Looking at The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: An Opinion on the Constitutional Issues & A Review of God’s Word

Posted: June 28, 2015 in 98-Current Events

As you know, unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, the Supreme Court of the United States of America issued its ruling on same-sex marriage earlier this week. I have not spoken publicly on this issue yet because I have been really trying to process my thoughts on this issue. My thoughts boil down to a couple of points. First, I have real concerns about the liberty of our society going forward when the Supreme Court our land steps out beyond its boundaries as the arbiter and interpreter of laws in relationship to the Constitution. Second, there is the issue that the rulings of the Supreme Court do not square with Scripture regardless of the spin that some place upon it. Finally, as Christ followers, we must approach this new world with an eye for pointing people to Christ, the same Christ that opened our eyes to our lifestyles that grieved the heart of God.

The first issue that I have been wrestling with in response to the Court’s ruling is that the Court made law this week instead of just interpreting it. Along those lines as well, did they interpret the Constitution correctly? I do not claim to be a constitutional law expert but there are some basic principles that I understand. I am a judicial conservative when it comes to the Constitution. In my opinion, we cannot make it say what it does not say just to solve a social problem. There are two linchpins on which this ruling rests. Those are the 10th Amendment and the 14th Amendment. Those arguing in front of the Court to preserve laws on the books argued under the 10th Amendment that the people of our country in causing this amendment to be added to the Constitution that there was a fear that the US central government could overstep its bounds if its powers were not specifically enumerated and limited to those that were enumerated. Progressively though over the past 150 years or so, the power of the 10th Amendment has slowly been eroding away by the courts, Congress and the Executive branches of government. Our Federal government has more power now than ever envisioned by the founders of our country. This week’s ruling again expands the power of the Federal government. The 10th Amendment expressly stated that those powers not specifically enumerated in the Constitution as belong to the central government were not to be its powers. Anything specifically stated as a power of the central government was specifically stated to be a power of the states and/or the people. I challenge anyone to find in the Constitution that the power of defining marriage as one of the powers of the central government. It has long been the purview of the individual states to regulate civil matters such as marriage, property, law enforcement, and other such matters that are so voluminous in nature that it would be impractical for the central government to process in a timely fashion. Therefore, one of the primary issues here to me is where does the boundary of what is federal and what is state end. That is one the scary aspects of this ruling is that it takes away another power from the states. Slowly but surely, every power granted to the states will be taken away so as to ensure that specific groups are protected. That is one of clear indications of the ruling is that the courts and the federal, central government is increasing taking away the power of individual states. Should not have these state laws have been invalidated by the Court and sent back to the states to be rewritten in such a way that is compliant with the Constitution. No, the courts decided to define for us what the law is. There was no remand order. Now, the real issue is where does the power of the central government end. The Federal government ripped a gaping hole in the 10th Amendment this week. The path that we are now on makes the need for state governments almost a waste of money and time. This is not what the framers of the Constitution envisioned. They so feared an all powerful central government that has every power imaginable that they fled to United States to free themselves from the tyranny of an all powerful central government. To enforce this ruling of the Court, even more power will be accorded to the central government. The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. This should be alarming to the average citizen of this country regardless of whether you see this issue as a spiritual or a secular one. Our country was founded on limited federal government. As Joey Tribianni once said to Chandler Bing on Friends when Chandler had kissed Joey’s girlfriend, “you are so far beyond the line on this one that the line is a dot to you!” We are so far beyond the line of limited federal government the 10th Amendment is completely gutted. It is a dot in our rear view mirror.

Those who argue for the legality of same-sex marriage before the Court made their arguments under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. This Amendment features the “due process of law” and “equal protection under the law” clauses under which so many issues have been argued before the Court. Proponents of same-sex marriage before the Court argued that the prohibition of same-sex marriage in the states that disallow it deprived them of the pursuit of life, liberty and property guaranteed by the post-Civil War enacted 14th Amendment. This amendment is the linchpin prevents persons from being denied access to rights under state law to declare laws that are in controversion to the amendment can be struck down. Brown vs. Board of Education that ended segregated public education was argued under this law among other landmark cases. In each of these previous landmark decisions, the arguments were to allow persons similarly situated to have the same rights under the law or that laws should be equally applied to all persons. The application of this due process and equal protection under the law is the troubling issue here. In cases of segregation, there was clear view a black man and a white man, a Native American and a white man, an Asian and a white man similarly situated should have the same rights and the same protection under the law. This concept is clear and unquestioned. The cases argued before the court were to ensure that all persons had access to rights. The issue of marriage seems more of a privilege than a right fundamental to the pursuit of life, liberty and property. Unmarried persons do not have any less protection under the law than married citizens. In case I was not married, I would still have guarantees of my ability to pursue life, liberty and property. The lack of marriage would not prevent me for enjoying equal protection under the law. Laws have not been enacted that prevent me from exercising my full rights as a citizen of a state or this country just because I am unmarried compared to married citizens. If I am unmarried, there are no laws that prevent me from passing on inheritance, voting, accessing basic human services, adopting a child and so on. Marriage, along these lines, does not appear to be an inalienable human liberty. It was not considered the purview of governments at all until the 16th century. Therefore, it was not considered something that had to be guaranteed by the government until some 500 or so years ago. It was always prior to that time considered to be the purview of the church. Marriage was a spiritual institution and not a government one. Our government was founded on the basis of ensuring that there are rights common to all mankind for all time that must be guaranteed. Marriage does not appear then to be a governmentally protected inalienable human right that must be protected by the government

