The Judgment Has Been Delivered. The Debate Is Settled.

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The Supreme Court has ruled on gay marriage in the U.S. Does this mean it’s all over? That the debate is settled?

Yes and no.

Yes, it’s settled. No, it’s not because the Supreme Court has ruled on the matter, and it’s not settled in the way the court ruled.

Court rulings are often overturned. This one should be. The justices have created for themselves the right to create rights. The circularity there should be obvious. It’s an invention out of vapor, an action based upon nothing. In another sense, it’s a base sort of action.

The judgment that counts is this one: “Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89, NKJV).

Forever. God’s word. Settled.

The debate among humans will continue. It’s settled in heaven, but there’s work to do here.

Christians, get informed. Look upward. Study the books of Hebrews and 1 Peter, for their teachings on standing firm in tough circumstances. Study Jeremiah. Stay the course. Fight the good fight.  God is good.

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70 Responses to “ The Judgment Has Been Delivered. The Debate Is Settled. ”

  1. Is God still sovereign? Yes! However, that doesn’t mean that it bodes well for a society that rejects his sovereignty. Here is a parallel from the OT that I think we would be wise to heed.

    ” The Lord said: Listen to whatever the people say. You are not the one they are rejecting. They are rejecting me as their king. They are acting toward you just as they have acted from the day I brought them up from Egypt to this very day, deserting me to serve other gods. Now listen to them; but at the same time, give them a solemn warning…” (1 Samuel 8:7-9)

    These are dark times for America and western civilization. They are only going to get darker.

  2. I find it interesting that you are vocally opposed to gay marriage and the social costs you think it will incur if enacted. However, divorce is specifically prohibited by Jesus and also carries social and other costs with it yet I never hear a peep out of evangelical Christians protesting against it. I don’t see pictures of cute little children, tears streaming down their cheeks, and a plea to ban divorce. Why is it you work to ban one thing that God supposedly hates while you all seem fine with divorce? Why not work to repeal the laws favoring divorce, also? There are also admonitions in the bible favoring corporal punishment for children. Why aren’t you also trying to enact laws favoring corporal punishments in school and at home?

  3. You don’t hear Christians protesting divorce? You’re not listening in the right place. There are hundreds of marriage conferences every weekend. There are tens of thousands of counseling meetings every week. There are hundreds and hundreds of books on the topic. There are thousands of church Sunday Schools teaching on keeping marriages together. There are thousands of sermons preached on it every Sunday.

    We don’t try to change the law because there are better ways to address it.

    Corporal punishment? You’re displaying your ignorance there.

  4. Corporal punishment? You’re displaying your ignorance there.

    Really?

    Proverbs 13:24 ESV / 49 helpful votes

    Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

    Proverbs 23:13-14 ESV / 36 helpful votes

    Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

    Deuteronomy 25:1-3 ESV / 18 helpful votes

    “If there is a dispute between men and they come into court and the judges decide between them, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty,

    then if the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with a number of stripes in

    proportion to his offense. Forty stripes may be given him, but not more, lest, if one should go on to beat him with more stripes than these, your

    brother be degraded in your sight.

    Ephesians 6:4 ESV / 17 helpful votes

    Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

    Proverbs 29:15 ESV / 16 helpful votes

    The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

    Proverbs 19:18 ESV / 11 helpful votes

    Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.

    Proverbs 20:30 ESV / 10 helpful votes

    Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.

    Hebrews 12:1-29 ESV / 4 helpful votes

  5. Not only that, but you’ve failed to show that our stand for true marriage is relevantly analogous to what you consider to be a biblical case for corporal punishment. Is it as important to us as marriage? Are the legal situations parallel? Is there some new insurgency coming along to change the historic definition of child-rearing? That’s the real problem: you think you’ve discovered some inconsistency in our actions, but you haven’t stopped to think of how our support for A is relevant to our support for some other situation B.

    In short, the two are different, and that’s all I really need to say.

  6. Just because you can read a verse out of context doesn’t mean you understand what it means when you take it out of context.

    First, it was several quotes, not a single quote, and from a Christian website.

    Second, these examples were given to me by a Christian scholar and Ph.D.

    While you have marriage counselling and all, Christians are not pursuing anti-divorce and pro-corporal punishment agendas in the various legislatures and I was just wondering why. Anti-gay, anti-divorce and pro-corporal punishments are all advocated by God yet Christians were trying to legislate only one of those. I’m just trying to understand why it is okay to follow God’s commands with the gays but not with the other 2 items.

  7. “A Christian website.”

    That’s a strange way to describe verses quoted from the Bible. No one (and I mean no one) who knew anything about the Bible would attribute its language to “a Christian website.”

    The examples may have been given you by anyone. The question is, what do they mean in historical and grammatical context?

    I think I’ve answered why we’re not pursuing those other agendas in law. It’s not even hard, Patrick. Really. If you’d only think with your mind instead of your biases, you’d realize there are good reasons for us to use different strategies to address different kinds of problems.

  8. If you’d only think with your mind instead of your biases, you’d realize there are good reasons for us to use different strategies to address different kinds of problems.

    Oh, I’m sure. In group versus out group, believers vs non-believers, us vs them. People within a group generally treat each other better than those outside the group who would commit similar infractions. Can you imagine what would happen to church memberships if the leaders tried to outlaw divorce? People would be leaving by the droves. They come to the churches to seek comfort and fellowship, not be punished or even excommunicated for being divorced.

    Gays, on the other hand, are more or less outsiders. Everyone within the church community can get together and try to ban gay marriage because it is not threatening to the members, a common cause if you will. Such a common cause can serve to unite the members while banning divorce will only cause fractions within the community of believers.

  9. @Patrick Reynolds

    I find it interesting that you are vocally opposed to gay marriage and the social costs you think it will incur if enacted. However, divorce is specifically prohibited by Jesus and also carries social and other costs with it yet I never hear a peep out of evangelical Christians protesting against it.

    Jesus didn’t prohibit divorce. He put stringent conditions on whether a divorced person could remarry.

    And as Tom has said, Christian organizations put a great deal of effort into trying to strengthen marriages and discourage divorce.

    And as Tom has also mentioned, there is no inconsistency in having different strategies for different situations. In a secular society, Christian groups have to pick their their red lines and their battles. Divorce is common enough in society for prohibition in law to be unrealistic (and it seems it has always been that way). And as you say, it is common in the church, sadly, and that must be taken into consideration too.

    Gay marriage is a somewhat different situation as it requires a redefinition of what marriage is. Unlike divorce, which has always been with us, gay marriage is a radical societal change, and we don’t know what the long term effects are going to be. It is also usually easier to defend the status quo than to oppose it.

    You should also note that evangelicals aren’t a single group with one spiritual leader who determines strategy. Different groups have different priorities, and they naturally work towards their own goals.

    Gays, on the other hand, are more or less outsiders. Everyone within the church community can get together and try to ban gay marriage because it is not threatening to the members, a common cause if you will.

    Sadly, I don’t doubt there is an element of truth in this, and yet I think it is also exaggerated. Churches I’ve been associated over the years have been very accepting of gay people, although they don’t confuse acceptance with having to endorse gay marriage.

  10. I must be on the liberal side of the fence on this issue. I am happy for the ruling and believe it will increase joy in our world, which is sorely in need of joy. Yes, it re-defines marriage, yet marriage has been defined and re-defined before, hasn’t it?

    I believe the best fight for Christians lies not with SSM but rather with championing our best values as they can be adopted by all the world.

  11. No, marriage has not been re-defined in any manner approaching this. Not in thousands of years, at any rate, when polygamy was last accepted in Western culture. Even then marriage was virtually always man-and-wife; the women were married to the man, not to each other, as I understand it.

    This will not increase true joy. It will degrade the institution of marriage, which will hurt couples and children badly. You’re sadly mistaken on this.

    Our best fight for marriage now does include taking marriage seriously, though. I agree with you to that limited extent. The political discussion has ended for the time being, having been completely short-circuited by nine unelected lawyers (Alito’s phrase) who have decided to rule the country regardless of what the people think, and regardless of how the people have voted.

  12. And David B.

    One of the things about this ruling isn’t that it re-defines marriage so much as it un-defines marriage. Marriage, the bedrock institution behind every civilization the world has ever known, is now pretty much whatever anyone wants to say it is. You think that doesn’t matter. You think we’re smart enough to reinvent human civilization. You sure we’re getting it right.

  13. It will degrade the institution of marriage, which will hurt couples and children badly.

    How, specifically?

