Statement from the Diocese of South Carolina on Today’s Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges Ruling

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that "all states must license marriage between two people of the same sex" and "recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed “out-of-state." Despite this change, the Diocese of South Carolina continues to affirm the historic position of the Christian Church: that God has ordained two states of life for His people, singleness or Holy Matrimony – the joining together of one man and one woman into a holy union. By affirming this position, we stand firmly under the authority of Holy Scripture, in continuity with the two thousand year history of the church, and in accord with the vast majority of Christians around the world. Therefore, it is clear that while the Supreme Court may be changing the civil definition of marriage, it has no authority over Holy Matrimony and the Church’s blessing of the union between husband and wife.

The Bible envisions Holy Matrimony as the life long, exclusive union of one man and one woman. While Christians, like others, experience failure in realizing this vision, it is nevertheless the standard we profess and toward which we strive. We believe that marriage, like all areas of life, can be redeemed, and that by God’s grace all married people can be enabled to live into its unique calling.

The full consequences of the Supreme Court’s cultural and legal innovation have yet to be seen, and will be tested over time. It is our strong belief that this same Constitution, to which they have appealed, must protect the rights of all people to the free exercise of religion. In the light of this conviction, the Diocese of South Carolina will faithfully conduct its ministry in accordance with our beliefs, trusting that this freedom will be upheld.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

16 Comments
Posted June 26, 2015 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. NSHANDS wrote:

AMEN and AMEN !!!!!

June 26, 2:36 pm | [comment link]
2. David Keller wrote:

Justice Kennedy says in his opinion that objections to gay marriage even if based on religious grounds are “personal” objections. I fear (and believe) he means they are not real religious objections, but merely personal opinions and therefore not protected by the 1st Amendment.  Anybody want to bet lunch on what the amended 501 (c) 3 process is going to look like before 2015 is finished?

June 26, 2:42 pm | [comment link]
3. Pb wrote:

I believe this will be an important weapon in the attack on Christianity. The contention will be that bigots will hide behind religious views based on outdated ancient writings.

June 26, 2:51 pm | [comment link]
4. Undergroundpewster wrote:

Any thought that “Now they will leave us alone” will probably be quickly dashed by some other legal challenge to Christianity.

June 26, 2:58 pm | [comment link]
5. Katherine wrote:

Here it comes:  “Karen Finney, a top advisor for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, declined to answer if she believes churches that refuse to perform same sex marriages should lose their tax exempt status. ”

June 26, 3:44 pm | [comment link]
6. Karen B. wrote:

ACNA has put out an awesome 10 page resource today:  From the Beginning”: God’s Design for Marriage

It includes a statement about the SCOTUS decision, a litany and prayer for marriage, excerpts from the catechism on marriage, the position of the ACNA constitution & canons on marriage.

REALLY excellent.  You can find the whole thing here (PDF)

in case that link doesn’t work, here’s a shorter version
http://tinyurl.com/nmyql4t

June 26, 7:16 pm | [comment link]
7. Brian from T19 wrote:

While I wholeheartedly support the Court’s legal decision, I do agree with this part of the statement. “It is our strong belief that this same Constitution, to which they have appealed, must protect the rights of all people to the free exercise of religion. In the light of this conviction, the Diocese of South Carolina will faithfully conduct its ministry in accordance with our beliefs, trusting that this freedom will be upheld. “

June 26, 8:53 pm | [comment link]
8. James Manley wrote:

Very smart to start using the word “matrimony” instead of “marriage.”  The broader church should have always done so, at least in the US since the 1920s.

June 26, 9:29 pm | [comment link]
9. Katherine wrote:

#7, the history of the movement indicates that we will see suppression of religious belief and expression.  Even the Solicitor General, in Supreme Court arguments, admitted that the government might begin denying non-profit status to organizations which maintain traditional belief.

June 26, 9:30 pm | [comment link]
10. MichaelA wrote:

Good to see that so many people see the likelihood of religious persecution following on from this decision by a clearly anti-Christian court. 

Best to be prepared.  We are on the right side and we can wait longer than they can.  Pray for the Lord’s help in this.

June 27, 11:15 pm | [comment link]
11. Brian from T19 wrote:

Katherine,

You say “the history of the movement indicates that we will see suppression of religious belief and expression”, but I am not sure I see what history you are referring to. Take, for example, race - a protected class - and its history with the churches. No church is required to perform interracial marriage or even have members of different racial groups from its primary group. No church has lost its tax exempt status over this or been punished. I suppose on an individual level you might see people choosing to resign or being removed from their jobs if they are unable to perform them.  For instance, a clerk who will not allow same-sex marriage licensing, but this is no different than a Muslim or Jew being reassigned or terminated because they can not handle certain foods in a grocery store. So what suppression are you referring to?