Therefore, marriage at its very core is a spiritual issue. It is a God-ordained institution. According to Scripture, it is clear that marriage is reserved for the male-female relationship. According to Mike Riccardi, in the online magazine, The Cripplegate, in an article entitled, “Is it True That Jesus Never Addressed Homosexuality?”, Ricardi states,

“In Matthew 19, He [Jesus] goes out of His way to make this point in order to underscore that marriage, by its very nature, is a divinely-ordained institution—that the originator of marriage is the Creator Himself. He makes this point, which would otherwise seem superfluous, in order to make it clear that that divinely-ordained institution exists only between one man and one woman. God created man as male and female, and then brought them together in one flesh as the husband-wife relationship illustrates the complementarity and unity-in-diversity that characterizes God’s own nature as one Being who eternally exists in three Persons.” To legitimize marriage outside these boundaries is against God’s plan for marriage. To claim otherwise, one must rewrite Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 6:7-11, Paul says some controversial words in light of the recent ruling from the Supreme Court. Paul says,

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people – none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Paul speaks of sin and these are examples of sin. Each one of us fits into one of these categories. We probably can fit into multiple categories. The one that jumps out at us in today’s world is the one about practicing homosexuality. We are told today that it is not a sin. It is an alternative lifestyle. It is now acceptable behavior. We often hear the argument that we are no longer under the law of the Old Testament and therefore homosexuality is acceptable behavior in the post-Crucifixion world in which we live. Therefore, the 39 books of the Old Testament can be ignored. Bam. Over half the Bible thrown out the window. We, too, then have to throw Paul’s writings out too because he mentions homosexuality as being a sin. They argue that Paul created his own theology and Jesus never said anything about homosexuality being wrong. In order to get to the Bible being acceptable to homosexual lifestyles, we must get rid of 90% of the Bible. The direct quotes of Jesus Christ (the red letter words in many Bibles) comprise about 10% of the total words in the entire Bible. Jesus may not have expressly stated that homosexuality was a sin but his ministry was among the Jews for the most part and as such it was commonly accepted that such lifestyles were against Scripture. He had no need to preach to the choir. There was common agreement.

Further, Jesus himself said that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Paul’s theology is based on the fact that the law points us to our need for Jesus. We are all condemned by our sins. Therefore, we need Jesus’ grace through his death on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins that makes us right with God. God’s timeless truth is inconvenient to those who are reveling in their sin whether it be homosexuals, adulterers, thieves, slanderers, liars, cheaters, murderers, etc. When we refuse to call our favorite sin a sin, we begin rationalizing away God’s truth. We parce down the Bible to only the parts that we think are agreeable to the lifestyle that we desire to lead. We, thus, say that we are higher than God. We become our own gods. We define truth for ourselves. There down the slippery slope we go until all behaviors are acceptable because I myself determine what is right and wrong. No need for God ultimately. To revel in sin and call it not sin does not make it any less sin in the eyes of our Creator who is truth. We can go as far as to say He does not exist but that does not mean that He doesn’t! We are all sinners.

I have focused on homosexuality here because it is the hot button topic of our day. We hear it declared in public squares that it is no longer a sin. It is now given public validation in the highest court of our land. We are mistaken. It is a sin. Plain and simple. To refuse to see it as such is to ignore virtually all of God’s Word. If being forced to choose between the ever lowering morality of man vs. the timeless moral absolutes of God’s Word, I will choose God’s Word.

