Archives For DOMA

DOMA and Proposition 8

Greg Strand – June 26, 2013 2 Comments

The Supreme Court ruled today on two major marriage issues. In both decisions they favored same-sex “marriage.” (I intentionally place quotation marks around marriage when used with same-sex because I do not consider it a marriage. To use the expression without qualification would mean I accept a redefined understanding of marriage, which I do not.)

The Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Specifically they determined that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to refuse to recognize a same-sex marriage that is legal in a state. They allowed to stand a law that protects states from being forced to recognize a same-sex union that is legal in another state. This federal Act (passed in 1996) defined marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife,” and it granted the right to states that they did not have to recognize other states’ same sex marriages.

In the second ruling, the Court ruled that that Proposition 8, which was voted in by California voters and which overturned the California Supreme Court ruling that had legalized same-sex marriage, was determined unconstitutional.

Mohler’s conclusion is apt:

The Christian church does not ask the U. S. Supreme Court, or any other human court, what marriage is. Marriage is a pre-political institution defined by our Creator — for His glory and for human flourishing. Today’s decisions will create serious religious liberty challenges for all churches, Christian institutions, and Christian citizens in this nation. But the greatest impact of these decisions is the further marginalization and subversion of marriage. The destruction of marriage did not start recently, and it did not start with same-sex marriage, but its effects will be devastating.

Christians will have to think hard — and fast — about these issues and our proper response. We will have to learn an entire new set of missional skills as we seek to remain faithful to Christ in this fast-changing culture.

Here are a few responses to the Supreme Court’s decisions:

Al Mohler, “Waiting for the Other Shoe” – The Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage

Russell Moore, “What Did the Supreme Court Really Change Today?

Ed Stetzer, “Prop 8, DOMA, and the Christian Response

Summit Ministries, “The Supreme Court’s Decisions on Marriage


God, Marriage and the Supreme Court

Greg Strand – March 27, 2013 3 Comments

This week the Supreme Court has before them two major decisions that address the legalization of same-sex marriage. As Christians, we need neither the vox populi, the voice of the populace, or the lex rex, the law as king, to inform us of what God’s revealed truth states about men and women, about husbands and wives, and about what marriage is.

But, we do live in this world (Jn. 17) and we do live under governing authorities (Rom. 13), so the decisions do matter.

Al Mohler, “Marriage in the Dock—The Supreme Court Considers Same-Sex Marriage,” explains the two issues before the Supreme Court: the federal Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.

Mohler explains further:

Both cases are significant. Together they represent a monumental set of issues for the justices. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by huge majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate back in 1996. It was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA requires the federal government to define marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman, and it makes clear that no state is obligated to recognize a same-sex union conducted in any other state. President Obama, whose constitutional responsibility requires him to defend the laws of the United States, has ordered his Attorney General not to defend DOMA in court. It will be defended by attorneys representing the House of Representatives.

Proposition 8 was adopted by voters in California in 2008, effectively reversing a decision by that state’s Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage. A federal district court in San Francisco later found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional and a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained that decision. It will now be up to the Supreme Court to decide.

As these significant issues are discussed, debated and decided, I have pondered and prayed often with 1 Timothy 2:1-4 in mind and heart:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We pray specifically for . . .

• Those in high positions, the Supreme Court.
• Those who profess faith in Christ, that we will rest in the Lord and be godly and dignified in every way.
• Those who profess faith in Christ, that we will please the Lord in our beliefs, our speech and our behavior, that all would be based on God’s truth.
• Those who need to be saved that they will come to the knowledge of the truth.

The Important Ministry of Chaplains

Greg Strand – February 26, 2013 2 Comments

With the incredible cultural shifts marked by the moral dominos falling, and with increasing speed, one of the first to feel these effects will be our Evangelical (including but not limited to the EFCA) military chaplains.

Roy Bebee, our EFCA Chaplains Endorsing Agent, recently responded to the question regarding “the effects of military chaplaincy should DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act] be overturned by the courts.”

Roy explains why our Evangelical chaplains will be the first to feel the impact of these changes.

Because the military does not create its own religious ministries, the Armed Services depend on religious leadership from the churches and religious bodies of America. Chaplains are endorsed to serve through cooperative channels between the religious body, the Department of Defense’s Armed Forces Chaplains Board, and the respective service branch. Should the government normalize homosexual marriage, chaplains would be confronted with a difficult moral choice of choosing to serve their God or serve Caesar. Because of the high percentage of theologically conservative and biblically oriented chaplains within each military branch, the conflict will be real and a cause for great concern.

According to Roy, there are four key ways chaplains will be “adversely affected should DOMA be struck down.”

  1. Chaplains will be constrained in sharing their religious beliefs on marriage.
  2. Chaplains could face adverse discipline or have shortened careers if they remain true to their faith group’s teachings or personal convictions.
  3. Chaplains will face challenges related to heterosexual marriage counseling.
  4. Chaplains will face challenges related to their refusal to endorse homosexual relationships.

In conclusion, Roy, rightly, places his absolute trust in our sovereign God, but he also acknowledges that there will be a cost to being faithful.

We know that God is sovereign and that his work will not be thwarted, but the chaplain’s labor is going to be more challenging and precarious. The same will be true for all faithful believers in military leadership. . . . chaplains will be the first to decide whether their longtime Chaplains Corps motto of “cooperation without compromise” can stand the test of the impending court action.

Remember to pray for our EFCA (and Evangelical) chaplains!