June 29, 7:42 pm | [comment link]
12. Katherine wrote:

#11, you are comparing apples to oranges.  Ancestry is biological.  There is no strong body of evidence showing same-sex preferences are.  Besides, actually, at least one university lost its tax exempt status over its prohibition of interracial dating and marriage.  There are many, many instances in recent years of people losing their jobs and businesses being shut down and fined because they had the temerity to support the traditional (and biologically sound) definition of marriage.  If you don’t see suppression it’s because you don’t want to.

June 29, 8:54 pm | [comment link]
13. Brian from T19 wrote:

I’m familiar with one case in Oregon where a bakery refuse to make a cake for a lesbian couple. As far as I know, the “recommended” fine was never imposed. I know of businesses that shut down due to protests. Where are the “many, many instances” of the government firing people or the government closing businesses? I’m not being facetious, it just seems that it is a poor argument from history when the government has not closed business or fired people.

June 29, 9:25 pm | [comment link]
14. Katherine wrote:

If I recall correctly, there are a couple of cases on the West Coast of businesses being crushed with heavy government fines, and one in New Mexico, and one in New York state, and there are others.  In the pirvate sector, Brendan Eich lost his job for having made a perfectly legal and private donation having nothing whatever to do with his job.  People who made smaller donations had boycotts against their businesses and vandalism and in some cases violence.  Prominent liberals are talking openly about removing tax exempt status from any organization failing to adhere to the new government-imposed orthodoxy.

June 29, 9:55 pm | [comment link]
15. DaveJ wrote:

Does the Diocese of SC allow essentially “no fault” divorce, or do they require a significant proves to qualify for remarriage?

June 30, 2:39 am | [comment link]
16. MichaelA wrote:

“...but I am not sure I see what history you are referring to. Take, for example, race - a protected class ...”

Katherine made no reference to race.  Rather, that is something that you have introduced.

In any case, what is its relevance?  Parallels for what may be expected at this time are more likely to be found in the behaviour of liberals far more recently - e.g. in the leadership of the Episcopal Church. 

“For instance, a clerk who will not allow same-sex marriage licensing, but this is no different than a Muslim or Jew being reassigned or terminated because they can not handle certain foods in a grocery store.”

No different?  That comment from Brian is very telling.  It is profoundly different.  Marriage is only between a man and a woman, that has always been the case in society and it is the clear teaching of scripture.  Leaders of the USA and other countries have averred again, and again, and again, that Christian principles apply there - that has been the basis on which many evils have been fought, and that basis is being lightly tossed away.  So no, it is not the same thing at all. 

After claiming that he knows of no such case, in #13 Brian then admits that he does know of one: 

“I’m familiar with one case in Oregon where a bakery refuse to make a cake for a lesbian couple. As far as I know, the “recommended” fine was never imposed.” 

Really, Brian - did you have a basis for that assertion?

If you had followed events you would know:

(a) The bakery was forced to shut down;

(b) The amount of the fine is in the hands of the State Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, who has been accused of working closely with the complaining Lesbian couple - see http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/06/03/was-the-govt-working-closely-with-a-gay-rights-group-during-its-case-against-christian-bakers-who-could-face-major-fines-for-refusing-lesbian-wedding-cake/

The fine is still owing, Brian, and Mr Avakian is empowered to increase it if he chooses.  No doubt he will make his decision after attending all those meetings and functions with the gay rights group.

Not surprisingly, the couple who owned the bakery have asked to have the matter taken away from the administrative system and sent to the courts so that they have a chance of getting due process. 

There are also references to cases in Colorado, where a baker who declined to bake a cake for a gay couple was fined, whereas a baker who declined to bake a cake with bible verses on it was not.  See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3054866/Anti-gay-bakers-face-paying-135-000-lesbian-couple-refused-wedding-cake-Christian-couple-raised-100-000-eight-hours-fundraising-page.html.

Here is another news report about the collusion between the gay activists and the State “judge” in Oregon: http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-bakers-respond-to-report-that-oregon-govt-lgbt-group-colluded-against-them-were-definitely-not-going-to-back-down-139978/

And here is another about a couple who owned a farm in New York State, who declined to allow their farm to be used for a gay “wedding” (I put that in inverted commas because its not a wedding, whatever 5 judges on the US Supreme Court might say).  The lesbian couple recorded the conversation, indicating that they already knew about the farm owners religious convictions and were setting them up:  http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/06/farm_couple_sued_for_discrimination_say_they_were_set_up_.html

The above article came from a brief scan of google.  There are likely to be many, many more, given the totalitarian approach of the supporters of gay “marriage”.  The important thing is that Christians keep talking about these things - the fight against abortion on demand is being won, but it has taken decades.  The same may be true of this one.

June 30, 3:03 am | [comment link]
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