NASHVILLE (BP) — Social media, particularly Twitter, was a preferred format for Southern Baptist leaders and others to express their reactions in the hours that followed the landmark Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage June 26.
Columns written and tweeted by R. Albert Mohler Jr. of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Russell D. Moore of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission were among the most popular, with several leaders retweeting their words.
O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, tweeted, “After SCOTUS news really thankful 2nite 4 @albertmohler @drmoore who speak truth in love defending Biblical values in a culture gone awry.”
Moore tweeted links to interviews he did Wednesday in response to the decisions, including with The Huffington Post, NPR, USA Today and The Gospel Coalition.
“Southern Baptist congregations and other evangelical congregations will have to see that, increasingly, our views of marriage are going to seem freakish in this culture,” Moore told NPR. “That does not lead me to despair. So it gives us the opportunity to talk about the difference between a Christian understanding of marriage and whatever the reigning attitude of sexual liberation is.”
To USA Today, Moore said the DOMA ruling is a sign that traditional Christianity and American culture have parted ways.
“This decision demolishes the myth that orthodox Christianity represents some kind of moral majority in this country,” Moore said.
In a compilation of religious responses at National Review tweeted by Moore, he wrote, “In a day when churches must fight for the cultural freedom to define marriage, laissez-faire wedding policies, and the nominalism that goes with them, are done for, and good riddance.”
Moore and Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, were quoted by Christianity Today, with Stetzer tweeting, “You can’t hate a people and reach a people at the same time. #StayOnMission,” “What the Bible says about sexuality will increasingly put Christians at odds with our culture,” and “Pining for those ‘moral’ days of yore is like chasing a mirage.”
Bryant Wright, a former SBC president and pastor of the Atlanta-area Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, tweeted, “Today’s Court ruling on same sex marriage not surprising, but makes me sad for our nation. Thankful God’s Word still true, GoodNews to share.”
Jack Graham, another former SBC president and pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church, tweeted, “The attack on the family continues. Come on church. Don’t give up the fight. Our families are worth it.”
David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, tweeted, “We’ve traded sexual responsibility for supposed rights & moral obligations for natural explanations.”
Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, tweeted, “Mark it down, June 26, 2013, will become a historic day, marking the day America takes its moral compass further south.” He added, “Thankful that the Judge and Creator of all, is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; He still rules today and all others are under His feet.”
Floyd retweeted Mohler’s statement, “I honestly disagree with marriage defenders who try to minimize the impact of [Associate Supreme Court Justice] Kennedy’s opinion in the DOMA case. Its theory is sweeping.” Mohler and Moore both tweeted lines from their columns periodically.
Additionally, Moore tweeted at one point, “Rachel Maddow and I agree almost completely on what this ruling means, long term, nationwide and for the states,” referring to the pro-gay host of a primetime MSNBC show known for its liberal views.
Denny Burk, associate professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary, tweeted, “The Supreme Court’s majority disparages anyone who defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” In a column, Burk said the DOMA decision “will have religious liberty implications that I’m guessing most folks have not even begun to ponder.”
David Prince, pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., tweeted, “Ministering the Gospel from the cultural margins rather than the seats of power puts US Christians where most have been in church history.”
Micah Fries, vice president of LifeWay Research, tweeted, “It wouldn’t surprise me to see supporters of traditional marriage viewed with the same disdain as white supremacists.”
The Missouri Baptist Convention emailed a response to the media, stating that the two decisions “do not sound the death knell for the marriage debate.”
John Yeats, the Missouri convention’s executive director, said the federal government continues to “chisel away states’ rights to carry out the will of their people.” Also, the decisions today, he said, “reflect the fact that a growing number of Americans increasingly embrace behaviors that violate natural law and biblical truth.”
Yeats issued a call to prayer among Missouri Baptists, asking them to pray for pastors and churches to lovingly uphold the truth of Scripture and for “people held captive to the ideology and culture that embrace homosexual and lesbian behavior as normative.”
The National Religious Broadcasters, also in an emailed statement, expressed disappointment in the court’s rulings but said they “will continue to be a voice in defense of marriage, the bedrock of the family and, thus, the future of the Republic. Moreover, regardless of changes in government policies over time, NRB will continue to insist on the fundamental First Amendment freedoms of Americans to uphold their religious beliefs in all areas of daily life.”
The Christian Medical Association, the nation’s largest faith-based association of doctors, released a statement by its chief executive officer, Dr. David Stevens, saying, “Marriage is based upon the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman and upon the reality that children need a mother and a father in a stable marriage.”
“Same-sex ‘marriage’ undermines the need of children to understand gender and to benefit from the unique contributions of a man and of a woman to a child’s development,” Stevens said. “We as physicians have long recognized that the most important function of marriage is to protect the needs of children — not simply to fulfill the emotional desires of adults.
“The best research,” Stevens said, “shows that children consistently experience the most positive outcomes with a Mom and a Dad and too often experience negative outcomes in same-sex households. When some research has attempted to convince us otherwise, rigorous examination of those studies has uncovered fatal research flaws, most likely the result of presuppositions and political agendas that undermined objectivity.”
The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the largest Hispanic Christian organization representing millions of evangelicals, emailed a statement by its president, Samuel Rodriguez, who said Hispanic evangelicals “remain committed to advancing not the agenda of the donkey or the elephant, but only the agenda of the Lamb.”
“For Hispanic Evangelicals, our support of the biblical definition of marriage is not a matter of politics, but rather a matter of faith,” Rodriguez said, adding, “Support of traditional definition of marriage is not about being anti-anyone or anything. We understand that a marriage with mom and dad in the home serves as the primary antidote against teen pregnancy, gang activity, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency and many social ills.”
Erin Roach is assistant editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).