    Perhaps you could quote examples from countries where it has been legal for over a decade (e.g. Canada, Spain, Belgium)? It’s been legal for 14 years in the Netherlands, how have their couples and children been hurt?

    Marriage, the bedrock institution behind every civilization the world has ever known, is now pretty much whatever anyone wants to say it is.

    Page 12 of the ruling –

    “This analysis compels the conclusion that same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry. The four principles and traditions to be discussed demonstrate that the reasons marriage is fundamental under the Constitution apply with equal force to same-sex couples.”

    Seems to be pretty specific to me – marriage is for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

  14. Sault, haven’t you and I been over this a hundred times already?

    I think I’ve asked you twice. Maybe three times? You’ve never really replied in anything beyond vague generalities, was just checking to see if anything had changed.

    I’d suggest that using a statement like “same-sex marriage hurts couples and children badly” would serve your argument better if it was well-documented and well-supported instead of just being axiomatic.

    Either way, that’s all I had to say. That, and I’m really thankful to be alive to see a day like today.

  15. I am not too sure if the theists here will welcome me agreeing with them, but if the argument is marriage has always been defined as male-female; then male female is what it is. Reasoning honestly – it is what it is, and that is what it is.

    I am happy if another similar institution is defined to accommodate the LGBT community, and give similar legal protections, administrative advantages (tax), etc; as well as of course a forum to make the type of loving commitments they would make in a marriage ceremony.

    I am happy to be corrected if I have any facts wrong.

  16. I am happy to be corrected if I have any facts wrong.

    Graham,

    Best I know, you couldn’t be more right. But that seems to matter less.

  17. Seems to be pretty specific to me – marriage is for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

    And that’s it. They are right because they say they are right. No more discussion necessary.

  18. The interesting thing is that this ruling does not affect anyone’s current relationship. Christian couples are still free to marry members of the opposite sex, just as they were prior to the decision. They are also free to have affairs or get divorced or annul their marriage over the silliest of reasons even though Jesus said “No!” to divorce.

    What really upsets Christians is that they are no longer able to control actions of people they don’t like. No longer can they see gays as second class citizens who enjoy the same rights as them. No longer will they be able to marginalize gays from society. Out of sight, out of mind is what Christians prefer but no longer as gays take their rightful place in society enjoying the same rights and privileges as Christians.

    People don’t want laws restricting or prohibiting divorce because that adversely affects Christian couples and becomes an almost unbearable yoke but place a similar yoke on outsiders, non-believers, and they are okay with it. Imagine if gays became the majority in state and federal legislatures and passed bills prohibiting marriage between Christian men and women. Those selfsame Christians who were in favor of gay marriage bans would suddenly complain how unfair and immoral it would be for one group to define how another group should live their lives. They would cry out how unfair the marriage ban put in place by the gay legislature would be. Oh, the irony!. I think one of the greatest fears Christians have had over the centuries is the fear that one group would come into power and treat Christians the way Christians treated them.

  19. Sault @16, I guess I’ve had that conversation with others, then. It’s hard to keep it all straight. The link I gave you is still my best answer for today,

  20. You don’t hear Christians protesting divorce? You’re not listening in the right place. There are hundreds of marriage conferences every weekend. There are tens of thousands of counseling meetings every week. There are hundreds and hundreds of books on the topic.

    The difference is that you don’t see Christians protesting against laws that allow lenient divorces. You don’t see Christians working together to promote stricter divorces like you seen Christians working together to promote gay marriage bans.

    With marriage counseling a couple can go or not. They have a choice.
    With marriage counseling a couple can work the program or not. They have a choice.
    With marriage counseling a couple can still get a divorce or not. They have a choice.

    With gays they don’t have a choice. You were trying to legislate their behavior. You wanted to take away their ability to choose to follow the program or not. You were trying to impose your values and beliefs on them and there wasn’t going to be a choice for them.

    Treating in-group people better and more leniently than outgroup people.

  21. The difference is that we were asleep at the wheel when no-fault divorce came on the scene. It’s been as destructive as gay marriage will be, but now that it’s here, there’s no point in attempting a useless, hopeless legal battle.

    The other difference is that divorce is allowed in some circumstances. Gay marriage is an oxymoron and ontologically impossible in all circumstances. It’s a more clear-cut situation.

    The other difference is that no-fault divorce wasn’t the result of a dedicated insurgency with an avowed aim of misrepresenting, propagandizing, and making Christians look horrible.

    The other difference is that the homosexual insurgency was trying to use PR and the legal system to invent a new category of morality and relationship, and since that was there chosen field of battle, it was appropriate to meet them there.

    Our position is that gays getting married is not a matter of choice any more than contemporary Americans have the choice of being Neanderthals. If a person is one thing, he cannot be the other, by definition, even if a lot of really, really caring and nice people want him to be. If a relationship is between two persons of the same sex, it cannot be a marriage, not because we’re mean, but because that’s not what a marriage is.

    Finally, the other difference is that what you’ve described here is a great description of what the gay insurgency has been doing for the past twenty-five years:

    You were trying to legislate their behavior. You wanted to take away their ability to choose to follow the program or not. You were trying to impose your values and beliefs on them and there wasn’t going to be a choice for them.

    And the really, really, really sad thing is that you can’t even see it.

  22. Would you want to live in a society that gave rights and privileges to groups other than yours?

    Would you be willing to have some rights and privileges that you currently enjoy be taken away but other groups can still enjoy them?

    Would you want to, or be willing to, live in a society where you are treated as a second class citizen?

    If not, why do you want others to live that way?

  23. I do live in a society where other groups have rights and privileges I don’t have. I would not prefer to live in a society where judges can legislate in the false name of rights. Making laws is the legislature’s job. Inventing rights is a very dangerous door into oligarchy, wherein rights are traded as favors and no one is ultimately free.

    I would not prefer to live in a society that would redefine language in order to invent rights.

    I do not recognize a right for gays to marry any more than I accept your right to be a Neanderthal. I thought I explained that. You seem to have missed it.

    And the really sad thing is that you don’t see it and won’t see it, any more than you would see the obvious thing I mentioned in my previous comment. You pass it by. Are your eyes glazed over in reality, or does it just come across that way when you fail to see things like that here?

  24. @Tom Gilson:

    Allow me to go somewhat off-topic and take your post in another direction. Now, I am not an American, and do not pretend to have any special knowledge, but from what I observe the abortion issue, even though settled in the courts, is not settled in society at large, but rather it is still a contentious and divisive fracture running transversally through America. One could probably list other similarly divisive issues, and it seems to me that SSM is about to join that dubious list. That being so, what are the prospects for the unity and social coherence of American society? How much heterogeneity can America withstand before it collapses? Do SSM’ers simply hope that the anti-SSM side will buckle and, in time, what will be left will be some small pockets of resistance that they can wish away by tagging them “fundamentalists” or some such?

  25. Christian’s can’t continue to fight this battle the way they have been. Coming up whether newer better debating tactics is not going to accomplish anything because the “debate” from the other side’s perspective has never been about reason, only the pretense of reason. The SSM movement, backed by their secular progressive allies, has used ideologically driven propaganda primarily based on passion and power, not reason.

    If biblically based Christianity wants to regain its voice on this issue it needs to act boldly and decisively. For example, we have to sever our relationship with the state which has turned marriage into something that is illegitimate and counterfeit. Churches need to be the ones licensing marriages not the state. And we could be. It’s all a matter of faith and will. Unfortunately, I don’t think the current crop of Christian leaders have either.

  26. Allow me to go somewhat off-topic and take your post in another direction. Now, I am not an American, and do not pretend to have any special knowledge, but from what I observe the abortion issue, even though settled in the courts, is not settled in society at large, but rather it is still a contentious and divisive fracture running transversally through America. One could probably list other similarly divisive issues, and it seems to me that SSM is about to join that dubious list. That being so, what are the prospects for the unity and social coherence of American society? How much heterogeneity can America withstand before it collapses? Do SSM’ers simply hope that the anti-SSM side will buckle and, in time, what will be left will be some small pockets of resistance that they can wish away by tagging them “fundamentalists” or some such?

    You guys are so melodramatic… my goodness.

    In any case, I’m pretty hard pressed to think of a time in America’s history where contentious and divisive fractures, as extreme or more extreme than the “abortion divide” or same-sex marriage didn’t exist (and I think that fracture is less extreme than you think).

    If there ever was, it was short lived and temporary. Such fractures have basically been America’s default state since its birth.

  27. d,

    That’s rather an overly casual description of the Civil War. It’s an overly casual depiction of the 1960s. It’s an overly casual statement.

  28. Tom,

    Just calling out the fallacy of the idyllic past or something veering quite close to it. The current crops of modern social divides are not anything remarkable or especially concerning, considering… well… history.

  29. @d:

    Just calling out the fallacy of the idyllic past or something veering quite close to it.

    Since I (and Tom and many others) view SSM as a turn for the worse, in that sense, the Past was better than the present. But where did I or anyone made “the fallacy of the idyllic past”? I made a couple of questions that seem quite natural. Apparently you think that everything will be just fine. Great, but do you have anything actually relevant to say or are just making noise?

  30. Considering, well, history, which shows that any day’s current crop of divides can produce painful unexpected consequences. You brush that aside all too lightly. I wonder if your view of the past is the one that’s idyllic. I’ve said nothing even hinting of that. But you seem to be saying, history tells us not to worry much about this. You forget much of what history has been like.

  31. I do live in a society where other groups have rights and privileges I don’t have.

    I would be very interested to know what rights others have that you do not.

    I would not prefer to live in a society where judges can legislate in the false name of rights.

    What other rights, other than gays, should we repeal? Should we take back rights from women and blacks also? How do you determine what rights to keep and what rights should be retracted?

  32. My foot surgeon has the right and privilege to cut other people’s feet open without fear of prosecution. I don’t.

    I’m sure that wasn’t the kind of right or privilege you had in mind, but you made it a very open-ended statement, so I’m not quite sure what you meant exactly. I could try to answer in terms of what you did have in mind, but it would be easier for me to do that if you would specify it.

    What other rights, other than gays, should we repeal? Should we take back rights from women and blacks also? How do you determine what rights to keep and what rights should be retracted?

    There is a basic body of knowledge of human rights that goes back centuries. It took us longer to recognize that blacks and women are fully human and fully entitled to share in those rights.

    The right for gays to marry has never been among those, because for numerous reasons, marriage has always (and accurately) been understood to be a man-woman relationship. That’s an easy way to determine whether a right should be granted. There can be no right to live out a form of relationship that contradicts its own meaning and nature. No man has the right to be a married bachelor, either.

    So I can’t think of any actual rights that gays shouldn’t be entitled to enjoy, as humans, along with everyone else.

  33. I’m sure that wasn’t the kind of right or privilege you had in mind, but you made it a very open-ended statement, so I’m not quite sure what you meant exactly.

    You made the statement that you didn’t have rights and privileges that others had. I was just trying to get you to clarify that statement.

    Making laws is the legislature’s job.

    Would you then approve of gay marriage if the state legislatures had approved it such as in California? Or the federal legislature?

  34. Considering, well, history, which shows that any day’s current crop of divides can produce painful unexpected consequences. You brush that aside all too lightly. I wonder if your view of the past is the one that’s idyllic. I’ve said nothing even hinting of that. But you seem to be saying, history tells us not to worry much about this. You forget much of what history has been like.

    IT IS *utterly* ridiculous to speculate or even entertain the idea that the SSM “divide” is going to be a thing that results or contributes to end of the United States. It’s laughable, Tom.

    So sure, call my view on this “casual” – but I think that’s informed by a relatively decent view of the *severity* of our past (and nearly perpetual) divides and the consequences they had.

    My prediction is that things will probably continue as they are now. The divide will continue to lessen as support for same-sex marriage grows, till there’s a relatively reasonable level of social harmony on the topic. The few hold outs will go to their graves bitter, gnashing their teeth about it, still swearing this country’s end will come any day now. And then they’ll be forgotten.

  35. @d:

    My prediction is that things will probably continue as they are now. The divide will continue to lessen as support for same-sex marriage grows, till there’s a relatively reasonable level of social harmony on the topic. The few hold outs will go to their graves bitter, gnashing their teeth about it, still swearing this country’s end will come any day now. And then they’ll be forgotten.

    I wrote:

    Do SSM’ers simply hope that the anti-SSM side will buckle and, in time, what will be left will be some small pockets of resistance that they can wish away by tagging them “fundamentalists” or some such?

    In other words, nothing to see here, just more inconsequential noise.

  36. Tom –

    I would not prefer to live in a society where judges can legislate in the false name of rights. Making laws is the legislature’s job.

    I’ve read all the dissents in “United States v. Windsor”, and I can’t find a single reference to “Loving v. Virginia”, the decision that invalidated State bans against interracial marriages.

    Possibly “United States v. Windsor” was decided incorrectly. But if so, it wasn’t because the Supreme Court lacks the power to override State marriage laws. I haven’t seen anyone argue that “Loving v. Virginia” was decided incorrectly on that basis.

  37. Patrick,

    Would you then approve of gay marriage if the state legislatures had approved it such as in California? Or the federal legislature?

    No. I wouldn’t approve of people asking me questions isolated of all context, either, because that just shows how little attention they’re paying. My observation regarding the political process employed by the justices was an observation about their political process, which I think was wrong, not about gay marriage, which I think is a contradiction in terms.

    IT IS *utterly* ridiculous to speculate or even entertain the idea that the SSM “divide” is going to be a thing that results or contributes to end of the United States. It’s laughable, Tom.

    Did I say it would do that?

    You know what’s funny? I think you’re saying I drew a conclusion that’s unsupportable by the evidence. In order to support that, you had to invent a conclusion that I didn’t state. You had to conclude that was what I meant. Your conclusion, however, has no actual evidence supporting it. Do you see the irony?

    Ray @40,

    Could you explain what your comments have to do with what they’re ostensibly responding to? In the course of your answer, maybe you could use some critical thinking with respect to the difference between general human rights being applied to all humans (as I wrote in #36) and new rights being invented out of whole cloth.

    The 14th Amendment was ratified by the States. Loving v. Virginia was clearly an application of the language and intent of the 14th Amendment. This wasn’t.

    Edit at 6:24 pm: I got d and Patrick mixed up here. Apologies for that.

  38. There is a basic body of knowledge of human rights that goes back centuries. It took us longer to recognize that blacks and women are fully human and fully entitled to share in those rights.

    The right for gays to marry has never been among those, because for numerous reasons, marriage has always (and accurately) been understood to be a man-woman relationship.

    If it took you centuries to recognize that women and blacks are fully entitled to share in those rights then maybe gays have those rights also but you just haven’t recognized it yet. After all, it took centuries for Christian males to acknowledge that women had rights, too.

    Rights are a human concept that evolves over time and as the society evolves. At various times people thought that they had the right to own others as slaves and that those slaved had few, if any, rights to their person or property. Men thought that they were in charge of their wives and that the wives had no say in what happens to them.

    There can be no right to live out a form of relationship that contradicts its own meaning and nature. No man has the right to be a married bachelor, either.

    So I can’t think of any actual rights that gays shouldn’t be entitled to enjoy, as humans, along with everyone else.

    Marriage is mostly a man-woman privilege mainly because most men and women are heterosexuals who want to marry. Depending on the culture a man can marry one woman, several at a time or several over a period of time. Women can do the same in other cultures – one husband, several at a time or several over a period of time. There is no standard, unified concept of marriage.

    In Greek and Roman cultures, same sex marriage was also allowed so it isn’t just one man – one woman.

    On the other hand, many Christians feel that they have the right to deny services, housing and jobs to gays.

  39. Tom –

    Loving v. Virginia was clearly an application of the language and intent of the 14th Amendment.

    Actually, it wasn’t. Language, maybe – but definitely not intent.

    The legislators who advocated for the 14th Amendment specifically assured worried colleagues that it would not invalidate miscegenation laws. Or, in fact, many other aspects of marriage at the time.

    ‘Originalists’ – like, say, Justice Scalia – always seem to ignore this point. Very few argue that Loving v. Virginia was decided incorrectly.
    (Do you, in light of this information?)

    In short, “making laws” may indeed be “the legislature’s job”, but reviewing those laws, and invalidating the ones that don’t respect the people’s rights, is the judiciary’s job.

  40. No. I wouldn’t approve of people asking me questions isolated of all context, either, because that just shows how little attention they’re paying.

    I have not asked you anything out of context. My questions are based on a previous statement of yours. For example, you said that you had fewer rights and privileges and I am still trying to find out what rights you think you do not have that others have. You just refuse to say what they are.

  41. Patrick, you’re confusing two separate topics.

    One is, who is entitled to basic human rights?

    The other is, what are those basic human rights?

    Would you try to keep those straight as we continue our conversation? It won’t do to use a challenge on the first topic as a challenge on the second (which you’ve tried several times) because they aren’t the same topic.

    As for this:

    I am still trying to find out what rights you think you do not have that others have. You just refuse to say what they are.

