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‘The sky hasn’t fallen here’

In states, countries where same-sex unions have been legal for years, ministers, missionaries still see opportunities to share God’s love.

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on gay marriage, Patrick Odum expects little to change in the lives of church members in Chicago. 

After all, same-sex couples in his state have been allowed to wed for more than a year now.

“I can honestly say that it really hasn’t had much impact on my daily life,” said Odum, minister for the Northwest Church of Christ. “Though it makes headlines and generates a lot of heat on Facebook, I suspect what most of us will find is that little changes.”

(PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA)

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Illinois is one of 37 U.S. states that — by court decision, legislative act or popular vote — had legalized gay marriage prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling. Same-sex unions also were legalized in South Africa in 2006, Canada in 2005 and more than a decade ago in several European nations.

Belgium, where Paul Brazle has served as a missionary for nearly three decades, was the second country after the Netherlands to sanction gay marriage in 2003.

“The sky hasn’t fallen here,” Brazle said, adding that the changing attitudes and laws on the global stage confirm that “we now live in a post-Christian culture.”

“It all seems part of the ongoing trend toward a more secular society and philosophy,” Brazle said, “which, of course, presents us with a challenge as Christians. But we have long since given up any notion that we enjoy the advantage of working within a society with Christian ideals at its base. And it seems like the U.S. is coming to face that same reality.”

In France, same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013. Even before that, Christians in the once staunchly Catholic nation faced criticism for voicing opposition to such unions, said Arlin Hendrix, a missionary in Lyon, France.

“No matter how kindly one expresses his beliefs, anger is often the reaction,” Hendrix said. Nonethless, members of the Lyon church continue to present the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality, he added.

Back in Chicago, Odum suggested believers look at the examples provided by Christian youths.

“Our kids are way ahead of us,” he said. “They’re used to being around people who are different — and loving them and being friends without expecting them to necessarily share their values. Maybe we should be asking them how to move forward.”

Filed under: Headlines - Secondary International National News

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