I am not surprised, not in agreement, but not in panic.
(In anticipation of today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, I posted my thoughts on the historical perspective of this ruling a few weeks ago. To read that post, click here.)
Christianity Today gave a great initial summary of what has happened today here. Let me summarize their summary:
– The court was divided 5-4 on this ruling.
– The four dissenters are very worried about how this will effect individuals and organizations that oppose gay marriage for religious reasons.
– The five who voted for gay marriage are trying hard to clarify this new definition should not affect religious individuals and organizations going forward. This is good news under the circumstances.
It appears that the majority opinion is giving language to protect church and religion’s religious liberties. While this is not as satisfying as the court upholding traditional marriage, it gives us great hope that some of the drastic predictions about state meddling in the church’s definition of marriage may be an overreaction.
“It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned . . . The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”
So on this regrettable day for traditional marriage, it does not appear to create an immediate crisis for churches like CIL who choose to uphold the traditional, Biblical definition of marriage. Still, churches and Christians will need to continue to develop a theological framework as we are likely at the beginning of decades of back and forth judicial judgments as America works out this new reality.