How should Christians process the findings of the Supreme Court today regarding same-sex marriages? Should Christians get with the 21st century and let all people be happy? Should Christians stand by traditional understandings of marriage? How much should Christians seek to have their beliefs affect the culture?
Every person certainly has their reasons why they are excited or disappointed with what happened in our nation’s capitol. The ruling confirms something to me that will probably not surprise you but has become clear to me today. The United States is officially a Secular Society.
I’ll unpack this but let me first take a step back. I want you to know, if you are reading this and thinking a caveman is about to grunt out some ridiculous tirade of old-fashioned nonsense, that I think same-sex marriage is reasonable. Not only reasonable but my experience also tells me that homosexuals should be happy. Many homosexuals are probably even better parents than many heterosexual couples. Yes, I just made that statement. Please don’t stop reading now if your blood is boiling. Please hear me out.
Let’s now move toward examining why I said our country is secular and how that should influence a Christian’s response to the Supreme Court. Today’s ruling did not surprise me one bit. After I heard the arguments put forth to the Supreme Court earlier this year I was pretty sure the court would rule in favor of same-sex marriage. I was truly embarrassed as I heard the lame arguments being made against same-sex marriage.
On National Public Radio (NPR) I listened to audio coming out of the Supreme Court. A man made the case marriage should only be between heterosexuals because marriage is intended for human beings to procreate. I cringed as I waited to hear this guy’s weak argument get destroyed. I didn’t have to wait long. If marriage is intended for procreation only, one Justice asked, should we have fertility checks before issuing marriage licenses? Shouldn’t infertile couples also be banned from marriage? How about older couples who have passed the child bearing years…should they also be banned from marriage? I felt so bad for the guy with the weak argument as he stuttered through some lame response.
I believe the man who was arguing against same-sex marriage had a bullet proof argument. He could have utilized the trump card of sola Scriptura. Christians, you see, believe the Bible is not the only authority for human beings. There are many authorities in our life directing our thoughts and actions. Our parents are authorities. Our reason is an authority. Tradition is an authority. Experience is an authority. Christians do not believe the Bible is the only authority in our life. Christians do believe Scripture is the ultimate authority.
Let me give you a quick example. If your parents gave birth to you out of wedlock you are traditionally given the unfortunate label of: bastard child. You grow up with the experience from your grandmother that you are indeed a bastard child. You look around at your seemingly pathetic life and reason that they must be right you are the scum of the earth. Then you turn to scripture and learn God loves you, sent His Son for you, and wants you with Him forever. What authority wins? The concept of sola Scriptura is that God’s thoughts, through His Word, trump all other human authorities.
Can you imagine what would have happened if the lawyer arguing against same-sex marriage would have said:
Honorable Justices. I believe God has spoken in Scripture. I believe He is good and desires good things for His universe and all of humankind. It is our sole argument before this court that the One who holds this world in His hands has communicated marriage to be a heterosexual union. We have utilized time-tested textual critical and hermeneutical principles to arrive at this position.
Jay Leno, David Letterman, Bill Maher, Steven Colbert, Jon Stewart and many others would have kept people laughing for weeks at such a ridiculous statement. The Justices would not have been able to take such a statement seriously. Sola Scriptura is not admissible in court.
There is a strong possibility I would support same-sex marriage if God did not exist. I would allow the lesser authorities of my reason and experience to dictate my decision. Yes, I have heard legitimate evidence in the realms of experience and reason against same-sex marriage but I think most Christians should cede those realms over to those in favor of same-sex marriage.
I think it is helpful to communicate these distinctions in authority when we discuss this issue over the next several days with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Younger people, especially, are very high in their reason and experience supporting same-sex marriage.
I invite you to comment below. First, I offer a chain of thoughts to use as a springboard into dialogue.
If there is a God…If He has communicated to humanity…If the Bible is His Word…If God is good…If He has spoken on this issue…If He is in charge…Should we listen?