Why Religious Liberty Won Today

No doubt you’ve heard by now that the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the basis that it is “a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is  protected by the Fifth Amendment.” (Read the entire decision here)

This is a win for marriage equality, for equal rights, and a huge blow to those who want to continue discriminating. The ruling says that those who have same-sex marriages recognized by their state must also be federally recognized. This means that (some) same-sex couples can now get the benefits that opposite-sex couples have and take for granted every day ranging from tax and health care benefits to parental and immigration benefits. Today was a big day.

But not everyone is happy about it. I suspect many of you are less than thrilled with the decision today and, like Albert Mohler  see this as an indication that national marriage equality is inevitable. Or maybe, like Mike Huckabee, you think you’re Jesus’ spokesman on this issue:

My thoughts on the SCOTUS ruling that determined that same sex marriage is okay: “Jesus wept.”

Today, though, I chose to wear my Baptist Joint Committee t-shirt:

BJC Shirt

But why? Because I also see today as a victory for religious liberty. Religious liberty for all means freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion. This means that you are not required to subscribe to anyone else’s religious views and you also are not allowed to force your religious views on anyone else. The fear is rampant among many conservative Christians that I follow that pastors will be “dragged out of the pulpit” or will be forced to perform same-sex marriage.

These reactions fail to understand one of the things that truly does make this country great: real religious freedom. President Obama made this clear in his statement after DOMA was overturned:

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital.  How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions.  Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.

Yes, I am a Christian and a proponent of marriage equality. But I promise that I will fight just as hard for your religious freedom as I will for my own, because my firm conviction on religious liberty does not allow me to think that my religious freedom is any more important than anyone else’s.

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3 thoughts on “Why Religious Liberty Won Today

  1. You are fooling yourself if you believe this will stop at being “equal”. They will never stop until they force everyone in America to heartily agree with them (pastors, priests, everybody). The government will find a way to force churches into marrying homosexual couples. I have already talked to pastors in Chicago who say they are being pressured to start performing those marriages. So much so that they are not even willing to perform any marriages anymore. That’s what it is coming and if you don’t have the guts to stand up for God’s design for marriage, you certainly are not going to stand up for me.

    1. We obviously disagree here, and that’s okay. It’s been 45 years since Loving v. Virginia, the case that struck down and invalidated all laws prohibiting interracial marriages, and yet still today churches are able to refuse to perform an interracial wedding if they so choose. Many churches refuse to perform weddings for non-members. Nothing about a church’s right to make decisions of this nature will change. The President has said as much and there are numerous organizations like the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and Americans United that fight for religious freedom for all Americans, regardless of their stance on social issues. Your fear-mongering simply won’t work here.

      Further, you have accused me of not “hav[ing] the guts to stand up for God’s design for marriage,” but I must ask exactly which design you’re referencing. Are you referencing a a man and a woman, a man and his deceased brother’s widow (Gen 38.6-10), a man and his wives and his concubines, a rapist and his victim (Dt 22.28-29), or a soldier and his prisoner of war (Num 31.1-18; Dt 21.11-14)? I’m just a bit confused since all of these forms of marriage are explicitly condoned in the Bible.

      Finally, the beauty of my conviction that religious liberty is something worth fighting for is that I’ll keep fighting for this for everyone, you included, even when you think I’m a first-class idiot.

  2. Just to be clear, I certainly don’t think your an idiot. I do think your sitting on the fence and the world is pulling you to it’s side. While you might see this as in the same line as interracial marriage, it’s not the same thing. First of all, interracial marriage is not a sin. Secondly, as you consider this a “victory”, it is actually a spiritual attack. Therefore, it will not stop at the church doors, it will continue. The President’s word is really meaningless to me. He certainly will not be looking out for my best interest. “fear-mongering??”….you have to love liberal terms…If you are going to put it that way, I would saying your using something to a worse extent than me…love. If I am fear-mongering, you are guilty of “love-mongering” or “equality-mongering”. The misuse of love and equality to influence the opinions of others.

    It’s interesting. Your attempt to make me sound foolish only gives credit to what I have been saying. Your nice list of “God’s Design for Marriage” certainly includes some unique circumstances, but what it DOES NOT include is any hint of homosexual marriage. Your own words have proven my point. Homosexual marriage is not a design of God.

    It’s amazing to me that you have such a conviction for religious liberty? That is a fallacy in my opinion. Humans beings, in this fallen state, do not operate like that. There is no true equality. One group or the other struggles for the advantage. You honestly think atheists will not do everything they can to kill the Gospel of Jesus Christ…Look over in the middle east at what the Muslims are doing. A nation that has Jesus Christ as Lord is the best it’s going to get on earth. Not perfect..but the best it’s going to get. You profess to be a Christian, and as you are aware, Jesus is working on building a kingdom. The Kingdom of God. He does so through sharing the Gospel. Your efforts for “religious liberty” are only hindering His efforts, whether you believe it or not. The end of God’s plan is not religious liberty for all, it’s a Kingdom subject to His Son Jesus Christ!

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