Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation; co-author of "What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense," and author of the forthcoming "Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom."
The Rev. Donald Armstrong
St. George's Anglican Church
Of course this is no surprise--the activist court has been developing a divine sense of itself to re-image creation and godly order for well over a hundred years.
The church has always stood apart from culture and state to speak truth to both . . . and we will continue to do so.
But will Christians be granted the protections to continue to speak and act according to their faith, or will Christian teaching become hate speech, Christian practice become discrimination? Will the cross become the next Confederate flag?
What sort of rule of government will we have? Charles Murray tells this story in “American Exceptionalism”: “As Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall on the final day of the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him, ‘Well, Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?’ Franklin replied, ‘A republic, if we can keep it.”
The emotional terrorism of the left has already made our positions dangerous to even contemplate. FOX News was relieved to focus on Justice Roberts' conflicting judicial argument for Obamacare and against same-sex marriage, instead of talking about the implications of the ruling.
The risk to keeping the balance that makes America exceptional is high. Will we keep the balance that allows for religious freedom and freedom of speech . . . or will religious institutions face sanctions, denied the very rights and benefits same-sex couples have just won?The Rev. Donald Armstrong is rector of St. George's Anglican Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The Supreme Court has now ruled on gay marriage. They have proved zealous in their protection of a particular view of liberty. I can only pray that they will now prove equally zealous in protecting the religious liberty that will likely be severely endangered in consequence. As I looked for glimmers of hope in the majority opinion, this passage stood out to me:
"Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons."
I also take some solace in the fact that the opinion was 5-4 with the Chief Justice in dissent. He has been raked over the coals as some kind of fake conservative. Whatever one might say about him, he took his stand on maybe the biggest decision since Roe v. Wade. He flatly stated something that I think has needed to be heard by all during the last decade:
"And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational."
The war over gay marriage appears to have been won. What remains is to see how far the consequences extend. I hope that Christian institutions will retain their convictions and that they will be permitted to continue to participate on an equal footing in American society. Liberal nostrums about the value of dissent are likely to be much tested in coming years.
Hunter Baker, J.D, Ph.D., is an associate provost at Union University and author, most recently, of "The System Has a Soul: Essays on Christianity, Liberty, and Political Life."*****
"Court rulings are often overturned. This one should be. The justices have created for themselves the right to create rights. The circularity there should be obvious. It’s an invention out of vapor, an action based upon nothing. In another sense, it’s a base sort of action.
"The judgment that counts is this one: 'Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven' (Psalm 119:89, NKJV)."
Tom Gilson is the vice president for strategic services at Ratio Christi, the chief editor of “True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism,” the author/host of the Thinking Christian blog, and a columnist at BreakPoint.org.******
Russell Moore, Acts of Faith, The Washington Post:
"This gives the church an opportunity to do what Jesus called us to do with our marriages in the first place: to serve as a light in a dark place. Permanent, stable marriages with families with both a mother and a father may well make us seem freakish in 21st-century culture.
Today’s decision undermines the natural right of every child to know the identity of his or her own parents, and as far as possible, to be in a relationship with and to be raised by both his or her mother and father.
No amount of legal mumbo-jumbo or cultural happy-talk can fully compensate for this fundamental structural injustice.
Forty-two years after Roe v. Wade, the majority of the country opposes abortion -- the ultimate structural injustice to children. Future generations will come to their senses and realize the injustice that a genderless marriage institution inflicts on children. But when those people of the future overturn today’s ruling, not a single child born motherless or fatherless in a gender-neutral marriage will get his or her missing parent back. The structural injustice to children will be deep and permanent.
The thin disguise of “marriage equality” will not fool anyone. Nor will it atone for the wrong done this day.
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute, which brings hope and healing to the victims and survivors of the sexual revolution.******
"A culture that sees through the dark lens of radical autonomy ('Don’t like abortion/gay marriage? Don’t get one!') will likely misunderstand our motives. We can expect accusations against our character, calling us driven by hatred ('misogyny!'), fear ('homophobia!'), and personal piety rather than social good ('how does gay marriage threaten your marriage?').
"If we know these charges to be false, then we must show them to be. If we are confident we are not on 'the wrong side of history,' as many aver, then we must acknowledge and repent of the times when the church was on the wrong side: slavery, segregation, women’s suffrage—the list is much too long. We must reprove such accusations less with our words and more with our lives."Karen Swallow Prior, Ph.D., is professor of English at Liberty University, Research Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and author of "Fierce Convictions--The Extraodinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist."
The great challenge for leaders of the believing church is to recognize that the threat to our religious liberty is not something looming in a distant future -- it's now. Pastors need to assume a more prophetic stance, teaching their people that the truths of Scripture regarding human sexuality are not malleable and that neither the rulings of a court nor the pressure of secular culture should sway their allegiance to clear and authoritative biblical instruction on men, women, family, and marriage.
The most immediate political priority is defending the tax-exempt status of houses of worship and religious schools and colleges that will not accede to the legal implications of a finding that there is a constitutional "right" to same-sex unions. The loss of such status would cripple Christian ministries and schools across the country. Congress needs to pass the First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect "those individuals and institutions who promote traditional marriage from government retaliation."
Rob Schwarzwalder is senior vice president for the Family Research Council.
"As this issue will no doubt be like the abortion issue has been ever since 1973 and before, we as a people of one nation have a long road of passionate and deeply held disagreement before us in the public square, over the back fence, around the water cooler, over the dinner table and in our places of worship. We must each ask ourselves and seek answers to the question of 'How do we as a Americans disagree with substance and passion while still treating each other with care, dignity and respect?'
"No court can answer that question for us. It is up to each of us to seek the answers and demonstrate them the best we can.
"Can we agree on and commit to that?"
Glenn T. Stanton is the director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, a research fellow at the Institute of Marriage and Family in Ottawa, and the author of "Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor: Being Friends in Grace and Truth."
The SCOTUS decision doesn't so much redefine marriage as abolish it. In every culture throughout history, the single unifying characteristic of marriage has been that it is ultimately about connecting fathers and mothers to each other and to their children, so that children can be brought into the world and raised in a stable environment. Because it performs such an essential role for the survival of society, marriage has always been given a privileged position. It is not just about the couple, or the government would have no role in regulating what would amount to be a private relationship between two people. In effect, SCOTUS has preserved the name of marriage but has abolished the institution with this decision. We are now in uncharted waters, and the decision will have both foreseen consequences for religious liberty, and a host of unforeseen and unforeseeable consequences for society as a whole.
Glenn Sunshine, Ph.D., is professor of early European modern history at Central Connecticut State University and author of "Why You Think the Way You Do: A History of Western Worldviews from Rome to Home."******
How should Christians respond? Though we must not mitigate the consequences of this decision, ours is a long-term view. The church has persisted through unjust kings and courts before, and will until Christ returns once and for all. In the meantime, we have a job to do. The Manhattan Declaration describes it well:
"To strengthen families, we must stop glamorizing promiscuity and infidelity and restore among our people a sense of the profound beauty, mystery, and holiness of faithful marital love. We must reform ill-advised policies that contribute to the weakening of the institution of marriage, including the discredited idea of unilateral divorce. We must work in the legal, cultural, and religious domains to instill in young people a sound understanding of what marriage is, what it requires, and why it is worth the commitment and sacrifices that faithful spouses make."Eric Teetsel is executive director of the Manhattan Declaration and co-author of "Marriage Is: How Marriage Transforms Society and Cultivates Human Flourishing."