Archive | Culture

What your average evangelical is concerned about after Obergefell

The video above is from a Roman Catholic group, but I can testify that many evangelical Christians are feeling the same way these folks are.

I am a pastor, and the testimonies in this video sound very similar to what I have been hearing from the folks in my church. Our members by and large don’t have questions about the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage. They get that. Nor do they have questions about their obligation to love their neighbor, to seek their good, and to be at peace with everyone (Mark 12:29; Luke 6:33; Rom. 12:18). They get all of that. Continue Reading →

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Politico: “It’s time to legalize polygamy”

Traditional marriage supporters have long made the case that the argument for gay marriage can also be used to advance polygamous marriage. Chief Justice John Roberts agrees on page 22 of his powerful dissent:

Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective “two” in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.

And now just today, Politico has a long-form think-piece making the case for polygamy. Here’s an excerpt:

Polyamory is a fact. People are living in group relationships today. The question is not whether they will continue on in those relationships. The question is whether we will grant to them the same basic recognition we grant to other adults: that love makes marriage, and that the right to marry is exactly that, a right…

While important legal and practical questions remain unresolved, with the Supreme Court’s ruling and broad public support, marriage equality is here to stay. Soon, it will be time to turn the attention of social liberalism to the next horizon. Given that many of us have argued, to great effect, that deference to tradition is not a legitimate reason to restrict marriage rights to groups that want them, the next step seems clear. We should turn our efforts towards the legal recognition of marriages between more than two partners. It’s time to legalize polygamy.

The next stage of the sexual revolution always seems implausible until it is no longer implausible. Here we are. It turns out that the slope is indeed slippery.

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Newspaper no longer accepting opinion pieces opposing gay marriage

A Pennsylvania newspaper has just announced that it will no longer accept op-eds and letters to the editor that are critical of gay marriage. Here’s what the editors say in their statement:

And this news organization now crosses another threshold.

As a result of Friday’s ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will very strictly limit op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage. 

These unions are now the law of the land. And we would not entertain such criticisms that these unions are morally wrong or unnatural any more than we would entertain criticisms of interracial marriage or those claiming that women are less equal than men in the eyes of the law.

Did you get that? The Supreme Court has spoken, and that settles it. This means that the editors will not even entertain the possibility that the Supreme Court could be wrong. It’s a good thing they weren’t around when Dred Scott v. Sandford or Plessy v. Ferguson were decided. On their current principles, the editors would not have tolerated any dissent to slavery and segregation.

I agree with Albert Mohler that this kind of silliness represents the closing of the American mind. It’s not a serious argument but a bald attempt to silence and marginalize people who believe in traditional marriage. If you can’t win an argument, you shout down your opponents—or at least turn off their mic. And that’s what is happening here.

Expect to see more of it in days to come. You can also expect the American mind to be closing at the exact same pace as public forums begin to exclude opposing voices. So it begins.

UPDATE 6/27/15: I’m glad to see that the editor has walked this back. Read it here.

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A prophetic word from eleven years ago about today

Eleven years ago, John Piper delivered a message about “Discerning the Will of God Concerning Homosexuality and Marriage.” The message made an impression on me, and for many years now I’ve been reading a portion of this sermon every semester to my undergraduate hermeneutics students.

I share the message now because it is astonishing to me how prophetic it is in light of the decision handed down by the Supreme Court today. The Supreme Court by a narrow 5-4 ruling redefined marriage for all 50 states. In doing so, it usurped the authority of the states and imposed a fraudulent “meaning” onto the Constitution.

You can read the manuscript excerpt below, but I recommend that you listen to the audio. There is much more in the audio version than in what appears in the manuscript. Keep in mind that this was eleven years ago: Continue Reading →

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A Moral and Judicial Travesty

Today’s decision from the Supreme Court is a moral and judicial travesty.

From a legal standpoint, it represents five unelected justices imposing on the nation a new definition of marriage. The judgment is not rooted in sound legal principle but in the opinions of five lawyers arrogating to themselves the right to enact social policy. The Supreme Court has no right to redefine marriage for all 50 states, but that is exactly what it did today.

