June 26, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court declared all bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. It symbolized more than any other culture-change White Christian America’s loss of power.
“Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared that ‘the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex cannot be deprived of that right and that liberty.’ But marriage is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. As the Chief Justice asserted in his dissent, the majority opinion did not really make any serious constitutional argument at all. It was, as the Chief Justice insisted, an argument based in philosophy rather than in law . . .
“Justice Antonin Scalia offered a stinging rebuke to the majority. ‘This is a naked judicial claim to legislative–indeed super-legislative–power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government,’ he stated. Justice Scalia then offered these stunning words of judgment: ‘A system of government that makes the people subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy'” (http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/06/27/everything-has-changed-and-nothing-has-changed-the-supreme-court-and-same-sex-marriage/).
Pro-same-sex-marriage folks have charged “discrimination.” Why should heterosexuals legally marry, but not homosexuals? They believe homosexual practice (including same-sex marriage) is “morally right”. Disallowed marriage is discrimination.
So was President Eisenhower’s executive order that anyone engaged in “sexual perversion” (homosexual practice) could not hold a job in the federal government. Through the 1950s and 60s the FBI “hunted down” and fired thousands of gay and lesbian federal employees.
In the 1970s “gay rights activists” began “an ambitious crusade: passing laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and housing” (The End of White Christian America”, p. 116). They’ve succeeded.
Public opinion has changed remarkably. In 1988 the “General Social Survey” found only 11% of Americans supported same-sex marriage. By 2003 45% of young adults (ages 18-29) favored it, while only 13% of seniors (age 65+) did. By 2014 only seven states had a majority of residents who opposed it. And only four major religious groups (white evangelical Protestants–66%, Mormons–68%, Hispanic Protestants–58%, and African-American Protestants–54%) oppose it today.
Author Robert P. Jones predicts, “[even among these groups] generational differences make it clear that opposition to gay rights will ultimately lose its power as the culture war weapon of choice” (p. 129). Why? Because younger Americans “abandon traditional religious institutions” that mark homosexual practice as “sinful, immoral or perverse” (p. 131). The public increasingly supports same-sex marriage.
Jones opines: “The generational divides over LGBT rights are momentous for the evangelical branch of White Christian America and for conservative religious groups generally . . . Conservative religious groups’ very future hinges on how willing they are to navigate from the margins toward the new mainstream . . . Refusing to reevaluate . . . may relegate conservative religious groups to cultural irrelevancy and continued decline, as more and more young people leave church behind” (p. 133).
Can we–should we–“reevaluate”?
Russel Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in 2013 said, “The Sexual Revolution isn’t content to move forward into bedrooms and dinner tables. The Sexual Revolution wants to silence dissent. The religious liberty concerns we are grappling with already will only accelerate . . . If we have to choose between Jesus and Millennials (who favor same-sex marriage), we choose Jesus” (p. 142).
Confession: some Christians have treated same-sex marriage proponents unChristianly. We must repent and reevaluate attitudes and actions. We must learn to love the sinner. We must be graced by God to “speak the truth in love.”
Homosexual practice is not an especially egregious sin. It’s one among many. “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God”–1 Corinthians 6:9b,10, ESV).
But it is sin. That we can’t reevaluate. No matter public opinion. No matter our minority status.
The big burden of these end-of-white-Christian-America blogs is knowledge and preparation. To know the cultural change in which we live. And to prepare for living in it as Jesus-followers.
In a later book (Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel) Russell Moore writes: “Above all we must prepare people for what the future holds, when Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality aren’t part of the cultural consensus but are seen to be strange and freakish and even subversive . . . for a world that views evangelical Protestants and traditional Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews and others as bigots or freaks” (quoted in The End of White Christian America, p. 143).
Are we ready for that? Are our young adults? Are our children and grandchildren?
Not Dead Yet.
This blog (link below) may soften my blog’s blow a bit. Reading it is worth the risk.