By now anyone who listens to the news knows that our president has finally endorsed gay marriage. While this does not come as a great surprise to many, the timing does. After years of equivocating on the issue why did the president choose this time to announce his position? Was it a preemptive move designed to make sure it did not become an issue in the final days of the campaign? Was it to shore up support among his liberal base? What motivated him to take a position that he has avoided for so long? We may never know.
What does seem obvious, however, is that this was a political move, not one motivated by a deep religious belief. In spite of the fact that the president gave a rather weak biblical reason for his decision, does anyone really believe that he was guided by his faith? Several facts point in the opposite direction. In the past the President has not been secretive about the fact that he often seeks religious guidance from a group of spiritual advisors. Among them is Rev. Joel Hunter, an evangelical pastor. Yet Rev. Hunter was not sought out for advice prior to the President announcing this decision. In Hunter’s own words he wasn’t surprised that the President didn’t contact him because I would have tried to talk him out of it, presumably on biblical grounds.
Another indication that this was a politically motivated announcement is that within two hours after making his position known, the President and his advisors were on the telephone contacting influential black pastors to limit the political fallout. As Yahoo! News reported, the conference call was part of a quiet effort by the president to control potential political damage caused by his support of same-sex marriage. To their credit many of the pastors contacted stood true to the Word of God. Typical was Bishop Timothy Clark of the First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio who opposed the president’s position and told his congregation on Sunday that this is a religious issue for Christians. The spiritual issue is ground in the Word of God. He went on to say, I believe the statement the president made and his decision was made in good faith. I am sure because the president is a good man. I know his decision was made after much thought and consideration and, I’m sure, even prayer. I wish I could be as confident that the president actually prayed about the rightness and the righteousness of his decision.
The lesson for Christians (and even non-Christians) is that this is the result of taking one part of God’s Word (in this case the Golden Rule – Matthew 7:12) that appears to support a preconceived position while ignoring those teachings that don’t support it (in this case Romans 1:27). We have all been guilty of this at times, but what raises this situation to a critical level is not only the extraordinary influence of the president but the very survival of marriage itself in our society. The principles of Luke 12:48 come into play here; for everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. The president needs to be more concerned about answering to God than to his political allies.
As Christians it’s appropriate to point out where we disagree with the president based on the truth of God’s Word. It’s also appropriate for us to pray that God will open his eyes to that same truth (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Let’s redouble our efforts and pray for our president as never before.
Stay in the Word