Are Corporations People Too?: Hobby Lobby and Religious Liberty

Supreme_Court_US_2010Who would have ever imagined that a craft store chain owned by a Christian family would be at the center of a Supreme Court case about sexuality, abortifacient drugs, the role of corporations, and religious liberty? Oral arguments were heard today in the Supreme Court case Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. The central point of the case is whether or not the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian bookstores, has the right to exercise their religious freedom in opting out of the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring employer-provided health plans to offer emergency birth control drugs at no charge to their employees. The Greens have objected on religious grounds that such emergency birth control options are tantamount to abortion and that providing abortion-inducing drugs is a violation of their deeply held religious beliefs.

Trying to predict what the Supreme Court will decide is an exercise in futility, so I will not go down that road. However, I do want to highlight a few interesting notes from today’s oral arguments.

The first is not all that surprising (and possibly not all that interesting)—the high court appears divided. From the best one can tell from the questioning, the Supreme Court is split 4-4 with Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor apparently siding with the government and Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito leaning towards Hobby Lobby. This leaves Justice Anthony Kennedy as the deciding vote in an otherwise divided Court. This is familiar territory for the current version of the Supreme Court.

The second item of note is that the role of a corporation seems to be a big question. Some of the liberal justices seemed to imply that corporations should simply be able to pick up the tab for the healthcare expenses or fees for not providing healthcare with no impact on the business or the economy. They did not seem to take into account that these healthcare costs have to be paid by someone and that the costs would most likely be passed along to the customer. Justices Kagan and Sotomayor also pressed Paul Clement, the attorney arguing for Hobby Lobby, about whether corporations could opt out of other healthcare options for their employees. Lyle Denniston reports that they “suggested that if corporations gain an exemption from having to provide birth-control services for their female employees, then the next complaint would be about vaccinations, blood transfusions, and a whole host of other medical and non-medical services that a company or its owners might find religiously objectionable.”

On the other hand, Justice Alito pushed back against Solicitor General Donald Verrilli regarding the purpose of corporations. He asked the Solicitor General if the only purpose of corporations was to “maximize profits.” If the object is only to maximize profits, then corporations would have no other rights. However, if corporations serve other purposes, then they might have the right to protection under the free exercise of religion clause in the First Amendment.

The third item is the most interesting development in my opinion. It relates to the rights of a corporation to make a claim regarding discrimination. The government argued that for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby have no standing to file a claim against the government based on religious discrimination. On the surface this seems to make sense because corporations are not churches, nor are they individuals with religious beliefs. However, the government has already held that corporations can file claims based on racial discrimination. In the same sense, corporations are not individuals of a particular race or ethnicity. The racial discrimination claims have typically been based on the race and ethnicity of the owners.

Applying the same standard to the religious freedom aspect of the Hobby Lobby case, it would appear that the Green family’s deeply held religious beliefs (and clear articulation of those beliefs in company documents) would provide the corporation with the same protections as those guaranteed to them as individuals. This argument could prove to be central in the upcoming decision of the Court.

Once again, we will be left to wait for months until hearing the decision of the Supreme Court that will most likely come in June. Until then, it is futile to speculate what the Court will decide. However, there is one thing that we can do. We can pray for the justices of the Supreme Court that God would grant them wisdom in judging these matters. We should pray for godly wisdom that they would rule according to God’s will. We should pray that they would value life in the way that God values life—seeing those in the womb as no different than a full-grown adult (Psalm 139:13–16).

I urge you to join me in prayer for John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. The future of religious liberty in the United States is in their hands.
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Lyle Denniston, “Argument recap: One hearing, two dramas,” SCOTUSblog, March 25, 2014.

Derrick Morgan, Hans von Spakovsky, and Elizabeth Slattery, “How the Supreme Court Justices Reacted to Today’s Hobby Lobby Arguments,” The Foundry, March 25, 2014.

Ilya Shapiro, “Is There No Alternative to Forcing People to Violate Their Religious Beliefs?” Cato Institute, March 25, 2014.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Marriage Amendment

same sex marriage graphcIn what is now a string of cases decided by federal judges regarding state laws, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has struck down Texas’ constitutional amendment defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. After the state legislature presented the amendment in 2005, 76% of Texas voters approved the addition of the amendment to the state constitution.

Judge Garcia immediately stayed his ruling pending an inevitable appeal. This should be quite interesting considering that the man who will be responsible for the appeal, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, is the hands-down favorite to receive the Republican nomination for governor. Abbott will be responsible for filing the appeal while also managing his campaign against likely Democratic nominee Wendy Davis.

