In the News: Supreme Court to Take the Same-Sex Marriage Case
By Alex Stepp
In church last Sunday, my pastor mentioned that the congregation needed to pray for the decision that the Supreme Court will make in regards to the legality of state laws banning same-sex marriage.
I couldn’t help but wonder: should we be praying that the Supreme Court declares that these laws are legal or illegal? Clearly, my pastor wanted us to pray that the Supreme Court uphold laws that state that marriage is between a man and a woman. After all, the Bible explicitly states that homosexuality is not allowed. I can understand the need to follow all of God’s rules as a Christian. However, I also feel that the Constitution needs to be upheld at all times.
I live in the United States of America, in which the Constitution is the “Supreme Law.” Let’s look at what the Constitution says about same-sex marriage. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Consider the laws that declare same-sex marriage to be illegal in states. The support for these laws is that they violate biblical code that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that homosexual relationships are immoral. This, of course, is a religious opinion, and the First Amendment makes any law that is made on the basis of religion unconstitutional.
Also, the Supremacy Clause in Article VI says that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States, which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” The federal government summed up this clause with the conclusion of the case Altria Group v. Good. “Consistent with that command, we have long recognized that state laws that conflict with federal law are ‘without effect’,” Justice Stevens of the Supreme Court wrote. This idea is known as federal preemption.
This means that the states cannot make laws that are against either federal law or the Constitution. So, it appears to me that laws that deny same-sex couples the right to marry are illegal and null.
This country was founded on the principles of freedom and equality. The Declaration of Independence reads “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” All people have the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t matter that I as a Christian disagree with or am against homosexuality. It does not matter if anyone else does, either. The simple fact is that Americans do not have to have my religious beliefs. The simple fact is that Americans do have the freedom to choose their lifestyles. The simple fact is that all Americans have unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As long as this pursuit of happiness is not harming others, the government does not have the ability to take those rights away, nor do they have the power to force people to practice laws of any religion.
I understand that it might be hard for fellow Christians to understand why I choose to condone same-sex marriage. But, what I am supporting is not the act itself, but the freedom of all Americans.
The Bible says: “‘Love your neighbors as yourself.’ There is no greater commandment than these” (Mark 12:31 NIV). The Bible says: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 NIV). The Bible says: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV). The Bible says: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV). Though we might not agree with the actions or beliefs of some people, we are called to love them unconditionally, as Christ loves us. Even if you do not agree with my beliefs on same-sex marriage, fellow Christians, I call to you to accompany me in striving to love every person.
If you are struggling with homosexuality and your faith, I would say to you only this: God loves you. Always. Forever. Unconditionally. More than any of us can understand. That will never change. If you need someone to talk to, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading,
*Note: In no way do the beliefs of this post represent the beliefs of Courage for Tomorrow. This article does represent the purpose of Courage for Tomorrow, which is love and kindness and compassion for others. This post was not intended to harm anyone in any way.*
We wanted to include some writing on “enjoy the small moments” this month, specifically because many people don’t have them to enjoy. I have spent so much time trying to write a poem or a story before I realized this: small moments aren’t meant to tell stories. They are meant to be those few minutes in time that you are the happiest, the most empathetic you’ve ever been for no particular reason. It’s singing at the top of your lungs, car stereo blasting. It’s laughing hysterically for no apparent reason and not being able to stop. It’s coming in after a long workout, muscles aching, and drinking the best cup of water that you’ve ever had. It’s having a little brother or sister, niece or nephew who falls asleep in the car, and for a moment, looks so peaceful and innocent that it makes you want to cry. It’s making dinner with your family. It’s knowing every line of a movie and quoting it with your best friend. It’s drinking hot tea on a rainy day while being read to. It’s dinner time conversations and witty comments and driving barefoot and playing UNO for four hours and dancing idiotically and every single moment, every single memory that stays with you for a lifetime, even more than those long vacations and the planned parties. It is every moment that you don’t expect to be brilliant but is, every moment that seems perfectly normal at the time then becomes the most treasured moment that you have years later. It is all of those moments that make you learn to love life and to KNOW that every moment counts. It is love and life and utter joy. It can’t be captured in a picture or a story or a poem, but it will be captured in your essence for existence. I only hope that you savor those moments while they last — that is what “enjoying the small moments” is all about.
The Courage for Tomorrow team would like to wish all of the mothers out there the most wonderful day ever!! 🙂 We would be nothing without you, and we love you so very much.