From a moral standpoint, the decision is a complete subversion of the good, the right, and the true with respect to marriage. Marriage is the covenant union of one man and one woman for life. Its connection to procreation and children has been revealed to us in nature, reason, and common sense. The Bible further reveals that marriage is an icon of the gospel—a symbol of Christ’s covenant love for his church (Ephesians 5:31-32).

The Court’s decision today attempts to turn all of that upside down. As a result, it stands against reason and common sense. More importantly, it stands against the purposes of the One who created marriage to begin with (Genesis 2:24-25).

Although I am disappointed with this decision, I remain confident that Christians will continue to bear witness to the truth about marriage—even if the law of our land is now arrayed against us. We will be in the world, not of the world, for the sake of the world (John 17:15-16, 23). Nothing that the Supreme Court has said today changes any of that.

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Is taking down the Confederate battle flag a mere gesture?

I have been watching the flag controversy from a distance, choosing not to weigh-in until now. Well, I guess that’s not quite right. Early on, I did tweet my opinion on the matter but offered little more. So for those who missed it, I agree that the flag should come down.

It has been interesting to see the conversation unfold among evangelical and conservative writers. Russell Moore, Albert Mohler, Rod Dreher, Ross Douthat, and countless others have called for its removal. Even Doug Wilson has declined to defend the flag as a symbol of southern resistance against federal encroachment, saying “Just take it down, man!” Among conservatives, it seems those wishing to keep the flag up are growing few and far between. Continue Reading →

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The Fallen of World War II

I could hardly take my eyes off the video above when I first watched it yesterday. It is a hard look at the enormous human toll of the second world war. From Neil Halloran:

An animated data-driven documentary about war and peace, The Fallen of World War II looks at the human cost of the second World War and sizes up the numbers to other wars in history, including trends in recent conflicts.

(HT: C. T. Eldridge)

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Bruce or Caitlyn? He or she? Should Christians accommodate transgender naming?

How should Christians respond to transgenderism in general and Bruce Jenner’s “transition” in particular? I think Christians are at their best when they recognize a need for both compassion and truth-telling. Compassion for those who experience painful alienation from their own bodies and truth-telling in the face of fictional accounts of gender identity.

As I have written before, transgenderism is a denial of God-ordained differences between male and female (Gen. 1:26-27). It is an untruthful suppression of the sexual binary that God has encoded into every cell of our bodies. When a person feels their gender identity to be out of sync with their sexual identity, the problem is not with the body but with the mind. To steal a phrase from Sam Allberry, the conflict is evidence of how sin distorts us not of how God made us. Thus, it is unloving and contrary to human flourishing to deny or obscure these truths. Continue Reading →

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How can we deny marriage to polygamists?

Ross Douthat acknowledges that legal polygamous marriage doesn’t appear to be around the corner. Nevertheless, he rightly asks how long until it too becomes as inevitable as gay marriage. He writes:

Can Americans say a permanent “no” to recognizing plural marriage once we’ve rooted for the Browns to get a “My Sisterwife’s Closet” jewelry line off the ground? Can a cultural left that believes in proliferating gender identities and Bruce Jenner’s essential womanhood draw the line, long-term, when a lesbian couple wants to include their baby’s biological father in their legal family, or when the child of polygamists stands up in court to say he wants his dad recognized as his mother’s legal spouse? Is a culture where prominent men routinely have multiple kids with multiple wives across multiple decades going to permanently deny marriage rights to people who want the same thing, except all at once?

How long indeed? Read the rest here.

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The mother of an aborted child speaks-out

A mother writes for The Washington Post what she went through after deciding to abort her unborn child, whom she aborted because doctors identified a birth defect. She writes:

I was well aware beforehand of the statistics about pregnancy loss —about one in five won’t make it full-term (though some studies place the number much higher)— and that my age, 37, upped my risk. But what really knocked me off my feet was the depth of my grief, the most profound of my life, and discovering just how misguided our society is in reacting to such a loss.
Continue Reading →

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