Churches are under tremendous societal pressure these days to acquiesce to changing cultural standards regarding sexuality, including claims of lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) discrimination, same-sex marriage, and other sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) issues. As believers, we are called to live under God’s authority and with a consistent understanding of Biblical truths about human sexuality.
But such truths seem to be increasingly colliding with so-called “social equality” rights pushed by vocal proponents. Most recently, by a narrow majority, the United States Supreme Court ruled in late June 2015 that same-sex couples have a “fundamental right” to marry. As a result, religious institutions and individuals are likely to face various conflicts between this newly created constitutional right and their religious freedom and free speech.
Churches and pastors need to know the practical reasons for upholding marriage between one man and one woman and to be prepared for new laws that do not necessarily provide adequate protections for religious persons and for “test” cases seeking to push the limits of existing laws.
CLS seeks to educate pastors and their churches about current critical legal issues and to help them navigate through these legal minefields of sexuality-related issues, particularly in light of rapidly shifting cultural norms and accompanying legal changes. CLS’ Guidance for Churches includes a webinar and a white paper, both of which provide valuable information, as well as model language for churches to use.
In addition to the above resources, Kim Colby, Director of CLS’ Center for Law and Religious Freedom, wrote two articles addressing these current struggles and surrounding issues: Practical Steps that Religious Institutions Should Consider in a Post-Obergefell World and The Current Legal Landscape Regarding Same-sex Marriage, Religious Liberty, and Nondiscrimination Law. These articles are a great overview to the resources above.