When the Supreme Court agreed to hear Obergefell v. Hodges, involving the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, the case was ostensibly a dispute between "equal rights" and "states' rights." Instead, the court will be forced to intervene in an ongoing culture war.
Over the past 40 years, there has been a struggle between society's traditional institutions and those who sought to subvert and replace them. Progressive ideologies, including feminism, have challenged the traditional seats of influence, especially religion, by seeking to redefine the vernacular and appropriate education for their own ends.
Some words became prohibited and others deemed triggers. Those who did not follow the new politically correct terminology were ostracized.
Whether discussing same-sex marriage, abortion or other matters that concern us, some leaders try to lead us away from long-held biblical standards. For example, Hillary Clinton, during the recent Women in the World Summit, said that "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."
Current challenges from progressives seek to confuse Christians. There are articles now claiming that "traditional" marriage is polygamous or approves of rape without any proof backing these charges. Others claim that Christians must "love" everyone and thus never condemn any problematic behavior. To defend traditional marriage, according to them, is to defend abominable practices that Christ would never accept.
The Christian was taught from the beginning that there will be challenges to his faith. It has happened many times before, and it continues to happen. In the words of St. Peter: "There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled" (2 Peter 2: 1-3 NABRE).
What, then, are we to do? St. Jude teaches us three ways to respond: "On those who waver, have mercy; save others by snatching them out of the fire; on others have mercy with fear, abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh" (Jude 22-23). Some manuscripts use different words, but all versions agree that toleration or silence is not appropriate. We need to be willing to forgive the wayward, but we cannot accept their behavior.
We are under pressure as a society to redefine marriage because it is so essential to Christianity. By forcing citizens to abide by a definition that starkly contradicts their fundamental beliefs, progressives hope to undermine those beliefs and remove religion's influence. It is important that Christians, and Catholics especially, turn to St. Thomas More.
More, a powerful English politician, was executed by King Henry VIII for opposing the denigration of marriage. His martyrdom is a call for all to challenge those who undermine the faith of the citizenry. We must not give up our faith because it is popular or politically astute.
Our country was founded on defending the freedom of religion to prevent the kind of social upheaval that followed Henry VIII's action. A ruling that would promote a notion of equality at the cost of freedom cannot be supported by Christians.
Jeffrey Peters, a graduate student at Catholic University, attends St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester. Reach him at email@example.com.