    Falsehoods like that are a great way to derail a productive discussion. I answered in #36, and I asked a clarifying question along with my answer. I think I made it clear that I was interested in finding out exactly what you wanted to know, and that I would answer again when I knew what that was. I wrote,

    I’m sure that wasn’t the kind of right or privilege you had in mind, but you made it a very open-ended statement, so I’m not quite sure what you meant exactly. I could try to answer in terms of what you did have in mind, but it would be easier for me to do that if you would specify it.

    You responded in #37 without any clarification.

    I am not refusing to answer, I’m waiting for you to explain further what you mean by the question. When you answer, I’ll answer, since that’s when I’ll have a clearer idea what the question is.

    That’s how we move forward productively, not by charging each other with “just refusing” to respond, at least, not when it’s not true.

  42. Ray @43, re: the 14th Amendment: correction noted on the intent. Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.

    There’s still no language in there creating new human rights like abortion or gay marriage, and it’s still not the judiciary’s job to create them.

    See my most recent response to Patrick on important distinctions that need to be made.

  43. Patrick, you wrote,

    Rights are a human concept that evolves over time and as the society evolves.

    You say that as if that weren’t one of the main concepts in dispute. I’m convinced rights are endowed to us by our Creator. (Others with some influence in our nation’s history have thought the same.) You can’t just blithely use that as a premise in an argument, when it’s a point you need to defend (or concede)!

  44. In Greek and Roman cultures, same sex marriage was also allowed so it isn’t just one man – one woman.

    Source, please?

    There is no standard, unified concept of marriage.

    Customs surrounding marriage, and forms within marriage, have varied. True. This much is standard: marriage has virtually always been between man and woman.

  45. @Patrick Reynolds:

    If it took you centuries to recognize that women and blacks are fully entitled to share in those rights then maybe gays have those rights also but you just haven’t recognized it yet.

    Rights are a human concept that evolves over time and as the society evolves.

    If “Rights are a human concept that evolves over time”, then “we” (presumably Christians) cannot possibly have failed to recognize anything whatsoever, since by definition they were then yet non-existent in any sense whatsoever. If on the other hand, “we” (presumably Christians) have indeed failed to recognize that “women and blacks are fully entitled to share in those rights”, then those rights, whatever they were or are, existed independently of the opinions of Christians, in which case they, the rights, are not “a human concept that evolves over time and as the society evolves”.

    You might want to get your story straightened up.

  46. There is no standard, unified concept of marriage.

    Traditional marriage has been the bedrock social institution on which the human culture has survived, developed and prospered.

  47. Patrick,
    When is comes to the US law and whether or not a law violates the constitution, rights are NOT a human concept that evolves over time.

  48. There’s still no language in there creating new human rights like abortion or gay marriage, and it’s still not the judiciary’s job to create them.

    Loving – assuming you agree that it was correctly decided, which I assume you do – demonstrates that the Supreme Court does, in fact, have the power to override the marriage laws of the states. If Obergefell v. Hodges was decided incorrectly, it was not on the basis that the Supreme Court overreached its authority. The Supreme Court’s job is to interpret laws in the light of the rights of the people, and to invalidate laws that violate those rights.

    Now, you could argue that the right the Court is here protecting doesn’t exist, but that’s a more complicated argument. One that necessarily invovles the 9th Amendment. (Note, there, the quote from James Madison.) The Court here is also doing its job – the Constitution itself says that it doesn’t enumerate all existing rights.

    On another note, you might find these reflections by a Christian in the U.K. interesting:

    It is entirely up to the state to declare what relationships it will recognise as marriage, and the Church should not have a problem with that.

    It is entirely up to the Church to declare what relationships it will recognise as Christian marriage, and the State should not have a problem with that.

    The state should jealously guard its prerogative from the Church, and ensure that it provides equality under the law for all its citizens.

    The Church should jealously guard its prerogative from the state, and ensure that it is never coerced into bringing its beliefs and practices into line with those of the majority if it doesn’t want to.

    Evangelicals (and others) have got themselves into a knot because they think the state is trying to define Christian marriage. It isn’t; it can’t, and it never could. But the long history of Christendom has allowed Christians to think that the two are the same. Most Americans have always been keen on the separation of Church and state; well, now’s the chance to find out whether you mean it.

    The real crisis facing family life, in America and in the UK, is not gay marriage, but divorce and family breakdown. Now that the legal argument is over, perhaps the energies which have been poured into a needless and counter-productive battle can be more usefully directed.

  49. Loving has moral force and legitimacy because (among other things) it didn’t interfere or tamper with marriage or with states’ marriage laws per se. Granted, the actual legal language it addressed was probably found in laws concerning marriage, but marriage is not what the Court ruled on then, morally and philosophically speaking. The Court’s ruling was on the fact that persons of all races are human beings, and are thus entitled to equal protection under the law. That’s clearly found in the Constitution, and it’s a clearly legitimate ruling.

    I’m speaking on a moral and philosophical level, I remind you–which is the level on which you posed the question. If the technical details of the law contain reference to “marriage law,” what I wrote is still true.

    Thanks for pointing out that reference from the U.K.

  50. By the way, anti-miscegenation laws were an aberration in the history of marriage. It was never thought by anyone that persons of different sexes couldn’t get married. In fact, it was always understood that whites and blacks could marry each other. AM laws didn’t make it suddenly impossible, they made it suddenly a criminal act. SSM, on the other hand, is a case where the courts said that what was never before considered even remotely thinkable was in fact a basic human right, and that what we have always understood to be true about marriage has always been wrong. That’s an entirely, completely, totally different kind of pronouncement.

  51. Did the supreme the Supreme Court settle anything with its SSM decision last Friday? Not if Christians and other people of faith want to maintain their Constitutional rights.

    In his long prose-poem about love masquerading as a judicial opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy… cited the First Amendment for the proposition that religions and those that adhere to them “may continue to advocate with utmost sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

    Gee, thanks, Mr. Justice. This assurance is about as convincing as the rest of Kennedy’s airy majority opinion with little or no connection to the Constitution or law — which is to say, people of faith ought to brace for the worst.

    Kennedy’s statement was carefully hedged to include only advocacy and teaching, a lawyerly wording that the other lawyers on the court were quick to pick up on. The First Amendment, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out in his dissent, actually protects the freedom to exercise religion. That means people of faith acting on their beliefs, not merely advocating them or teaching them.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/will-gay-marriage-ruling-bulldoze-religious-freedom

    In other words, Justice Kennedy kicked the door wide open for religious persecution by the state.

  52. Tom –

    I’m speaking on a moral and philosophical level, I remind you–which is the level on which you posed the question.

    Well, actually, I’ve been specifically addressing whether “the Supreme Court lacks the power to override State marriage laws”, in response to your statement that “Making laws is the legislature’s job.” I’m responding to your claim about Constitutional law. The “moral and philosophical level” is a separate topic, which we’ve gone over before.

  53. You asked me whether I thought Loving was a correct decision. I’m not about to answer it on the level of legal theory; I’m not a lawyer. I’m going to answer it on the level that I know, which is the moral and philosophical.

    The Supreme Court probably did, technically, override State marriage laws, but the legitimacy of what they did resides in the fact that they didn’t change anything except for this: they said that blacks and whites are human beings with equal protection under the law.

    I already said that, and I think it’s still the relevant answer to your question. If not, please explain what I got wrong.

    My guess is this, anyway: the Supreme Court did not make law. It only applied the 14th amendment and invalidated laws.

  54. Oh, and by the way, if the question is whether the Supreme Court has the power to make laws, the answer is unequivocally and obviously yes.

    The real question is whether the Supreme Court has legitimate power to make laws.

  55. We have to move carefully when quoting items about the (factual) problem of the family breakdown. That’s accurate. It’s a mammoth problem. The BET awards the other night mentioned the (factual) problem of the absent father. It’s *measurable*. However, the essence therein resides, in great part, in a peculiar milieu which offers the highest chance of success in socializing the child’s emotional intelligence amid the sexes as a functional adult.

    The inescapable problem of the absent father is but one robust line of hard data in that arena, and one championed by all sides here.

    For good, data driven reasons.

    Because it’s true.

    The social sciences consistently echoe that data when we look at other combinations and permutations.

    Loving the child means championing the childhood milieu which will extract from her childhood plasticity the highest feasible emotional intelligence / socialization.

    The early plasticity specifically under review is unquestionably maximized amid that singular milieu that is the stable, ongoing, caring environment that the robustly feminine amalgamated with the robustly masculine predictably, measurably delivers. There is so-so, there is okay, there is better, and then there is “best”.

