Supreme Court vs. Supreme Authority
By: Matt Barber
“I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day to release opinions on two landmark cases (Hollingsworth v. Perry and U.S. v. Windsor) that, should the court overstep its authority, threaten great violence to the age-old institution of marriage – society’s fundamental cornerstone.
Also at stake is the high court’s already fragile legitimacy.
Lest there be any doubt as to where the Bible-believing Christian community stands, scores of Christian leaders and clergy – Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant alike – have released a statement in anticipation of these rulings entitled: “We Stand in Solidarity to Defend Marriage and the Family and Society Founded Upon Them.” I was honored to have my name included among the list of signatories that, collectively, represent tens of millions of Christians.
The Marriage Solidarity Statement was drafted jointly by Deacon Keith Fournier, editor of Catholic Online and chairman of Common Good Alliance, and Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel Action. It was then vetted and approved by dozens of the aforementioned signers. Personally speaking, I have never seen a document that better captures and illustrates the certainties of legitimate marriage and family, as well as the inevitable consequences of tampering with either.
The central reality behind the statement is this: Marriage is what marriage is, has always been and always will be. Marriage predates civil government. Mankind can no more transmute marriage to something it is not than can we reverse the earth’s rotation or gravitational pull. Despite an evidently contagious delusion to the contrary, not even the United States Supreme Court is capable of overruling the laws of moral and biological physics. Any attempt to do so is illegitimate. It’s moral alchemy.
“Like other natural laws or laws of physics that govern our lives, marriage predates government, and civil institutions have no authority to redefine marriage,” observes the statement. “Marriage cannot be redefined into something it is incapable of being. …”
“If the Supreme Court were to issue a decision that redefined marriage or provided a precedent on which to build an argument to redefine marriage, the Supreme Court will thereby undermine its legitimacy,” it notes. “The court will significantly decrease its credibility and impair the role it has assumed for itself as a moral authority. It will be acting beyond its proper constitutional role and contrary to the Natural Moral Law which transcends religions, culture, and time.”
Indeed, according to the unequivocal precepts of moral truth – reflected explicitly throughout both the Old and New Testaments – homosexual behavior is sin. Sin is evil. Homosexual behavior is the central, defining characteristic of so-called “gay marriage.” Therefore, “gay marriage” is evil.
To be sure, Christians are obligated to avoid sin – to “do no evil.” Any Christian who desires to remain faithful to biblical truth and obedient to Christ must not – indeed cannot – pretend, along with the world, that things illegitimate are somehow legitimate; that things inherently evil can, on a whim, be made good.
Still, perhaps the greater evil lies swathed amid the absurd notion that six men and three women have anything to say about the definition of marriage whatsoever. It requires a rare degree of pride and hubris to presume that mankind can somehow redesign that which mankind never designed in the first place.
The Marriage Solidarity Statement acknowledges “that marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of creation. Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family. Family is the first vital cell of society; the first church, first school, first hospital, first economy, first government and first mediating institution of our social order. The future of a free and healthy society passes through marriage and the family.”
The statement likewise affirms that religious liberty and counterfeit “gay marriage” cannot coexist in harmony: “Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the State. This will bring about an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights. We cannot and will not allow this to occur on our watch. Religious freedom is the first freedom in the American experiment for good reason.”
The statement closes with the following: “As Christians united together in defense of marriage, we pray that this will not happen. But, make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the true common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross.”
This is not the first time the church has faced the specter of persecution as the unjust consequence of refusing to violate her collective conscience. Neither will it be the last. Matthew 22:21 admonishes, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
The same folk who presume to deconstruct natural marriage are usually the first to quote this verse out of context. They are also the first to beat believers about the head and neck with the deliberately misapplied “separation-of-church-and-state” billy club.
Know this: Marriage belongs unto God, not unto Caesar. That the Supreme Court might even think itself capable of redefining “the pre-eminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions” represents an intolerable commingling of state and church. It’s the Supreme Court encroaching upon the Supreme Authority.
“Separation of church and state” indeed.
Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as vice president of Liberty Counsel Action. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)