A Biblical View of the Obergefell v. Hodges Decision

By Bradley Hughes
Global Commentator, Biblical Worldview; Board member, Tabor Foundation

The SCOTUS decision on Obergefell v. Hodges is a clear indicator that our judicial system is badly broken, a clear reminder that the court opposes the Judeo-Christian foundations upon which the nation was founded, and is a clear omen that more moral and legal confusion is on the way in America.

The judicial system is broken because it has moved much faster than the population in legalizing same sex marriage. 25 states have legalized same sex marriage through judicial action. 12 states have legalized same sex marriage through their legislatures (or a vote of the people) and 13 states have not legalized same sex marriage. Clearly, the judicial system is in a rush to judgment in leading the way regarding same sex marriage. The decision is an over-reach and a manifestation of the social justice momentum in the nation.

The biblical worldview regarding the law is now a minority view. The moral law reflects the nature and order of God. Civil law is established by the state. England and America have historically based their system of law on natural law, or the idea that God’s moral law has been revealed in the hearts and conscience of men. The biblical argument for the law goes as follows.

• There is a moral law (everyone knows it is wrong to torture babies for fun, etc.)
• The moral law requires a moral lawgiver.
• The moral lawgiver is God.

God provides man an ordered legal system based upon good judges (Exodus 18:13-16, 23:1-8 and Deuteronomy 1:16-17, 19:15-21). God tells us in Micah 6:8,”…to act justly, and to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Judges 21:25 says, “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” Of course, God will judge all those in rebellion as described in Acts 17:31.

The Bible condemns homosexuality and proclaims that marriage is between a man and a woman. The first recorded miracle of Jesus was at a celebration of a marriage between a man and a woman (John 2:1-11). There are numerous scriptural references concerning the followers of Jesus as “the bride of Christ.” These include: Eph. 5:25-27, Rev. 19:7-9, Rev. 21:2, Rev. 21:9, 2 Cor. 11:2, John 3:29, Rev. 21:9-11, and Matt. 25:1-46. The Bible says the ordained union is between a man and a woman as described in: Gen. 1:27-28, Gen. 2:21-25, Mal. 2:14-15, 1 Cor. 7:2, Mark 10:6-9, and Heb. 13:4. The Bible condemns homosexuality as wrong in: Lev. 18:22, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Rom. 1:26-28, Lev. 20:13, and Jude 1:7. The Bible states that Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned because of homosexual sin: Gen. 19. The Bible coheres in its teaching without contradiction. The scriptural evidence is clear that the Bible says that homosexuality is wrong and that only the union of man and woman is approved. Further, the Bible is believed by Christians to be inspired by God. God is believed to be both Triune and eternal. As a result, Jesus played a role in the condemnation of Sodom, inspired Paul to write his epistles (that clearly condemn homosexuality) and repeatedly shows through the Bible that homosexuality is wrong. This is dispositive against those who aver that Jesus never condemned homosexuality. As marriage was ordained by God in the Bible long before the United States came into existence, the SCOTUS has no moral authority to redefine marriage as between two men, two women, or any variant thereof.

Dostoevsky said “If there is no God, all things are permissible. If all things are permissible, there is no right and wrong.” Thomas Aquinas systematized Christian natural law theory. Through the influence of philosopher John Locke and legal theorist William Blackstone, natural law became the bedrock of America’s constitutional republic. Natural law was practiced throughout America until the 1920’s whereupon it was replaced by positive law (the idea that laws could be made by man independent of God.)

Natural law comes from God’s general revelation of the world around us and is embedded in our conscience. The Declaration of Independence recognized this truth when Jefferson referenced “…the laws of nature and nature’s God.” He also recognized that man “was endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Civil law should reflect the underlying natural law. The truth is all civil laws legislate morality (even speed limits imply a moral right to life). Everyone in politics — conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats — is trying to legislate morality. Important questions to ask regarding the relationship between morality and the law are:

1) Whose morality should be legislated?
2) Does God’s law matter?
3) Which worldview dominates the electorate, the elected, and the appointed in formulating these laws?
4) What happens when we legislate immorality?

SCOTUS has made bad decisions in the past. The US Supreme Court, arbiter of US law, has made many and significant mistakes in the past. The court has ruled that slaves were 3/5 of a man, declared that murder of the unborn is legal, misinterpreted Jefferson’s view on separation of church and state, and forced Americans to buy a product (Obamacare). The US Supreme Court ruled that a dream home had to be destroyed via eminent domain so a city could put in businesses for tax purposes in the Kelo v. City of London decision. As it turned out, the city couldn’t get the financing, the home was destroyed, and the area is now a trash dump. King Ahab and Jezebel, in a similar “eminent domain” case, went further in seizing Naboth the Jezreelite’s land in 1 Kings 21 whereupon God promised to kill King Ahab because government stealing and murder is wrong in God’s eyes. God is sovereign over the rulers and kings of nations, e.g. Proverbs 16:9-10, Proverbs 21:1, Daniel 2:21, and Romans 9:17.