    Marriage is one thing. Aquinas on tolerance may perhaps apply.

    But marriage is not the whole unit if and when we mean to invoke the essence of early childhood plasticity. That essence has eons of data which are inescapable.

    Ignoring the fundamental truths of our human essences led some to claim “a difference” amid black/white. That same intentional shunning of the fundamental essences of our humanity does equal harm if and when they claim “sameness” in widely different milieus in-play atop early childhood plasticity.

    Ignoring the essence of our humanity didn’t help mankind amid black / white issues. It was ultimately unloving. Repeating that mistake can’t love the child either. Not factually.

    Adoption is wonderful. *Any* stability is better than none (etc.).

    The early plasticity specifically under review is unquestionably maximized amid that singular milieu that is the stable, ongoing, caring environment that the robustly feminine amalgamated with the robustly masculine predictably, measurably delivers. There is so-so, there is okay, there is better, and then there is “best”.

    This is not a statement on legality, rather, this is merely an observation of human essence.

  56. It is entirely up to the state to declare what relationships it will recognise as marriage, and the Church should not have a problem with that.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding the intent this Christian writer is making. The church should not have a problem with what the state decides here? Why?

    Is it because the church should be tolerant of differences? Okay, I agree with that – but “not have a problem” means that those differences are without problems and that isn’t true. The church sees the problem.

    Is the writer saying the church shouldn’t do anything *within the legal system* to try to rectify the problem it sees? I’m having trouble seeing the good in that.

  57. I visited a grade school (1st and 2nd grade) in an impoverished area and recall the (all women) teachers essentially pleading with me to return. That felt good until I learned why the request came. The children in that class were, for the most part, fatherless and me, as a male, had, these teachers felt, a certain “some-thing” which their young impressions needed, but were lacking. They didn’t need me to be a rocket scientist. They needed something far more expensive – they knew their young students needed a generator, an image, a model of appropriate and consistent male-impressions, as it were. And the community in question knew all too well the unfortunate reality of gambling away the greater for the lesser. It still “felt good” to be asked to return as often as possible – though for unexpected reasons.

    We’re forever seeing hints of this leaking onto the floor in all sorts of places.

    As noted earlier, buried in the midst of the BET awards the other night, a comment on the (factual) problem of the absent father seemed important enough to drop into the mix. Everyone understands, or gets, that reality – as it’s just palpable, measurable. All the affairs of our children’s masculinization and of our children’s feminization carry us unavoidably into the inescapable problem of the absent father over there and the absent mother over here, and so on. All of that is clear, observable, and all of that is so unfortunate that communities champion those who fight to untie such painful knots in the next generation of young parents. All of these are robust lines of hard data in an arena which is championed by all sides her and such (unfortunate) data presents us with something from which nearly no one dissents.

    For intelligent, data-driven reasons.

    Because it’s true.

    The social sciences consistently echo that data when we look at other combinations and permutations.

    The child’s potential need not be fully actualized as it us painfully and unfortunately obvious that we all enter our world already in possession of potential which our world, the world we enter, is, quite often, unsuccessful in fully actualizing. When it comes to the maximal potential of a child’s plasticity as such relates to the fullest actualization of the child’s emotional intelligence amid the sexes, we come to an uncanny observation:

    Early submersion within an ongoing, stable, and emotionally perceptive environment insightfully exhibiting that which is fully human inside of the robustly feminine milieu amalgamated with the robustly masculine milieu observably provides the necessary stimuli and interfaces sufficient to maximally elicit the child’s embryonic intuitiveness. Mechanistically speaking, such caring reciprocity recurrently interfacing amid those distinct milieus are then levied atop the child’s highly plastic potential and that, as it relates to the child’s future capacity for authentic adult interfacing amid the sexes, houses our most credible or balanced consistency.

    It seems that we have two approaches which allow us to arrive at that location – that of final causes (the God paradigm) and that of the latent potentiality of an already-present and deeply embedded neuro-biological network (reductionist, no-god paradigm) as the “end of the line”, as it were. In both we find an uncanny degree of convergence. The reductionist (no-God paradigm) who appeals to neurobiology as the end of line where our humanity’s employable substrate is concerned finds all the evidence of his stimuli-outcome trajectories converging in all the same locations as those trajectories predicted by final causes (the God paradigm).

    We find no effective difference in what provides the child’s plasticity the greatest opportunity of fullness in a robust development of the child’s emotional intelligence across the full range of the robustly feminine to the robustly masculine as the child progresses to a fully functional adult. The relational landscape which provides that early childhood plasticity with the highest degree of actualization is the stable, ongoing, emotionally intelligent, and caring environment of submersion in the singular atmosphere which is itself constituted of the fully feminine milieu amalgamated with the fully masculine milieu.

    That singularity sums to the relational milieu which is the factual some-thing found in the real world as granting our children the most predictable degree of success. As already noted, none of this is to say that other combinations or permutations don’t get by, often quite well – they do – but we are speaking here of the fullness of range of what just is our humanity’s fundamental essence as it relates to childhood’s early plasticity and a robust emotional intelligence amid the sexes.

    The data on children raised with one parent is relevant in a few ways here. Children raised by the single father are found to be less aware of, and more likely to possess some degree of maladroitness in, many relational contexts where the feminine is concerned. And the reverse is seen in those raised by the single mother. This of course does not amount to simple dysfunction, but rather to degrees of awareness, to degrees of ability to fully interact in and with and by our humanity’s full range of potential, of capacity as all the affairs of masculinization and of feminization come to the forefront. Obviously this can be in part overcome by emersion – from day one – with a wider circle of close – daily – contacts (it takes a village, so to speak). However, we still, even there, do not seem able to find that which factually equals that which is yielded by the daily intimacy of the home submerged in the masculine/feminine of father/mother as our own humanity’s fully feminine to fully masculine range weighs in on childhood plasticity.

    Ignoring the fundamental truths of our human essences led some to claim a “difference” between Blacks/ Whites, between African Americans and Caucasian. We cannot expect to fully actualize Mankind’s Good when we thusly ignore, out of fear, ignorance, or both, the elementary truths of Mankind’s essence, and that is why Pastor MLK Jr. got it right – his essentialism finally out-distancing such misguided thinking. We cannot evade reality and expect to find something worth having and Pastor MLK pressed in on that fact. It is a peculiar danger that of late that same intentional shunning of, willful neglect of, even disenfranchising of, key fundamental essences of our humanity where our children are concerned may be evolving, and the price there can only sum to those which Pastor MLK taught us so well. Such a repeat of yesterday’s unfortunate approach to Mankind can, and ultimately must, bring equal forms of genuine psychological harm and human misguidedness and those then must in return bring some new layer of emotional harm, and those then must bring yet some new layer of….. and so on. Such is the danger of ignoring what we’ve learned from our past mistakes if and when we claim “sameness” among a collection of different milieus found in-play atop early childhood plasticity. Ignoring the essence of our humanity didn’t help mankind amid “Black / White” issues and, in fact, it ended in the actualization of the antithesis of the Good – that is to say – it was ultimately unloving. Repeating now with our children that very same fear-driven mistake, that very same dis-invitation of yet another key slice of our elementary essence, cannot, ultimately, end in that which sums to loving our children.

    Not factually, that is.

    Disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in a degree of autohypnosis or in some degree of wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. We simply cannot commit the same emotional and intellectual crimes of the past and expect to find our fullest humanity.

    As already noted, adoption is wonderful, and two parents there seems to be more promising than one. *Any* stability is better than none, and so on in said degrees and where there are degrees there are, painfully for our children should we repeat the mistakes of the past, the grave potential of wasted opportunities – opportunities excluded or disinvited or marginalized merely out of fear, or ignorance, or both. The early plasticity specifically under review is with nearly across the board consensus most fully actualized by the submersion within an ongoing, stable, and emotionally perceptive environment insightfully exhibiting that which is the fully human inside of the robustly feminine milieu amalgamated with the robustly masculine milieu as such observably provides the necessary stimuli and interfaces sufficient to maximally elicit the child’s embryonic intuitiveness. Mechanistically speaking, such caring reciprocity recurrently interfacing amid those distinct milieus are then levied atop the child’s highly plastic potential and that, as it relates to the child’s future capacity for authentic adult interfacing amid the sexes, houses our most credible or balanced consistency. There are *degrees*, that is to say, there is so-so, there is okay, there is better, and then there is the “best chance for the highest degree of actualization” or the ideal milieu relative to the child’s plasticity and his or her future emotional intelligence amid the sexes as a functional adult.

