Today’s news about the legalization of gay marriage is no doubt historic. It is a huge shift from where our country was and shows us where our country is. A freedom has been granted, where before that freedom was denied. Yet, aside from my theological views on same-sex marriage I am worried about this “gained freedom” having the possibility of others losing their freedom.
Let me explain what I mean. Over the recent decades, Christendom has taken many vicious blows from culture. Granted, some are very valid and the rebuke was needed. Yet, these cultural blows have now created the possibility of yet another group for our American society to hate. The issues of racism, classism, sexism and now homophobia have been discussed and have seen many leaps forward in the way of bringing equality to the masses. I am under no delusion that these issues are gone mind you as we have seen clearly in the many recent news clippings of racism being a live and well, not the least of all being the most recent shooting in the AME Church in South Carolina. We have seen a mantra of “Love Wins” rule the airwaves, and gain traction on these issues…yet there is a sense of hypocrisy within the cloud of this message. There is a new group being hated.
The message is this: “Love will win when everybody thinks the same way we do. If you do not think our way and agree to our idea of equality, we will berate you, smear your name and hate you until you agree”. This overarching message of Love will Win is antithetical as to how it is being approached. Love winning is not full agreement, Love winning is choosing to go after the betterment of others despite our disagreements.
Let’s be honest and admit that we have all been guilty of not going after each others betterment, no matter where you stand on this issue. Many in the way of “the Love of Christ” have gone after this issue antithetically to the Gospel message as well, this party touting the mantra of “Love Wins” is not the only guilty party in this. However, this group has hatefully proposed their agenda of love against those who claim to be Evangelical Christians. In much of the “pro-love” language is a sly, hate filled message. For example, this recent piece on Matt Walsh titled: “Jesus Would Hate This Christian Blogger Just as Much as You Do” is not the innocent tirade against one loud voice in the Evangelical world…it is a manifesto against all Christians who think like him. Jennifer, the blogger even puts hate in her title. She’s not simply trying to call out or “Jesus slap” one Christian, but all of them who may believe close to similar things as Matt.
Do not get me wrong…Matt Walsh is not my person of choice to voice the views of Christendom, nor do I largely agree with much of what his platform stands upon, but this hate language is hypocritical and opposed to everything this group states they are standing on. They desire to see the bullying of gay people to cease. So do I! To hate someone based on their sexual preference is despicable. However, they bully folks just as much, in particular Christians and the Church. The words they use are words of hate and bullying, not words of “Love Winning”.
What does this have to do with a group losing freedom?
The freedom of Religion may be in danger. It doesn’t have to be in danger, but it may very well be. For many Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindu’s and Christians gay marriage is not allowed within their religious beliefs, so it is not “sound” for them to perform such unions. Thus, as places of worship that hold to this belief, they cannot (due to religious belief, not bigotry) perform gay weddings or ceremonies. With this recent development, the government may state that this is illegal and that in order to be allowed to marry anyone, these institutions, by law must be willing to marry everyone. This legal movement would infringe upon two major realties in our country- the separation of church and state as well as religious freedom.
This would then open up the possibility of couples purposefully finding religious institutions against gay marriage to seek these institutions to marry them, knowing full well the stance this institution may hold. This couple could then sue, or have those responsible for denying them (if it’s made law) placed in jail for their denial of marrying them. This is a very real issue that may begin to pop up not too long after today. Love then won’t win. The legs upon which this platform stands on would prove to be nothing more than wobbly pegs.
This is NOT an anti-gay post, my point in this post is to bring caution to the very real slippery slope we could be on as a country, the slope of losing freedom even as we gain freedom. We could be granting freedoms while taking some away. Again, this doesn’t have to be the case with this ruling…but it may very well be the case. I write this also to offer a prophetic voice to churches. I’ve stated before in other blogs about churches losing their tax break from the government, especially in light of this issue. If churches who deny providing gay weddings lose their tax break, society would celebrate, yet many churches would crumble. We must realize as the Christian church, more than any other religious group we are on our way out of importance in Western society (if not already ousted). We must begin to enact the very wise counsel of Jesus and be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. In recent years we have been neither and we are paying the piper on that failure now. Many Christians in recent decades acted as if they ruled the country and because they “stood on Biblical principles” they were blessed and could do whatever they wanted to do. The current church is now reaping the painful benefits of such an attitude.
We must now live more cautiously and less brazenly. We must submit to Christ’s way of living, rather than our own way. We may yet be able to fight against losing these freedoms of separation of church and state as well as freedom of religion, but I doubt for long we will. May we be prepared for the worse, yet pray and hope for the best. If the times comes when these things change, may we respond with true love and not with the hypocritical love with which we have previously responded.