Today the Supreme Court ruled to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and to not rule regarding a lesser court’s ruling to overturn California’s Proposition 8. What impact does today’s ruling by the Supreme Court have on the church?
In short, none.
The Court’s ruling does not affect our ability to worship as we see fit. It does not affect our ability to love our neighbor as oneself. Regardless of what happens with marriage, the gospel doesn’t need “family values” to flourish. In fact, it often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it. That’s why the gospel rocketed out of the first-century from places such as Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth, and Rome. These places were anything but Mayberry RFD.
As believers in America, we need to be conscious of our citizenship. The Bible teaches that followers of Jesus are primarily citizens of heaven. Followers of Jesus are “strangers and aliens” in this world (Ephesians 2:9, 1 Peter 2:11). In fact, our citizenship is “in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).
At the same time, as American citizens we have been afforded certain rights as well, among those the right to speak freely, to assemble, to worship without government intrusion, and to vote. Paul exercised his right as a Roman citizen to be afforded certain privileges in Jerusalem: addressing the crowd at the temple, as well getting out of being scourged and imprisoned (Acts 21:26 – 22:29). All Americans should be able to have civil conversations about issues and vote their conscience without labels. If I don’t agree with you or vote your way, it should not be considered hateful, and vice versa, no matter the issue.
That’s not to say that there aren’t hateful things that get said in American speech. However, the First Amendment actually protects your right to say stupid, ignorant, uninformed, and yes – even hateful things. While I wish people didn’t say such things, I’m glad for the First Amendment, because it also protects my right to say intelligent, informed, and good things; it also protects my freedom to assemble and my freedom to worship.
Neither DOMA nor Prop. 8 are necessities for Christianity. Christianity exists and thrives in many cultures. The house church movement is alive and well in China, a country that has brutal, horrific population control laws in effect. Christianity thrived in secret under threat of persecution and death behind the iron curtain. In short, how a culture decides to rule on marriage will not impact the spread of Christ’s love to our neighbors.
The church should stop mourning what they/we see as a political “loss” and start celebrating their true citizenship by engaging our culture with the love of Christ.