    Of course, just because “X” for various reasons offers the highest possible chance for actualization, for a robust emotional intelligence amid the sexes does not mean that good functionality is not obtainable with X-minus-some-thing. We all get by with various levels discomfort or unawareness, or what have you, amid something less than fully healthy interfaces as adults. But being functional has gradations, or layers, or degrees, as it were. We find here an unfortunate reality on the part of one certain narrative in the denial of such layering in our humanity as it develops. Where that narrative of late is concerned, as Pastor MLK taught us all so well, disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in some degree of autohypnosis or in some degree of wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. We simply cannot commit the emotional and intellectual crimes of the past and expect to find our fullest humanity. The very essence of what makes us fully human was ignored and that made-up-reality was used to show a supposed “difference” amid Black and White human beings. Just the same, genuine opportunity for the child’s best shot at actualizing the full range of masculine/feminine emotional intelligence is always awaiting the child upon his or her entry into the world and, for all the same reasons which Pastor MLK taught us, disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in some degree of autohypnosis or in some degree of wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. We simply cannot commit the emotional and intellectual crimes of the past and expect to find our fullest humanity. The very essence of what makes us fully human cannot be ignored as we just cannot seek a reality that is “as we wish it were” and attempt to, thereby, show “sameness” amid factually different milieus of robust emotional opportunity in-play atop early childhood plasticity.

    As already noted, where the child’s future is concerned, *any* stability is better than no stability, and that less/more merges unavoidably into palpable degrees of opportunity for the child. But similarity is not sameness and (unfortunately for all of us) we have a wide array of converging data from which very few dissent that we do not find elsewhere that which factually equals that which is yielded by the daily intimacy of the home submerged in the masculine/feminine of father/mother as our own humanity’s fully feminine to fully masculine range weigh in on childhood plasticity and future emotional intelligence amid the sexes.

    As noted, other combinations or permutations do well enough – but we are speaking here of a sort of identity claim – that A and B are identical realities where early childhood plasticity amid the full range of masculine/feminine emotional intelligence weighs in vis-à-vis the child’s opportunity. Observational reality seems to be declaring such to be (in at least some vectors of crucial import) a factually flawed identity claim. Marriage is one thing, and, indeed, Thomas Aquinas on Tolerance and Law may perhaps apply. But marriage is not “the whole” if and when we mean to invoke the essence of early childhood plasticity. That essence has (unfortunately for all of us) eons of data which are simply unavoidable.

    The crimes against African Americans which were fueled by our own willful dis-invitation of the fundamental realities of our own human essence created a painful, genuine, and preventable shortfall in the very substance of our humanity and, fortunately, we were gifted with the likes of Pastor MLK to brilliantly lead us out of such error as he, thankfully, got it right. That is to say, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. taught us with unmistakable clarity that when false narratives built atop fear, ignorance, or both begin to succeed they are themselves fated to come down on the wrong side of history – time and truth just do have that peculiar sort of relationship. History is both our teacher and a kind of proof in this arena. Narratives built atop our own self-deception or our own hope to have reality live up to what we wish it to be, rather than what it actually is, just cannot endure over time. Eventually the truth of our humanity rises and we’ve seen these principles of Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. play out over and over again on the world stage – for millennia.

    Perhaps that is one of the reasons many of us find ourselves embracing the metaphysical paradigm which converges in Christ – simply on the grounds of grace’s embrace of every last one of us – and – simply on the grounds that reality does in fact have a true narrative, perhaps up ahead of us, perhaps within us, or perhaps both – and – simply on the grounds of reason’s categorical imperative to embrace reality’s true narrative – to experience His unquenchable instantiation.

    Many of us need to beware here, lest we offend grace, and, for all the same reasons, others of us need to beware here, lest we offend various unavoidable truths of our own human essence. On whatever topic may arise we press – it’s difficult – to use caution in our own interior navigations of our own tendencies both towards and away from grace, and, just the same, in our own tendencies both towards and away from truth. We cannot offend grace towards our own selves and towards one another and think our narrative will – ultimately – flourish. We cannot offend truth towards our own selves and towards one another and think our narrative will – ultimately – flourish. Such shortsightedness has been found wanting upon the world stage – over and over again. History seems to reveal our final causes surfacing – ever spying somewhere within us – ever spying somewhere up ahead of us – His unquenchable instantiation. On such navigations amid grace and truth I’ve proven to be an inept sailor. Fortunately though, He holds all things and outdistances me. We are, it seems, not on the side of any Will-To-Power in any ipso facto sense, nor are we on the side of any Temporal Brand per se, but rather we are on the side of reality’s singular meta-narrative, that is to say, we are on the side of Grace in all directions – towards all – full stop – and – in the same sense – we are on the side of Truth in all directions – towards all – full stop. Grace and Truth as an *actual* singularity. That is the Narrative Whose Name is The-Real as we find all such lines seamlessly converging in Christ.

    This need not be and indeed is not a statement on legality, rather, this is merely an observation of our own human essence.

  58. An OP elsewhere commented on the common mistake of asserting that Jim Crow laws and Segregation laws are “Scriptural” and of asserting, thereby, a misinformed comparison to the issue of today.

    The Christian Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. was, fortunately, well-educated and hence was well aware of the long established and factual statements which Christ and Scripture declare of all men everywhere, of mankind.

    Those long established and factual statements were obviously a part of why he served Christ with such intensity, defending Scripture’s definitions and truths with his life. Hence, asserting that Jim Crow laws and segregation laws, and so on, are “Scriptural” obviously doesn’t stand up to more sophisticated eyes.

    On the topic of the inherent value of Every-Man vis-à-vis Christ and Scripture, we can look at the Christian Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. and at history and we can, for a moment, zoom the lens out and gain factual perspective. History, groaning in pain, finds the Truth of God’s love compelling Mankind towards His Instantiation on the world stage and on the individual’s stage. Both stages, of course, internally struggling between said Truths of Scripture (on the one hand) and deeply embedded mindsets in need of renewal (on the other hand). Such are but a few of several obvious reasons why Scripture compels us to define reality by God’s love in and by Christ rather than by the disciple or by the non-disciple.

    The lens zoomed out finds, coming into focus, not the misguidedness of those who, seeking to harm, to damage, make the uninformed step of equating Jim Crow laws and Segregation Laws to “Scripture”. Rather, we re-discover, with the lens zoomed out, the power of Christ’s Grace to change a man’s heart and mind, bit by bit, little by little, and, thereby, to change many hearts and many minds, bit by bit, little by little, and, thereby, to change a nation’s heart and mind, bit by bit, little by little, as the God Who is love pressing in upon Man comes into view.

    How are we to treat one another?

    A few examples:

    The right of physicians, and other citizens, to refrain from participating in state executions, and, from participating in elective abortions (as opposed to measures in saving the mother’s life, Etc.), and, from participating in a military action which conflicts with their moral conscience were and are a legal safe-house.

    That non-participation is legally housed in two nuances. First, it is a right of conscience arena. Second, its focus is on non-participation, not on refusal, and the law recognizes that there is a difference. In these cases no harm can be claimed, as another can (reasonably) provide said service.

    One citizen has the right to abort, and, another citizen has the right to refrain from participation in an act which the state has declared legal. The state has the right to execute someone, and the citizen is given legal margin which provides him with the wherewithal to refrain from participating in an act which the state has declared legal. And so too with any compulsion to participate in a military activity which one’s conscience cannot affirm.

    The law recognizes possible harm and addresses it, and, compulsion is found unwarranted, and so on.

    There are well established ways in a genuinely pluralistic society for all parties involved to grant one another due respect, and all while avoiding any unilaterally suffered injury.

    As a Christian, God does not afford me the moral latitude to take an Atheist’s livelihood away from him, and his family, if he will not make me a banner saying “Ultimate Reality Is Love”, or what have you, for this or that event. There, as in abortion and state executions and military conflicts one opposes on point of conscience, the tangible connection between his (the Athiest’s) participation and his conscience is both immediate upon contact and recognizable by average onlookers. And, also, the tangible connection between my own participation in that bit of selfishness inside of me which would strip him and his children of their livelihood (on the one hand) and my conscience vis-à-vis Christ’s prompting (on the other hand) is immediately clear to me upon contact and easily recognizable for what it is. And, that is especially clear to me given God’s clear command to me as His disciple, and, especially given our Nation’s longstanding non-participation laws which grant him the safe harbor and right of non-participation.

    As a citizen, perhaps, I may be able to obtain the right to attempt to strip him and his family of some or all of his livelihood. Only, that won’t satisfy God should I employ that right, and so, even then, I’m unable to feed that bit of selfishness inside. Instead, I follow Christ’s leading.

