Founded during the Civil War, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Midtown Atlanta has witnessed dramatic social changes in America. When the Supreme Court issued its ruling on same-sex marriage Friday, the church celebrated with a special service.
“The message I think God has for us today … is God loves love, period,” said the Rev. Dan Matthews during his sermon.
But while many Americans of faith hail the Supreme Court ruling as a civil rights victory, many others say it tramples on their religious beliefs. Indeed, the next big question may concern how religious institutions respond, even as officials in virtually every state indicate they will comply with Friday’s ruling by issuing marriage licenses.
“Unless there is a great spiritual awakening in America, the battle for traditional marriage is over,” the Southern Evangelical Seminary announced in a press release. “Now the battle for religious freedom has begun.”
Legal experts say no pastor or other religious officiant would be compelled to perform any marriage – and so the expected surge of same-sex nuptials is likely to lead to friction. When it comes to American churches and same-sex marriage, a recent study by the Pew Research Center paints the picture of a house divided.
According to the study published June 8, 62 percent of white mainline Protestants and 56 percent of all Catholics support same-sex marriage. However, that support drops to 33 percent among black Protestants and 27 percent among white evangelical Protestants.
“This is God’s model,” Rev. James Ford, Jr. told Chicago Fox station WFLD. “I’m going to be encouraging my congregation, as I have over the years: We love the sinner. We hate the sin. And we stand for the word of God.”
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/06/30/churches-remain-divided-over-gay-marriage-debate-shifts-from-court-to-pews/?intcmp=latestnews