What Is the Gospel Response to the Prop. 8 Decision?
The ruling shows that as Christians, we should not look for a political solution to the crisis surrounding marriage and the family in our culture. The only true and lasting solution is found in a return to our spiritual foundations. The Bible makes clear that marriage is God's idea rather than a social contract that we are free to renegotiate based on changing social trends. But we can't expect the unbelieving world or any government or judicial system to understand or reinforce that. For this reason we should focus our efforts not on swaying political opinion but on teaching people what the Bible says about God's plan for marriage and the family.
There are several questions about the legal logic of this decision and where it might lead, yet it appears many outside observers have been left with a clear sense of what Christians are against, instead of what we're for. Little wonder the world openly questions how the orthodox Christian belief that sexual relations should be confined to a marriage between one man and one woman could possibly benefit everyone. Too often we respond with anger, outrage, or a disillusioned silence instead of pointing out the wonder and fulfillment of the different relational path of gospel.
We can continue to politically fight a drawn-out battle with a government that is not governed through an evangelical worldview, producing more casualties for Christ. Or we can learn right now what it means to live in relation to, and relationship with LGBT people as gay marriage is legalized—continuing to actively show Christ's compelling nature regardless of state or national policy. The choice is ours.
Gerald R. McDermott, professor of religion at Roanoke College:
Christians should be concerned about the common good, and this is not for the common good. Social science has shown that children do best in a home with two parents of the opposite sex in a low-conflict marriage, and gay marriages make that impossible for their children and less likely for society generally. More children will be created by artificial sperm donation, which in many cases forever cuts the children off from knowing both their biological parents. Gay marriage will also encourage teens who are unsure of their sexuality to embrace a lifestyle that suffers high rates of suicide, depression, HIV, drug abuse, STDs, and other pathogens.
Scot McKnight, professor in religious studies at North Park University:
I wish Christians would cease using so much money and time to establish our Christian ethic through legal processes. Instead we need to witness by word and deed to an alternative reality in our churches. We need to tell a better story through our families. Whether our laws change or not, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute:
"Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female? (Matt. 19:4)" "In his image, he created them. Male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)" Our culture cannot understand the point of gendered marriage, without an understanding of gender itself. Male and female are two different and complementary ways of imaging God and of being human. We must teach with conviction the goodness of God's creation of male and female.