Catholics and the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage “equality”: where do we go from here?

I’m sure many of you who are my devoted followers on this blog are eager to hear me discuss my reaction to yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court. I wasn’t surprised at the outcome; in fact, I was kind of expecting it. After the Defense of Marriage Act was shot down the writing was on the wall for this decision. My opposition to allowing same-sex marriage or altering the definition of marriage hasn’t changed since the blog I wrote on Pandora’s box nearly two years ago. For details of that, please see that blog. Just click the link here:The Supreme Court and Pandora’s Box

But what has changed this time?

First of all, I find the language that was used to defend allowing same-sex marriage and overriding the laws of the states to be interesting. They kept referring to the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman only as “discriminatory”, “hate filled”, “bigoted”, and a host of other negative descriptions. But where did this definition come from? It came from God. Therefore, if we are referring to the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman as hate filled and discriminatory and bigoted then  we’re calling God hate filled, discriminatory and bigoted. In effect, yesterday the Supreme Court sat in judgment of God and declared God “discriminatory”, “hate filled”, and “bigoted”. I remember another Supreme Court that sat in judgment over God. That was the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Caiaphas and Annas and the Sadducees and all of their supporters sat in judgment of Jesus and accused him of blasphemy and they sent God to his death. The United States Supreme Court has done the same thing: they have sat in judgment of God and called him hate filled.

Christ in Majesty2

What is the good news? The good news for us is this: God has already won the victory! Every member of the Supreme Court and every politician and everyone who has been fighting to overturn God’s definition of marriage will have to stand before Christ in judgment when they die and they will hear Christ say to them, “I declared marriage to be between one man and one woman. Who were you to decide that my definition was hate filled?” I’d love to be able to be there that day to see what will happen.

The big question is, “Where do we go from here?” The final remaining question is whether or not the courts will try to force religions to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs. If they do, they will be in clear violation of the First Amendment which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” We will then have every right to be in civil disobedience and open rebellion against the Court should that ever happen because it clearly will have violated the United States Constitution.

As for ourselves, however, while we may not be able to do much to change yesterday’s ruling or what happens in states throughout the nation, what we can change is how we respond to it. Many people have lamented to me about the world we’re leaving to their children and grandchildren. The best way we can protect them from not being affected by this is to teach them clearly from now to follow God and not the social mores of our time. The days of cultural Catholicism are over. We can no longer go with the flow and feel content just to say we went to church on Sunday and did our Easter duty. The time has come for us to be countercultural. It is no longer possible for us to go along with society and remain faithful to God. We must choose one or the other; either we will follow God or we will follow society. In many ways it can be a glorious time for us to be Catholics today, because we are following in similar circumstances that the ancient Christians faced. They had the awesome responsibility of converting the Roman Empire to the faith, and even though the Roman Empire used all of its might to try to fight the new faith, ultimately it embraced as its official religion the very faith that tried to destroy. We today, if we wish to win back our country need to do so by remaining firm ourselves in the faith by being truly dedicated to God not merely on Sunday but every day of the week, that we literally fall in love with Jesus, that we let our life revolve around him and his call to holiness and his truth and unashamedly and unhesitatingly reject anything that contradicts God’s call to holiness. When civil law disagrees with God’s law, God’s law trumps it, and we have an obligation to obey God and not man.

So my dear friends do not panic! Christ has won the victory and we are on the side of that victory. We may feel right now like our opponents have hit a grand slam and are now beating us ten to nothing, but hang in there! At the end of the game we are the victors! Do not jump ship and try to decide that we must change the teachings of the Church to be more popular and fit in with the rest of the world so as to win more people back, as so many people would like us to do. Jesus never called us to be popular; he called us to be faithful. Our job is to teach the truth whether convenient or inconvenient, whether in season or out of season, whether popular or unpopular. If people listen to us, wonderful! We will then have saved their souls. And if they don’t at least we have done our job, and when we stand in judgment before the Lord we will not hear the condemnation that Jesus certainly gave to Caiaphas and Annas and will give to anyone else who has sat in judgment of his law and called it hateful and discriminatory, but we will hear Jesus say to us “Well done brave and faithful servant! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world! As you bore witness to me in the world, so I bear witness to you before my father! Come share in my joy!” May Jesus Christ be praised!

The Critical Role of Religion in Democracy

One of the dangers I have always seen in current American society is that we have reversed the intentions of our founding fathers. They imagined a country where religion was freely respected and openly tolerated (cf the First Amendment) but where no one would be compelled to follow any particular religion. We today are more and more creating a society that is inimical to religion, that wants to remove any public mention of God altogether, and more and more people are buying into the idea, even though they personally believe in God and consider themselves spiritual. The following video by a Harvard professor is an excellent statement on what I consider a very crucial error in modern society. Please take a moment to view it. It is only 1 1/2 minutes long.

Is America still the land of the free?

One of the greatest contributions of our founding fathers in their creation of the United States was that Americans would always be free to express our opinions publicly without being penalized for doing so. So important was this notion that it was enshrined as one of our fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights. In 21st-century America, however, it is now apparent that freedom of speech, once guaranteed by the First Amendment, will no longer be tolerated.

Last week Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones tweeted “omg” and “horrible” after seeing Michael Sam sharing a celebratory kiss with his male partner on national TV Saturday evening. In retaliation, the Miami Dolphins fined Jones, suspended him, and barred him from participating in any team activities until he underwent sensitivity training. One may not agree with Jones’ tweet, but whatever happened to his right to free speech? It is a dangerous development when certain individuals can choose to play thought police and decide to regulate what opinions others may hold. The Dolphins could easily have said, “While we respect Jones’ right to his opinion, his opinion does not represent those of the Miami Dolphins.” That would have been far more appropriate. Instead, they sent out a message that those who don’t believe what they do are to be punished and their thoughts are to be forcibly changed until they conform to their own. Is this the United States of America or a totalitarian dictatorship? Fanatical extremists punish others for not sharing their beliefs, not Americans who cherish freedom.

All Americans should cringe at the very serious precedent that the Dolphins have set. Those in favor of gay marriage may at the moment find great joy in the way Jones was punished for his statements, but what would happen if the growing trend toward acceptance of gay marriage should suddenly reverse itself? Suppose down the line people start defending traditional marriage more and more, and it becomes once again unacceptable to embrace gay marriage. Will someone who tweets that he’s in favor of gay marriage be willing to be fined, be publicly forced to apologize for his statements, and be sent for sensitivity training until he accepts traditional marriage? And how about other issues? Are we now all to be afraid to tweet, post, or say anything for fear that there will be retribution by someone above us simply because our opinions differ from theirs? I hope everyone sees the very serious danger this development poses to American society. It in fact erodes the very fabric of the Constitution and our American experiment in liberty. When Americans cannot express their opinions freely without punishment, the United States has ceased to be the land of the free.

When Tim Tebow would bow down for a moment of thanks to God after a play that went well, critics all over the place slammed him, and all sorts of negative comments were made about him and his public expression of faith. If Michael Sam has the right to his public expression of love for another man, does not Tim Tebow have the right to public expression of his love for the man Jesus? Or should Tebow’s critics now be fined, suspended, and sent for sensitivity training until they accept and agree with his belief in Jesus? If Don Jones is to be reprimanded, then so must anyone who publicly criticized Tim Tebow. You can’t have it both ways.

We as Americans have always treasured the right to disagree with others, and our toleration of differences and our respect for others’ opinions is one of the concepts that has made America strong and free. Take away that cherished American right and we will no longer be “the land of the free” but “the home of the enslaved.”