Having said I think gay marriage nationally is inevitable given the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to not take any cases on it right now, a number of people questioned both my conservatism and my faith. One need not abandon either to live in the real world.
It is coming.
But it is important to understand why. It is not just that gay rights activists want “the rights everybody else has.” The strong undercurrent to that is that gay rights activists want all the semblances of normalcy. To take the long time social stigma out of being gay requires that gay men and women are able to lead their lives exactly as everyone else. In effect, it is to make being gay just a different version of normal.
Marriage is but one part of it. The march toward normalcy now must get even more shrill with more people being forced to care because of American views on homosexuality as reflected in a new Pew poll.
Half of the country sees homosexuality as sinful, opposes gay marriage, and believes businesses should be able to refuse to serve gay couples’ wedding ceremonies—maybe not quite the same half, but there’s probably a significant overlap.
If half the people view your lifestyle as sinful (and it is according to the orthodox teachings of Christianity, Islam, and other religions), there is an undercurrent of homosexuality not being just an alternative form of normal.
For gay rights activists that is unacceptable. They have had a long march toward equality under the law, but equality under the law is not normalacy in the eyes of others.
The Supreme Court decision to not take gay marriage cases, ostensibly because there is currently no circuit split, will have the effect of legalizing gay marriages in many states and, in less than ten years, across the nation. But as long as the stigma of sin and orthodox faith teachings remain, it will not be enough.
This is only the beginning of what will no doubt become a campaign against faithful believers to silence them and their preachers in the town square and in pop culture at large. It must also be the beginning of a renewed commitment of pastors and congregations to recognize they win with both love and Truth.
That truth includes that though the government may recognize marriage between same sex couples, God does not. That truth also includes that we are all sinners and must look to Christ for salvation.
Those who think pushing this issue is bad politically, ignore that for many faith trumps politics and, even after the fight in the courts is lost, Christians have an obligation to continue engaging culture on what marriage is and why the heterosexual nuclear household is important as a bedrock for stable societies.
Churches must be as bold in their faith as those who seek to silence them. Christian individuals must be bold in their faith. Churches and Christians must not shy from Biblical truths just because the sound and fury of popular culture screams against them. It always has. It always will. The Truth must remain unmoved.
As Russell Moore noted yesterday
We don’t demonize them. We speak to them, with an alternative vision of what it means to love and to cherish every human life, in our families and in our laws.
Jesus wasn’t shocked by the Samaritan woman at the well, who had had five husbands and was now living outside of wedlock. He also wasn’t afraid to speak a word of repentance to her conscience. He said to her, “Woman, go get your husband and come here” (Jn. 4:16). Both aspects of that sentence must be part of our witness: an honest assessment of sin and an invitation not just to morality, but to life.
You will be made to care — and you will either care for the world or for Truth.