Churches that believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman now must decide what to do–in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Will they simply go along with the government and recognize legislative and judicial rulings as valid for them or will they resist? And what would it say about them if they simply bow to the high court’s ruling and begin accepting gay unions as legitimate marriages? If not, will they begin to recognize the inconsistency between resisting in this case and bowing to court rulings about dissolution of marriages in the past and present? (Please–don’t tell me there are exceptions! I know that. I’m talking about conservative churches that HAVE come to accept all court sanctioned divorces as legitimate dissolutions of marriage uncritically.) If so, will they recognize what that means for them? That they are permitting a secular government to decide what an institution as sacred as marriage means for them? (Again, I’m referring here, now, only to churches that HAVE NOT previously recognized gay unions as valid marriage.)
American conservative (traditional) Christianity is at a crossroads; this is a crisis. It wouldn’t be if they had before disentangled their theology of marriage (including divorce) from government decisions, if they had recognized that America is NOT a “Christian nation” and that true Christianity is always, everywhere, a counter cultural remnant, a group of “resident aliens,” a colony of God’s people NOT connected to any state or government.
The issue the Supreme Court ruling raises for conservative Christians is that of cultural accommmodation. Have they accommodated to American culture so thoroughly already that they have little choice but to accommodate to this ruling as well and begin accepting gay unions as valid marriages JUST BECAUSE the voice of American justice has said so? My prediction is that AT FIRST there will be a lot of huffing and puffing but that BECAUSE they are already so accommodated to Americanism most conservative churches will gradually, without theological reasoning and support, come to accept gay unions as valid marriages.
It will be more than a little ironic if they continue to hold elaborate “God and Country” patriotic worship services around July 4 while resisting what the Supreme Court has decided. My prediction is that they will gradually, in spite of some initial huffing and puffing, accept gay unions as valid marriages BECAUSE they hold elaborate “God and Country” patriotic worship services.