As of this moment, we are no more than three and a half weeks away from the most pivotal decision in history at the United States Supreme Court. The nine justices’ decision on same-sex marriage will be a nation changer, no matter what the outcome.
Over the last several days, I’ve been in conversation with some highly intelligent and strategically positioned observers of the High Court. Their assessment of how things may go has been beyond insightful.
Jeff Mateer (General Council of Liberty Institute) believes that we will ultimately lose this pivotal case by a vote of 5-4. Jeff’s thinking, along with that of most court observers, is that Justice Anthony Kennedy will be the swing vote on this issue. My good friend Rob Schenck (Faith And Action In The Nation’s Capitol) has a uniquely different take. His prognostication is that we will lose by a vote of 6-3. However, his belief is that the ruling will be made on the basis of “sex discrimination.” By that, he means that the High Court, he believes, will deem it unconstitutional for states to refuse the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses because it would be discriminatory for them to do so. Rob also proposes that Chief Justice John Roberts will go over to the other side. But, for reasons that are NOT AT ALL readily apparent.
It is Rob’s belief that somewhat of a deal has been made among the key justices. Because almost every judicial observer believes that same-sex marriage is ultimately going to become a reality in the United States (the justices acknowledging the same), Chief Justice Roberts has (according to Rob) made a calculated decision to vote with the other side in order that he may write the majority opinion on this case. However, in that opinion, it is Rob’s clarion belief that Roberts will include incredibly strong language stating that those who maintain “firmly held religious beliefs” will be exempted from having to comply. In other words, a pastor, church, religious institution will not be required to violate their “firmly held beliefs” to comply. So, a pastor would NOT be forced to marry same-sex couples. Churches would NOT be forced to hire homosexuals. In essence, through the back door, Roberts would be protecting First Amendment religious liberty by his actions and the writing of the opinion.
While highly intriguing, there is no absolute way of knowing what the justices will do! Though the nine justices’ vote on most highly controversial cases comes within the week following oral arguments (though not announced till the end of the session), a case this significant and influential on the future of the nation could go down to the 11th hour. While it would be very unusual, any one of the nine justices can change his/her vote up until the day prior to the end of the session. So, the MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do is pray, Pray, PRAY!
If the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, then most certainly the heart of a Supreme Court justice is! I am praying (and encouraging you to do the same) that God will turn the heart of those liberal justices toward righteousness and that the final outcome will be cause for GREAT rejoicing!!!
As my friend, Rob Schenck, has stated with conviction, “I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet!” Meaning? Rob could be completely wrong! So, while the ultimate outcome is uncertain, one thing is NOT! And, that is God’s word is still sure and steadfast! God’s Holy Spirit is still in the business of convicting souls. Prayer is still the most effectual exercise in which we can be engaged.
So, if you are a pastor, I implore you to lead your people in repentance and acknowledgment of our individual and national sins! Lead your people in earnest, specific, sustained, dynamic prayer for God to intervene! If you are a church member, pray like you have never prayed! Encourage your pastor to preach fearlessly on this issue, calling the church to kneel, confess, and pray white hot petitions before God’s awe-inspiring throne! Like Esther of old, “Who knows whether we have come to the kingdom just for such as time as this!”
President, HOPE Ministries International
President, North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN)