This morning, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments that will determine whether or not individual states will retain the freedom to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, impacting legislation that a majority of citizens in a number of states have already voted on. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution requires all 50 states to hold marriage in the same manner. However, an unfavorable ruling by the Supreme Court not only undermines state sovereignty, but will further diminish America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and individual religious liberties, as well as the core understanding of marriage as one of our most time-honored and God-ordained institutions.
One example of the potential consequences for such a case occurred just last week, when an administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled that Aaron and Melissa Klein, who operate a local bakery called Sweet Cakes, must pay $135,000 in emotional damages for violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws. As owners of the business, they respectfully requested the same-sex couple consider another establishment for their wedding cake. After a series of unsuccessful challenges in court and despite at least one current online fundraiser trying to support the Kleins, the outcome is very troubling for people of faith and those who desire to follow the dictates of their moral conscience.
This is just the latest in a series of similar cases across the nation. Should the High Court’s decision be contrary to the general and democratically determined will of the people, these types of rulings will surely increase and may eventually find a level of impact in your own organization, business, ministry, church or even your home. What if the courts then decided to forbid citizens in discussing their beliefs on sensitive or biblical issues such as homosexuality and abortion in public settings—declaring what should be considered as free speech, to be relabeled as discriminatory or hate speech? Think it can’t happen? It already has in other countries like England. Is the United States far behind?
Many national and state leaders are making every effort to protect our fundamental rights as Americans, including the passing of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) in several states. However, we need government officials and judges to stand strong together to protect our religious freedoms.
Members of the House and Senate signed an amicus brief urging the Court to uphold the marriage laws before the Court today. Congressman J. Randy Forbes, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus commented,
“…regardless of what the Court decides, the government should not coerce individuals who believe marriage is an inherently religious act into participating in affirming a ceremony that violates their religious beliefs. I believe every individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. But there is a fundamental difference between a blanket refusal to provide services to someone because of who they are (which is wrong) and respectfully declining to proactively participate in the celebration of something that contradicts your religious beliefs (which is a constitutional right). In fact, the worlds three largest religions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—all view marriage as a sacred and fundamentally religious act; so for many individuals, their inability to actively participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony is not a choice.??We are a free society rooted in these fundamental freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech and of the press, and freedom to peaceably assemble and associate with likeminded individuals. These freedoms ring hollow if Americans are not free to live by their beliefs, and instead are told they must check their convictions at the doors of their homes or places of worship. A nation that allows differing opinions and beliefs to flourish is a nation that is truly tolerant and diverse.”
Please remember to pray for the Supreme Court Justices over the next several weeks as they continue to deliberate this case. Pray for favor. Pray for righteousness to prevail. Pray for their hearts and minds to be open to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Pray that in all things, God will be honored.