, titled Prop 8, DOMA, and the Christian Response.  Two specific things struck me, both pertinent to gospel-centered living, one revealing reason for our repentance and humility, the other focus and reason for hope…

Humility & Repentance

Fifty years ago, Christians comprised the mainstream in America and were fully accepted as a cultural majority. Many during that time did not stand up for those who were weak and marginalized. The “good old days” so often longed for were also times of racial oppression, gender discrimination, and theological confusion. So, pining for those “moral” days of yore is like chasing a mirage. The past simply wasn’t that great for many when Christians had more influence.

During those days, Christians preached loudly and boldly the lostness of people without Christ and the need to “get your family in church.” We railed against atheists and Hugh Hefner. They were not necessarily mad at us, but we were mad at them without apology for the lies and immorality they promoted in our world. Over the past five decades, they returned the favor, marginalizing our faith as out of touch and culturally unacceptable.

Focus & Hope

We can address religious liberty concerns as they come with firm resolve and Christ-like humility. Even though the playing field may have changed, the mission of God has not. We are not here to protect our ways and traditions. We exist to show the world the love of Christ and share with the world His good news.

No election, referendum, or court ruling will ever change that.

One Response to “Prop 8, DOMA, and the Unchanging God”


  1. “We are not here to protect our ways and traditions. We exist to show the world the love of Christ and share with the world His good news.” — Totally agree! Enough said.


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