Evangelicals pledge to defend traditional marriage by witness and example
June 29th, 2015
Those who make a living defending God and the family from television commercials, gay pizza eaters, and children’s books are frothing and spewing about the Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality. They are pledging that they “refuse to accept” the ruling and calling for a constitutional amendment.
Meanwhile, the most prominent Evangelical Christians are taking another path entirely.
Evangelical Christianity (in this instance) is comprised primarily of Baptist, Pentecostal, Non-Denominational, conservative Lutheran, conservative Presbyterian, Brethren, Reformed, and other smaller denominations.
Of these, the Pentecostal movement has mostly stayed out of the political fray. This is consistent with their tradition of seeing themselves as outside of the world to a large extent. Also mostly outside the political debate have been Brethren, Reformed, and the more conservative cousins of Mainline denominations.
But for many years, Southern Baptists railed against homosexuality and fought a culture war determined to keep equality out of the hands of their LGBT brothers and sisters. And those states in which Southern Baptists hold sway are chuck-full of anti-gay politicians who make little effort to hide their animus.
However, a few years back I noticed that there had been a shift in the Baptists’ approach. The SBC, though still hostile and hurtful, appeared to be largely stepping out of the battle. And their response to the Supreme Court ruling, along with other leading Evangelicals, is even more an evidence of this disengagement.
In a statement entitled Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage, a virtual who’s who of evangelical leaders staked out their position in response to marriage equality being found to be constitutionally protected. Signatories includes such leaders as David French, Eric Teetsel, Jim Daly, John Stonestreet, Marvin Olasky, Paul Nyquist, Albert Mohler, Richard Land, Ronnie Floyd, and many more.
Absent from the list were the usual clutch of firebrands, extremists, and lunatics. And the statement reflects a serious approach based less on political rhetoric and hyperbole and focused instead on how this change impacts the lives of those who share this faith.
Yes, they proclaim that “The Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman”, when anyone with a Bible would be hard pressed to find such a marriage within its covers. But this is a statement of faith, a proclamation of belief, rather than a call to arms. And their objection to the ruling is termed as a dissent.
The meat of their statement is in what they commit to do.
The gospel must inform our approach to public witness. As evangelicals animated by the good news that God offers reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, we commit to:
- Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7);
- teach the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;
- affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;
- love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;
- live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;
- cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.
I will, of course, fight any of their democratic efforts to exclude me from full inclusion in society. And I’m not sure that we would draw the same boundaries for religious liberty. But otherwise I don’t find much with which to quibble.
Should Evangelicals live up to this mandate – to live respectfully, loving all people, and affirming dignity and respect – I would find them to be good neighbors and decent people. And if they wish to live an example of what marriage ‘should be like’, that would certainly go farther than all the name-calling and rejection that they have engaged in over the past several decades.
Facebook celebrates marriage ruling
June 29th, 2015
In the days since the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality, some 26 million people utilized a facebook app that would apply rainbow colors to your profile picture. That’s a lot of celebration.
Yes, Puerto Rico too
June 28th, 2015
Friday’s marriage ruling applies not only to the 50 states, but also to US territories. Puerto Rico is taking steps to comply. (AP)
Just hours after the court’s decision, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order requiring government agencies to become compliant with the ruling within 15 days. As a result, the island’s Health Department is expected to begin issuing marriage licenses by early next month.
There has been a case before the First Circuit to determine whether the island’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the US Constitution. Puerto Rico’s Justice Department had abandoned the defense of the ban. Friday’s ruling resolves the case.
The White House Tonight (Updated)
June 27th, 2015
— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisanism) June 27, 2015
— Profound❤️Buds (@angel_kist) June 27, 2015
— Lady TaT (@LadyTakeAToke) June 27, 2015
— Raquel Villanueva (@Raq_Villanueva) June 27, 2015
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) June 27, 2015
— José Santiago (@JoseSantiago25) June 27, 2015
Niagara Falls goes rainbow pic.twitter.com/5ruheL0NnK
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 27, 2015
GOP Prez contenders respond
June 26th, 2015
Most of the presumed presidential candidates have weighed in on the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling today. Without exception, the Democrats expressed their delight and support.
