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How to Survive a Cultural Crisis
by Tom Goodman
June 3, 2015

"It's going to be an issue."

These six words might tell you all you need to know about the road ahead for faithful Christians in the public square.

It was an answer given during oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that sets the stage for the legalization of same-sex marriage in all fifty states.  Justice Samuel Alito asked Solicitor General Donald Verrili if the redefinition of marriage he was advocating would negatively impact the tax-exempt status of religious institutions who continued to maintain policies built on the traditional definition of marriage.

"You know," Verrili said in reply, "I -- I don't think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it's certainly going to be an issue.  I -- I don't deny that.  I don't deny that, Justice Alito.  It is -- it is going to be an issue."


In fact, stories of discrimination against people of faith have already been piling up.  On the west coast, the CEO of Mozilla was fired because someone dug back in contribution records and found the Catholic businessman had donated to the campaign that (briefly) codified traditional marriage in California.  On the east coast, Atlanta's fire chief was terminated when someone complained about a book the Baptist had written about his Christian faith, because deep into the book it contained a single line against homosexuality.  It didn't matter that investigations proved no actual acts of discrimination against gay or lesbian employees by either man.  In between these two coasts are former owners of family businesses now made bankrupt by lawsuits and government fines because they wouldn't use their talents and resources to celebrate a marriage their faith said was no marriage.  Even in red-state Texas, when Houston pastors objected to the mayor's equal-rights ordinance, her administration had all their sermons subpoenaed for review.

So, yeah, like the Solicitor General said, it's going to be an issue.

Some react to these reports with apathy, but others react with alarm.  Neither response is appropriate.  When Peter and John wrote to Christians facing hardship, they both opened with the statement, "Do not be surprised" (1 Peter 4:12; 1 John 3:13).

So, then, what is a fitting reaction to the growing religious liberty crisis?  That's my topic this upcoming Sunday.  Join us for the study at 10am, and then at the 11am small-group hour, I will lead a panel discussion in the Multipurpose Center on this subject.


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