Some Christian Pastors Vow Civil Disobedience if Supreme Court Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Jun 10, 2015 11:59 PM EDT

A group of prominent Christian pastors have vowed to engage in acts of civil disobedience if the U.S. Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right.

According to a report from WOAI, prominent Baptist pastor Dr. Rick Scarborough, who is the president of the activist group Vision America, indicated that he would follow God if it ever came to deciding whether to follow God's law or law passed by politicians. He and other Christian evangelicals plan to deny recognition of any Supreme Court ruling that favors same-sex marriage.

"However the law is changed, I will do what I have always done," Scarborough said. "I will continue to preach that homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle."

Scarborough claimed that about 40,000 pastors and church leaders have signed a pledge posted on the Defend Marriage website to stand up for traditional marriage, which the church defines as between one man and one woman. He declared that many of the petition's signers are willing to go to prison if it becomes necessary.

"Never before has a civilization in the history of man approved of marriage between two men and two women," Scarborough said, adding that while ancient Greek and Roman cultures allowed homosexual activities, none of them officially sanctioned same-sex marriage.

According to the pledge, both marriage and family "have been inscribed the Divine Architect into the order of Creation."

"Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family," the pledge stated. "Family is the first vital cell of society, the first government, and the first mediating institution of our social order. The future of a free and healthy society passes through marriage and the family."

The pledge contended that the institution of marriage "precedes civil government."

"Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by faith, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason," the pledge stated. "It is part of the natural created order."

The pledge also argued that "civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they manufacture a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage," adding that society is built on both family and marriage.

"Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the State," the pledge stated. "No civil institution, including the United States Supreme Court or any court, has authority to redefine marriage."

According to the pledge, allowing same-sex marriage could destroy the concept that children need a mother and father in order to be productive citizens in society.

"As a policy matter, such unions convey the message that moms and dads are completely irrelevant to the well-being of children," the pledge stated. "Such a policy statement is unconscionable and destructive. Authorizing the legal equivalency of marriage to same-sex couples undermines the fundamental rights of children and threatens their security, stability, and future."

Scarborough pointed out to WOAI that people who oppose same-sex marriage could be in peril if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the practice.

"He says companies and religious organizations may face 'repercussions' if they do not hire gay employees," WOAI wrote. "He said schools may be forced to teach the acceptability of gay marriage or risk losing their tax exempt status. He pointed to private businesses like bakeries and florists who have been sued or dragged before 'human rights commissions' for refusing to provide items for same sex weddings."

Scarborough highlighted the fact that civil disobedience has previously been practiced in the United States, from the reaction to the Dred Scott decision in the 1800s to Dr. Martin Luther King's campaign to fight segregation and injustice in the 1960s.

"Dr. King, in the Birmingham Jail, said Christians have a 'duty to obey and respect God's law,'" Scarborough said, adding that like King, he was willing to go to jail for standing up against something that he thought was evil.

According to WOAI, some Christians have considered exercising the "Benedict Option," or retreating into their own communities, if the Supreme Court approves same-sex marriage. That practice is named after St. Benedict, who recommended that Christians form monasteries to maintain their faith as the Western Roman Empire continued practicing paganism in the late 5th Century.

"The 'Benedict Option' has evangelical Christians forming into insular communities, much like Hasidic Jews in New York or the Amish in Pennsylvania, where the communities can respect, as much as possible, the religious teachings that the find important, including opposition to gay marriage," WOAI wrote.

The pledge has taken a hard line in defending traditional marriage, warning the government "not to cross this line."

"Make no mistake about our resolve," the pledge affirmed. "While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross."