Dr. Harry Reeder was asked to write the following for the Birmingham News Opinions/Editorials page by Mr. Joey Kennedy. It has been published on al.com.
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)! Did they? The answer is both yes and no.
The answer is no “factually.” SCOTUS left DOMA intact and even stated (disingenuously) that the Federal government has no Constitutional interest in defining marriage since it is a matter of state law. But the DOMA provision denying Federal benefits to same-sex couples living in states not recognizing same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional. So how is it yes “actually?” Why were the “progressively cultural elites” high-fiving and cheering if it was not a “factual victory?” They knew the decision secured an inevitable “actual victory,” establishing a relentless trajectory to redefine marriage to accommodate so called same-sex marriage, driven by the desire to culturally affirm homosexuality as normative with its attendants of bi-sexuality and transgender-ism. So, where will this journey backward to the pagan practices of marital and sexual anarchy from which our barbarian forbearers were rescued centuries ago by the beneficial effects of Christianity lead us? Furthermore, how do those who desire to affirm and maintain the foundational institution of covenantal, conjugal, heterosexual, monogamous marriage respond to this marital and cultural devolution? First, let’s identify the inevitable consequences of this irrational and unconstitutional decision rivaled only by the devastating Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade rulings.
All of the major religions of the world and the centuries of cultural progress and stability that the historic institution of marriage has provided is now framed by Justice Kennedy as “inhumane,” “stigmatizing,” “intolerant” and “bigoted.” So, who is actually “stigmatizing,” “intolerant” and “bigoted?” This, at best thoughtless and at worst, absurd language in the majority opinion was clearly designed not only to frame the opposition but also to intimidate.
The “historic” view affirming marriage as essential to establishing families as the foundational building block of culture is now abandoned for a redefined view of marriage. Historically marriage was a covenantal (assent), conjugal (sexually consummated), monogamous (i.e. Utah was not allowed into the Union until they affirmed monogamy outlawing polygamy) and child-focused, protecting and nurturing the next generation. The “new” definition of marriage is an agreed partnership for personal fulfillment accommodating and affirming as normative any sexual behavior agreed upon by “consenting” adults. Therefore, marriage is no longer exclusively heterosexual. Monogamy cannot logically or legally be maintained since the identical arguments to abandon the “historic” view will also eventually affirm poly-amorous, bigamous, and polygamous “marriages.” Furthermore, marriage will no longer be conjugal as sexual consummation is biologically impossible in same-sex marriages. Finally, the flourishing of the next generation will no longer be the primal focus of marriage for two reasons. One, same-sex marriage cannot biologically reproduce children apart from technological intrusion and intervention. Two, by law and definition SCOTUS has now sentenced a segment of the next generation to either a “fatherless” or “motherless” family. A father’s love and guidance is overlapping yet distinct from a mother’s love and guidance and the reverse is also true. Both are necessary for a child’s well-being. While you can be a man or a woman and not give a father’s or mother’s love you cannot give a father’s love without being a man nor a mother’s love without being a woman. Men and women are equal but not interchangeable. In a broken world with disease, death and divorce single parenting is a reality which must be thoughtfully addressed with compassion by responsive communities, extended families and churches. But same-sex marriage and its future mutations intentionally assigns children to the disaster of either a fatherless or motherless childhood out of our self-absorbed pursuit of sexual anarchy now accommodated by sexual, marital and family chaos.
Enshrining Four Mythologies:
Myth #1: The untenable notion Biblically or scientifically that the practice of homosexuality is a genetically-determined sexual behavior.
Myth #2: To love and accept someone you must affirm and accept their behavior. As a sinner, saved by grace, I am called to love and accept others humbly and intentionally. But doing so does not require affirming and accepting their behavior. In fact, it may require challenging their behavior. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” To love a heterosexually promiscuous person, for instance, does not require me to accept and affirm their sexually immoral behavior even if they insist they cannot help themselves. I can share the forgiving grace of God in Christ who paid for our sins on the cross and the transforming power of God’s grace in Christ who not only “takes away our sins” but “takes us away from our sins”.
Myth #3: Tolerance as a virtue. Tolerance is actually the last refuge of the arrogant, bigoted and self-righteous. God calls Christians not to patronizingly tolerate others but to actively love them. Sin is not tolerated because it kills. People are not tolerated because it demeans. Homosexuals are no different than any of us caught in the deceptive, idolatry of any addictive sin. They, like us, are to be loved compassionately and courageously.
Myth #4: Sexually immoral behavior has amazingly become a civil right. This is an absolute affront to those who have experienced discrimination due to their God-given skin color.
Response? As a citizen, thoughtfully be engaged. Public policy is locally driven and the result of cultural engagement. As a Christian, first pray that the Lord would not “give us over” and instead send another Gospel Awakening like the one that gave birth to this nation in the 18th century. Second, commit “to speak the truth in love.” “Truth without love is barbarity and love without truth is cruelty.” Christ warned us that men and women, unrestrained by God’s grace, will call good, evil and evil, good. But in reality, while we may call what is immoral, legal, we cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. Finally remember that, in a sense, the SCOTUS decision has not changed a thing. The issues are still the same. “The wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” This message saves sinners with redeeming grace and blesses a nation with common grace.