The Prevailing Winds of Culture

While the headlines from yesterday’s election centered on the presidential candidates and a few notable House and Senate seats, there were several state ballot initiatives that passed that hint at the moral direction in which our society is moving.

Four states had measures related to the issue of same-sex marriage:

  • Washington state’s proposal would allow same-sex couples to marry while at the same time preserving the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize or accommodate any such marriage ceremony. As of this post, with 51.3% of reporting, 51.8% have voted “Yes” to approve the measure with 48.2% voting “No”.
  • In Maryland, a measure to allow same-sex couples to obtain a civil marriage license looks to pass 52.0% to 48.0% with 97.5% of the precincts reporting.
  • Maine repealed the statewide same-sex marriage ban and voted to allow same-sex couples to marry by a vote of 53.3% to 46.7% with 75.6% reporting.
  • In addition to these states, Minnesota voters rejected an amendment that would ban same-sex marriage by a margin of 51.3% to 47.6%.

Gay marriage was legal in six states and the District of Columbia prior to yesterday. However, all were implemented via litigation or state legislature but not through voter referenda. In 32 states, whenever the issue of gay marriage came to the voters it had been rejected. However, all of that changed yesterday as voters in three states passed same-sex marriage into law, marking the first time that same-sex marriage was passed by the vote of the people.

We are truly experiencing a profound moral shift in our culture and in such a short period of time from an historical perspective. The seismic shifts from yesterday’s elections are causing many political pundits to call for Republicans to re-evaluate how they view social issues and to consider kowtowing to the moral and cultural evolution.

Denny Burk, in his post titled “The Loyal Opposition,” has written about what these election results might mean for Christians who uphold the sanctity of both human life and marriage. While he maintains the Christian obligation to respect our President, he supports the idea that we can and should oppose his ideas while also warning against the temptation to bend to the prevailing winds of culture, even if there is no political party who shares those views:

Last night’s election is a disaster for social conservatives not so much because of the President’s views, but because the President’s views appear to be a reflection of the nation’s views. For this reason, there are many within the Republican party who are ready to kick social issues to the curb. After the result became clear last night, GOP strategist Mike Murphy told NBC News that Republicans would have to “modernize” on the issue of gay marriage in order to win future elections. He is not alone in this feeling. The traditional Republican coalition of social, fiscal, and foreign policy conservatives may be about to shift. We may very well be approaching an era in which no major political party supports the sanctity of marriage. And it may not be too long before the GOP jettisons life too.

All of this means that Evangelicals who care about life, marriage, and religious liberty are going to sound more and more like the voice of one crying in the wilderness. We may find ourselves maintaining our cause with no major political party representing that cause. The pressure will grow for us to abandon what the Bible says about protecting life and marriage, but we cannot and must not budge. We will have to be the loyal opposition to a president who in every way has been wrong on these issues. And we may have to be the loyal opposition to another political party poised to embrace gay marriage rights (emphasis added).

Read the rest here.

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