On June 26th, the US Supreme court denied California's Proposition 8 (which aimed to annul already-approved same-sex marriages, as I understand it), but left the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) alone – for now, anyway.
I'm not here to debate the rightness or wrongness of the Supreme Court’s decision. Instead, I want to provide reassurance to my brothers and sisters in Christ that this decision does not signal the end of life, the world, or morality as we know it. Nor do I think it signals "the great delusion and falling away" that so many have been quick to mention from the Bible. I want to list a few things this decision IS and IS NOT and then discuss its implications.
This decision is NOT…
1) …on the slippery slope to approve polygamy.
2) …on the slippery slope to approve bestiality.
3) …on the slippery slope to approve pedophilia.
(Believe it or not, I heard these arguments, but in the inverse form, on a Christian radio program back when the DOMA/Prop 8 debates first began.)
This decision will NOT/does NOT…
4) …force heterosexuals to marry someone of the same sex if they don't want to.
5) …force anyone to be a surrogate parent for any gay couple who hopes to have children.
6) …take away your right to believe as we do about biblical marriage.
7) …cause you to lose your health care/security benefits.
8) US Constitution
There's a lot of talk about America being a "Christian nation", having been "founded on biblical principles", and for that reason we should maintain a one-man-one-woman definition of marriage.
Yet, as my brothers and sisters in Christ tend to forget, the signers of our great US Constitution had the foresight to recognize that people from all walks of life would seek out life here in the USA. In fact, they assented that all were created equal and have the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. It never guaranteed life, liberty, and happiness, but the pursuit of them. This includes our happiness, or lack thereof. While they based their opinions largely upon their convictions of what the Bible said about humanity, not all of the signers were followers of Christ. Equalities transcend one specific religion, and are common to many.
America is not a "Christian nation", and it was never intended to be. The Colonials revolted from England for many reasons, but in large part due to the heavy-handedness of forced religion. That’s why they decided upon freedom OF religion in America. By the way, this includes all non-Christian religions, as well. Now Iran: that is a Muslim nation. Go there, and you are governed by Shari'a law. But, not so here in America. We are free to choose.
So, although I am a Christian, I don't support the "Christian nation" argument in opposition to DOMA.
9) What is the Bible and who is it for?
Christians believe the Bible is God's holy, inspired, and infallible word. It's not the PHYSICAL book that is His word, but that His thoughts, teachings, principles, etc. are contained therein. But please notice the first word of this section: Christians. WE Christians believe it to be so; others do not necessarily think so. God's words were directed toward and required upon those who professed to follow Him; not the surrounding peoples who followed other gods.
The Christian definition of marriage, therefore, is based upon Christians’ acceptance of the Bible as Yahweh-God's word for our lives. As followers of Yahweh-God, the commands, directives, moral laws, etc. are for US. These principles are OUR rules of conduct and living, not necessarily others'.
So, if the Bible is God’s word given to those of us who choose to follow Him, then we better get to following better if we expect to make an impact upon our society.
10) Be fruitful and multiply
What about the command given by God to “be fruitful and multiply”? Is a couple sinning by not having children? No, because careful examination reveals this was not a universal command, but was given to Adam & Eve, Noah & Mrs. Noah, and Abraham & Sarah. To suggest otherwise may well suggest that Jesus and Paul sinned for not marrying or procreating. But, rightly nobody is willing to entertain that notion.
11) Society & The Kingdom
Christians often claim to be part of the Kingdom of God, yet many of us fail to live as though we truly believe it. I'd suggest that many Christians believe a picture-perfect America is what the Bible has in mind when describing heaven. We want – even demand – Biblical rule applied here and now. But is that a truly biblical view?
The Bible clearly teaches, Brother and Sister Christian, that our citizenship is not here on earth, or here in America, but in Heaven – the Kingdom of God – and that all other allegiances are secondary. Yet, many Christians live as though their allegiance is to America first, and God second.
Society's trends (not just decisions about same-sex marriage) seem to indicate we Christians have some work to do. I suppose the work is first and foremost to be done in our own lives. I suppose it shows that we have not been very effective in showing God to our neighbors. I suppose it proves we followers of Christ better start concerning ourselves with our walk and not our finger-pointing. I suppose it shows that if we believe "God is love", then we better get down to the business of showing God to people.
"Go into all the world and preach the good news of Jesus Christ", your Bible teaches. When is the last time you have lived that?