This case came about when a lesbian couple filed suit against the state for not recognizing their same-sex marriage performed in Massachusetts in 2009. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article, the plaintiffs “argued that the state’s gay marriage ban had caused them undue hardship that other married couples do not face. For example, the couple have one child together, but because Texas does not recognize their union, only one parent’s name was allowed on the birth certificate.”

The logic of the names on a birth certificate is quite interesting.  Biologically speaking, only one of the women is the mother although it is likely they both wanted to be listed as mothers. This demonstrates how the redefinition of marriage is attempting to separate the relationship completely from any aspect of procreation. Assuming the couple used an anonymous sperm donor as the father, then standard procedure would be to list the woman who gave birth as the mother. A second mother is biologically impossible for the purposes of a birth certificate. It is unclear how this causes undue hardship related to a medical record that is intended to connect a child to his/her biological parents.

While marriage does not require procreation, separating marriage and procreation completely is illogical. Melissa Moschella has recently written that children have a right to know who their biological parents are and a right to a relationship with them. She states:

The biological parent-child relationship is uniquely intimate and comprehensive, at least from the child’s perspective. A child’s relationship to his biological parents is the closest of that child’s human relationships. It is identity-determining. To be born of different parents is to be an entirely different person. This, combined with the observation that receiving proper care is crucial for the child’s current and future well-being, implies that biological parents are the ones with the strongest obligation to ensure that their child is well-cared-for.

When someone makes the claim that they have a right to produce a birth certificate containing two mothers and no father as the biological record of the child’s birth, they undermine the right of the child to know his genetic history. If marriage includes unions other than those between a man and a woman, it undermines the creation ordinance designed to be the avenue of procreation and perpetuation of the human race. This is not an undue hardship placed on the couple by the state. It is Biology 101.

In just the last two months, marriage amendments have been overturned by judicial action in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Texas. Seventeen other states allow same-sex marriage (or are in the process of allowing it). In addition, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder just recently told state attorneys general that they are not obligated to defend traditional marriage laws in court if they do not want to do so.

I tell my classes every semester that our children will grow up with a different understanding of marriage than what we have. I have been fighting and praying that we would be able to stave off the redefinition of marriage. Now it seems that the U.S. Supreme Court will have no choice but to hear these cases and rule on them, potentially providing a new definition of marriage.

Honestly, I am not optimistic about any future SCOTUS rulings; however, we do not place our hope in judges, governors, legislators, or presidents. Instead, our hope is in Jesus Christ, and he has already declared:

Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. (Matthew 19:4-6)

*If you are interested in learning more about how to respond to the campaign to redefine marriage, consider attending the It Takes a Family conference on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, co-hosted by the Ruth Institute and the Land Center for Cultural Engagement, on April 11, 2014. More information and registration is available by clicking here.

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Edgar Walters, “Federal judge rules Texas’ gay marriage ban unconstitutional,” Star-Telegram, February 26, 2014.

Melissa Moschella, “The Rights of Children: Biology Matters,” The Public Discourse, February 20, 2014.

ObamaCare, Contraception, and the War on Women

What is the war on women? The phrase has been used by various political groups to characterize attitudes related to the perspective on women’s roles in the home and workplace. In recent days, the idea of a war on women has been used to describe the debate over whether or not the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., ObamaCare) should provide all forms of FDA-approved contraceptives to women at no cost to them. The typical accusations of a war against women have been lobbed against conservatives who seek to limit the government’s role in providing contraceptives.

Now it seems that a new front of the war on women has been opened, but this time it comes from a very unlikely place–progressives attempting to justify the contraceptive mandate of ObamaCare.

A number of articles have appeared in recent days highlighting a series of ads produced by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado. These ads seek to explain why young adults, particularly young women, should sign up for insurance on the new health exchanges.

Even though there are a few different versions, the theme of these advertisements directed at women is that you need free contraceptives in order to participate in promiscuous sexual activity without regret. Without these free contraceptives, you may not be able to “enjoy” the liberation of your sexuality.

In an interview with The Denver Post, Amy Runyon-Harms, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, attempted to justify the ads promoting promiscuous behavior. She stated, “People get upset when you portray women as independent. We think this ad is really about healthy relationships and that people are taking control of their lives with health care.”

The problem with these ads is twofold. First, they objectify women by speaking of them in exclusively sexual terms. In one of the ads, a cut-out of Ryan Gosling is portrayed as being “excited about getting to know” the real-life girl pictured in the ad. His excitement stems from the fact that she has easy access to birth control.

