When Someone Says It So Much Better



The Supreme Court Just Gave American Evangelicals a Gift


Evangelicals are tenacious, persistent, and driven when they want to fight for a cause. The problem is that American evangelicals have been swept up in fighting for the wrong cause for a long time.

When the Supreme Court ruled to make same sex marriage the law of the land, American evangelicals received a gift that many don’t want: official permission to fight for people in need instead of fighting against same sex marriage.

Whatever you believe about same sex marriage, the role of government, and the future of the church in America, disagreeing with same sex marriage on moral grounds does not demand a public campaign to prevent it from becoming legally sanctioned. While I remain committed to creating room for affirming and non-affirming evangelicals who unite under the common banner of saving faith in Christ, evangelicals in America should have never made legalized same sex marriage a central moral issue to fight in the courts.

While I don’t believe Matthew 25 is exhaustive in its presentation of what matters to God, we do get a glimpse of the kinds of people who have internalized and lived out the message of Jesus. They work to alleviate the most pressing needs of others in our world.

That isn’t a call to relativize our sexual standards. Rather, I see Jesus pointing us toward the issues that pertain to the most basic aspects of human dignity: food, shelter, clothing, justice, and sickness:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,

I was a stranger and you invited me in, 

I needed clothes and you clothed me, 

I was sick and you looked after me,

I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

We can disagree all day about same sex marriage. Heck, the majority of evangelicals will most likely continue to disagree about this issue for another 20 years until the millennials take their place in church leadership.

However, there’s no denying that millions of people around the world are suffering significantly, and Jesus wants us to focus our energies on serving them. If there was ever a group of people who should give a damn about children dying of hunger, deeply wounded people suffering in prison, and thousands upon thousands of refugees fleeing unprecedented violence in the Middle East, it should be American evangelicals.

It’s not like these massive global needs are a secret:

Over 49 million Americans and 870 million people overall in the world are going hungry (source).

750 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, leading to diseases that disproportionately kill children under age 5 who are unable to fight bacteria (source 1source 2)

The U.S. prison system incarcerates over 2.3 million people, including a disproportionate number of African Americans (source).

Over 100 million Christians around the world face severe persecution, including the believers living in refugee camps after fleeing Syria and Iraq (source).

Over 500,000 Americans are homeless (source), but worldwide an estimated 1 billion people are living in housing that is inadequate (source).

If you care about preventing terrible things like human trafficking, rape, forced prostitution, and child soldiers, partnering with groups that empower communities to meet these basic needs will go a long way in keeping potential victims safe, healthy, and in control of their own lives.

Declarations about the collapse of civilization because of same sex marriage ring hollow when we consider that Americans toss 31.1% of our foodwhile allowing millions to go hungry, fail to ask whether our ridiculously high incarceration rates ruin thousands of lives that could have been set right through treatment programs, and Christians in the Middle East have to flee their villages after ISIS invades, steals their women and children, and threatens to kill anyone who refuses to convert.

If God is going to condemn us over anything in America, it’s going to be our indifference and inaction when it comes to feeding people, giving out clean water, offering shelter, visiting the sick, and helping the prisoners, not a Supreme Court ruling.

It boggles the mind that evangelicals in America have long seen this ruling coming, but we have fought tooth and nail in what many suspected to be a losing cause. So many millions of dollars and hours were tossed into legal battles that were a long shot at best.

And yet, we have always had financial resources, competent charities, and passionate workers who are more than willing to travel to the ends of the earth to fulfill the very words of Jesus. If we collectively gave these most basic causes just a fraction of the time and energy that we had devoted to fighting same sex marriage, who knows how many thousands or millions of lives could have been saved.

We have been given a gift: The Supreme Court ruling means we can stop throwing our time and money into fighting same sex marriage and fulfill the words of Matthew 25.

We need not lament, lick our wounds, or bemoan the “terrible” world that our grandchildren will inherit. For millions of people around the world and even in our own neighborhoods, the worst has already happened and will continue to happen.

We need not wave the white flag of surrender on same sex marriage and pray for God’s mercy. If we’re going to take the words of Jesus seriously, know this:

God’s judgment has been upon us long before a single state allowed same sex marriage.

God’s judgment came upon us when we left people hungry, thirsty, sick, unclothed, and alone.

It’s time to stop blaming the court system. If we disagree on same sex marriage, that is our right. That doesn’t change the call of Jesus for his followers, especially American evangelicals at this time. We have our marching orders. We shouldn’t act surprised at who we’re called to serve.

