Response from Pastor David Sweet at Hays Hill Baptist Church in Buda on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage:
We anticipated that this decision would come. Now that marriage has changed it is even more important to articulate the gospel. Inseparable from the gospel is Jesus' predication of marriage on gender, along with other Scripture.
Watching the news, it's hard to not be happy for happy people. But based on Scripture and personal experience with sin, there's no escaping consequences. Ultimate joy and fulfillment can't be reached by our ways. The Bible says that, "There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death." Joy is a by-product of truth.
I think it will take five to ten years to really see the results of this decision. Pastors will likely lose their licenses to perform the civil aspect of weddings. That's fine. I think there will be a significant impact on evangelicals' employment and businesses. The Atlanta fire chief was fired for his traditional view of marriage which he espoused as a deacon in his church. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that over the next several years from top officials, to department heads and then others, in federal, state and local government, to public school teachers, and anyone holding a state-issued license will not win jobs or in fact will lose jobs, if they hold to a traditional view of marriage and sexuality. And for the same reason, business contracts will not be awarded. Evangelicals and our other Christian friends will need to adjust to a different way of life.
Churches, especially those holding traditional views, will likely lose their tax-exempt status within ten years. The same for thousands of small and large religious charities (like the Salvation Army and Seton hospitals) as well as hundreds of religious colleges. This was explicitly noted in the Supreme Court hearings before the decision when the Solicitor General agreed that this was going to be an issue. The success of lawsuits against Christian charities and colleges and churches based on discriminatory practices, will likely grow over the next decade, which may bankrupt some. And ultimately within ten years, as is currently practiced in Canada and a few countries in Europe, teaching or preaching that homosexuality is a sin will be prosecuted as a hate crime. There will fines and probably some jail time.
I'm not whining I promise! We don't even know what real oppression is compared to others around the world! But let's be realistic. There will be a growing intolerance for our views. Also, marriage must be expanded to recognize polygamy and more since it is now seen as a fundamental contractual right completely unmoored from a Christian conception. That will make it challenging for children and families.
But churches will be ok. Christians and churches have always been more effective when we weren't in the halls of power–when we are on the margins of society. We see this over and over again around the world. The worst day in Christian history is when Constantine made Christianity a favor religion of state.
Churches will experience spiritual renewal as many who identify more with the trappings of Christianity than they do the Christ of Christianity, will pour out of churches due to the costs. In fact, we'll be better off when we finally divorce American culture from the gospel. Around the world Muslims and others perceive America as a Christian nation, and thus they conclude that Christianity is corrupt.
When persecution finally comes to churches in America, perhaps millions around the world will get their first real glimpse of the gospel of Jesus Christ, unobstructed by cultural expressions of Christianity that are not real Christianity.
The Bible gives us the example of Jesus who, "though reviled, did not revile in return." (2 Peter 2) We are just forgiven sinners reaching out to other sinners. Jesus came here personally to warn that there is an eternity we must face. Love without truth is not love. And truth without love is not truth.