American Tragedy: Gird Up Your Loins

Unless Obergefell can be reversed soon through the next two presidential elections and the retirement/replacement of renegade SCOTUS judges (Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer are the first up), this will turn out to be the greatest American tragedy for the civil liberties of persons of faith, for the cause of sexual purity in the United States, and for the lives of persons struggling with same-sex attraction.

Prepare for a reign of persecution and abuse of people of faith as hateful, ignorant, and discriminatory “bigots” and the moral equivalent of racists in every area of life in which people of faith intersect with the secular realm, individually and in their religious institutions, with a profound negative impact as well within most mainline denominations.

As individuals, people of faith will be aggressively indoctrinated, fined, denied advancement, fired, intimidated, and subjected to ceaseless verbal abuse in public and private schools, at institutions of higher learning, at places of employment in public and private sectors, and throughout the main communication organs of the media and entertainment industry. Their institutions and businesses will be set on a collision course with the state: denied government funding, contracts, and loans; denied accreditation and tax-exempt status; and subjected to government harassment.

Contrary to what deceived and deceiving proponents of “gay marriage” have argued, homosexual relationships will not be tamed by marriage but rather will destroy it and render it meaningless. The institution of marriage will not so much conform homosexual activity to the Christian understanding of marriage (lifelong, monogamous, procreative, balancing the sexes) as be transformed over time to accommodate to virtually any type of adult-consensual union. It will eradicate the very basis in creation and nature for defining marriage as complementary of body and monogamous: a male-female foundation. Taking account of sexual differentiation at any level, even opposition to cross-dressing and “transgenderism” and sex-distinguished bathroom facilities, must now be treated as malicious.

Gender confusion in the young will be regularly promoted by the government, schools, and media. Along with it will come an increase not only in homosexual or transgender identification but also in homosexuality itself.

Following in the wake of that will be the attendant, disproportionately high rates of measurable harm associated with homosexual practice, including high sexually transmitted infection rates and high numbers of sex partners over the course of life (mostly for males; marriage won’t tame this but rather will be redefined to accommodate an “openness” to other sexual liaisons), as well as high relational turnover and the mental health complications that come from such breakups (especially for females; marriage won’t stop that either but rather will be redefined to view such short-term “marriages” as the new norm). Add to this the complete severance of even the pretense of a procreative norm. The cheapening effect on marriage, reduced to little more than voluntary friendships that come and go, will stimulate an even more precipitous decline in marriage rates among heterosexuals.

The Lawless Five have ventured arrogantly into the realm of morality. Their view of marriage is opposed to no less a moral authority than Jesus of Nazareth. Those who like to say that Jesus changed the Law of Moses fail to note the direction of change. The Six Antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount make clear that the change is not toward greater license but toward greater demand, making the law more internally self-consistent (Matthew 5:17-48).

When Jesus addressed the issue of marriage in more detail (Mark 10:2-12; parallel in Matthew 19:3-9), he quoted Genesis 1:27 (actually just a third of it: “male and female he [God] made them”) and 2:24 (“For this reason a man may … be joined to his woman and the two shall become one flesh”). These two texts stress the foundational character of a male-female prerequisite of the marital/sexual bond. Consistent with the Six Antitheses, Jesus directs change toward greater demand, not greater license, appealing to the twoness of the sexes, “male and female,” as a basis for limiting the number of partners in a sexual union to two, whether serially (no remarriage after invalid divorce) or, implicitly, concurrently (no polygamy).

Once the two halves of the sexual spectrum are brought together, moderating the extremes of each sex and filling in the gaps, a third party (or more) is neither necessary nor desirable. In ancient Israel women had always been bound by a strict monogamy requirement (no polyandry, i.e. multiple husbands) and did not have right to unilateral divorce. Jesus declared that the Law of Moses had accommodated to male “hardness of heart” in permitting them multiple wives. No longer, Jesus said. In effect: “I’m closing that loophole by appeal to God’s male-female prerequisite in creation.” The duality of the sexes in sexual union is the foundation or predicate for limiting the number of partners in a sexual union to two.

I am not saying that Christians should be driven by fear of what the state can now do to us. No, Christians must always exhibit the boldness of speech that characterizes free people of the commonwealth of heaven. Christians should respond in faith rather than fear in this moment of American Crisis.

Jesus has assured us, “Look, I am with you all the days till the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), just as God assured his people Israel: “He will go before you. He, Yahweh, will be with you. He will not abandon you or leave you. Do not be afraid and do not be terrified” (Deuteronomy 31:8). We know how the End turns out. God wins. God’s name will one day be revered as holy by all, willingly or not. God’s kingdom will come. God’s will shall be done on earth as it is even now being done in heaven.

So let us clothe ourselves with the whole armor of God (truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer) to engage this struggle that is not merely against “flesh and blood” but against “spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:10-20). And as Jesus reminded us, if you are going to have fear, don’t be so much afraid of human beings, who can (at most) kill only the body. Fear God “who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Abingdon Press), among other works. This is excerpted, with permission, from a longer piece posted here.

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