Last year, the country became sharply divided over the issue of same-sex marriage, and not only the definition of marriage, but also the authority of the United States Supreme Court to demand that the states conform to their opinion and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Conservative states have begun to push back. Just last month, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order preventing same-sex marriage licenses from being issued, saying that the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges doesn’t apply to Alabama.
The country is in a constitutional and moral crisis, centered in a battle of authority between states and the Supreme Court. Christians are definitely aware of these issues, but how are we to respond? How should we tell our kids to respond when they encounter these debates? Will this impact our religious freedom and our churches?
We need answers
As Christians, we are called to speak truth in love and always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that lies within us (Eph. 4:15; 1 Pet. 3:15).
Constitutional literacy (understanding the basic principles of self-government and how we can advocate for biblical principles and morality within our system of government) is imperative for Christians to be effective advocates for Christ within our culture and understand how we can and must preserve religious liberty for ourselves and our children.
We can’t simply perpetuate the notion that government is secular and that we have no obligation to participate in the process. We have to be prepared to teach our children the biblical worldview response and why the same-sex marriage decision is not just immoral, but also unconstitutional. As Christian citizens in America, we have a duty to understand our system of government and participate in it. This begins with education.
Basic constitutional literacy shows us that the Founding Fathers legally separated from England and began a new sovereignty appealing to the highest source of law: God Himself and His universal law. Within the Declaration of Independence, the Founders appealed to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” as their authority to declare independence, and then they framed a constitution centered on the only proper role of government – preserving and protecting the unalienable rights given by God.
Basic constitutional literacy tells us that the Bill of Rights is not a list of rights that government grants to us and therefore can also take away. It is a list of restraints upon the government and limitations to how government may infringe upon our rights that are granted by God to all humanity. This is the definition of unalienable.
Basic constitutional literacy is the key to understanding how to advocate for biblical principles and biblically based solutions moving forward into 2016. We have to go back to the foundation and understand that it is not the government who determines our rights (Dec. of Ind.; Federalist No. 84), but rather that government was originally ordained by God to preserve our rights (Rom. 13:1 – 7).
It is not the Supreme Court that has the power to create law (U.S. Const. Art. 1, Sec. 1). And it is definitely not the sheer majority will of the Supreme Court that has the power to override God’s moral law our Constitution was founded upon and grant a so-called “right” to same-sex marriage that God expressly forbids (Gen. 2; Rom. 1, 2; Rev. 21:5 – 8).
If American constitutional law says that all our rights come from God, how can our Constitution provide for a “right” that God expressly forbids?
We need education
Constitutional literacy is important now more than ever. As our culture becomes increasingly immoral and our Supreme Court increasingly more powerful, we have to push back with truth from God and also truth of our own American law. Our Constitution and its history give us everything we need to engage this debate.
Jenna Ellis is an attorney, professor of law at Colorado Christian University, and international speaker.
Email Jenna at firstname.lastname@example.org