However, before you lynch me at the tree of today’s intolerant tolerance, let us remind ourselves that practicing homosexuality is part of a laundry list of behaviors that if unrepentantly practiced will exclude us from the kingdom of God. The adulterer who continually has sex outside of his marriage and has no remorse or repentance in his soul is just as condemned as anyone else before God. Our society is continually scarred by adulterous behavior. Broken homes. Single parent families. Multiple stepdads and stepmoms. Kids with different last names than their mothers. Baby daddies instead of fathers. Women with no regard for the treasure that they carry and who give it away like cheap dime store candy. And that’s just sexual sin. Murder is rampant in our society. Lying reaches the highest levels as we spin the world to be what makes us all look the best. Greed is on display constantly where charitable causes and churches struggle to make ends meet but yet we do not think twice about financing $50,000 vehicles and $500,000 homes that we cannot afford. The vacation industry is booming as we seek to indulge ourselves rather than helping the homeless. Alcohol sales are at an all-time high as we seek to numb our souls. Alcoholism equally is at an all-time high. Courts are full nowadays with claims of cheating. There are more lawyers per capita on the planet now than there ever has been as we seek to blame others for stupid mistakes that we make. At least with the homosexual contingent, they have spent time parcing down the Bible to justify the rightness of their cause so that they can continue to enjoy their sin without any guilt. The rest of us simply ignore biblical truth when we continue flagrantly to enjoy our sins. Unrepentant. Blatantly ignoring the Word of God. When it comes to the sin(s) that we do not want to give up, we simply ignore what the Bible says. Many quit reading the Bible altogether because of the conviction that it will bring concerning our pet sins. To say that homosexuality is the demon of all sins is incorrect for we are all sinners. The only way that we can justify homosexuality is to rip pages out of the Bible and move on to live that lifestyle unrepentantly. The only way to justify any sin that we wish to not give up is to rip pages out of the Bible. The only way to justify our flagrant disregard for our pet behavior that is against God’s Word is to out and out ignore it. In this age, it is easy for Christians to overlook or tolerate some immoral behaviors as greed and call it the pursuit of the American Dream. It is easy to ignore drunkenness and call it having a good time while remaining outraged at murder, theft, and homosexuality. All of it is sin. There is no one sin that is greater than another. All sin, one sin condemns us before our Maker.

It is this realization that changes the game. It is the law that exposes our utter failure to live holy lives before a holy God. We are condemned. We are all of us bound for hell without intervention from a loving but just God. He so wants us to avoid final judgment to hell that He sent His Son to be the sacrificial lamb for our sins. Through His substitutionary sacrifice, our sins are forgiven. That which on our own will condemn us to hell is washed away. The slate is cleaned. The only requirement for this cleansing of sin’s stain and sin’s sentence to hell is to repent from our sins and turn away from them. We must call out to Jesus Christ to deliver us from our own evil. When we profess with our mouth and believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to die for our sins and proclaim Him to be the Lord over our lives, He will send the Holy Spirit of God to live and dwell in our souls. We must give over control of our desires, wants, and needs to a holy God through the action of the Holy Spirit in our souls. When we see what we were before and what we are now in Christ, that should change our perspective on how we must react to those who are actively practicing lifestyles of any kind that are in direct opposition to Scripture. We were there ourselves before we met Jesus Christ.

We are must be careful to point out that the lifestyles are in opposition to Scripture rather than making the person a demon. We were once unrepentant sinners ourselves until someone took the time to get to know us and talk to us about our life in comparison to Scripture. On the hot button issue of homosexuality, we must not fear them, ridicule them, or demonize them. We cannot make this sin any greater than any other sin. We cannot praise the unrepentant display of greed, a sin, while demonizing those who unrepentantly practice homosexuality. Their lives can be transformed just as ours were. The church should be a haven for forgiveness and healing for repentant homosexuals without compromising our stance on the unrepentant practice of homosexuality. We are all being transformed from the emptiness of sin into the fullness of life in Jesus Christ.

Even murderers such as Dillon Roof can be transformed by the healing power of forgiveness in repentance before Jesus Christ. None are too far gone that repentance and reaching out to Jesus Christ cannot save. We saw true Christ followers offer the forgiveness of a Savior to man who had just killed their family members. Murderers, rapists, homosexuals, sexually promiscuous men and women, drug addicts, greedy people, adulterers, idol worshipers, all those who actively participate in sins that are in opposition to Scripture should be treated no differently that the Emanuel AME church parishioners treated Dillon Roof. When they expect condemnation from us, we offer them Jesus Christ. Paul says,

“Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of Jesus and by the Spirit of God!”

Let us be that church. Transformed people reaching out to unrepentant sinners and helping them see their sins for what they are…in love, not hate. Transforming with love not hate. Not accepting lifestyles that are in opposition to Scripture but realizing that we once raised our fist at God too so that we come from a position of love rather than judgment or hate. Prayer instead of protest. Engagement rather than ivory tower condemnation. Leading with Jesus rather than our opinion.

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