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The U.S. Supreme Court and Same Sex Marriage

Updated on February 23, 2019
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Chris spent 50 years in the Evangelical world as a layman, as a student at a prominent Christian University, and as a missionary and pastor.

The United States Supreme Court Justices

Left to right-Justice Sotomayor, Justice Breyer, Justice Alito, Justice Kagan, Justice Thomas, Justice Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Justice Kennedy, Justice Ginsburg
Left to right-Justice Sotomayor, Justice Breyer, Justice Alito, Justice Kagan, Justice Thomas, Justice Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Justice Kennedy, Justice Ginsburg | Source

The Response of the Evangelical Community to the Ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court Regarding Same Sex Marriage

The response of Evangelical Christians to the recent Supreme Court decision regarding same sex marriage ranges from disappointment, to anger, to making confused and inaccurate comments regarding that decision.

Christianity Today magazine (June 26, 2015) says that the Christian response should be sixfold. The Church, says CT, should Rejoice, Repent, Rethink, Re-engage, Reach out, Rejoice (again). This article might well be the most reasonable and balanced Evangelical response to the Court's decision to reverse the ruling of the Sixth Circuit.

Other responses, such as that of 2016 presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, virtually call for civil disobedience by churches and Christian schools in regard to hiring gay employees. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, suggests that President Obama install extra lightning rods on the White House because he (the President) celebrated the Court's decision by displaying lights in the form of a rainbow, the common logo of the LGBT community.

Some declare that the Supreme Court has legalized same sex marriage in all fifty states. This of course is impossible since the Court does not make laws. It evaluates the constitutionality of legislation passed by the States and the U.S. Congress.

Franklin Graham


How Evangelical Christians View the U.S. Government

The Evangelical Christian community, in general, looks at the United States government as God’s (and their) instrument for determining, proclaiming and enforcing biblical morality in America. They seem to be saying that Congress is to determine what is moral, the Supreme Court is to proclaim what is moral and lower courts are to enforce what is moral, based on the teachings of the Bible.

The words and actions of the Evangelical Christian community over the last 40 years show that they not only see the role of government to be as described above, but they see their own role as being the watchdog over government. They believe it is their role to keep government on the right course, not veering to the right or to the left, but being faithful to their tasks of determining, proclaiming and enforcing biblical values in America.

The following question must be asked of the Evangelical Christian community, and an answer insisted upon. They should be asking this question themselves, but they have lost their way and can’t see that they are the ones who have veered off course. The question is this: Where in the Bible does it say that government is God’s instrument for determining, proclaiming and enforcing biblical, personal morality on its citizens?

White House Lit in Rainbow Lights to Celebrate Court's Ruling


Where in the Bible does it say that government is God’s instrument for determining, proclaiming and enforcing biblical, personal morality on its citizens?

What the New Testament Says About the Role of Government

Some Christians who may be reading this are already turning their Bibles to the New Testament book of Romans, chapter thirteen, which says that

rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

These words seem to say that government is God’s instrument for implementing a system of personal, biblical morality by which a nation should be governed. This is not what these words mean. The passage interprets itself on this point when the writer calls up a particular example of the “good” which government is to enforce. The example is taxation. The government is (statement of fact) God’s instrument for establishing certain codes of behavior (laws) that will enable all citizens of a nation to conduct their lives and businesses in a safe and secure environment.

If government had as its God given mission, to determine, proclaim and enforce biblical, personal morality, then we would see the New Testament calling on the government in Rome to get busy doing its job. But we don’t see this anyplace in the New Testament. And one must ask, why not?

Mike Huckabee Courts the Evangelical Vote


Government and Biblical Morality

The answer is really very simple. It is not the job of government to make individuals moral in the biblical sense. Were there gay people living in the Roman world at the time? Of course there were. And why didn’t the Apostle Paul or other Christian leaders of the time challenge the Roman government to pass laws against homosexuality? Because early Christian leaders knew it was not the Roman government's job to make its citizens moral in the biblical sense.

I believe that a thorough study of the New Testament will reveal that the tasks of determining, proclaiming and enforcing biblical, personal morality are God’s responsibility, which He has largely delegated to the Church. But he He has not delegated them to secular governments.

Why, oh Evangelical Christians, are you shirking your God given responsibility to determine, proclaim and enforce personal, biblical morality in the world? Why are you insisting that it is the job of government to do so? You, not the government, are the salt of the earth.

In What Real Way Will This Affect Your Life?


The Roles of Church and Government in Relation to Morality

It is the job of government to make and enforce laws that will provide for the safety and security of all its citizens. It is the job of the Church, not the government, to tell those citizens that they are sinners and need to abide by a moral code contained in the Bible.

In light of this, we must take a look at the Republican Party as it exists today. Fully one third of voters today are Evangelical Christians and the majority of them are Republicans. These are the people who want the United States government to determine, proclaim and enforce biblical, personal morality on the rest of us. As I have pointed out, this is a perversion of what even the Bible says should be the case.

The recent ruling of the Supreme Court, declaring that it would be unconstitutional for any state to institute a law prohibiting same sex marriage, is a perfect opportunity for us to see clearly how these things ought to be handled.

The United States government has a responsibility to provide for the fair treatment of all its citizens, LGBTs included. In that sense, it was right for the Court to rule as it did. Gays and Lesbians need a legal way to proceed with their relationships.

The Evangelical Christian Community has the freedom and the right to proclaim homosexuality to be a sin and an abomination to God, but it is the responsibility of the Church, not the State, to make that case.

© 2015 Chris Mills


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