I thought that I would continue this post because I know that music has strong healing powers for some people. Who doesn’t like to listen to a good song?
Here are several songs that might inspire people who have been hurt:
1. Forgiven – Reliant K
2. Peace in the Valley – Kevin Costner
3. Fin – Anberlin
4. Love Saves the Day – Piotr Rubik
5. Savin’ Me – Nickelback
6. How Deep the Water Runs – Kevin Costner
7. The Unwinding Cable Car – Anberlin
8. I Was Here – Beyonce
9. Lose Yourself – Eminem
10. Savior – Black Veil Brides
11. Never Give In – Black Veil Brides
12. Second and Sebring – Of Mice and Men
13. Someone Somewhere – Asking Alexandria
14. This Song Saved my Life – Simple Plan
15. You are the Heart – Blood on the Dance Floor
16. The Good Life – Valencia
17. How to Save a Life – The Fray
18. Eyes Open -Taylor Swift
19. Tied Together With a Smile – Taylor Swift
20. Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
21. Who You Are – Jessie J
22. This is Love – The Script
23. The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder
24. Perfect- P!nk
25. Who Says – Selena Gomez
26. Firework – Katy Perry
27. Hey You – Miranda Cosgrove
28. What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
29. Only You Can Be You – Cymphonique Miller
30. Little Things – One Direction
31. Freckles – Natasha Bedingfield
32. Imagine – John Lennon
33. I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly
34. One – U2
35. Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
36. Mean Girls – Rachel Crow
37. Let it Be – The Beatles
38. Times – Tenth Avenue North
39. By Your Side – Tenth Avenue North
40. Stars – David Crowder Band
41. The Sun Will Rise – Kelly Clarkson
42. Stand – Rascal Flatts
43. You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up) – Josh Groban
44. Hero – Mariah Carey
45. When You Believe – Whitney Houston ft. Mariah Carey
46. Where the Streets Have No Name – U2
47. The Climb – Miley Cyrus
48. You Can Come to Me – Ross Lynch and Laura Marano
49. Changed – Rascal Flatts
50. I Won’t Let Go – Rascal Flatts
51. Believe – Brooks and Dunn
52. I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
53. Need You Now – Plumb
54. Lost – Michael Bublé
55. Marching On – OneRepublic
56. Heroes – David Bowie
57. Brave – Sara Bareilles
58. Little Wonders – Rob Thomas
59. Whip It – Love and Death
60. Hope – We Came As Romans
61. Son of Venice – Upon This Dawning
Thank you to everyone that contributed to the list!
Please, feel free to add more songs! We want to know what songs give you hope.
What Gives Me Hope:
Writing; I’ve only written for a year and a half but I see differently because of it. When I write I loose myself in what I’m doing. At first, writing was just an escape but now it’s so much more than that. The idea of writing something out that I’m struggling with and having even one person relate to that – not only does the fact that someone understands me seem amazing but I got someone else to see they’re not alone — it’s incredible.
Prayer; God has been so good to me. When I’m going through something hard, He’s right there. When I felt alone and no one else saw that, He’s was there. Prayer puts things into perspective for me, it helps me to remember what really matters and what I need to forget about. I know that whatever I go through, whatever seems so horrible, He will take care of it. That’s what gives me hope, being given a second chance, being loved when I didn’t love back, being forgiven, being cared about. When I think about it, it’s all I have, hope.
~ Liz D.
I love you.
Three short words
with such an encompassing meaning.
What is love?
Is it just an emotional reaction?
Or is it everything important?
I have hope that it is the latter.
And what of hope?
Are more chemicals involved,
more scientific explanations?
Or maybe hope is the very reason to live,
to hold on.
It is the driving force,
the conflict of the story,
the promise of a happy ending.
I hope to love with all of my being,
all of the time,
everyone and everything.
I hope I never stop sharing
and giving love.
I hope I never stop hoping.
Because hope tells me that
I can go on,
as does love,
for my mother tells me
with all of the complexities of love in her eyes,
more beautiful and powerful
than any dictionary can sum up into
an emotional reaction.
Love is what makes me strong.
Love is what keeps me moving on.
Love makes everything worth it.
For because of the love,
I’m afraid of pain,
The pain I will cause them
If I harm again.
I don’t want I disappoint,
Disappoint those I love.
Though not yet, is the battle won.
I still fight against,
But I do it for the love,
I do it for the feeling when I rise above.
Above all of the pain,
Above all the shame,
Above all the worthlessness,
But nothing is worth fighting
Against all of this.
Nothing but one thing,