How Should Christians Respond When the Supreme Court Votes In Favor of the Constitutionality of Same Sex Marriages?

supreme court bldgThe Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will be meeting behind closed doors beginning on September 29th for the purpose of discussing petitions from five states concerning their ban on same sex marriages (see full report here http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/justices-to-meet-behind-closed-doors-to-discuss-gay-marriage-cases/) . They are doing this because three federal appeals courts have struck down the ban on same sex marriages that the states of Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin and the peoples within those states have voted to place within their state constitutions. At first, this seems like an overzealous judicial minority (these appeal courts have only three judges on each) trying to overturn the will of the majority of the people, and imposing their politically correct view upon the unlearned masses, making their vote to define marriage meaningless. Some would say this is because these justices are mostly Democrat appointed justices and hence might be predisposed to vote in ways similar to the Democratic Party Platform, a platform that has become less and less friendly to the concept of protecting traditional marriage as we know it. That may well be true.

But, it is not as simple as that. In fact, it’s actually quite complicated, both for these appeal court judges and for the Supreme Court justices. For example, one could say it is a matter for the states to decide and leave it there. This makes initial sense since every state has the authority to decide who is allowed to be married in their state, as each states minimum age laws for marriage serves as an example.  But, it used to be the law in many states that two people of different races (for the record, there is only one race, the human race, with only one skin color which is brown in various shades) were not allowed to marry and if they did they could be arrested and spend time in jail.  Those state laws were rightfully overturned by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia in 1967, which may have been an overreach of federal power as many would argue it violated the 10th Amendment which states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The proponents of same-sex marriage are challenging the justices to apply the 14th Amendment to homosexuals who want to get married arguing they are a class of people whose rights are being infringed upon.  This amendment was adopted after our Civil War to grant freedoms to slaves they previously did not have and has been used liberally since then to apply to other groups. Here is section 1 of the 14th Amendment: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Compounding the justices legal dilemmas are the frustrations of defining marriage. Here is where things get really sticky since, and here is my main point, the justices have chosen not to use the Bible as their source of truth regarding right and wrong.  The Bible is clear, Genesis 2:24 defines marriage as between one man and one woman, period. And just because there were cases of polygamy in Scripture or that polygamy was tolerated in those societies, this does not alter the definition of marriage as set in the Garden of Eden by God Himself. If the justices based their decision on the clear teaching of God the Father in Genesis 2:24, or Jesus in Matthew 19:4-5, they could stop the debates, go home and put their feet up on their favorite ottoman and enjoy a beer, because the matter would be settled.  Sound far-fetched?  Previous decisions of the Supreme Court were settled this way, they consulted what the Word of God said regarding right and wrong and ruled accordingly. Look at what Justice Joseph Story (1779-1845), founder of the Harvard Law School said about our nation’s judicial foundation: One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations. . . . I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society”. [1]

Sadly our current justices just don’t recognize Justice Story’s logic which leaves them groping for other sources to define marriage.  Good luck justices.  You will have a very hard time finding a secular definition. Here is a link to a very well thought-out argument for same sex marriages that examines both sides of the issue and leaves one fully cognizant of the pitfalls our justices will fall into trying to decide this case without any biblical Northstar guiding their decisions. See http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/a-right-to-marry-same-sex-marriage-and-constitutional-law.  After reading this article, I am daring to make a prediction. I predict that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of same sex marriages this October (or if they put it off, later in the docket). If I am wrong, I will turn in my prophet’s license.

When they do, how should you and I react to this decision? Putting it through the grace lens of Scripture I believe we should not give in to discouragement because we are feeling that our cause is losing and evil is winning. Here are some reminders that will help us remain confident and victorious: 1) God rules over all the decisions of men. Psalm 22:28 says, “For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.” 2) It was never Jesus’ intent to transform society from the top down with legal(istic) pressure to conform, but rather to transform society from the ground up with radical holistic transformation through supernatural, Spirit-caused conversion and Spirit-powered change. Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36 ESV).

Now that you expect the Supreme Court to decide in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, you won’t be surprised when they do and since your expectations are now lowered you won’t be down in the dumps for weeks thinking Jesus is losing. He is not surprised, in fact He is orchestrating these decisions for His larger purposes. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, Lord Jesus.

[1] http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=23909

About Darryl Knappen

I shepherd the flock of believers called Cornerstone Church in Alexandria, MN, a family integrated Baptist Church and more importantly am married to a fabulous woman named Pati who is grandmother to our 5 wonderful grandchildren, Luke, Wyatt, Brin, Livy and Eleanor (Ellie).
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2 Responses to How Should Christians Respond When the Supreme Court Votes In Favor of the Constitutionality of Same Sex Marriages?

  1. Pati Knappen says:

    This is very well thought out. I really appreciate how you give us hope and reason to remember that God is still on the throne and is ruling still….

    Like

  2. Thank you for pointing out what we(I) forget when things aren’t going “my” way. God is in control and I think you for your clarity.

    Like

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