There’s been a lot of talk over the last couple of years about the line between religious freedom and discrimination. Bakers, florists, and T-shirt makers have been sued and fined for refusing to cater to the gay agenda. Now, with gay marriage having been effectively legalized in many U.S. states, civil servants are being forced to examine their values.
A story this week from the AP shows Alabama officials weighing their options. On January 23, a federal judge ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage was in violation of the U.S. Constitution. There is a stay on the ruling for now, but we’re less than six months away from the issue of same-sex marriage going before the U.S. Supreme Court. Most analysts expect that they will rule in favor of allowing it nationwide. Should that happens, judges in Alabama and other states who believe that gay marriage is an abomination will have to make some tough choices.
But already, you can see the seeds of weakness being sewn. One judge says that he will stop performing marriages altogether if same-sex marriage is legalized. Others are insisting that they will not perform the ceremonies, but they will continue to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This, they see as a satisfying compromise between their beliefs and their legal duties.
Is it though?
You’re an Alabama judge. You believe that the Bible forbids gay marriage. You believe that to facilitate such marriages would be to stand against God. If you believe all of this, you can’t stick your toes into the water and agree to issue licenses. How do you explain that?
No, the only choice is to refuse to facilitate these marriages. In any way. And if that means being removed or being fired or quitting your position in government, then that’s what it means. How is this even a discussion? It is only a discussion because when the rubber meets the road, these judges (and this issue is just an example that can be applied more generally to a thousand different areas of life) have to find their breaking point. They’re willing to adhere to their beliefs as long as it’s merely inconvenient. They’re willing to follow God as long as it doesn’t hit them in the bank account. But, hey, if the law says they have to do it, what choice do they have? Give unto Caesar, right?
I didn’t write this to advocate against gay marriage, to call for tighter adherence to the Bible, or to even comment on whether or not such marriages are forbidden by God. That’s not for me to decide. All I’m saying is that IF you believe in something, then believe in it. There is no room for compromising your values. If you do, then they weren’t your values. Your values are: well, if it’s easy, then I’ll do it. If not, then I won’t. Those are the values of a coward.
In Iraq, people are being slaughtered for refusing to denounce Christianity. In America, people won’t even risk being fired. Of having to go through the trouble of finding a new job. I’m just an amateur when it comes to religion and Christianity and the subject of gay marriage, but if you believe in something at such a fundamental level, the way forward should be clear.