But the Republicans had a number of different responses. As I see them, they fall into these categories:
Whew, that’s over
Some of the saner GOP candidates rightly see this as a favor from the courts and a way to get past the need to appeal to homophobes for the nomination and to the rest of the country in the general election. Their responses consist primarily of statements of respect for the courts and a promise to move forward.
Chris Christie opposed “the way it’s been done”
“I don’t agree with the way it’s been done, but I take an oath, and the same way I’ve supported and enforced the law here in New Jersey since our Supreme Court made their 7-0 decision on same-sex marriage, and I’ve supported and endorsed that law. I would have to do the same across the country,” Christie told reporters. “But I want to be clear — I don’t agree with the way it was done, but it’s been done, and those of us who take an oath have a responsibility to abide by that oath.”
He appears to be the only GOP candidate who forgot to remind everyone just how much he loves the one man and one woman marriage.
John Kasich is also moving on
“I do believe in the traditional sense of marriage — that marriage is between a man and a woman,” the Republican said during a Statehouse news conference with legislative leaders.
But, he added, “We’ll honor what the Supreme Court does — it’s the law of the land. It’s the way that America functions.”
Kasich was asked how the state would handle anti-gay discrimination arising from the ruling — such as a photographer refusing to work a same-sex wedding.
“Let’s not create problems where there frankly is none — or very little,” the governor replied.
But we gotta protect religious freedom
Some took the above position, but also threw out some red meat to the cultural conservatives by adding statements of support for traditional marriage and a promise to defend religious freedom. However, they also were careful to appeal to move forward together as Americans.
Jeb Bush released this statement
Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.
He later told CNN that he opposed efforts to amend the constitution.
Ben Carson, in a rare moment of lucidity, said something similar:
While I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, their ruling is now the law of the land.
I call on Congress to make sure deeply held religious views are respected and protected. The government must never force Christians to violate their religious beliefs.
I support same sex civil unions but to me, and millions like me, marriage is a religious service not a government form.
Lindsay Graham was a bit wordier in saying much the same
I am a proud defender of traditional marriage and believe the people of each state should have the right to determine their marriage laws. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, and I will respect the Court’s decision. Furthermore, given the quickly changing tide of public opinion on this issue, I do not believe that an attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution could possibly gain the support of three-fourths of the states or a supermajority in the U.S. Congress. Rather than pursing a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail, I am committing myself to ensuring the protection of religious liberties of all Americans. No person of faith should ever be forced by the federal government to take action that goes against his or her conscience or the tenets of their religion. As president, I would staunchly defend religious liberty in this nation and would devote the necessary federal resources to the protection of all Americans from any effort to hinder the free and full exercise of their rights. While we have differences, it is time for us to move forward together respectfully and as one people.
Marco Rubio had this to say
While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.
“The next president and all in public office must strive to protect the First Amendment rights of religious institutions and millions of Americans whose faiths hold a traditional view of marriage. This is a constitutional duty, not a political opinion. Our nation was founded on the human right of religious freedom, and our elected leaders have a duty to protect that right by ensuring that no one is compelled by law to violate their conscience.
Carly Fiorina posted to FaceBook
The Court ruled today that all Americans should receive equal benefits and rights from the government under the law. I have always supported this view. However, this decision was also about the definition of marriage itself. I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage. I believe that responsibility should have remained with states and voters where this conversation has continued in churches, town halls and living rooms around the country.
Moving forward, however, all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience for those Americans that profoundly disagree with today’s decision.
