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Regis Nicoll Christian Blog and Commentary

Regis Nicoll

Freelance Writer, Speaker, Worldview Teacher, Men's Ministry Leader

If you were surprised at the Supreme Court ruling that redefined mankind’s most primal and essential institution, you shouldn’t have been. The Pandora’s box of state-sanctioned pseudotrimony was flung open in 2004, making the Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges inevitable.

After Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex “marriage,” it took a mere decade for 36 states to follow suit (although only three by popular vote) and for the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).*

Although the 2013 DOMA ruling did not make SSM a constitutional right, the High Court tipped its hand on future decisions by casting the Act as demeaning, disparaging, and injurious to gay people and their families. (It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to presage a time when the same reasoning will be used to libel two-partner, genderless “marriage” as equally injurious to heterosexual, homosexual, and non-sexual throuples and other varieties of familial associations.)

Despite the Court’s sentiment, it limited the DOMA decision to the granting of federal benefits, leaving state law intact. States with traditional marriage laws could continue to refuse recognition of non-traditional marriages performed legally in other states. The effect was an incremental move toward nationalization that avoided getting too far in front of public opinion. At the time, public support for legal SSM was 50 percent (up from 32 percent just ten years prior).

A turning tide

In the last two years, the tide of popular opinion has caught up with the liberal leanings of the Court. Today, 57 percent of the general public and 73 percent of millennials favor SSM. What’s more, Fortune 500 companies like Walmart, Apple, Starbucks, and Target have been active advocates for “marriage equality” with no negative market impact.

Then there’s that fact that SSM was already legal in three fourths of the Union with over 200,000 legally married homosexual couples, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But a marriage that isn’t transportable from Massachusetts to Texas isn’t a marriage; it is a social construction that promotes discrimination, inequality, and confusion—social injustices the Justices were compelled to correct with a wave of their Constitutional scepter.

And correct they did, by conjuring up a right for homosexual pseudotrimony from the “penumbras and emanations” of the Constitution. The result is a man-made civil right that will continue to trump human rights our nation’s founders deemed self-evident and inalienable: the freedoms of conscience, association, and religious expression.

Yes, continue, as the assault on these freedoms has been underway for some time: from court orders and civil suits brought against wedding service providers, faith-based charities, and parents wanting to exempt their children from indoctrination; to the loss of certification and employment by professional counselors, military chaplains, and company CEOs whose thoughts and beliefs run afoul of “marriage equality” dogma. All in lockstep with the rhetorical shift from “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship” by the political class.

About those exemptions

With genderless “marriage” nationalized and state marriage laws overturned, the assault will ramp up. And it won’t stop at the church door—for what Caesar has declared “holy,” no one, not even the Church, will be allowed to declare “unholy.”

Oh, but there’s the religious exemption, you say.

The state, having consecrated gay “marriage” as a civil right, will no more exempt a church from marrying same-sex couples or allowing non-celibate homosexuals as members, leaders, or staffers than it would for ethnic minorities. Oh, it may for a while, but only in the interests of incrementalization. (Over the weeks and months ahead, look for same-sex couples to press legal action against churches refusing to marry them.)

Churches that acquiesce and “come to terms” with genderless “marriage” will be legitimized by the state. For becoming part of the conforming church, the benevolent hand of the state will deign to continue granting them tax exemption.

Churches that refuse to genuflect before the rainbow banner, at minimum, will lose their tax-exempt status, causing many—perhaps, most—non-complying churches to become financially unsustainable, close their doors, and vanish or splinter into smaller congregations and home churches. Noncompliance may very well lead to lawsuits and criminalization, driving the confessing Church underground, much like in the first centuries of its existence. And, yet, that could be the best thing for Christianity since Pentecost. Find out why here.

Having crossed the gay “marriage” Rubicon, the question now becomes, what should Christians do? The answer is, doing what we should have been doing all along: making “disciples of all nations.”

The word, “nations,” signifies that our duty is more than proclaiming the good news of the kingdom to individuals; it includes applying kingdom principles in every dimension of human interest – arts, literature, government, science, marketplace, education – to redeem nations through the institutions and artifacts that make them and shape them.

And that starts with Christians modeling the sacramental essence of marriage and living lives of sexual purity. The failure of Christians to do so, while holding others to standards they don’t keep, is largely responsible for the loss of the Church’s moral authority and the growing acceptance of homosexualism.

Nothing in the past 2000 years, including the legalization of homosexual pseudotrimony, changes our call to be light in darkness and salt in a decaying culture. Whatever cultural conditions exist, whatever hostility we experience, we are to be martyrs (from the Greek word for “witnesses”) by profession and practice, even in the face of martyrdom -- not by lions in a state coliseum or by fire in a village square (though their modern versions can’t be ruled out), but by increased discrimination, marginalization, and persecution.

Are we prepared for that? Are we prepared to bear the cost of social shunning, unemployment, law suits, criminalization, or worse? Are churches prepared to forsake property, buildings, and professional staffs to remain faithful to its mission if tax exemptions are threatened, adversely impacting already low giving levels?

If the answer is no, depends, or we’re not sure, one thing we can be sure of, is the continued shrinking domain of religious liberty: from the public square, to the house of worship, to the family circle, to the temporal lobe, to the incredibly vanishing “God spot.”

In 1996, when the first Gallup poll on so-called same-sex marriage was taken, those opposed to legally redefining marriage held a comfortable lead (68 percent to 27 percent) over those who favored redefinition to include same-sex relationships. But after steadily eroding for over a decade, the pro-marriage margin evaporated by 2010. At the end of 2012, 53 percent of the public polled "favorable" to same-sex marriage, compared to 46 percent polling "unfavorable." (For 18-to-29-year-olds, the favorable/unfavorable polling in 2012 was 73 and 26 percent, respectively.)1 No wonder that, after 32 straight defeats at the ballot box, gay marriage referenda won the day in four states in the 2012 general election.

Within the span of a few years, public consensus about the most primal, essential, and natural of all human institutions was turned on its head. But how? How did a social contrivance that would have been unmentionable, if not unthinkable, a generation ago become the "civil rights issue of our time" in the popular imagination?

Part of the answer lies in the success of homosexual activists in recruiting the mainstream media, academia, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to push its message. But the bigger answer is not in what they've done, but in what the vast majority of the rest of us haven't: tell the emperor that he is naked.

When confronted with this spectacle, many of us have remained silent: some because of apathy or indifference; others because of a laissez-faire attitude about personal morality; still others out of fear of being viewed as a bigot, homophobe, or moralizer; many, because our thinking has been muddled by the moral rhetoric of civil rights, equality, and freedom. As a result, we have largely failed in what George Orwell called "the first duty of intelligent men"—that is, to re-state the obvious.

To help dispel the moral fog cloaking the king, so that the intelligent and willing among us can fulfill our duty, I here present rebuttals to the ten "best" arguments for same-sex marriage. Read here.