In November, 1863, the Confederate Army held Missionary Ridge southeast of the Tennessee River near Chattanooga. The ridge was said to be impregnable, serving as the foundation of General Braxton Bragg’s siege against the Union Army. Upon General Grant’s arrival and relief of the weary Union troops by William T. Sherman’s four divisions, the Federal army took high ground at Lookout Mountain, then assaulted Missionary Ridge. They routed the Army of Tennessee, which withdrew to Ringgold, Georgia, the Union in pursuit. With Chattanooga gone, the battle for Atlanta was over. The rest was a mop-up.
In the cause of defending traditional marriage, in law, in the United States, principal combat is over. We are in the mop-up phase. Webster defines mop-up as “the actions that complete a job or task after the more difficult parts have been done.” The defenders of traditional marriage are being mopped up, and the battle lines have moved past that position.
The camel’s nose is in the tent. We gave an inch, and lost a mile. The bells are tolling.
Eighteen states issue marriage licenses for same-sex marriage. Four states recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state. The US military has moved beyond “don’t ask don’t tell” and actively supports same-sex marriage. The federal government recognizes same-sex marriage for benefits purposes, immigration, bankruptcies, prison visits, survivor benefits and protections against incrimination for spouses. Thank SCOTUS in Windsor v. United States for that.
Supporters of same-sex marriage are letting the federal courts do the mop-up operation, while they move on to the next battlefield: the marginalization of all who oppose the homosexual lifestyle. State constitutional amendments hold no water, and are falling in droves against the onslaught: Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, and Idaho are KIA. Arkansas has been mortally wounded. Georgia repelled one attack, only to have another take its place.
Within a matter of time, every state in the Union will be compelled to recognize same-sex marriage, and every state constitutional amendment defending traditional marriage will be overturned. The unassailable position has been overrun. This battle, for the legal status of traditional marriage, is over. While it may be instructional to review the critical points where our legal cause failed, leading up to this rout, it does nothing to reverse the situation.
It’s more effective to go back to the reasons why we are fighting. Our cultural opponents are not fighting because they simply agree with gays and lesbians having legal status and protections; this could have been accomplished with civil unions. They are fighting because they believe that the way of life that we represent and hold dear is wrong, even evil. They believe that faith in God, adherence to Biblical truth, and the concepts of liberty, responsibility, and consequences that flow from those values are wrong and should be overthrown.
They are pursuing us to our very extinction, or at least marginalization in society to the point of exclusion from all things which grant us peace and prosperity. This war is not over, and if we remain behind the enemy lines, we will be mopped up, corralled, and captured while they continue to advance.
There is a Bible story that clearly illustrates our position and how we should react.
But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”
After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
[2 Samuel 12:14-23]
Stop mourning over a dead body. Gather the troops and set the lines for the next battle. I am not saying to capitulate to same-sex marriage, and I am not saying that it’s right, or good, or “culturally relevant”. I am saying that from a legal standpoint, it’s inevitable. Like King David, we must restore our strength, and know the reason why we fight.
There’s no reason to mourn any longer, to point crooked fingers at those who didn’t stand to fight when they should have. We have enough self-defeating friendly fire. This is now the time to regroup, refresh, and turn to our source of light and wisdom. We should happily worship God and bless those who curse us. We should stand for right and call sin, sin. We should sing hymns while they circle around us yelling “hail Satan”. Traditional marriage is just one front, one battle, in our war, and it’s no longer our strongest position.
We’ve got box seats to the next battle front, it’s right in front of us. There’s Phil Robertson and Jason and David Benham in entertainment, Brendan Eich in business, Michael Sam’s gay kiss in sports. We are all being forced to witness, and celebrate, the liberal progressive ideal, or accept the consequences. In Canada, Biblical truth is considered a hate crime. In England, Christian bed and breakfast owners face death threats and have to close because they wouldn’t accommodate a gay couple.
We fight because we serve a purpose. We lift up truth from a source above our own narrow interests. We are accountable to someone and something beyond our own lusts and petty needs. We fight as happy warriors carrying the banners of Heaven unfurled above our heads.
But we act like children carrying wooden swords, stomping through the mud, playing soldier. No wonder Chik-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy retreated from the battle. No wonder Chris Broussard was alone in his ESPN comments about homosexuality. No wonder the Boy Scouts caved in to corporate pressure when they had a Supreme Court ruling on their side (the same force of law that Roe v. Wade enjoys). They are alone and attacked because we don’t stand up, rise up, to support them. Oh sure, we bought a few chicken sandwiches. Our response to another Christian’s crucifixion is to tweet something, like Michelle Obama’s reaction to Boko Haram’s kidnapping of Nigerian teenage girls.
We should be flooding our opponents mailboxes with millions of letters, we should be taking them to court for their bullying tactics. When we lose one lawsuit, we should be filing ten more. That’s what our cultural enemies do. They are relentless, and they don’t care who calls them extremists, because they can label themselves heroes when they’ve won. We should be extremists for our conservative cause, and we should be just as relentless and ceaseless in our efforts.
Conservatives, every single one of us: stop playing solider and start standing for our beliefs.