Argle-Bargle, Sputter Spew
These candidates seemed less interested in where to go from here and seemed to see today as a day to vent their anger and spew their rage. They also hinted that somehow this could all be magically changed if you vote for them. Considering that changing the constitution was impossible twelve years ago when George W. Bush ran for reelection on the promise of a constitutional amendment (right up until the day he was reelected), these guys are either imbeciles or deeply cynical (or both).
Scott Walker issued a statement (which I don’t seem able to find directly)
“As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” Walker said in the statement.
Rick Perry (is he running again? really?) implied magical powers
I am disappointed the Supreme Court today chose to change the centuries old definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I’m a firm believer in traditional marriage, and I also believe the 10th Amendment leaves it to each state to decide this issue. I fundamentally disagree with the court rewriting the law and assaulting the 10th Amendment. Our founding fathers did not intend for the judicial branch to legislate from the bench, and as president, I would appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written.
Rick Santorum seems of the mind that one can simply not “accept bad decisions”
The Court is one of three co-equal branches of government and, just as they have in cases from Dred Scott to Plessy, the Court has an imperfect track record. The stakes are too high and the issue too important to simply cede the will of the people to five unaccountable justices.
But leaders don’t accept bad decisions that they believe harm the country, they have the courage of their convictions and lead the country down the better path. Marriage, the family and our children are too central to a healthy society to not fight for what is best. I realized that fact early on and that is why I lead the charge against some in my own party in 2004 to ensure the Federal Marriage Amendment received a vote and I continue to stand for marriage, for families, for freedom,” continued Santorum.
As President, I will be committed to using the bully pulpit of the White House to lead a national discussion on the importance to our economy and our culture of mothers and fathers entering into healthy marriages so that every child is given their birthright- to be raised by their mother and father in a stable, loving home. I will stand for the preservation of religious liberty and conscience, to believe what you are called to believe free from persecution. And I will ensure that the people will have a voice in decisions that impact the rock upon which our civilization is built.
I’m completely insane, just bat-poop loony-tunes crazy
Yes, I know that some of the positions taken above are irrational, contradictory, cynical or delusional. And yes I know that they are all damaging to both the national dialogue, the political culture, and the respect for the separation of powers.
But they, at least, sound sane. Maybe not bright (hello Rick Santorum and Ben Carson), but sane.
These guys don’t. At all.
Donald Trump chose to respond by Twitter
Once again the Bush appointed Supreme Court Justice John Roberts has let us down. Jeb pushed him hard! Remember!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2015
Which we think was his response to the marriage ruling. But it’s Trump. That could mean anything.
Mike Huckabee completely lost it and started ranting some truly weird nonsense.
I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.
This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny.
The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the laws of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment.
But as crazy as Huckabee’s “I will not acquiesce” insanity, no one quite does crazy as well as Bobby Jindal
Jindal released a statement and it wasn’t all that radical – or not by comparison
The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.
This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty.
The Jindal administration has said Louisiana’s state government won’t recognize gay marriage until a lower court rules on the issue. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has taken up a gay marriage case, but was waiting on the Supreme Court ruling before moving forward with it. The Jindal administration is now delaying recognition of gay marriage in Louisiana until this appeals court decision is issued.
Lawyers said the delay will probably only last a few days. Attorneys representing seven Louisiana same-sex couples have already filed a motion seeking to enforce the ruling in the state. The appeals court ruling will largely be a formality, now that the Supreme Court has issued an opinion.
And what the rest of his administration is saying is off the rails. (inforum)
In Louisiana, Republican Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office issued a statement saying that it had “found nothing in today’s decision that makes the Court’s order effective immediately.”
The Louisiana Clerks of Court Association was advising local clerks not to issue licenses for 25 days, the period in which the Supreme Court could be petitioned for a rehearing, said New Orleans lawyer Brandon Robb, whose firm specializes in working with the gay community.
Yeah…. cuz the Court may decide to rehear this case. And if the ruling doesn’t say “effective today” it can just be ignored. Uh-huh.
