March 21, 2013
By Dr. Richard Land and Dr. Barrett Duke
On March 26 and 27, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. Few issues rise to this level of importance.
These two cases will do much to answer the question for how marriage is going to be viewed in the United States for the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, the Court will hear arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop. 8). In this case, the Court is being asked to decide the fate of Proposition 8 in California. At stake is whether or not the people of California can define marriage in their constitution as only the union of one man and one woman. In a worst case scenario in deciding Hollingsworth, the Court could rule unconstitutional the definition of marriage as only the union of one man and one woman, repudiating two and a quarter centuries of American jurisprudence in which marriage has been defined and regulated by each state, not the federal courts. Every state that has passed such laws would be affected. It would also be going against several millennia of the Judeo-Christian definition of marriage.
On Wednesday, the Court will hear arguments in United States v. Windsor. That case deals with the constitutionality of section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Windsor case creates the possibility that the Court could overturn DOMA in its entirety. DOMA is important at many levels. For one, it protects states that do not support same-sex marriage from being required to recognize same-sex marriages that have been performed in states where the practice is legal. For another, it provides a standard definition of marriage for all federal programs, assuring that only heterosexual marriage is recognized across all federal government programs. It also provides protections for federal workers from being forced to violate their consciences regarding marriage. If DOMA is overturned, military chaplains will be especially vulnerable to pressures to accommodate an expanded definition of marriage in their ministries.
We also take very seriously the significance of this issue in the eyes of God. God created marriage. At humanity’s beginnings, God created and designed marriage to be only the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18-24). Jesus affirmed this divine intention for marriage (Matthew 19:4-5). No other relationship is marriage.
The rearing of children is one of God’s obvious intentions for marriage. God affirms and understands the need for children to have both an engaged mother and father in their homes. Same-sex marriage will drive a wedge between marriage and God’s intention for the rearing of children (Ephesians 6:1-4).
We should not think that our nation will escape God’s judgment if we redefine what God has already defined. We are certain that the omniscient and omnipotent God is aware of our nation’s debate about marriage and that He is watching what we do. As the Supreme Court hears the arguments on this crucial issue, we ask you to join us in prayer. Below is a simple seven day prayer program to guide you in your prayer time. We implore every Christian to join us for this important period of prayer.
Monday, March 25
Tuesday, March 26
Wednesday, March 27
Friday, March 29
Saturday, March 30
Sunday, March 31
Thank you for joining us in this week of prayer. May God hear us and grant our petitions on behalf of our nation. May He restore His blessing on our land.
Dr. Richard Land, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention
Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention