Twelve Things to Remember if the SCOTUS Decision Upsets You
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker
Photo Courtesy of: http://www.splendorofthechurch.com.ph/
The Supreme Court decision allowing gay “marriage” in the United States has upset all right minded Christians, and rightly so.
It is pretty clear that the Supreme Court has rubber stamped a widespread rejection of Christian morality by a large segment of the American people.
Not only has the Supreme Court ratified same sex “marriage” but they have overturned majority opinions of the people, set themselves up as arbiters of human morality, trampled on states’ rights, ignored not only historic Christian teaching, but the understanding of marriage held by all people at all times and in all cultures down through history.
We’re right to be upset. We have the right to protest the decision. Many would say we are obliged to engage in civil disobedience.
OK. But we should also take a deep breath, put things in perspective and keep the faith.
Here are twelve things to remember if you’re not happy with the SCOTUS decision:
1. In our society marriage is in transition – this is not only a question of same sex marriage. For the last fifty years, since the widespread acceptance of artificial contraception, sexuality and therefore marriage has been changing. No fault divorce, co habitation, promiscuity, prostitution, pornography plus increased mobility, feminism, the breakdown of the extended family–all these factors have contributed to the transition. We’re in a storm. Hold on tight. Buckle your seat belts. We’re in for more turbulence, but remember God is still in control. The church is built on a rock. Keep the faith.
2. The decision safeguards religious freedom – I’m inclined to be pessimistic about this and agree with George Weigel and many other commentators who believe that this will be tested before long and religious institutions that disapprove of same sex marriage will be targeted. But let’s hope they’re wrong and there is a strong backlash to strengthen the religious freedom protections. This could happen. Things change for the better as well as for the worse. Pray and hope and thank God that protections of religious freedom are still in place.
3. The battle may be lost, but the war is not over – Supreme Court decisions have been reversed. Constitutional amendments have been made. State legislators can devise new laws to cope with the changing understanding of marriage that grant people freedoms while protecting religious freedom and putting a fence around true marriage. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work dealing with the situation in positive and creative ways. This includes increased and better catechesis for our families and society and it means a new commitment to our marriages and families.
4. We’re supposed to treat all people with respect and compassion – Not everyone who experiences same sex attraction are radical homosexualists campaigning naked in the streets. People with same sex attraction are not all rabid atheists looking to destroy the church and persecute Christians. We have to put things in perspective and give ourselves a reality check. This doesn’t mean we approve of homosexual actions. It just means we should be thoughtful, aware and intelligent in our responses. We must welcome everyone to the joyful and difficult adventure of following Jesus Christ in the way of charity, chastity and holiness.
5. This is an ecumenical moment – This issue will show us who are true brothers and sisters are in Christ. Conservative evangelicals have stood up for Biblical morality. We can see now that they are our brothers and sisters. The liberal Protestants, on the other hand, have gone the way of the world. This is what usually happens when there is a crisis of persecution or possible persecution: true, Spirit filled disciples of the Lord Jesus suddenly see one another with clarity and charity and they embrace.
6. This will provide a sifting in the Catholic Church – The weeds and the wheat grow together in the Catholic Church. We need to face up to the fact that, according to some polls, a majority of Catholics approve of same sex marriage. These include prominent lay people, priests, deacons and probably some bishops. For a long time we have been papering over the cracks in our church. We’ve kept silent about the things that separate us. We’ve glossed over the differences for the sake of an outward show of unity. As this issue continues to impact the church we will see a sifting. Already I’ve had people leave my parish because I have preached against same sex marriage. Others will go. Many will leave the Catholic Church in disgust. They will have had enough. They may form their own schism or they may join Protestant churches, but the sifting will come and I, for one, think it is a cause for thanksgiving.
7. True Marriage will be strengthened – When something like this happens everything becomes clear for many people. Things were muddy. Things were lukewarm. Things were ambiguous and people were just drifting along. Then when the devil pushes just a bit too far and too fast people wake up. I can see a grass roots movement already emerging in which Christians of all traditions come together to strengthen marriage, strengthen masculinity, strengthen femininity and strengthen marriage. I can see parishes that focus on the family. I can see new communities growing up that focus on the family, and out of this will come a fresh understanding of God’s plan for the human race within the joyful gift of the family.
8. The Sacrament of Marriage Will Shine More Brightly – From this crisis will come a new wave of teaching about the beauty, depth and supernatural sanctity of marriage. This is always what has happened. Read church history. When a truth is challenged by persecution or heresy, by state oppression or moral depravity the truth bounces back ever stronger. When darkness encroaches the light shines ever more brightly. This will happen not because we make it happen, but because that is the very nature of truth and light. Truth and light prevail because they are positive. Darkness and death are negatives. They seem terrible, but they are the absence of life and light and therefore they cannot be sustained.
9. This is a Penitential Moment – The LGBT issue is not an isolated cultural phenomenon. It is part of a larger sexual revolution that has taken place over the last fifty years, and most of us, to a greater or lesser extent have been caught up in this whirlwind. This sexual revolution includes every sin against chastity. All of us should examine our consciences. Have we chosen the easy way of artificial contraception? Have we chosen to be sterilized because we “couldn’t afford more children”? Have we chosen the way of quickie divorce? Re-marriage? Have we turned a blind eye to our kids’ co habitation? Have we attended weddings we knew were illicit just to be nice? Have we used pornography or prostitutes? Have we solved a crisis pregnancy with abortion? Have we watched sex scenes in movies or TV with family members without comment? Most of us have been caught up in the moral maelstrom. It’s time we got our minds and hearts clear and committed ourselves to the fight for chastity.
10. Chastity Will Triumph – Remember the virtue of chastity is not the same thing as celibacy. Celibacy means sacrificing sexual intimacy and marriage for the sake of the kingdom. All are called to chastity. Not all are called to celibacy. Chastity means being faithful in our sexuality to the church’s teaching on marriage. It’s simple: no sex outside marriage. This is not a prohibition to cause us sorrow and pain, but a discipline that leads us to the faithfulness of marriage through which we learn the difficult lessons of love. This is truth. This will triumph as the faithful catch the vision.
11. Remember Humility, Humor and Humanity – Stop and remember to put all things in perspective. The SCOTUS decision is alarming and upsetting. However, do five seriously stupid lawyers really think they can overturn God’s plan for humanity? Get real. When you see it like that it’s a case of the emperor’s new clothes. What they’ve done is dumb. Smile, laugh and rise above it. Even if they tax your business, lock up your priests, scream in your face, burn your churches and send you to jail, laugh and rise above it. Remember Christians sing in prison, joke on the scaffold, are courteous to their torturers, joke with their executioners and wave cheerfully to the crowd as they put their head on the block. Things have been worse. Be of good cheer.
12. Do Not Be Afraid! – I will never forget the first words of Pope St John Paul II as he stepped on to the balcony. “Do not Be Afraid!” This is the constant refrain throughout the gospel. “Do Not Fear!” says the angel to Mary and Joseph. “Do not be Afraid!” says Jesus to the disciples in the boat in the stormy night. “Fear Not!” says the angel of the resurrection. “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind!” says the magnificent St Paul to his young friend Timothy.
Retrieve from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/twelve-things-to-remember-if-the-scotus-decision-upsets-you