    There is plenty of legal precedent in all of this. The heat of emotion in 2015-16 will for now likely drive some to inflict as much verbal damage and/or legal damage as possible. Etc. However, ultimately the longstanding legalities surrounding non-participation will resurface as said emotion recedes and cooler heads prevail on all sides.

    C.S. Lewis noted that it is not necessarily new information that is needed, but merely the reminder of information one has already gone over. Non-participation precedent is (perhaps) one example.

    The OP mentioned earlier (Segregation laws and Jim Crow laws are “Scriptural” etc….) is another good example of Lewis’ point, as our Christian Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. reminds both them and us not of such misinformation spoken in emotion’s heat, intending to harm, but, rather, of the long established and factual statements which Christ and Scripture declare of all men everywhere, spoken by our noted Christian Pastor to heal, not to hurt, and at great cost to himself.

  59. Moving further along here:

    Corporations have the right to refuse to carry, say, clothing lines of this or that designer if said designer offends the conscience of said corporation. “We’ll no longer be carrying X’s line of clothing” emerges as fully justified here and for obvious reasons which the law factually recognizes. The right of physicians, and other citizens, to refrain from participating in state executions, and, from participating in elective abortions (as opposed to measures in saving the mother’s life, Etc.), and, from participating in a military action which conflicts with their moral conscience were and are a legal safe-house.

    There are, in all of these, illegitimate thresholds, such as a person’s color, religion, sex, or orientation (“CRSO”). This or that person’s CRSO, and, the fact that an event is declared legal, fail to emerge as germane for obvious reasons and that is important as the focus of the law fully acknowledges that there can be illegitimate non-participation (either the person or the person’s CRSO) and forces the would-be non-participant to factually qualify legitimate non-participation vis-à-vis both an intended context and an immediate context of a specific event.

    Non-participation is legally housed in two nuances. First, it is a right of conscience arena. Second, its focus is on non-participation, not on refusal to interact, and the law recognizes that there is a difference. In these cases no harm can be claimed, as another can (reasonably) provide said service, and, further, the color, religion, sex, and orientation (CRSO) of the state prisoner, of the mother-to-be, or of the military’s target, or the fact of the legal status of all such events, are all viewed as immaterial, for, it is not the person nor the CRSO nor the fact that the event is legal, but, rather, it is the nature of the intended context and of the immediate context of an *event* which the law is addressing vis-à-vis conscience. The law is responsible to all parties involved by first acknowledging that there can be illegitimate reasons, such as this or that person’s CRSO, being used as the basis on which to avoid transactions with said person, and, then, acknowledges that both the person’s CRSO and the factual legal status of said event all fail to emerge as germane given that it is the intended context and the immediate context of a specific event which is factually isolated by the conscience. The physician cannot refuse to see the mother-to-be in his office and provide services, for example, for nothing there carries the intended context or the immediate context of that which his conscience opposes. In the same way, the electrician cannot refuse to work on the state prison’s lunchroom lights, for example, because the intended context and immediate context of the event in question fails to be either intended or immediate.

    We find here an interesting and important compulsion by the law upon all citizens to otherwise interact with every person regardless of the persons’ CRSO, and, indeed, the Christian is commanded to love every person, and, the non-participation language surrounding conscience laws allows the Christian to remain faithful to that fundamental obligation.

    Moving a little further with these laws and their precedents, one citizen has the right to abort, and, another citizen has the right to refrain from participation in an act which the state has declared legal, as once the facts carry us inside of the intended context and the immediate context of a specific event neither the person’s CRSO nor the fact that said event is granted full legal status by the law emerges as germane. Similarly the state has the right to execute someone, and the citizen is given legal margin which provides him with the wherewithal to refrain from participating in an act which the state has declared legal, as once the facts carry us inside of the intended context and the immediate context of a specific event, neither the person’s (the prisoner’s or the state’s embrace of this or that CRSO) nor the fact that said event is granted full legal status by the law emerges as germane. And so too with any compulsion to participate in a military activity which one’s conscience cannot affirm.

    The law’s precedent clearly recognizes possible harm and addresses it, and, compulsion is found unwarranted vis-à-vis, not person, not CRSO, and not the fact that said event is fully legal, but specifically the intended context and the immediate context of a specific event. This or that person’s CRSO, and, the fact that an event is declared legal, fail to emerge as germane for obvious reasons and that is important as the focus of the law fully acknowledges that there can be illegitimate non-participation (either the person or the person’s CRSO) and forces the would-be non-participant to factually qualify legitimate non-participation vis-à-vis both an intended context and the immediate context of a specific event.

    All citizens are found compelled by the law to interact with every person regardless of their CRSO, all the while providing citizens the wherewithal to refrain from participating in an event which violates their conscience.

    These laws are both peculiar and longstanding and we find all citizens (such as the Atheist who abstains from serving clearly religious goals of events) who for reasons of conscience choose non-participation informed that there is in fact an interesting and important compulsion by the law upon all citizens to otherwise interact with every person regardless of the persons’ CRSO, and, also, there is in fact an interesting compulsion by the law which forces the would-be non-participant to factually qualify legitimate non-participation vis-à-vis both an intended context and the immediate context of a specific event. Interestingly, as noted already, the Christian is commanded to love every person and the non-participation language surrounding conscience laws allows the Christian to remain faithful to that fundamental obligation.

    There are well established ways in a genuinely pluralistic society for all parties involved to grant one another due respect, and all the while avoiding discrimination based on either a person or a person’s CRSO.

    As a Christian, God does not afford me the moral latitude to take an Atheist’s livelihood away from him, and his family, if he will not make me a banner saying “Ultimate Reality Is Love”, or what have you, for this or that event. There, as in abortion and state executions and military conflicts one opposes on point of conscience, the tangible connection between his (the Athiest’s) participation and his conscience is both immediate upon contact and recognizable by average onlookers. And, also, the tangible connection between my own participation in that bit of selfishness inside of me which would strip him and his children of their livelihood (on the one hand) and my conscience vis-à-vis Christ’s prompting (on the other hand) is immediately clear to me upon contact and easily recognizable for what it is. And, that is especially clear to me given God’s clear command to me as His disciple to love those who would harm me or – simply – to love all people period. It is also especially clear to me that I must grant him his room, not merely to avoid that bit of selfishness inside of me which would strip him and his family of his livelihood, but, also, our Nation’s longstanding non-participation laws which grant him the safe harbor and right of non-participation emerge as fully applicable.

    As a citizen, perhaps, I may be able to obtain the right to attempt to strip him and his family of some or all of his livelihood. Only, that won’t satisfy God should I employ that right, and so, even then, I’m unable to feed that bit of selfishness inside. Instead, I follow Christ’s leading.

  60. Typo:

    The 7th paragraph, which begins with,

    “All citizens are found compelled…..”

    Should have read as:

    All citizens are found compelled by the law to interact with every person regardless of their CRSO, all the while providing citizens the wherewithal to refrain from participating in an event which violates their conscience, as we clearly see in the physician, the electrician, the nurse, the custodian, the manufacturer of syringes, and so on.

  61. Did the court ruling decide what the legal definition of marriage is or did it only say that same-sex couples have the right to get married?

  62. I’m asking the above question because (a) I don’t recall that the ruling established a legal definition but maybe I’m wrong, and (b) if this has not been decided, then on what basis can the legal system determine if someone has been denied the right to be legally married?

  63. The Bible consistently tells us that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. When people continue in sin and unbelief, God “gives them over” to even more wicked and depraved sin in order to show them the futility and hopelessness of life apart from God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that homosexual “offenders” will not inherit the kingdom of God. God does not create a person with homosexual desires. The Bible tells us that people become homosexuals because of sin (Romans 1:24-27) and ultimately because of their own choice. A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as some people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the persons choosing to sin by giving in to sinful desires. If a person is born with a greater susceptibility to anger/rage, does that make it right for him to give into those desires? Of course not! The same is true with homosexuality. However, the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin than any other. All sin is offensive to God. Homosexuality is just one of the many things listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that will keep a person from the kingdom of God. According to the Bible, Gods forgiveness is just as available to a homosexual as it is to an adulterer, idol worshipper, murderer, thief, etc. God also promises the strength for victory over sin, including homosexuality, to all those who will believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 4:13).

  64. I sin daily, and, even still, I discover that I am still found in God.

    We must be careful, thorough, and define all “sides” or “parts” of any particular topic.

