A month after the Supreme Court’s nationwide legalization of gay marriage, evangelicals continued raising objections to the ruling.
Commentators to offer analysis included National Religious Broadcasters President Jerry Johnson, Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions Executive Director Rick Lance, Christian authors and speakers Rosaria Butterfield and Christopher Yuan, and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Provost Jason Duesing.
Johnson, in the first two articles of a three-part series, called the court’s decision a “supreme shame” and a “supreme sham.” The third and forthcoming article will address practical considerations associated with the ruling under the heading “supreme shambles.”
The high court’s June 26 majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges offered “a moral argument for ‘gay marriage’ as opposed to a legal one,” Johnson wrote. While the Supreme Court is well equipped to adjudicate legal matters, “as a Christian, for moral issues, I rely on holy scripture,” he wrote, noting that the Old and New Testaments regard heterosexual marriage as the only appropriate channel for sexual expression.
Johnson countered several common objections to biblical teaching posed by gay marriage advocates. In response to the charge, “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality,” Johnson countered, “I could equally say He did not support homosexuality because there is no specific record of it in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.” To argue for gay marriage from Jesus’ silence is “not a weak argument; it is no argument.” Johnson added that Christ referred to marriage as between a male and female in Matthew 19:4-6.
Responding to the argument that men and women each are capable of playing the roles of both wives and husbands, Johnson cited 1 Corinthians 6:9, where Paul used specific Greek words to condemn both the active and passive partners in male homosexual acts. “Paul was aware” that individuals in same-sex relationships commonly played roles that did not correspond to their biological genders and condemned such behavior as sinful, Johnson wrote.
The desire of homosexuals to mimic male and female roles in their relationships “just proves the gold standard of male-female sexuality, marriage between husband and wife,” Johnson wrote. The Supreme Court, however, “must destroy that desired thing by redefinition to let gays and lesbians in.”
In his second article, Johnson called the court’s ruling a “sham” because the five justices in the majority – Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor – contradicted their own legal argument from 2013, when they overturned the Defense of Marriage Act by finding that “states, not the feds, have authoritative jurisdiction over marriage.”
“It is time for this Supreme Court to stop the sham pretense of objectivity or adherence to the Constitution and return to the rule of law, not of opinions,” Johnson wrote. “If not, these Justices should trade their judicial garb for that of a typical politician, setting aside their robes for business suits. If their outfits match their politics, we should not be surprised to find the majority – along with other politicians celebrating Obergefell – dressed in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.”
Among other commentators on the court’s ruling:
Butterfield and Yuan, in an article posted on the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s website, disagreed with the majority opinion’s claim that marriage “embodies the highest ideals of love.” That claim misses the fact that “the pinnacle of love is God’s love for us in Christ” and leads to an unbiblical view of singleness, Butterfield and Yuan wrote.
“Defining marriage as being between a husband and a wife appears unfair to the LGBT community, in part because a life of singleness is viewed to be crushingly lonely,” Butterfield and Yuan wrote. “Have we in the church inadvertently played into that lie with our idolatry of marriage while being pejorative and silent toward singleness? If singleness is unfair, then it is no wonder that marriage has become a right. Just as the LGBT community appealed to the rest of the world for dignity and respect, it is time for the church to fight for the dignity and respect of single women and single men.”
Christians should reject an idolatrous view of marriage and “point people – whether married or single – to a life of costly discipleship pursuing the embodiment of love, Jesus Christ Himself,” Butterfield and Yuan wrote.
Duesing drew on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in highlighting “sources of light” amid a culture trending “toward that which is dark and dreadful.” The Bible, the wisdom of the church and Christians’ gospel witness all serve to illuminate the world, Duesing wrote in a blog article.
When traveling through the fictional underground mines of Moria, some of Tolkien’s characters “found a faint source of light, and by it were able to move forward in their quest,” Duesing wrote. “As bearers of the light of God’s Word, gathered in local church fellowships joined and indwelled by God Himself, believers traverse the darkness sharing the good news of the gospel – until evil is destroyed and the King returns.”
Lance offered four action steps to Christians concerned regarding the court’s ruling: “remain faithful to our Lord and to the mission He has given us”; “remain hopeful”; “remain truthful”; and “be careful to protect our religious liberties as Christians.”
Zach Crook, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Weatherford, Texas, called Christians to reject the common assumption that “whoever yells the loudest must be right.” When the supposed fulfillment of sexual liberation “is revealed to the lost and thirsty as [an] empty cistern, the question becomes: where will they go next? It will be a lot easier to embrace the refugees of cultural progress if we put down our bullhorns and open our arms,” Crook wrote in a commentary.
Tennessee evangelist Jerry Drace, in an article for his newsletter, lamented a 40-year trend of Supreme Court justices’ voting to overturn Judeo-Christian morality on such issues as abortion, school prayer and marriage.
“Sin of any kind is not up for a vote! It falters your faith. It destroys your enjoyment. It diminishes your peace. It weakens your prayers. It harms your testimony,” Drace wrote.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)