This perspective on women is demeaning and unbiblical. Yes, God created man and woman with a sexual nature (He told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply in Genesis 1:28). However, we are all much more than our sexuality. We are made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27) and have value as persons in that image, not simply because we have a sexual nature.

Second, these ads promote risky sexual behavior with a false sense of security. Simply limiting the possibility of pregnancy does not make sexual activity outside of marriage safe, much less commendable. The hook-up culture of college campuses leads to a host of problems including sexually transmitted infections, pornography, emotional attachment, and potential violence. Contraceptives do not address these issues. Giving a false sense of security through free birth control pills only exacerbates the problem.

This is why God’s design for sexuality is that it should only be expressed within the context of marriage. In Hebrews 13:4 we read, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Many people may look this verse and say that the Bible is stuck in the Dark Ages. However, the reality is that God’s design for sex exclusively within marriage is the safest and most fulfilling option.

Is there a war on women? There certainly seems to be, but it is not what you may have been led to believe. The war on women is being waged by groups like ProgressNow Colorado who view women as nothing but objects of sexual desire. Instead, we need to proclaim that women find their true value in the fact that they are made in the image of God.

*I apologize for posting the content of the ads in the pictures on this blog post, but I felt it was necessary to see that they are actually real. The rest of the ads can be found at http://www.doyougotinsurance.com.

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Kurtis Lee, “Pro-Obamacare ads targeting millennials stir controversy in Colorado,” The Denver Post, November 12, 2013.

Emily Miller, “MILLER: New Obamacare ads make young women look like sluts,” The Washington Times, November 12, 2013.

Good Reading: The Irrationality of Same-Sex Marriage

Public Discourse has a good article on the relationship between same-sex marriage and the irrational judicial decisions made by judges formulating those decisions. Matthew J. Franck opens with the following statement:

One of the most striking features of the campaign for same-sex marriage has been the prominence of its assault on reasoning itself. The logical relations of legal categories with one another, as those categories represent persons, their interactions, and their rights and duties, are at the heart of all legal decision-making and ideally inform legislative and administrative policymaking as well. But the impulse to redefine marriage so that it is no longer understood as the conjugal union of a man and a woman has been consistently heedless of logic and the rational relations of legal categories.

Included in his analysis is that proponents of same-sex marriage do not offer a cogent definition of marriage; that they believe traditional marriage is simply a religious institution; and that same-sex marriage should be legalized in order to avoid hurting people’s feelings.

Franck offers some insightful analysis, and the rest of the article is worth your time. You can find it here.

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Matthew J. Franck, “Same-Sex Marriage Makes Liberal Judges Irrational,” Public Discourse, October 15, 2013.

Juggling the Politics of a Justice: Ginsburg Officiates Same-Sex Wedding

We rarely see Supreme Court justices wade into the waters of political controversy outside the opinions issued from the hallowed halls of the nation’s highest court. The reason for staying away from controversy is that justices who delve into political issues in the public square but away from the bench may find themselves under fire for politicizing the office that is supposed to be free of politics.

Over the weekend, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first member of the Supreme Court to officiate a same-sex wedding ceremony. The ceremony took place at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts between Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center, and John Roberts, an economist with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Ginsburg admitted back in the spring that she had never been asked to officiate a same-sex wedding ceremony, most likely because members of the gay-rights movement did not want to jeopardize potential cases. However, since the historic rulings of June 26 on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, Ginsburg has already agreed to perform another one.

Ginsburg was in the majority on both of the recent Supreme Court decisions related to same-sex marriage. In those cases, the Court struck down section 3 of DOMA, requiring the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages for the purpose of federal benefits, and declared the private citizens of California did not have standing to argue their case before the Court, effectively upholding the decision of the California Supreme Court that ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

Should we be surprised that Justice Ginsburg has jumped into the deep political waters of same-sex marriage? Not really.

Ginsburg is the senior liberal justice on the Court, and it came as no surprise that she supported same-sex marriage in the recent decisions. In fact, The Washington Post reported:

Ginsburg said she thought she and her colleagues had not been asked previously to conduct a same-sex ceremony for fear it might compromise their ability to hear the issue when it came before the court. But once the cases had been decided, Ginsburg seemed eager for the opportunity.

Her agreement to perform a second ceremony in September was communicated to the individuals in a letter dated June 26, the date of the Court’s decisions.

Should we be disappointed that Justice Ginsburg has agreed to perform these ceremonies? Certainly.

Ginsburg’s decision to officiate these ceremonies raises questions regarding future cases related to same-sex marriage. One would be naïve to think that no other cases will reach the high court in the coming years. Even though Ginsburg turned 80 this year, she has clearly communicated that she has no plans to retire anytime soon.

