Pastor Ronnie Floyd, head of the Southern Baptist Convention, has vowed never to perform same-sex nuptials and urged other pastors to join him in taking a stand as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to announce its landmark decision on gay marriage.
Speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, Floyd emphasized that while he feels compassion for those who experience same-sex attraction, Christians must not remain silent on the issue, the Associated Press reported.
"America, we stand believing that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in a covenant commitment for a lifetime," Floyd said. "While some evangelicals may be bowing down to the deception of the inclusiveness of same-sex marriage, we will not bow down nor will we be silent."
Next month, the Supreme Court is expected to announce whether the Constitution requires all 50 states make the practice of same-sex marriage legal, or require a state (where gay marriage isn't legal) to recognize a marriage between two same-sex people when their marriage was legally performed in one of the 37 states currently allowing gay marriage.
Floyd warned that the possible legalization of gay marriage across the United States "could be a watershed moment" in history, as it could change "the trajectory of our nation unlike anything we've seen since 1973 in the Roe vs. Wade decision."
"The Supreme Court of the United States is not the final authority nor is the culture itself," Floyd continued as the audience erupted in applause. "The Bible is God's final authority about marriage and on this book we stand...We do not need to redefine what God Himself has defined already."
The Associated Press reports that in light of Floyd's comments, delegates passed a resolution that sends a request to the Supreme Court that the rights of citizens be upheld to "define marriage as exclusively the union of one man and one woman."
"Resolved, that Southern Baptists recognize that no governing institution has the authority to negate or usurp God's definition of marriage; and be it further resolved no matter how the Supreme Court rules, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirms its unwavering commitment to its doctrinal and public beliefs concerning marriage," the resolution reads in part.
In concluding his speech, Floyd once again urged Southern Baptists not waver on the issue of same-sex marriage, reminding attendees of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer's words: "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
"This is a Bonhoeffer moment for every pastor in the United States," Floyd said, warning ministers that the time has come for every minister to take a stand on the issue.
"That's what Bonhoeffer did," he said. "We do not need to become content in or callous to this deplorable issue."
In light of the Supreme Court's pending decision, the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the nation's largest Protestant denomination, is preparing a video series and booklets on marriage and how to address homosexuality.
The church is also hosting symposiums for pastors on "teaching the biblical witness to marriage" while also "equipping them to minister to gay and lesbian people who don't agree with us," Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the Wall Street Journal in April.
"The outcome of this decision will shape the landscape of the church's ministry in the U.S. for generations to come," he said. "If we have a redefinition of marriage across the board by judicial decree then the church will have a responsibility more than ever to articulate what marriage is in the first place."