If you are an orthodox Christian or simply a traditionalist who isn’t willing to affirm the sudden redefinition of marriage (along with many other social norms), you’re probably feeling a bit low. After all, the radical, secular progressive mob (and their fellow travelers in the Mainline churches) appears to be on the march, winning every contest. They have made it abundantly clear that, if you persist in opposition, or, can be tied to past opposition, you risk having your good name, livelihood, family and social life destroyed in a frenzy of denunciation. The goals of this strategy are to:
- Intimidate you into submission, or at least silence
- By accomplishing 1. convincing everyone who has opposing views that they are isolated and vulnerable, thus further advancing said submission or silence.
I’m not making a theoretical argument here. No, it’s entirely based on actual events. Here’s a summary from The Federalist:
- The organized pressure campaigns to force Christian photographers, cake bakers, and other wedding vendors who refuse to serve same-sex weddings to be hit with ruinous six-figure fines that destroy their livelihoods. And, as happened recently in Canada, when Christian wedding vendors do cater to same-sex couples seeking wedding-related services, organized pressure campaigns that compel them to refund their customers’ money if the customers discover that the vendors oppose same-sex marriage.
- Organized pressure campaigns, complete with threats of nationwide boycotts, against states that try to pass laws protecting such vendors, as happened in Indiana and Arizona.
- The organized pressure campaigns to cause business leaders and celebrities like Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame, and ex-Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich (among others) to be fired, boycotted, or hounded from the airwaves for expressing traditional Christian teachings on homosexuality (or in Eich’s case, simply donating to a referendum against same-sex marriage).
- The organized pressure campaigns by public officials and corporate sponsors boycott St. Patrick’s Day Parades in cities like New York (where it’s been held since 1762) and Boston unless they permit groups to march with pro-gay slogans, banners, or group names.
This is aside from the small, petty battles like refusing to do business with people who oppose same-sex marriage.
The above is a summary of what has happened prior to the Supreme Court decision. While we can always hope for the best, we’re better off preparing for the worst, particularly given what some of the four Supreme Court dissenters had to say in their written opinions. For example, Justice Alito said that this decision:
… will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.
Justice Scalia was less direct, but effectively identified the grounds upon which the coming assault will be made (emphasis added):
The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003. They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. . . . And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.
The first step in developing an effective response is to face reality. And, the first reality to face is that those of us in opposition are in the minority. I’m not personally convinced that items 1. and 2. above haven’t added a significant number of “just for show” supporters. However, regardless of the motivation, large majorities of Americans are stating support for the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage.
The second step is to acknowledge that our past strategies to defend our values have utterly failed. They have failed in the PCUSA and they have failed in the United States. If we want a different outcome then we will need to make some changes, which will be discussed next.