In the shadow of last week's ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, I am celebrating fifty years of marriage this month. Fifty years under God. Not man, but under God. God joined us together in July of 1965. Man gave us a vacation from one another for a year and three months during that 50 year span. But God did not. God said, "what God has joined together, let no man put asunder."
Man tells us that marriage is a contract which can be as easily broken as it is entered into. Just get an attorney, pay a few thousand dollars, file a few papers and poof! it's over. Shucks, they even sell greeting cards to celebrate the dissolution. So celebrating 50 years of marriage is a feat, even if marriage is not as revered as it once was-- even if its Biblical foundation is being ignored and ridiculed these days.
Many people I know are stunned by the recent same-sex ruling of the Supreme Court-- the ruling that redefined marriage as between one man and one woman. Many preachers I know are wary and concerned by repercussions this ruling may bring to Christians and religious freedom we are able to exercise in America. For thousands of years, religious institutions have held marriage to be a sacred covenant with God between one man and one woman. Ministers have felt no pressures whatsoever to perform any marriages other than those they see ordained of God. Yet, 5 robed judges have now tossed that security to the whirlwind of confusion. It's so confusing that Governors and attorneys general and legislators are scrambling to put forth statements to assure the thousands upon thousands of Christian clerks, officials, judges, and ministers that their religious convictions will not be violated nor will they be in danger of prosecution if they refuse to follow the Supreme Court's edict.
Preachers are warning that the next step is the probability of Biblical preaching being labeled a hate crime. Could the U.S. Supreme Court mimic the Canadian Supreme court's directive to make it a "hate crime" to preach or teach that homosexuality is a sin? If they do, then I suppose the preaching ANY sin in the Bible that offends someone could labeled a hate crime.
The time may come that Christians may have to pay outrageous fines, endure jail time, get mugshots and be charged with "hate crimes". But for now, they still have the freedom to express their views under our constitution. For now.
As long as Christian parents do not mind their children being taught same-sex education in elementary school and don't mind them being introduced to terms such as anal and oral sex, then they are allowed "religious freedom" to disagree. However, options are limited as to what parents can do about their opposition to the teaching which violates their faith. They may be forced to put their children in private schools, have them tutored, or home-school them. Should Christians choose to exercise their faith over abiding by ambiguous laws, then they are subject to the consequences of any civil disobedience.
Faith's "freedom" is not restricted within jail cells, nor is it limited to one's business or vocation. BUT...we already know what the courts have done to Christians who practiced faith in the public arena. They're fined. Then they're ridiculed. They're boycotted and receive horrific word-of-mouth publicity. They're harassed without any legal recourse. They receive death threats. They're put out of business. And the government does little to nothing to comfort or protect them. YET... they will be blessed, and rewarded because:
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." ~Matthew 5:10-12
John the Baptist was beheaded for preaching against sin. Apostles were crucified, beaten, and slaughtered for their faith. The day may come when American Christians will be like those in China and other countries who must worship underground. Whatever happens, Christians know that when God is with them, it doesn't matter who is against them, because Jesus says, "lo, I am with you even to the end of the age."