We aren’t called to fight against someone. We aren’t called to litigation.

We are called to fight for everyone—especially those suffering in the most basic ways.

The longer we engage in legal fights against same sex marriage, the more apparent it becomes that we’d rather throw ourselves into any losing cause than obey the most basic commands of Jesus.

Let’s take our tenacity, energy, and resources and throw them into serving the people who are suffering the most in this world.

We may even hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant,” one day.

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151 thoughts on “The Supreme Court Just Gave American Evangelicals a Gift

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  1. Ugh. Are there any real Christians out there? So many are blindly strolling hand-in-hand down the broad road, the easy road…where love and tolerance and social justice are the pillars of the gospel.

    Does no one read their Bible anymore? Or believe it? Jesus said that most who think they are Christians are not. And thanks to those who preach a false gospel, this massive, jovial parade will discover too late that the bridge to their heaven is out and will stand rejected and condemned by Jesus, the very one they thought would save them. Read Matthew 7:13-29

    As important as it is to care for the sick and help all those in need, these righteous deeds are simply the evidence of those who truly love and serve the Lord Jesus.

    And neglecting these acts of service is NOT—I repeat—NOT the reason for God’s condemnation or coming judgement as this author falsely claims:

    “If God is going to condemn us over anything in America, it’s going to be our indifference and inaction when it comes to feeding people, giving out clean water, offering shelter, visiting the sick, and helping the prisoners, not a Supreme Court ruling.” -ED CYZEWSKI

    “God’s judgment came upon us when we left people hungry, thirsty, sick, unclothed, and alone.” -ED CYZEWSKI

    God’s judgment and righteous condemnation will rightly fall on all who reject Jesus the ONLY means of being right (justified) before God. “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity–the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Tim 2:5

    Jesus calls us to be his hands and feet and care for and truly love others, but let’s not forget the real reason Jesus came…to call sinners to repentance and holiness. To be reconciled to God the Father. He came to prepare for himself a pure and holy people who are called out of sin and darkness and into His kingdom…to reign with him forever.

    No matter what the Supreme Court does or how many rainbows we post on Facebook, let’s not forget that when Jesus returns, he will not be wearing a rainbow-colored robe. He will be coming in a blood-soaked robe of judgement to destroy all who rejected HIS GIFT of salvation. Rev 19.

    In the end, #LoveWins ONLY for those who belong to the Great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who came to save them. Titus 2:13

    For the rest, it matters not whether they are draped in rainbows, a judge’s robe, a nurse’s scrubs or a papal hat, if they haven’t repented and been stripped of their pride and clothed in the righteousness of Christ Jesus, then they stand condemned.

    Let’s get God’s story straight.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ed, do you believe Paul’s writings are inspired and canonical? Read 1 Corinthians 5. Paul says Christians should not concern themselves with the world – God will judge. For a Christian to hold a loud vocal opinion on the marriage question is contradictory to Paul’s message. (Many fundamentalists also choose to ignore Paul’s writings about women’s ability to speak in church, and his orders on the wearing of jewelry.)


    • Loving your neighbor does not mean you agree with their lifestyle. Not one of you liberals really understand the Bible. You’ve taken it and made it into a fairy tale to suit what YOU BELIEVE IT SHOULD SAY. Yes we are all sinners, saved by God’s grace, BUT WE WHO ARE REALLY SAVED TRY EVERYDAY TO LIVE A PURER LIFE AND YES SOMETIMES WE FAIL, BUT WE DO NOT IGNORE WHAT GOD HAS SAID IS SIN. AND MAYBE YOUR BIBLE AND ALL THE RAINBOW FOLLOWERS BIBLE HAS ALL THE PARTS YOU WANT OUT OF IT BUT MINE TELLS ME THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS A


      • Not sure which Bible you are reading, but the Bibles I have seen are full or terrible stories of killing innocent children, rape and the proper way to treat slaves, as well as some good stories too. If the parts you like literally then you have to take all of it literally, and that means you will spend lots of time in jail or worse.

        This I do take literally:
        Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.


      • “We are all sinners saved by grace, but…” There’s no but to that statement. We are all sinners saved by grace. Full stop. Followers of Jesus are not authorized to condemn others for their sins, but we are authorized to forgive sins. So if you’re sure that homosexual acts are always sinful, the best thing to do is make good friends with as many homosexuals as you can and diligently forgive them.


