The Supreme Court of the United States has announced that, in the coming months, it will consider two cases that deal directly with the definition of marriage.
The court will take up the issue of Proposition 8, in which lower courts invalidated the will of the people of California to legally define marriage as being between one man and one woman. The court will also take up the case of the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA), which was passed with bipartisan support in 1996. But in 2011, President Obama instructed the Department of Justice not to defend DOMA in court.
What all this means is that, on a legal level, 2013 will be a very important year for the institution of marriage as publicly defined in the United States of America. In fact, many, including Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration, are calling this the Roe v. Wade of marriage. It’s also, therefore, a very important year for the issue of religious liberty. Chuck Colson warned us for years that so called same-sex “marriage” was the gravest threat to religious freedom in the United States, the HHS mandate notwithstanding. It’s hard to be optimistic about any compromises after that fiasco.
The simple fact is that Christians must be prepared to talk thoughtfully and winsomely about what’s at stake when it comes to the legal definition of marriage, and to dispel the myths that are often perpetuated by the supporters of gay “marriage.” Groups like the Heritage Foundation, the National Organization for Marriage, Alliance Defending Freedom, Christian Medical Comment, the Ruth Institute and CrossExamined have created very helpful talking points on the issue. Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I will link you to them.
In addition to speaking out whenever we can, we must also remember that the Supreme Court will not able to solve the marriage problem in America. Don’t get me wrong. What the justices decide in these two cases is extremely important. Still, if traditional marriage is upheld legally, marriage as an institution is still collapsing around us practically. Cohabitation is on the rise, divorce is normal and the birthrate continues to dive.
So, it’s important that we ask: what else can we do?
First, churches need to educate their congregation on what marriage is. It’s stunning to me how many Christians think marriage is primarily about personal happiness. It’s not. And once we embrace that false notion, the institution has already been dangerously redefined.
Second, churches need to surround young couples preparing for marriage with older couples who can mentor them. The benefits here will be mutual.
Third, we need to pray for government officials, including the Supreme Court. And we need to be active in the political sphere regardless of how these two decisions turn out, there will be other challenges in the future.
Fourth, we need to stay married. Period. Christians need to embrace that marriage is bigger than couples, bigger than personal happiness, bigger than we think. Marriage is the bedrock of the family, which is the foundation of civilization. Marriage is how God builds and rebuilds civilizations. And it is a visible symbol to the world of Christ’s love for His church. It’s really that serious.
Finally, we need to financially support a broad range of organizations and ministries that are working to rebuild the personal, social, legal and cultural status of marriage. Once again, come to BreakPoint.org, and we’ll link you to a number of these organizations.
Before I leave you today, I want to let you know that I share my thoughts on this and on all kinds of issues on Facebook and Twitter. I hope you will follow me and join the discussion. In fact, when I posted on the Supreme Court taking up gay “marriage,” one commenter wrote that the only argument she had against it was religious, and that “too many people don’t accept that argument.”
I was able to tell her with a final list of 77 non-religious reason reasons to support marriage. Look, we don’t always agree on specifics, but we can agree that now is no time to be on the sidelines. Jump in the game with us for marriage.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
Publication date: December 13, 2012