CONTENTION. So warned Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary after the Solicitor General of the U.S. admitted Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court, “It is . . . it is going to be an issue.” Mohler called this same-sex marriage case possibly ” . . . the greatest threat to religious liberty of our lifetime.”
ACCOMMODATION. A key question of the Solicitor General came from Chief Justice Roberts: “Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same-sex couples?”
The Solicitor General replied that “the federal government, at present, does not have a law banning discrimination in such matters on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” Regarding the states, he said, ” . . . that is going to depend on how the States work out the balance between their civil rights law . . . and how they decide what kinds of accommodations they are going to allow under State law.”
Mohler concluded: “The Solicitor General of the United States just announced (in his answer) that the rights of a religious school to operate on the basis of its own religious faith will survive only as an ‘accommodation’ on a state by state basis, and only until the federal government passes its own legislation with whatever ‘accommodation’ might be included in that law.”” Mohler points out the same principles regarding student housing would “apply to the admission of students and the hiring of faculty.”
“Accommodation” is an ominous term. It means in this instance, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “to give consideration to : allow for the special interests of various groups.” In other words, the norm would be a Christian college (opposed to same-sex marriage as a matter of faith) would have to admit same-sex married students, provide housing for them as they do for different-sex married students, and hire a same-sex married faculty member. The college would have to seek special consideration from the government to practice their faith in those areas.
TAX-EXEMPTION. Finally, when asked by Justice Alito, regarding tax exempt status for religious institutions such as universities or colleges, the Solicitor General answered, “You know, I . . . I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue.” Mohler warns, “The loss of tax-exempt status would put countless churches and religious institutions out of business, simply because the burden of property taxes and loss of charitable support would cripple their ability to sustain their mission.” That the Solicitor General of the U.S. before the U.S. Supreme Court would admit that Christian institutions retaining tax-exempt status will be an issue is stunning. And a harsh reminder that we Bible-believers are increasingly in the minority when it comes to living out our faith in a society that values egalitarianism (a belief that all humans are equal especially regarding social, political, an economic affairs) over faith. In them has come true Paul’s words: “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). God—even on a non-sectarian basis—simply isn’t allowed into the argument.
ALIENATION. We may not realize it, but we who follow the Christ of the Scriptures are increasingly becoming strangers in society. The more “equal” everyone has to be in everything the more freedoms are forgotten—the first of which seems to be religious. Are we ready to be a fringe group? How should we then live?
Peaceful protests have their place. Voting for candidates who champion religious liberty does too. Without question prayer does, because we are commanded to pray for those in authority over us (1 Timothy 2:1,2)—and I know I at least don’t do much of that! But here’s one thing we must never stop doing: speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Paul exhorts us to that in a different context, but it certainly applies here as well.
The truth about same-sex “marriage” and its broad ramifications for religious liberty must be spoken. We can’t be silent however “homophobic” or out of touch with reality we may sound. But we must speak and act in love. All human nature is fallen in sin. We are sinners saved by grace—no different from the so-called gay activists, just different in sinful details. We all need to repent and follow the only One who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
No matter how few may be on that narrow road with us.
You can also hear who said what in this audio from “The Washington Post”. (Warning! It’s 90 minutes long.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/04/28/supreme-court-hears-arguments-in-same-sex-marriage-case-obergefell-v-hodges-today/