The Rev. Franklin Graham has warned that the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming decision on whether to legalize same-sex marriage across America or permit states to continue to make their own decisions will have a "drastic impact" on Christian organizations, universities and churches. He is also urging Christians to pray fervently for God to work in the hearts of the nine Supreme Court justices as they consider their decision regarding the issue.
"If same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land it could have a drastic impact on Christian universities, organizations, and churches," Graham wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. "Those who operate by Christian principles could be severely impacted and even shut down. God hears our prayers, and we need to pray that He will work mightily in the hearts and minds of our Supreme Court justices right now as they consider this monumental issue. There are nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, and I would like to pray specifically for one each day. Today would you join me in praying for Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. who leads the court? A Harvard graduate, he was nominated as Chief Justice by President George W. Bush and has served the court for ten years this September."
This summer, the Supreme Court will decide 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.
However, when arguments were made in late April, there appeared to be no clear direction as to how the court was going to rule on the issue.
In defending his recent comments, Rev. Graham cited an occurrence in which the lead attorney representing the Obama administration, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, admitted to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito that if the court were to rule in favor of making same-sex marriage a constitutional right, it would create a religious liberty conundrum for churches, faith-based schools and institutions, who could be at risk of losing their tax-exempt statuses.
"It's certainly going to be an issue. I don't deny that," Verrilli told the Supreme Court, USA Today reports.
Earlier, Graham warned that the "impending decision will rank as the most historic and far-reaching judgment of the 21st century."
"If our nation's highest court decrees same sex marriage as the law of the land, the consequences will be great. It sets the stage for persecution of believers committed to living by the truth of God's Holy Word," he wrote.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that in the wake up the upcoming decision on same-sex marriage, churches and religious advocacy groups are "re-emphasizing their teachings on marriage, fine-tuning their approach to gays and lesbians and bracing for legal battles and public criticism."
The Southern Baptist Convention, the U.S.'s largest Protestant denomination, is reportedly preparing a video series and booklets on marriage and how to address homosexuality, and 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," the report notes.
"The outcome of this decision will shape the landscape of the church's ministry in the U.S. for generations to come," Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said, the news source reported. In an interview, he added, "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."