Supreme Court’s marriage decision a call to conversion, evangelization

[dropcap type=”4″]I[/dropcap]n the midst of widespread rejoicing over the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage, there’s a still, small voice that must be heard.

Joyce Coronel is a regular contributor to The Catholic Sun and author of “A Martyr’s Crown.” Opinions expressed are the writers’ and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.
Joyce Coronel is a regular contributor to The Catholic Sun and author of “A Martyr’s Crown.” Opinions expressed are the writers’ and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

It is the voice of Christ beckoning us to embrace the cross and follow Him on the narrow way.

“Take courage. I have overcome the world.” These are the words that must inspire each of us to be a radical sign of contradiction in a world starved for the healing love of Jesus Christ.

As one former lesbian told me, Obergefell v. Hodges is one more sign that America has lost its moral compass. We’ve redefined morality to suit the latest opinion poll, regardless of the impact on children.

A man I once interviewed years ago had this to say about being a Christian in modern America: “We’re an island of oddballs in a sea of pagans, just as we were in the beginning.”

As Christians, we must be formed by the Gospel, not cultural trends or political agendas.

Sadly, many of our fellow Catholics were swept up in the all-out campaign to legitimize same-sex unions. From movies to television to novels, there’s been a relentless effort underway during the last few decades to shape public opinion regarding same-sex marriage. President Obama has not been immune. In 2008 he said he opposed gay marriage, telling the Rev. Rick Warren that he believed that “marriage is the union between a man and a woman. For me as a Christian, it’s also a sacred union — God’s in the mix,” to several rounds of applause, but he hailed last month’s Supreme Court decision as “a victory for America.”

So, this is where we find out what we’re made of. Are we truly followers of Christ, or are we practical atheists?

Less than 48 hours after news broke about the court’s ruling, some were already calling for an end to the tax-exempt status of churches. Mark Oppenheimer, writing in Time magazine, called the issue of same-sex marriage a “settled matter” and keenly observed that donations to churches would drop were they to lose their tax-exempt status. Oppenheimer’s not worried though, because “government revenue would go up.” If they can’t force us to change our teaching, they’ll silence us by taxation. Do you see where this is headed?

As for Catholics involved in the wedding industry, the implications of the court’s decision are deeply troubling. Elaine Hugeunin, a photographer in New Mexico, was fined $7,000 in 2008 for refusing to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony. A Catholic florist I spoke to didn’t want to be quoted on what might happen to her business, but acknowledged that “tolerance seems to be a one-way street.”

Wake-up call

So, this is where we find out what we’re made of. Are we truly followers of Christ, or are we practical atheists? St. Ignatius of Antioch, a first-century Christian, had this to say about following the Lord: “It is not that I want merely to be called a Christian, but to actually be one. … Come fire, cross, battling with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs, crushing of my whole body, cruel tortures of the devil — only let me get to Jesus Christ!”

We are called to have a living, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ, and if we do, that changes everything, including the way we view marriage. As Christians continue to be kidnapped, beheaded, sold into slavery and burned alive for their faith, we should not flinch in the face of this latest arrow slung in the mighty battle being fought for the hearts and minds of Americans.

We must not lose our courage to embrace our identity as followers of Christ. The court’s decision is a wake-up call: we must devote ourselves to the New Evangelization, to helping every member of our Church and those beyond it to have a dynamic, personal relationship with Jesus. Let us begin our own revolution here and now by giving our lives completely to Christ.