A fundamental, significant and disturbing shift in the cultural landscape of this country is taking place before our very eyes. The questions before us are, “Do we see what’s happening?” Do we understand the consequences—both spiritually and morally—if the nation continues down this destructive path? Are we finally ready to do something about it?”
In a landmark 5-4 decision earlier today (Obergefell v. Hodges), the Supreme Court of the United States redefined marriage for every American and held that the Due Process and Establishment Clauses of the 14th Amendment require a state to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples. Essentially, all 50 states have now been mandated in this way, regardless of religious beliefs and in doing so, the Court struck down duly passed laws and referendums across numerous states. While many are not entirely surprised by this troubling outcome, a God-ordained institution held in sacred honor since creation has been diminished and relegated to the whim of man. This is dangerous ground—fallen and sinful mankind is attempting to dictate its own standards to a Holy God.
Kelly Shackelford, President of Liberty Institute, also indicated this ruling will impact legislation that citizens in a number of states have already voted on. Additionally, it clearly undermines state sovereignty (contrary to the U.S. Constitution and the intent of our Founders) and further diminishes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, as well as individual religious liberties.
Although a disappointing and sobering setback for millions of Americans who believe in a Constitutional Republic, our First Amendment Rights and the rule of law, we cannot and we will not stop advocating for the principles and values that have sustained this great nation for nearly 240 years.
What does this mean for people of faith? We have a majority of Supreme Court Justices who no longer value the freedom of religion—especially in matters of moral conscience—or our Constitution. In the oral arguments for Obergefell v. Hodges and three other cases concerning whether states would remain free to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman, the Justices asked the Solicitor General whether or not creating a constitutional right to same-sex marriage will affect the tax-exempt status of religious groups. The Solicitor General answered in the affirmative and admitted that it could indeed become an issue.
Perhaps an even greater danger than losing tax-exempt status, the Department of Education will likely change its guidelines in the coming days, influencing countless young people. Thousands of faith-based entities could be negatively impacted, including adoption agencies, foster parents, homeless shelters, ministry organizations, counselors, Christian run businesses and many more. Pastors, judges and others may be given fines or jail time if they choose not to violate their consciences or moral standards and refuse to marry a same sex couple.
Consider broadcasters and Christian media outlets that could be refused an operational license by the Federal Communications Commission. Anyone who stands for biblical truth could face dire consequences.
It is an alarming day when five unelected judges, who should not have the power to change the precepts of God or shred the core principles of the Constitution, take it upon themselves to threaten our freedoms in such a manner. Never before in our nation’s history have we demanded that Americans violate their faith, nor have we prevented them from living or doing business according to their deeply held religious beliefs. We have always been a safe harbor and a lighthouse of freedom for those who experienced persecution elsewhere.
In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia blasted the Court’s overt, “threat to American democracy,” and said, “This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government.”
Justice Clarence Thomas added, “The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built…The majority’s inversion of the original meaning of liberty will likely cause collateral damage to other aspects of our constitutional order that protect liberty.”
Even Chief Justice John Roberts warned listeners on the danger that comes with this kind of judicial activism, “This Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us…The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment.” He further notes, “Marriage did not come about as a result of a political movement, discovery, disease, war, religious doctrine, or any other moving force of word history—and certainly not as a result of a prehistoric decision to exclude gays and lesbians. It arose in the nature of things to meet a vital need: ensuring that children are conceived by a mother and father committed to raising them in the stable conditions of a lifelong relationship.”
This decision does not change the reality that religious freedom is our First Freedom. We cannot leave our faith at the door of the public square. We must redouble our efforts to promote prayer, preserve our Judeo-Christian heritage and fight for religious freedom. These are among the very reasons our Founding Fathers sacrificed their livelihoods to establish this Constitutional Republic.
Congressman J. Randy Forbes, Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus commented,
“…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…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.”
If the message of today’s Supreme Court decision says anything to us as people of faith, it is that we must recognize the need to awaken from our spiritual slumber and unite—millions of us—and not yield without engaging in the battle for our country’s future, for the freedoms we have been given in our Constitution, for the right to hold fast to our religious and moral beliefs, and for the powerful voice we have together in the public marketplace. It must begin with individual and collective acts of repentance and humble petition before our Creator.