The U.S. Supreme Court voted Wednesday to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act on equal protection grounds, allowing same-sex couples legally married to receive federal benefits. The Court also remanded the decision of the Ninth Circuit in the Proposition 8 case, holding that California’s Proposition 8 defenders didn’t have standing. Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission reacts to the rulings.
“This decision is far-reaching, with massive implications for family life and religious liberty, said ERLC President Russell D. Moore. The grounding of this decision in equal protection and human dignity means this is not simply a procedural matter of federalism. This is a new legal reality.
Regardless of what happens with marriage, the gospel doesnt need ‘family values to flourish. In fact, it often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it.
“In another sense, though, the marginalization of conjugal marriage in American culture has profound implications for our gospel witness. Marriage isnt incidental to gospel preaching.
“God designed the one-flesh union of marriage as an embedded icon of the union between Christ and his church. Marriage and sexuality, among the most powerful pulls in human existence, are designed to train humanity to recognize, in the fullness of time, what it means for Jesus to be one with his church, as a head with a body.
“Same-sex marriage is on the march, even apart from these decisions, and is headed to your community, regardless of whether you are sitting where I am right now, on Capitol Hill, or in a rural hamlet in southwest Georgia or eastern Idaho. This is an opportunity for gospel witness.
The gay and lesbian people in your community arent part of some global Gay Agenda conspiracy. They arent super-villains in some cartoon. They are, like all of us, seeking a way that seems right to them. If we believe marriage is as resilient as Jesus says it is (Mk. 10:6-9), it cannot be eradicated by a vote of justices or a vote of a state legislature.
If were going to preach that sort of gospel, we must make it clear that this cross-bearing self-denial isnt just for homosexually-tempted Christians. It is for all of us, because thats what the gospel is.
“Same-sex marriage is headed for your community. This is no time for fear or outrage or politicizing. Its a time for forgiven sinners, like us, to do what the people of Christ have always done. Its time for us to point beyond our family values and our culture wars to the cross of Christ as we say: Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And thats good news.”
More commentary from Russell D. Moore can be found in his “blog”:http://www.russellmoore.com/2013/06/26/how-should-same-sex-marriage-change-the-churchs-witness/ post, How Should Same-Sex Marriage Change the Churchs Witness?
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