From the Associated Press this morning:
“The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex weddings to start in Alabama, letting the number of gay-marriage states climb in advance of a constitutional showdown that may mean legalization nationwide.
In a 7-2 order, the justices rejected Alabama’s bid to stop a federal trial judge’s legalization order from taking effect Monday. The state now will become the 37th where gays can marry.”
At first glance, this perhaps doesn’t look like much in terms of news. States’ marriage laws have been crashing down left and right like felled timber over the past 2 years, and it’s hardly shocking that Alabama has joined the ranks of the other 36 places in the U.S. where same sex couples can legally contract a “marriage.”
No big deal, right?
Live and let live, and live the life you love, and you love who you love, and all the other platitudes that fill the airwaves and our ears in this modern cultural milieu.
I have some news for us Christians, and maybe it’s going to come as a bit of a shock, but it may well be that none of those clever turns of phrase are going to apply to us before too long.
Make no mistake, this has never been about simply leveling the playing field so that all may freely participate in the institution of marriage; what it is about – what it has always been about – is redefining and recreating marriage into something else entirely.
And when something gets redefined, the old definition is, by necessity, destroyed. Retired into the annals of history, if you will. Marked down as a tried-and-failed social experiment, and abandoned in the name of Progress.
If you believe that Christians, Jews, progressive Muslims, people of other faiths who practice monogamous, heterosexual life-long fidelity within the context of a religious sacrament are going to be allowed to continue to teach, preach, and contract said marriages in peace once gay “marriage” is enshrined as the law of the land, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Maybe not immediately, but highly likely in the not-too-distant future
If you think you’re going to be able to teach your publicly-schooled fourth grader that sex is sacred and reserved for the intimate communion of marriage between husband and wife, you may have another think coming. (And possibly a visit from CPS, to boot.)
Once gay “marriage” becomes the law of the land, it will no longer be possible to hold a competing worldview and still be viewed, either professionally or legally, as a person of good will.
You will be a bigot, first and foremost. A menace to the pluralistic good of a society unshackled from the burdensome moral code of the past. And your kind – our kind – may not be tolerated.
Oh, it might not be a matter of legal troubles, at least not yet. It will probably be a quieter persecution. Passed over for a promotion. Let go from a job. Denied entry to a committee or school organization. Little things like that, white martyrdoms in varying shades of grey.
Because you see, it’s not really possible to live and let live when life trajectories are fundamentally opposed. Something has to give, someone has to yield.
We can’t all be right.
Relativism only works on paper. In real life it plays out like this: someone is right, and someone else is a bigot who is breaking the law.
Marriage can’t be both a monogamous, permanent, life-long commitment between a man and a woman and an open-ended sexual relationship configured by any two consenting adults. The two definitions are fundamentally contradictory.
And while I may be perfectly capable of ignoring the antics and goings-on behind my neighbor’s bedroom doors right now, when I am forced to publicly endorse their lifestyle by the laws of the land, my reality is altered.
Then it’s no longer live and let live, but becomes instead applaud what we do and accept what we teach, because you are now legally bound.
It’s time for us to wake up. Authentic Christian charity doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to social ills and harmful behavior just because they’re fashionable, trending heavily on Twitter, and popular in Hollywood.
I can love my gay brother or sister – and indeed, true love is willing the good of the other – without endorsing the institution of gay “marriage.”
But I may not have that option forever.
One day in the not-too-distant future, it might not be okay to say that in public. It may be something we whisper in private: “oh, we still believe in the Sacrament of Marriage personally, but we can’t talk about it here.”
And you know what? That’s on us. We have been hand-picked, each one of us, to occupy this unique space in this place and time in history. So what witness are you prepared to give, and what defense for the faith you have?
We ought to be praying, fasting, working like crazy to share the goodness and the truth and the beauty of married love. Not sticking our heads in the sand and pulling our kids, our voices, our potential to be influencers and world changers, out of the public square.
We have to be fearless. St. John Paul II said to us, over and over again, “be not afraid.” This is the heart of the Gospel: perfect love that casts out all fear.
I won’t let my fear of what somebody may think of me prevent me from speaking the truth. And so long as we have the freedom to do so, we ought to be speaking it boldly, humbly, inviting people in to the Faith, not cowering in church doorways, bracing ourselves for disaster.
Be not afraid. Over and over again, I have to remind myself. Be not afraid.
Gay “marriage” isn’t going to satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart; only the one Who created us can do that. Let’s invite as many people as we can to experience the truth of that firsthand. Jesus is what this sad, suffering culture of ours seeks, whether or not they know Him by name. And if we center our lives and our marriages on Him, we cannot lose.
Marriage is a beautiful vocation, and it is worthy of being defended. But it is our lived example that speaks volumes to a visually distracted and chaotic culture starved for beauty.
So that awkward encounter with a fellow commuter holding a matching newspaper early in the morning? Be not afraid.
A hard conversation with a beloved friend or college roommate who champions an alternate view of marriage? Be not afraid.
An unpopular stance with your child’s school administration for the sake of your impressionable 5th grader who won’t be participating in the sex-ed program? Be not afraid.