Other western courts have made significant mistakes. The German Supreme Court ruled that Jews were not persons; therefore their extermination was not against the law. History teaches that when biblical morality and the law diverge, significant disruption follows. What will happen to a nation if all three branches of government abandon the Judeo-Christian worldview and the electorate becomes a secular majority? Secularists reject absolute morality and seek to establish laws that emphasize tolerance rather than conduct. This is legislating immorality. Sociological history (Sorokin and Unwin) tell us that societies inevitably fall when they abandon traditional marriage and families.

The founders used the Bible, Locke, Montesquieu, and Blackstone more than any other source when drafting the nation’s foundational documents. They used the Psalms, Isaiah, and Deuteronomy more than any other book in the Bible. They clearly embraced natural law and the fallen nature of man as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights were drafted. This is why there are two legislative bodies, three different branches, an executive veto, a distribution of powers between a national and many state governments, an understanding that God was the creator who endowed our rights, a constitutional republic instead of a democracy, the role of advise and consent, the principle of the consent of the governed, war can only be declared by Congress, and that government could not establish a religion, etc. It is clear that the founders understood the nature of man when they devised so many checks and balances in the separation of powers. This was confirmed when John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Adams used the term religious to denote Christianity. Christianity was the worldview that overwhelmingly dominated the thinking of the colonists. It was not Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, or secularism that suffused the people.

John Milton, 17th century poet and polemicist, said “So many laws argue so many sins.” He would be shocked to know there are approximately 1.5 million federal laws and regulations in the United States. There are 18,000 new regulations since President Obama took office according to the Federal Register. Executive orders, recently cited as a strategy to be used by the President to thwart an uncooperative Congress, can only make it worse. The quantitative excess (the number of laws) in conjunction with the qualitative deficiency (pursuit of moral relativism in defiance of natural law and pursuit of social justice) assures that America is far down the road of moral disorder.

Good law is based upon God’s unchanging character. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?” The record of history and the Bible (see Romans 1) confirm that the consequences of moral rebellion to natural law never ends well. Psalm 75:7 says, “It is God who judges: He brings one down, He exalts another.” For those who reject God and His moral law, it is useful to recall Nahum 1:3,”The Lord is slow to anger but great in power, the Lord will never leave the guilty unpunished.”

Homosexuality is not designed. It is behavioral and developmental. Equating behavioral rights demanded by the LGBT community to the civil rights movement in America is a category mistake. Homosexual behavior can be changed, race can’t be changed. Sexual behavior was not included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is no scientific evidence that homosexuality is given at birth. However, homosexuality may be multitudinous in causation.[1] In his 1980 work Overcoming Homosexuality, Robert Kronemeyer stated: “With rare exceptions, homosexuality is neither inherited nor the result of some glandular disturbance or the scrambling of genes or chromosomes. Homosexuals are made, not born ‘that way.’ I firmly believe that homosexuality is a learned response to early painful experiences and that it can be unlearned. For those homosexuals who are unhappy with their life and find effective therapy, it is curable.[2] Finally, homosexual advocacy groups cite the argument for civil rights as support for their position despite the fact that the civil rights movement was predicated upon physical differences (race and sex) rather than the psychological differences of homosexuality. Many civil rights advocates of the 1960’s have expressed opposition to the idea that homosexuality is a civil rights issue due to its behavioral attributes.
Harvard neurobiologist Simon LeVay published a landmark study in 1991 in the journal Science. Many homosexuals cite that study as a defense of the gay gene argument. However, LeVay himself rejected that proposition when he stated “It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men were born that way… [which] is the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay gene in the brain…”[3]

Further, the evidence that homosexuals can change is overwhelming. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 to the people in Corinth that some were homosexual but no longer were. A study published in Psychological Reports (2000) reported that 34% of homosexuals shifted their orientation to heterosexuality.[4] Drs. Jones and Yarhouse reported that 15% of homosexuals in their study (published in the 2007 Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy) changed to heterosexuality.[5] Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (father of modern neurology) reported that the homosexual can become heterosexual. Dr. Sigmund Freud reported successful sex change preference through psychotherapy treatment in the 1930’s. Wilhelm Stokel in the 1930’s, Frank Caprio and Albert Ellis in the 1950’s, Russell Monroe and Edward Glover in the 1960’s, Irving Bieber in the 1970’s, Karolynn Siegel in the 1980’s and Houston MacIntosh in the 1990’s all conducted sexual preference conversion studies and reported significant and successful homosexuality behavior conversion to heterosexuality. The evidence is overwhelming that homosexuality is both behavioral and reversible.[6]

