This topic is seemingly on everyone’s lips. The reactions vary from jubilation to anger and despair. How should we react? The fact is there are many opinions, some we agree with and many we don’t. This was discussed in length two weeks ago right after the Supreme Court ruling at www.cyber-synagoge.com. Below are some thoughts from that discussion.
First let’s establish some common points.
- We are commanded to “render unto Caesar, what is Caesar’s”. We might not like the ruling but it does not justify any acts of violence, vandalism, or slander. It is the law of the land and we are to honor it unless it breaks four specific commands of G-d (murder, adultery, idolatry and slander).
- We must remember this is allowed by HaShem. It could be a blessing as people supporting this might believe, or a curse as those opposed might believe. It does have over 50 percent approval of Americans, of whom 75-85 percent claim to believe in G-d.
Know why you believe what you believe
With those hopefully common points let’s delve a little deeper. Whether we agree or not, others holding differing opinions need to be treated with respect. We are supposed to demonstrate G-d’s love, even when we disagree.
We need to know why we agree or disagree and be able to articulate that view point. Examine why you believe what you do, maybe because you know a homosexual in a long-term relationship, or because you believe Scripture forbids it. If you use Scripture, make sure you understand what it says, not just my Pastor or Rabbi said it was bad. Loving someone of the same sex is not what is forbidden, it is the physical act that is forbidden. Scripture does not directly address homosexuality between women, only men.
What about religious freedom?
What about Churches or Synagogues, will they be forced to perform marriages? According to Christianity Today, the following statement was part of the decision.
Justice Anthony Kennedy attempted to allay fears when he wrote for the majority in “Obergefell v. Hodges” Friday:
Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.
If taken at face value this should mean Churches or Synagogues are not required to perform same-sex marriages.
It would be prudent to have a statement by the Pastor or Rabbi expressing the group’s stance. Recently several prior Southern Baptist Convention Presidents did just that stating they would not perform same-sex marriages as it was contrary to Scripture.
One Presidential candidate suggested an interesting approach: get government out of marriages completely. The basis of marriage is religion in origin, so why is the government giving licenses? Whether you agree, it does separate a civil function from what is primarily a religious one, asking G-d to bless this union.
In summary, know what you believe, be able to articulate it, treat everyone with respect and honor HaShem in your response. Above all else, remember HaShem, the G-d of all creation is in control. He knows what is right and so shall we if we seek him and follow His commands.
Note: The custom of substituting the word “God” with G-d in English is based on the traditional practice in Jewish law of giving God’s Hebrew name a high degree of respect and reverence. Many Jews substitute “God with G-d so that they can erase or dispose of the writing without showing disrespect to God.