    • The reason why Christian leadership doesn’t emphasize these issues is because they don’t bring in the revenue streams the way that condemning gay marriage does. Organized religion is a business, and in order to stay in business, leadership selects the issues to rile people up about that induce the greatest contributions to the Church. Once churchgoers, never really ones for critical thinking in the first place, decide they care more about social justice and the like, leadership will have no choice but to emphasize those issues instead – some churches are already doing this. It has to be a bottom up process – with a credible threat of people actually leaving the congregation to facilitate change.


  2. Ed, if in fact you have spent much time feeding the hungry and clothing the stranger in our cities and around the world, surely you know how deeply intertwined poverty and brokenness are with sex. If you care about poverty, you have to care about sex. My parents have worked for decades in the inner city and in Kwazulu-Natal, the area with the highest infection rate of HIV in the world. They have seen first hand how inter-generational poverty is a corollary of unchastened sexual practice. And here in the US, out of wedlock birth is one of the single greatest predictors of poverty. It would be foolishness if the Christians who for so many generations have been on the front lines of serving the poor never paused to consider: What are the causes of this perpetual poverty? Perhaps we should also address that too. Regarding same-sex marriage, it is less obvious what the consequences will be of more and more children lacking either a father or mother, but one can be sure it will not be an isolated thing, an island unto itself. There will be social consequences. Christians must carry on the unenviable task of being sexually counter-cultural, because we have every evidence that the biblical sexual ethic is good for personal and societal well-being. And, as we go, we must remember the poor, who are in so many cases the victims of cultures that haven’t provided the tools to choose wisely.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think you have your cause and effect backwards… Perhaps poverty is the single greatest indicator of out of wedlock pregnancy.
      If you are poor, you can’t afford contraceptives… Or marriage.
      Maybe conservative Christians should stop fighting against people’s needs for contraception as a basic part of healthcare coverage.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jesus said He was worth the cost of expensive oil poured on Him before His crucifixion, part of our act of belief and worship. Christians get criticized any way possible. Christians do obey by feeding, clothing and comforting the poor. We must stand up for God given standards, no matter the cost.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You almost got it right Ed, Jesus does want us to meet the needs of the poor and hungry. By the way, the evangelicals you choose to judge and mock are the biggest contributors of those needs on the planet. But Jesus asked us to make disciples of the nations, priority one for a dying world. Your lengthy rant left that out.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Do you have any proof they are the biggest contributors to the planet? Because I’d like to argue Bill Gates.


      • I recommend that you read the book “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism” by Arthur C. Brooks. You will find ample proof there. Also, as I pointed out in my own comment on this thread, evangelicals give far more to humanitarian relief organizations than to social advocacy charities. I looked up the IRS Form 990 information for World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, Compassion International, and Prison Fellowship. Last year, just those four humanitarian relief groups received $2.5 billion in donations. By contrast, the four social advocacy groups of Alliance Defending Freedom, American Center for Law and Justice, Family Research Council, and National Right to Life only received $75 million in donations. I think each of these two sets of four organizations is representative of their categories, so you can see for yourself where evangelicals are donating the bulk of their resources.

        Liked by 3 people

        • That’s not a fair comparison at all. A lot of non-evangelicals and non-Christians donate to World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse and Compassion International. For obvious reasons, they would not donate to the social advocacy causes you listed. Unless you have specifically limited your research to a fixed quantity of Evangelical donors and tracked their donations to both types of organizations, this is a comparison that is useless at best and deliberately misleading at worst.


        • Jenna, please read the book, especially the chapter on Faith and Charity. The author has done meticulous research to show that it is in fact primarily churchgoers who give to charity, and not just to their local churches, but to the very types of humanitarian relief agencies I’ve listed. Therefore, I stand by my statement. It is an entirely fair comparison and an accurate one. It is not in the least bit useless or misleading.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes. Yes. YES! This is exactly what we need to hear. I’ve made this point to many in my congregation. Somehow, we skim over God’s great concern for the weakest in society. Just a few passages: God called Israel a sinful nation for abandoning concern for the poor, fatherless & widows. (Isaiah 1)
    James tells us that pure religion isn’t taking control of the world, but to look after widows & orphans & to refrain from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27) The implication there is that showing no concern for the weakest in society IS being polluted by the world.
    Jesus said people would know we are his followers, not if we stop gays from marrying but if we show love. (John 13:35)

    Furthermore, I believe it is wrong for us Christians to attempt to use the law to stop gays from marrying. Read Jesus’ parable of the wheat & the weeds in Matthew 13. It is NOT our jobs to stamp out “evil.” Attempting to eliminate evil can cause harm to the world. If you disagree with me, go on and read the text for yourself. It IS our job to nurture goodness in this world.
    So let’s turn this “loss” in the world into a win. By using this & every opportunity to do good for those in need.


  6. This is not a very well thought out piece. It’s maddening really. It’s completely ridiculous to say that the Supreme Court gave American evangelicals a gift, the gift of being able to focus on the poor because the issue of same-sex marriage has already been decided so evangelicals don’t have to focus on that anymore. As if one cannot focus on both. At any rate— Here’s something I would like to know—if the Supreme Court prohibited SSM instead, would the author still say that the Court gave Evangelicals the gift of now being able to focus on helping the poor? Something tells me that he would not.

    Interestingly, it was Judas who said that the money bag was wasted on anointing Jesus when it could have been given to the poor. It seems to me the author’s doing something similar. Who said that those who will suffer as a consequence of the legalization of SSM, suffer because what they thought would make them happy ultimately didn’t, are not poor? Who said that the children who will lack a mother or father because of SSM are not poor? Poverty can be spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional, and moral, in addition to material. The author of this blog post seems oblivious to this, and to the existence of the spiritual works of mercy.

    Another thing… this ruling will lead to individuals attempting to file lawsuits against conscientious Christians and Christian churches. The ruling could also get in the way of some Christian groups and organizations of helping the poor. Gift? Hardly.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. “When the Supreme Court ruled to make same sex marriage the law of the land, American evangelicals received a gift that many don’t want: official permission to fight for people in need instead of fighting against same sex marriage.” American Evangelicals will have to spend time and money defending their right not to be forced to perform same sex weddings or provide services for them. They will have to fight for their right to hot have to be forced to hire homosexuals in their churches, Christian schools, non-profits because those institutions believe marriage is defined as one man, one woman. These are the types of things they will be spending time and money on. They will continue to do their best for the poor and disenfranchised. There are many of us who are on the front lines caring for the poor. Evangelicals “ignoring the poor” is far from the only reason the poor or not being served well. Corruption, greed, selfishness, etc. I agree with Nate Jacobson’s post above: “surely you know how deeply intertwined poverty and brokenness are with sex. If you care about poverty, you have to care about sex.” Exactly!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sweetie, gays don’t want hate and fear mongering clergy / churches performing their weddings, anymore than you would demand an imam or a rabbi or Buddhist monk, or a Shinto priest or a Satanist perform yours.

      Your comment/fear is so ludicrous, it should be named Chris Bridges.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Please do not disrespectfully call me “sweetie.” And, yes, people have been forced to perform ceremonies, provide services to same-sex couples for their weddings (or be sued), and hire gay people or be accused of being discriminatory or bigots. Please do not respond because I am not longer receiving e-mails per this article. It is unfortunately not worth my time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Then why do they sue Christian bakers and photographers who refer them to someone else because they can’t be a part of a religious ceremony that contradicts their beliefs? If they will sue these Christians, why wouldn’t they sue the pastors? What if they are dead set on marrying in a specific church , but the church will not perform SSMs because of their religious convictions? You think they honestly wouldn’t sue, having a pretty good idea that they will win now? I don’t think you really believe that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • There is a big difference between a church and a florist. The church has a right to practice it’s religion as guaranteed under the first amendment. The florist or other business sells a product or provides a service not covered by the first amendment. Any attempt to force a church to host a wedding it does not want to will fail.
          But, for the business owner who says, I don’t want to “participate” in a same sex wedding by selling them a cake, I say nonsense. Is the gun shop owner “participating” in a murder when the weapon is subsequently used? Then why do you think you are “participating” in the wedding?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Because these are businesses, not churches. Businesses do not have the right to discriminate against anyone. This violates public accommodation laws. Churches, on the other hand are private institutions protected by the first amendment.


  8. Pingback: Toward an Explanation of Fundamentalism and Freaking Out over Equality « Andrew Joseph Pegoda, A.B.D.

  9. I’m deeply saddened to see so many negative replies. We just continue to miss the point and this piece just proves that! Just act out of love and let God do the judging!


  10. Pingback: Rainbows and Happiness…and Broken Friendships | a small person

  11. Excellent blog. Excellent post. It very similar (although toned down a bit) to a blog I wrote yesterday titles “Take Me To Church – Same Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court” and linked in perfectly with yours of Evangelicals needing to “refocus”. Sadly, it won’t happen. I believe at times they thrive on drama and yelling and telling certain groups they are the ones damned to hell. Must be an Evangelical hobby. Maybe they should take up Yo-Yoing, Fishing, or Mountain Climbing.


  12. Pingback: The Supreme Court just gave American evangelicals a gift | Baptist News Global Perspectives – Conversations that matter

  13. We can yell all we want about “God establishing marriage between one man and one woman”, but the Christian church seems to get really quiet when the issue of divorce comes up. Most Christians choose to ignore what the scripture says about divorce – it is “hated by God” and it is clear throughout the Bible that, except for a few rare cases, divorce and remarriage leads to continued sin – adultery…

    Luke 16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    The Old Testament, Jesus, and the other writers of the New Testament were all clear on the sin of divorce, yet my church and every church I have been associated with is full of divorced / remarried people, many who probably sit in judgement of same-sex marriage. Why doesn’t the church condemn them for openly living in sin?

    Our call is to Love God and Love others – leave the judging to Him…


  14. This post and the following comments are the perfect example of the root problem in and outside of the Church (pride). We choose one scripture passages “that we believe in as the whole truth” and condemn anyone who does not champion it the way we do. The Bible has a lot more to say about caring for the poor, sex, money, life, etc. than just a handful of verses. There is a thread that runs through the whole book on all of these topics and more with examples of what happens when people live by faith or not. The New Testiment doesn’t make sense unless you understand the covenant requirements of the Old Testiment. And none of it can be understood or applied correctly without the help of the Holy Spirit, but few people will take the time to humbly ask for His help.


  15. Thank you, Ed, for bravely writing this post, full well knowing the rain of hate and garbage that would follow. Social justice is not hippy dippy bullshit. It’s the heart of Christ. If I risk being condemned for my love and acceptance of homosexuals when I am standing before god and the throne, I’m certain I don’t want any part of that “kingdom” anyhow.


  16. Ed,
    Empowered by grace, I have fed Him when He was hungry, sheltered Him when He was homeless, given Him something to drink when He was thirsty, clothed Him when He was naked, cared for Him when He was sick, visited Him in prison. In doing so I have learned that so few of the homeless have parents who honored their marriage vows, nor honored their marriage vows and love their children in practical ways. Asserting Divine plans for marriage across the board is a fundamental way to ease suffering that can be done while doing the rest of the remedial work needing to be done in our sin sick world..


  17. Happy Monday, folks. I took most of the weekend away from this here blog, and apparently things kind of exploded while I was gone. I’ve never had a comment moderation policy because it’s never been necessary. From what I hear, I’m going to need one. So I’ll be going through the comments later today, and I wanted to give everyone a heads up on what’s going to happen:

    1. I welcome dissenting opinions. I have many close friend who disagree with me on this topic, and we can get on with our lives just fine. So I’m not worried about disagreements here. I am, however, concerned with civility so that all views feel welcome.

    2. I see this blog as a kind of front porch conversation that I’m hosting. So if anyone starts attacking anyone else verbally, makes unfair accusations, insults anyone by calling them a fool, idiot, etc., or does anything else that may make other commenters from voicing their opinions, those comments will be deleted. If you have written a particularly long comment that you feel perfectly captures your views like nothing else in all of the internets but you also resorted to insulting people or created a particularly hostile commenting environment, please copy and paste it somewhere else because I will most certainly delete it later today when I stop by to moderate things.

    3. Comment moderation is not a science. It’s far more important to me that I create a space where civil discourse can happen rather than giving room for people to bully, accuse, judge, etc. The Internet is a big, wild place with lots of diversity. It may be that this particular blog just isn’t your cup of tea.

    4. It’s been my ongoing policy to close comments after a post has been live for two weeks in order to minimize spam. That policy will remain for this post as well.


  18. The link between ingrained poverty and the culture of sexual anarchy is undeniable. The”freedom” our elite class celebrates is devastating to the poor as it absolutely guts the social resources they used to rely on. Want to help children? Feed them, yes, but help to restore the place of the traditional family if you want to have the greatest impact.


  19. “Without a voice, you and I will be known ONLY by the labels that the militants give us.”

    Oh, I don’t know. I think with the voice we have used we’ve done a fine enough job giving ourselves those labels.



  20. I agree-WAY too many evangelifish have wrapped the Bible in the flag, and have used it to bash the world. Bad move, and I am not going to defend that mindset.

    What we have NOT done is bring logic and reason along with our faith..


  21. “What we have NOT done is bring logic and reason along with our faith.”

    Yes. Dualism is a tragedy and travesty with which the church has played along for many centuries.



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