Today in the USA is Independence Day, a time when Americans celebrate the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence. For over 200 years, citizens have been blessed to enjoy many liberties—so there is much reason to celebrate.
As a part of the Fourth of July celebration at our Creation Museum (which is open today on this holiday), we have decorated the grounds with American flags. Here is a photo taken yesterday of the museum’s driveway. Our visitors to the museum today will be reminded of what this day celebrates as they drive up.
While our country was largely founded on a Christian basis, that foundation and Christianity in general have come under attack by an increasingly secular culture. More and more, secularists want freedom from Christian morality. This was made more evident with the recent decisions by the Supreme Court regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, as well as the Boy Scouts of America’s vote to allow openly gay scouts to be part of the troops.
Mark Looy, the CCO of Answers in Genesis, has written two short pieces about these decisions, which will appear in the October–December 2013 issue of Answers magazine. I’ve included the articles below (they are still in the editing stage, so they may appear a bit differently in the physical magazine issue). I encourage you to read these so that you’ll be informed and able to respond with the biblical perspective on these issues—and trust that this nation will continue to offer our precious religious freedom.
Supreme Injustice toward Marriage
Though stopping just short of redefining marriage across America, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two historic rulings in June that supported same-sex “marriage.”* In the first of these two cases, key portions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were deemed to violate “equal protection” under the Constitution. Now same-sex couples will be able to receive federal benefits (e.g., Social Security and tax breaks) that had been reserved for heterosexual married couples.
The other “gay” marriage case was specific to California and was somewhat procedural in nature. In another 5-4 vote, the justices ruled that the individuals who were defending a voter-approved amendment (known as Proposition 8) did not have legal standing to bring the suit, so the lower court’s ruling invalidating Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, was allowed to stand.**
While most states may continue to limit marriage to a man and a woman (the Court has avoided, for now, a sweeping determination that same-sex unions must apply to all states) and the court did not strike down the pro-marriage amendments in 30 states, five unelected justices decided not to uphold the concept of marriage that America has always embraced. Even then, the definition of marriage did not originate with the nation’s founding founders. Rather, marriage was the first institution set up by God in His creation: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). The Creator is the only one who can determine what marriage is, and He has told us. Furthermore, Christ affirmed this teaching in Matthew 19, and several Scriptures specifically condemn homosexual behavior.
What might happen next in America? First, if churches or religious organizations possess a non-profit status granted by the federal government and decide to teach against same-sex “marriage” in states where it is now legal, they could have their non-profit status revoked. Second, now that marriage is being reevaluated, the possibility of polygamy is now on the table, as well as other perversions of the institution of marriage. Lastly, even though the definition of a marriage is still left to the states, the rationale used by the Supreme Court may encourage activists to push for nationalizing “gay” marriage.
From the beginning of creation, the Creator established marriage as the union of one man and one woman. But on one June day in 2013, the nation witnessed a momentous change, as America slouched further away from the absolute truths found in the Bible.
**Some people argue, however, that Prop 8 is still in effect in some parts of California because the ruling that the federal judge had made earlier was only in effect in his district of jurisdiction, not the whole state.
Troops Moving Out
As expected, a decision by the Boy Scouts of America to open membership to gay youth is leading to an exodus of churches as troop sponsors.* Over two-thirds of Boy Scout troops are church backed, though admittedly not all of these churches accept the biblical teaching that practicing homosexuals are in rebellion to God and His Word.
In June, the largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptists, passed a resolution at its national convention that—while it declared the denomination’s “love in Christ for all young people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation,”— expressed their opposition to the Scouts’ policy change. At the same time, as the denomination followed its longstanding policy of allowing a great deal of autonomy for each SBC congregation, the resolution did not call on each Southern Baptist church with a Boy Scout affiliation to break its ties with the Scouts. The resolution further stated that the Southern Baptists should not abandon their ministry to boys, and should expand their Royal Ambassadors scout-type ministry.
The moral decay of our nation is saddening, but today, let’s make sure we’re celebrating the right kind of independence. What’s more, as Americans celebrate the independence of the United States, they should take time to remember their dependence on Jesus Christ. We are saved not by our own merit but by the grace of God alone:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8–9)
I encourage you to subscribe to Answers magazine at AnswersMagazine.com. Each quarter you will get analysis of the news that deals with biblical authority. Answers is a family magazine filled with fascinating articles and facts, and it even has a Kids Answers section. Don’t miss out on this great resource.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,