When asked about performing the ceremony, Ginsburg stated:

I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship.

In this statement, Ginsburg has offered her personal definition of marriage that most certainly impacts her legal opinions on same-sex marriage. The only two qualifications for marriage, according to Ginsburg, are that people should “love each other” and “want to live together.” Notice that she places no limits on the number, gender, or consanguinity of the people—they simply need love and a desire to live together. As other cases make their way to the Supreme Court, specifically the “Sister Wives” lawsuit still pending in federal court in Utah, this definition of marriage is likely to play a key role in Ginsburg’s decisions.

Ginsburg’s definition is essentially what Girgis, Anderson, and George have called the revisionist definition of marriage in their book, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. Ultimately, these authors find that the revisionist definition is incoherent because the state only has an interest in regulating certain relationships that are sexual and monogamous. The revisionist definition requires neither.

At the end of the day, this is another example of the culture’s march toward a redefinition of marriage. This time it came from the actions and words of a justice outside the walls of the Supreme Court. May we continue to be diligent to make the case for God’s design for marriage—one man and one woman for a lifetime.

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Robert Barnes, “Ginsburg will be first justice to officiate at same-sex wedding,” The Washington Post, August 30, 2013.

Brett Zongker, “Justice Ginsburg to officiate at same-sex wedding,” Associated Press, August 30, 2013.

Jim Dalrymple, II, “After 6 months, no ruling on ‘Sister Wives’ polygamy lawsuit,” The Salt Lake Tribune, July 18, 2013.

Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (New York: Encounter, 2012), 15–21.

Where Are All the Children? The Shrinking of Deutschland

It is no secret that the European economy is struggling. In the face of failing banks and bankrupt governments, however, the European Union has always looked to Germany as the lone economic bright spot in the continental economy. But can Germany sustain its economic prominence? According to a recent article in The New York Times, the answer is “No.”

The problem for Germany (and most other European nations) is that fertility rates have been so low that their populations are aging and shrinking. As populations shrink, there are not enough productive workers to maintain economic growth. Therefore, economies begin to falter.

The Times describes the situation in Germany this way:

There is perhaps nowhere better than the German countryside to see the dawning impact of Europe’s plunge in fertility rates over the decades, a problem that has frightening implications for the economy and the psyche of the Continent. In some areas, there are now abundant overgrown yards, boarded-up windows and concerns about sewage systems too empty to work properly. The work force is rapidly graying, and assembly lines are being redesigned to minimize bending and lifting.

Germany has already lost 1.5 million in population according to a recent census and expects to lose another 19% (approximately 16 million) over the next 45 years. According to the Times, this attrition can almost exclusively be attributed to the low birthrate in Germany—around 1.43 children per woman. Most demographers identify a “replacement fertility rate” at 2.1 children per woman. This replacement rate is just enough to keep a population size stable.

For Germany and the rest of the European Union, the shrinking population and falling fertility rate spells economic doom for the Continent. As subsequent generations become smaller and smaller, the economic promises made to previous generations (e.g., pensions, social services, socialized medicine) become impossible to keep. Most of these social programs require more than one worker for every recipient to ensure the tax base is large enough to support the programs. Since people are retiring earlier and living longer, the number of recipients is outpacing the number of workers at an unprecedented rate.

The German government has made a few attempts to correct this problem. First, they have invested $265 billion per year in family subsidies to encourage people to have more children, but they have seen few results. Second, they are gradually raising the retirement age from 65 to 67. The Times reports:

Another way to adjust to the population decline is to get older workers to postpone retirement. The German government is raising the retirement age incrementally to 67 from 65, and companies have moved fast to adapt. The share of people ages 55 to 64 in the work force had risen to 61.5 percent in 2012, from 38.9 percent in 2002.

Volkswagen has redesigned its assembly line to ease the bending and overhead work that put excessive strain on workers’ bodies. About three years ago, they began using reclining swivel seats that provide back support even for hard-to-reach spots in the automobiles they are building, and the installation of heavy parts like wheels and front ends is now often fully automated.

Ultimately, the problem we see in Germany—and across most of the developed world—related to falling fertility rates is a values issue. In the article, the authors state that “the solution lies in remaking values, customs and attitudes in a country.”

For the authors, the values that need to be remade relate to immigration and the acceptance of working mothers. However, the values problem is much deeper than that. The value that truly needs remaking is the way a culture views children. The German culture, and that of most Western countries, is to see children as burdens and consumers rather than producers. The reality is that we all go through stages of consuming and producing. And an economy needs both.