Congratulations, Bobby Jindal, you’ve managed to out-stupid Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Ben Carson combined.
June 26th, 2015
(p.s. hey anti-gays, you’re outraged. you probably should boycott youtube.)
Texas Gov. calls on state employees to deny benefits to same-sex couples
June 26th, 2015
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (GOP) has issued a proclamation to state employees defending their right to deny state services to gay couples.
All state agency heads should ensure that no one acting on behalf of their agency takes any adverse action against any person, as defined in Chapter 311 of the Texas Government Code, on account of the person’s act or refusal to act that is substantially motivated by sincere religious belief. This order applies to any agency decision, including but not limited to granting or denying benefits, managing agency employees, entering or enforcing agency contracts, licensing and permitting decisions, or enforcing state laws and regulations.
In other words, if a state employee has a “sincere religious belief” that your marriage license should be run through the shredder, Abbott thinks that he should do so. If a County Clerk has a “sincere religious belief” that you should be tarred and feathered rather than be allowed to marry, so be it. And if the head of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts refuses to accept your jointly filed tax returns because he has a “sincere religious belief” that same-sex couples aren’t really married, well his rights trump yours.
Of course, this is nonsense.
Undoubtedly individuals in Texas will probably not have to issue licenses. And it will be a hassle. But if a Clerk’s office decides not to comply with federal law, I think that the Clerk will soon discover that their beliefs – or those of their employees – do not outweigh a citizen’s rights. Irrespective of Abbott’s blustering.
What A Lifetime We’ve Witnessed!
June 26th, 2015
In one chart:
Obama’s Full Remarks On Same-Sex Marriage
June 26th, 2015
June 26th, 2015
— Betsey Stevenson (@CEABetsey) June 26, 2015
Jim Obergefell: Our Love Is Equal
June 26th, 2015
Obama Calls Jim Obergefell
June 26th, 2015
The President’s call came right in the middle of Obergefell’s interview with CNN on the steps of the Supreme Court:
Clarence Thomas’s Dissent Is Worse Than Scalia’s
June 26th, 2015
In his own quieter way, Justice Clarence Thomas out-scaliad Scalia. Thomas argued that gay couples didn’t have it so bad:
(p9): Whether we define “liberty” as locomotion or freedom from governmental action more broadly, petitioners have in no way been deprived of it.
Petitioners cannot claim, under the most plausible definition of “liberty,” that they have been imprisoned or physically restrained by the States for participating in same-sex relationships. To the contrary, they have beenable to cohabitate and raise their children in peace. They have been able to hold civil marriage ceremonies in States that recognize same-sex marriages and private religiousceremonies in all States. They have been able to travel freely around the country, making their homes where they please. Far from being incarcerated or physically restrained, petitioners have been left alone to order their lives as they see fit.
And even if they had been incarcerated, so what?
(p17): The corollary of that principle (of human dignity) is that human dignitycannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignitybecause the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignitybecause the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.
He also predicts “ruinous consequences for religious liberty”:
(p14): Aside from undermining the political processes that protect our liberty, the majority’s decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect.
(p16): Although our Constitution provides some protection against such governmental restrictions on religious practices, the People have long elected to afford broader protections than this Court’s constitutional precedents mandate. Had the majority allowed the definition of marriageto be left to the political process—as the Constitution requires—the People could have considered the religious liberty implications of deviating from the traditional definition as part of their deliberative process. Instead, the majority’s decision short-circuits that process, with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.
Guerrero legalizes same-sex marriage
June 25th, 2015
The state of Guerrero (Acapulco) in Mexico has announced that it will no longer enforce its ban on same-sex marriages.
In real terms, this means that Guerrero will not enforce the ampero process which requires the first five couples in a state to hire a lawyer, go to court, and get official permission to marry.
No Marriage Decision Today
June 25th, 2015
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, won today, as did all of us who depend on it for our health care. The remaining decision days for the marriage case are tomorrow and Monday.