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FIRST-PERSON: The conflict in our culture, Part 1

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — We are now approximately 72 hours after the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States. The overreach of the Supreme Court in this decision is astounding — in fact, redefining to their role in American society.

I think we need to remember this was a 5-4 decision; therefore, four justices did not adhere to the final decision of the court, including Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Unquestionably, Justice Antonin Scalia shares our deep concern about the overreach of the court when he wrote in his dissent of this decision: “A system of government that makes the people subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.”

To our nation’s founders it would be unimaginable that morality in our nation should be determined by nine lawyers located in Washington D.C. Nor would they have imagined that marriage would ever be anything other than a covenant relationship between a man and a woman for a lifetime.

The conflict: Celebrating same-sex marriage & a phone call with “God bless you.”

I have never met President Obama nor spoken to him personally. I have been and will be committed to praying privately and daily as well as publicly and periodically for my president, Barack Obama. In fact, I detest when the person holding the grand office of president in our nation is spoken of in a way of disrespect. Perhaps one day I will meet and have the privilege to pray with him.

Yet, my heart breaks when I see what I saw on Friday — an outward demonstration of the conflict between two worldviews. How does one celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage from the White House and within a short amount of time make a congratulatory phone call closing with the words, “God bless you”? Does God bless a same-sex union or marriage ceremony?

The media carried the congratulatory phone call from President Obama to Jim Obergefell, who was standing on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States. It was Obergefell who had won the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in Obergefell vs. Hodges.

Here is a portion of the transcript of the call that CNN caught on camera: “I just wanted to say congratulations,” President Obama told Obergefell. “Your leadership on this, you know, has changed the country.”

“It’s really been an honor for me to be involved in this fight and to have been able to, you know, fight for my marriage and live up to my commitments to my husband,” Obergefell responded. “So I appreciate — I appreciate everything you’ve done for the LGBT community, and it’s really an honor to have become part of that fight.”

“Well, I’m really proud of you and, you know, just — just know that, you know, not only have you been a great example for people, but you’re also going to, you know, bring about a lasting change in this country and it’s pretty rare when that happens,” Obama said. “So I couldn’t be prouder of you and your husband.” Then the president added the words, “God bless you.”

Then, the victory for same-sex marriage was declared in a picturesque way on Friday night as the White House was lit with rainbow colors to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision.

The collision of these worldviews resound the conflict within our culture today.

Closing words

Within 36 hours of decrying racism and prejudice at our SBC annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, calling on all leaders and pastors to stand against it, and within 24 hours of 7,000 of us crying out to God in our prayer service for our nation over the sin of racism and prejudice, a young man 21 years of age walked into Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., and killed nine people, including the pastor.

Within 10 days of our strong and clear stand for marriage as a convention, and the press conference when the former SBC presidents and I declared our clear commitment to marriage as well as the subsequent panel discussion at our annual meeting to help our churches, the Supreme Court made a watershed decision that will fan the flames of the ever-present and growing sexual revolution. This will explode at the local and state levels to a frightening degree.

Simultaneously, we also need to know that Friday, June 26, 2015, may become the watershed moment for Christianity in America which accelerates our resolve like never before to stand on God’s Word unashamedly, forwarding the message of the Gospel exponentially and praying relentlessly in all settings for the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America. I choose to believe God.

Where do we go from here? Tomorrow, I will share five actions I believe all Southern Baptists and evangelicals need to take. Please do not miss it.

    About the Author

  • Ronnie Floyd