From a biblical standpoint, children are a blessing rather than a burden. In Psalm 127:3–5, Solomon writes:

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Certainly children consume more than they produce in their early years. However, as they grow and mature, they become producers and strengthen the family and social economy through their prime years until their production decreases at the latter stages of life. This is a natural progression.

The problem is that most people only consider the early stage of life when thinking about children. They are short-sighted, seeing only the consumption and not the production later in life. The other perspective that is often missed is the role of children and parents as the parent age. These children then become the care-takers of aging parents. Without these children, the elderly are left without the comfort and care of their children at the end of life.

Solomon’s wisdom speaks to more than just the perspective on children when they are young. At the end of life, these “arrows in the hand of a warrior” circle back to care for aging parents just as the parents cared for them as children. They are a blessing early in life and a blessing later in life.

We must not lose sight of the value of children from both biblical and economic perspectives.

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Suzanne Daley and Nicholas Kulish, “Germany Fights Population Drop,” The New York Times, August 13, 2013.

The Supreme Court and the Future of Marriage

June 26, 2013. Mark this day down in history.

I haven’t lived long enough to remember too many historic moments. I remember where I was when the Challenger space shuttle exploded. I have an image burned in my mind of watching the Berlin Wall collapse. I can even recall the visceral pain of watching the World Trade Center crumble in ruins.

I will also remember June 26, 2013, as the day that marriage changed forever in American society.

What exactly happened today? Let me offer a quick summary.

Hollingsworth v. Perry (California’s Proposition 8)

The Supreme Court essentially held that those defending California’s Proposition 8 do not have standing to file their appeal. The State of California has refused to defend Prop 8 in court; therefore, other citizens of the state took it up. As part of the ruling, the majority opinion reads, “Neither the California Supreme Court nor the Ninth Circuit ever described the proponents as agents of the State, and they plainly do not qualify as such.” In conclusion, the majority declared:

We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here.

Because petitioners have not satisfied their burden to demonstrate standing to appeal the judgment of the District Court, the Ninth Circuit was without jurisdiction to consider the appeal. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Since the State of California refuses to defend Prop 8 in court, the law will be held as unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court. Therefore, same-sex “marriage” will become legal in California once again.

On the positive side, SCOTUS did not rule broadly and make applications to other states. However, there will likely be further legal challenges in California and other states in the near future.

United States v. Windsor (Defense of Marriage Act)

In the decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the law. This means that same-sex couples who are legally married in their respective states qualify for federal marriage benefits. These benefits include filing federal tax returns jointly, transferring property at death as a spouse to avoid inheritance taxes, etc. This would also seem to imply that federal employees with same-sex spouses would be eligible for various employment benefits (e.g., insurance) made available to spouses in heterosexual marriages.

As part of the majority opinion, the justices determined that DOMA treated same-sex couples with marriage licenses from states that approved same-sex marriages as a separate, unequal class. They wrote, “The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law [DOMA] here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.”

The decision essentially allows for states to define marriage on their own for the purpose of administering marriage licenses, but it does not allow the federal government to recognize the marriage licenses of some states while not recognizing those of other states (or a particular subset from those states). In their concluding remarks, the majority of justices stated:

The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.

What Next?

What is next for our society? We can be thankful that the Supreme Court did not offer a new definition of marriage today. However, I still believe it is safe to say that we are heading toward the demise of marriage as the foundational institution of society. The term “marriage” is quickly losing its meaning. President Obama used his Twitter account to claim all love is equal when it comes to marriage. The logical conclusion of such a claim is societal acceptance of not only same-sex “marriage” but also acceptance of polygamy, polyamory, incest, and ultimately pedophilia. We may even live to see the day when the term “marriage” has no significance whatsoever. If marriage collapses as a social institution, we will see more crime and poverty, and we will see less education and children.

Where do we go from here as Christians? The truth of the matter is that God’s design for marriage in Genesis 2 has not changed—one man and one woman for a lifetime. However, we have a long and difficult road ahead of us. We will likely be marginalized in the cultural discussion of marriage. We will be called bigots and homophobes. We may even experience discrimination for our views. In the face of all that, we can find solace in Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 15:18–19 where he says, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”

And one last reminder to those who call upon the Lord as Savior—it is not our ultimate responsibility to change the hearts of men and women. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. Our task is to proclaim the gospel faithfully knowing that true change in society only comes when hearts are changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. As the motto of my seminary proclaims: Preach the Word. Reach the world!

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Hollingsworth v. Perry, Supreme Court of the United States, June 26, 2013.

United States v. Windsor, Supreme Court of the United States, June 26, 2013.