I am a member of (subscribe to) the Presidential Prayer Team and receive daily devotionals to help me better know how to pray for the President, various government officials, and our country. The Devotions are titled “Vantage Point,” and are characterized as follows:
Vantage Point – a personal daily prayer devotional series for our prayer team members. The content originates from own staff writers — who carefully draw truths from God’s Word that will inspire and help your daily walk with Christ. We also provide special prayer items for our nation called Prayer Watch. It’s purpose is to inform and encourage your prayer time for our country, its leaders and our military.
This morning’s Vantage point contained the following devotional:
Because of Jesus
Business is not all rosy for Barronelle Stutzman who owns the florist shop, Arlene’s Flowers, in the state of Washington. The Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against Stutzman because she refused to provide wedding flowers for a same-sex ceremony. Stutzman told a homosexual customer, “I’m sorry, I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.” The American Civil Liberties Union is also suing her for money damages and lawyer’s fees that could cripple or destroy her business.
Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith.
As a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, there are times when you may be viewed as a rabble-rouser. While you should try to live at peace with everyone, conflict with the world and its authorities is sometimes inevitable. However, the Bible says, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
Jesus also says, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” (Luke 6:22) God never promises an easy life, but He does promise to be with you through your difficulties. Thank Him today for His faithfulness. Then pray for the nation’s leaders, and that they would choose to honor God in their lobbying and voting decisions.
As I read the above devotional I wondered what impact this type of government action (state government in this case) could have on me and other ordained ministers of the gospel. In particular I wondered about the situation that would exist if I, or any of our ordained staff members, were asked to perform a “same-sex marriage.” We are certified/licensed by the state to officiate marriages and we submit documentation following a wedding ceremony which is used for official legal purposes to designate a couple as being married. We do not take this responsibility lightly and we all have our own standards which determine whether we would officiate at a marriage. I, for one, do not conduct a marriage unless the couple consented to and participated in a series of pre-engagement or pre-marriage counseling sessions. Now, the question arises concerning whether I would be willing to officiate at the wedding of a same-sex couple. Would my conscience have any bearing on whether the state would sanction my refusal to conduct the wedding — if that is what I in fact decided to do. It is a thorny issue and I’m sure you can see the various dilemmas and ramifications which I, or any other minister who believes that marriage, at least biblical marriage, is between a man and a woman. There are too many issues to address here, now, but they will have to be addressed in the future by ministers who in the matter of marriage are both ministers of the Gospel of Christ Jesus under the banner of the church and agents of the state who are authorized to perform official functions. RMF