The SCOTUS decision on Obergefell paves the way for erotic rights to trump religious rights and for polygamy to resurface. A new Gallup poll shows that 16% of Americans now support polygamy, a marriage construct outlawed during the Civil War.[7] Pedophilia has now been removed as a mental disorder in the current Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM)-5 published by the American Psychiatric Association.[8] The DSM-5 is approximately 1,000 pages and lists 297 mental disorders. One of the disorders is gender dysphoria where those afflicted experience dissonance due to their gender at birth being contrary to the one to which they identify. Bruce Jenner is an example.

Gender rights will quickly emerge on the heels of the Obergefell decision, as will other aberrant behaviors. Over time, the DSM will be removing formerly aberrant disorders as they become legitimatized and organized into new advocacy groups. One of the possible outcomes arising from the confused Obergefell decision is that the gender rights community will argue for same shower facilities for those who are different sexes but the same gender. We can thank the SCOTUS for the moral confusion that is certainly coming. The only question is when such gender rights eventuate. Since pedophilia has been dropped from the DSM-5, it would come as no surprise to see pedophiliacs organize for their rights. The Greek government added pedophiles, exhibitionists, and kleptomaniacs to the list of disabled people entitled to state benefits.[9] As Europe abandons the Judeo-Christian worldview in pursuit of social justice and moral relativism, we will see America follow in Europe’s path. Similarly, we will see the attacks on Christianity intensify, particularly for Christian schools and institutions that oppose same sex marriage on religious grounds. Christian universities that receive federal dollars, e.g., student loans, will be facing new challenges in the battle between homosexual rights and religious freedom.

History will not be kind to the Roberts Supreme Court. In many ways, the court is an embarrassment to those who still believe in the Judeo-Christian worldview. More importantly, the court has become a catalyst for social decline and a lightning rod for political change. Time is running out for traditional American society and those with a Judeo-Christian worldview who do not register, do not vote, and do not care what has become of our exceptional nation. The unravelling of Judeo-Christian morality in America will be hard to reverse. Storms from moral relativism are headed our way. This will lead to greater division within the nation, between the states, and will threaten religious liberty. God is the author of marriage between one man and one woman. The US Supreme Court does not have the moral authority to change the definition of marriage as they did not create it. They have, however, now created a Gordian knot for American society.

Psalm 31:15 says, “My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.” It is important for those with a Judeo-Christian worldview to be winsome yet relentless in the defense of traditional marriage which has been the bedrock of the family and the foundation of western civilization for thousands of years.

[1] Homosexuality: use of scientific research in the church’s moral debate. p.53 (Downing Grove,IL IVP Academic) Stanton L. Jones
[2] Overcoming Homosexuality p. 7 (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1980) Robert Kronemeyer
[3] David Nimmons “Sex and the Brain” Discover Magazine March 1994. p.64
[4] Understanding Homosexuality. Alan Shlemon, STR. 2013. p.38
[5] Ibid. p.39
[6] Ibid.p.40
[7] http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/poll-polygamy-suicide-human-cloning-support-118485.html
[8] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/dsm-pedophilia-mental-disorder-paraphilia_n_4184878.html
[9] http://jonathanturley.org/2012/01/10/greece-declares-pedophilia-a-disability-deserving-state-benefits/

About the Author:
Brad Hughes: Global Commentator, Biblical Worldview; Board member, Tabor Foundation
Brad Hughes is a Fellow in Worldviews and Economics at the Colorado-based Centennial Institute. He retired as a Director of Strategy for a Fortune 500 company and has been a Director (or above) for six different entities in six different industries, including Fortune 200, SME, nonprofit, religious, think tank, and the university environments. He holds five degrees and has engaged in advanced studies concerning economics, apologetics, and worldview analysis. Brad has written about these subjects for the American Thinker, the Centennial Review, the Schwarz Report, the Western Journalism Center, the Forcing Change magazine, and others. He has completed international assignments in Europe and Russia and is a Biographee of record in Who’s Who in America.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by G.L.O.B.A.L. Justice. We are a faith-based, nonpartisan organization that seeks to extend the conversation about justice with a posture of dignity and respect.