Loving Obergefell

Christians, we woke up to a new world on June 27th 2015 and we have no one to blame but ourselves. If we had loved the LGBT community as we are called to love our neighbors or even our enemies, this court case would have been completely unnecessary.

For too long we have been in the majority, enjoying the privilege of the law. With the privilege of the majority came options regarding people who do not fit within the framework of our religion. Our options as the majority ranged from the heights of love; all the way down to the depths persecution and hate.

I am saddened to say, that my community, my religion, has for the most part chosen the latter of these two options for far too many years.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
— Matthew 5:43-48 English Standard Version (ESV)

It would be intellectually dishonest for me to say that the Bible, both the Old and New Testament, does not call homosexuality a sin. But I have never seen the Christian community rally against a sin like homosexuality, much to our shame.

Where were our Christian rallies against greed and corruption?  Where were our protests against the way our healthcare system fails to take care of the sick and the elderly?  Why don't we root out the lust and adultery and violence that dominates our entertainment?

I'll tell you why, it's because we are spiritually immature bullies.

The greedy corrupt people do us favors, and the healthcare system is too big and dangerous to take on; and for some sick reason, we like the lust and the adultery and the violence in our entertainment. It seems like the reason we have gone after the LGBT community is because they were an easy target. As a Christian, this breaks my heart.

I could go on for days and list out all sorts of ways that we failed God and the dignity of the Church in these matters but it all boils down to one major failure. A failure to love, both God and our neighbors.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
— Mark 12:30-31 English Standard Version (ESV)

If we had loved God as we were originally called we would all be closer to our heavenly Father.  We would be reveling in his Word, living in His grace and showing His mercy to anyone in need.  Yet we barely make time to read a chapter of the Bible a day or even week. We throw up a prayer during our commute, when the commercials come on. Church once a week... if nothing else comes up... and so it goes.

We get comfortable with Netflix, we drift away a little further away from God and figure that because we aren't like the other sinners out there, we're okay.

But this cold comfort doesn't work for long, unless we demonize someone else. In order to minimize our own sin we feel a need to magnify the sin of others.  So here we are. We think that our sin is better than their sin, but this is not the Gospel.

The Gospel to which we were called is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and that no one comes to the father, except through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Never, not once in all of the New Testament are we called to persecute or discriminate against anyone for their sin. Our gospel does not allow us to deny other sinners the dignity of marriage simply because the Bible says that some of their actions are sinful. Many of the people affected by this ruling do not identify as Christian in the first place, so it does not make sense to hold them to the standards of the Christian faith to begin with.  

To those within the Church who worry about defending the definition of marriage, I ask you to consider that defending the word "marriage" is not so important as loving your neighbor and spreading the Gospel. We are a spiritually destructive and under-informed if our focus is on applying God’s standards to people who do not hold the same values as our own.

A few things that I think all Christians should know, just so that we can say we are somewhat educated on this subject.

  • John Arthur, was terminally ill and suffering from ALS, he wanted the Ohio Registrar to identify James Obergefell , as his surviving spouse on his death certificate. This case is about the language on a death certificate.

  • The majority of the case law for this decision was based off of Loving v. Virginia where the courts determined that marriage is a fundamental right (interracial marriage landmark case.)  

  • There are questions about how this ruling affects the protected categories specified in the 14th amendment and only time will bear these consequences out.

  • Judicial activism may be a good discussion to have, but not when you are trying to have a conversation about marriage, God, relationships or the gospel.

Civil and Ecclesiastic law will never be truly united until the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord. Until then, our task as servants is not to play politics and legislate the Bible, but to seek God's kingdom first in our own lives and fulfill the great commission by spreading the Gospel. The Lord will add all things to this, in his own time.