June 24, 2016
It's been nearly a year since the Left told us that the legal redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples would have no negative effects. And yet, in the year since the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, we have seen dramatic evidence to the contrary. From its impact on families and churches to the inevitable legal fallout, the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage has indeed altered some of the most vital aspects of our society. On Friday, FRC hosted a discussion on the far-reaching effects the Obergefell decision has had on our nation in just one year.
Our panelists were Fr. Paul Sullins, Associate Professor of Sociology at Catholic University of America, who addressed the decision's effect on the family; Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, who spoke on the impact within the church; and Travis Weber, FRC's Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, who highlighted the legal ramifications of the decision.
Obergefell did indeed redefine marriage for our culture. However, while it may have redefined the way our nation views the institution, no court -- no matter how supreme -- can change biblical truth. Yet sadly, parts of the church have missed that message. While some denominations have turned their backs on the biblical definition of marriage by conforming to the culture, Mark Tooley says we can take heart knowing that -- at least for now -- the majority of protestant denominations have stood firm. He went on to point out some of the unexpected positives that have come out of this cultural shift: "In some cases, the court ruling arguably has strengthened Christian witness by amplifying the difference between secular civil society and the church's unchanging transgenerational universal teaching. The contrast for some is motivating and evangelistically helpful."
Although the decision has not affected the doctrine of the majority of churches, it unfortunately has dramatically affected believers who seek to live according to their sincerely held beliefs. According to Travis Weber, "The Supreme Court ruled that constitutionally, states cannot deny a license to two people of the same sex, and they must recognize such licenses from other states." And yet, if a clerk defers this task to someone else, the Left makes it their mission to marginalize and penalize them. Even if they aren't stopping the couple from receiving a license -- even if they are allowing the legal implications of the Obergefell ruling to take place -- the Left increasingly finds the need to intrude on the religious liberties of those with whom it disagrees. This trend continues to grow.
Over the past year, biblical marriage has undergone an unprecedented assault, causing a spiral in family dynamics. It has led to an endless list of stories in which people who stand up for their faith experience ridicule or worse, and yet, it is significant that the churches who have taken a stand for a biblical view of marriage have prospered.
There has indeed been an alarming shift in laws and family dynamics since the Obergefell ruling, but the light of truth and grace through the church -- which emanates from the God of truth and grace -- gives us hope. As we work together to bring a cultural revival for Christ; as we join in prayer and strive to live out our lives for His glory, we can make a difference. If you are looking for a practical way to effect change in our nation, visit the Call2Fall website and join us in falling on our knees together on July 3, 2016.
To watch today's lecture in full, click below.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.