    Scripture tells us that those guilty of this or that sin or of some sins in particular that they will not be found – ultimately – in God. There is even a list of things, many of which, of course, I participate in on all sorts of subtle (sometimes not subtle) levels. And, also, there is another annoying problem. By “problem” we do *not* mean God’s perfect and complete provisions in Christ, that is to say, we do not mean “All Sufficiency’s” provisions of, well, “All Sufficiency”. No. We don’t mean that, for, obviously, such is wonderfully true for all of us in our frailties, but, rather, we mean the painfully annoying problem for the Accuser of Christ’s all sufficiency as he (the Accuser) Accuses all of us there in our own moments of self-doubt and/or self-loathing and hence he presents the straw man of this or that sin (finally) banishing someone from His, God’s, Presence.

    The Accuser loves his list, his straw man – and he forgets far too much when it comes to the rest of the story.

    In Christ I discover that such lists – though applicable to me on several fronts – simply fail to grant intellectual / ontological satisfaction to the Accuser’s straw man when faced with the rest of Christ’s paradigmatic actualities. In our own moments of self-doubt and/or self-loathing, and I have many such moments, we must remember that the Accuser’s definitions of us there are (he’s fundamentally deceitful) based entirely on false stopping points – that is to say – he zeroes in on this or that isolated slice of “me” or “you” (and so on) and makes his case by stopping there. Speaking of my own items which are on that list, there are, say, various compulsions of “ego and / or appetite” to varying degrees. There is, to flesh that out, say, “liars” in that list somewhere (the Accuser loves that list), and yet I discover that though I lie to myself, to God, and to others in all sorts of subtle ways, (sometimes not subtle), daily, and though my eye or my ego or my appetites may venture here or there or gaze at this or that woman, or some other something or what have you (and all of that *is* adultery per Christ) I discover that I am yet found in God, that I am, even still, found in God. Such is Man in Christ – and we find that such is the state of affairs with whatever slice of our contingent nature the Accuser of Christ’s Sacrifice, the Accuser of all of us, happens to throw at any of us.

    The Accuser’s thought is (seemingly) that a-n-y given slice of our humanity will out-power or out-reach Christ’s All Sufficient Sacrifice and therein the Accuser just fails to account for the whole-show that just is the metanarrative of the God paradigm (setting aside the errors of coerced, robotic, and hence loveless, universalism).

    That is where the deceitfulness of the Accuser’s use of the “lists of sins” there in Scripture becomes painfully exposed for the lie that it is. He stops “there” on that list, on its isolated slices, and demands that we agree with his definition’s stopping points.

    And here is where those who disagree with Pastor Martin Luther King Jr.’s conclusions and thereby go on repeating the patterns of the past 60-plus years fall off the intellectual cliff:

    Philosophical naturalists (PN’s) make the very same mistake as the Accuser. Why? Because both attempt to define our reality not by “the whole of reality”, as it were but instead by this or that isolated ontological slice of me or you or us or of man’s (finite, contingent) nature. This or that part of our biological frame or our psychological constitution is the Accuser’s only hope of “defining the man” with any degree of traction before he is factually contradicted by reality’s factual Hard Stop, and, for all the same reasons that is also the case for the PN’s only hope at “defining the man” with any degree of traction before he is factually contradicted by his own paradigm as it (PN) spews its inescapable and asinine ontological indifference. As if color or as if this or that slice of the emotional or the biological can somehow actually qualify as a (factual) hard stop to reality, as the (factual) ultimate meaning maker of the man. What nonsense. The Accuser and the PN both have to make their case by zeroing in on an isolated slice and by dis-inviting the wider canopy that is the whole show, that is the metanarrative of Mankind’s final felicity housed in the immutable love of the Necessary Being. Valuing our own selves and valuing one another by the Accuser’s asinine assaults leads us to the wrong conclusions about our own worth and how to define that worth, about the worth of our neighbors and how to define that worth, and about reality and how to define reality’s terms.

    The Accuser’s definitions cannot factually justify his own claims against any of us simply because the factual ends of reality don’t stop at his deceitful stopping points. All those same affairs are, curiously, found in the PN’s own eliminative materialism as he finds no actual stopping point in any of us – as Man in his definitions (factually) fails to be reality’s ultimate meaning maker, simply because the factual ends of reality don’t stop at his (non-factual) stopping points. The Accuser and the PN both stand, in the end, atop fiction, and, at least in the Accuser’s case, we are certain that said fiction is fueled by all the stuff of lie/deception.

    When any human being is found looking at this or that item on the Accuser’s list within himself and taking the Accuser’s asinine condemnations to heart, in our own moments of self-doubt and/or self-loathing, we know that said human being has gotten his facts all wrong, has begun to define himself, and reality, according to counterfeit stopping points. We cannot continue to define ourselves, and others, and good, and bad, and reality by, first, referencing only isolated slices of our various finite and contingent bio-frames and, then, stopping there as we proceed to define our terms. We simply must move past such finite and contingent foci as we proceed to define a human being and a human being’s story and reality’s narrative and thereby refuse to repeat the intellectual errors of the past 60-plus years.

    Such sham stopping points fail by their very nature to factually define the whole of the man, and thus the whole of the story. The list of sins matters, yes, our isolated slices of this or that part of our finite and contingent bio-frame matter, yes, but, so does the rest of the story inescapably found in the metanarrative of God’s love as God Himself outdistances Man in the same sense that Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. referenced as he appealed to the wider, broader paradigm of final causes located inside of those beautiful contours of ceaseless reciprocity within Trinity, there in the immutable love of the Necessary Being. That is to say, again, that Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. got it right as he taught us to avoid first, defining reality “in here” within one’s own self, and secondly, to avoid defining reality “out there” external to one’s own self by this or that isolated ontological bio-slice of ourselves or of me or of you or of us or of man’s necessarily mutable, finite, and contingent nature. He taught us the painful cost of that method’s dis-invitation of fundamental facts surrounding our humanity’s full story as he showed us that such methods are, factually, false narratives built all too often on a subtext of fear, or misinformation, or anger, or hate, or, at times, all of the above. And he taught us that, ultimately, such narratives cannot come down on the right side of history.

    Our humanity cannot afford to just blithely carry on repeating the intellectual errors which led to the kind of thinking which motivated the assassination of Pastor MLK Jr. by continuing to define ourselves, and others, and good, and bad, and reality by, first, referencing only isolated slices of our various finite and contingent bio-frames and, then, stopping there. We simply must move past such finite and contingent foci as we proceed to define a human being and a human being’s story and refuse to repeat the intellectual errors of the last 60-plus years.

    Both that fateful Accuser and whatever isolated slice of our nature he happens to throw at any of us and the Philosophical Naturalist fail to apprehend the actual state of affairs as they, both, hopelessly omit those sobering and momentous sightlines which Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed so much to deliver to our world. Is lying on the list? Yes. I don’t care. Well, I care, only, such is not in relation to the Hope that lands fixed, solid, in Him. Do I lie? Yes. But it just doesn’t matter. Well, it matters, only, such is not in relation to the Hope that lands fixed, solid, in Him. Do parts of my ego and parts of my appetites sometimes go against immutable love’s final causes for me? Yes. But it just doesn’t matter. Well, it matters, only, such is not in relation to the Hope that lands fixed, solid, in Him. Why? Because in the real world as it actually is, rather than in that strange mysticism fueled by PN’s cognitive dissonance, the Accuser comes up short – for such mutable and contingent slices simply fail to define the whole of me, of you, of us, as, again, neither the Accuser nor the PN has the intellectual and ontological resources to define “me” or “you” or “us” (and so on) by such finite and mutable and contingent contours. As Pastor King painfully reminded us, what defines human and what defines the good is found elsewhere, higher up, outside of our own mutable and finite frames, as the immutable love of God defines reality “in here” within my own self, within your own self (and so on), just as that same ceaseless reciprocity housed forever in Trinity defines reality “out there” external to my own self, external to your own self (and so on).

    To the Accuser we can and we do say this, “My X? My Sin? My Slice? Yes. Absolutely. You are correct. And? So what? What about it?”. The reply which returns is a deafening and a complete silence.

    Because Christ.

    William Lane Craig comments, “We need to remember that being homosexual is as such no sin. Most homosexuals did not choose such an orientation and would like to change it if they could. We need to accept and lovingly support brothers and sisters who are struggling with this problem. And in general, we need to extend God’s love to homosexual people. Vulgar words or jokes about homosexuals should never pass the lips of a Christian. If you find yourself feeling glad when some affliction befalls a homosexual person or you find feelings of hatred welling up in your heart toward homosexual people, then you need to reflect long and hard on the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew: “It will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah than for you”. (Mt. 10.15; 11.24).”