While we absorb the gravity of Friday’s sharply-divided Supreme Court decision that imposed gay marriage on all 50 states, we do well to ponder the words of C. S. Lewis, the influential Christian writer and Cambridge University professor of Medieval Renaissance English, who offered words of wisdom about marriage and divorce. We can apply his acumen to the reality of same-sex marriages, but then we must go further because more is at stake.
Churches should frankly recognize that the majority of . . . people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by its own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.”
I agree with Lewis, who was writing about divorce here. As Christians we should be about the business of repairing and strengthening our own marriages and relationships so we can be salt and light to a dying world. Federally-mandated gay marriage in the 50 states is new territory, especially in the Bible belt. If we must live side-by-side with gay couples in a culture with a strong crusading homosexual agenda, our only hope is to strengthen ourselves spiritually and intellectually for the battle that awaits us.
We must hold true to our values and principles even while acknowledging that we are living in a post-Christian world, where secular humanists and atheists are better positioned to impose their agendas on us. However, as Bible-believing, God-fearing people, more than ever we must continue to boldly declare biblical truths about God’s perfect plan for human sexuality. We must teach this to our children and the people that God places in our path. As voices of truth, we will be persecuted. Why should we have a better fate than our Savior?
The Bible is not ambiguous about the proper Christian stance. Leviticus 18:22 states, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 20:13 prescribes death for violating this command, providing a portion of the scriptural basis for rejection of male homosexuality. In the New Testament, Romans 1:24–27 is frequently cited as condemning same-sex acts: “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves . . . For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” In addition, many Christians cite God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as their rationale for condemning same-sex unions. They state their belief that God, who does not change his standards of conduct, will deal harshly with a nation that endorses such behavior (Genesis 19:1–29).”
Because Scripture and religious reasoning are marginalized in the public square, opponents of same-sex marriages have often omitted faith-based values and principles in their public debates with non-believers. Opponents of religious reasoning consider faith-based opposition as bigoted, homophobic, and ignorant. Their name-calling has silenced many voices attempting to protest the vast changes sweeping through this country – changes that have subverted traditional Judeo-Christian values. Yet as long as most Americans profess Christianity, it is appropriate and reasonable for people of faith to defend biblical principles that have undergirded our nation.
The issue today is not about forcing homosexuals to embrace traditional Judeo-Christian values and compelling them to live as some Christians freely choose. It is about whether Bible-believing Christians are willing to take a stance for the future of our children. Some of us must be willing to risk our lives, livelihoods, and reputations to preserve fundamental freedoms long associated with this nation. Our freedom of speech and freedom of religion are at stake. If the U.S. Constitution is to mean anything, we must stand up and fight for what is just.
Source: Carol M. Swain, Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise, Chapter 5, pp. 106-108.