According to The Hill, the looming vote on marriage in the United States Senate “is turning into a political liability for Senate Republicans who would rather talk about inflation and gas prices than a hot-button social issue that could provoke a backlash from their party’s base.”

As of Monday morning, five Republican senators have expressed support or “likely support” for the bill, which would codify same-sex marriage into federal law – a preemptive move designed to protect against the prospect of the Supreme Court reversing Obergefell and returning the issue to the states.

Five additional GOP votes are necessary in order to move the bill to a full vote in the Senate.

Deceptively titled the “Respect for Marriage” bill, this legislation not only undermines the biblical definition of the institution, but also lays the foundation for accusing organizations and individuals of bigotry who hold to their deeply held religious convictions regarding God’s design and intent for marriage.

But why would it be a “political liability” to support an institution that for thousands of years of recorded history has proven to be the very best thing for society – especially men, women and their children?

It seems that far too many people, even well-meaning individuals who hold to the Christian faith, believe it’s somehow mean-spirited or a bad witness to continue to hold fast to the one-man, one-woman definition of marriage. After all, we all know people who identify as homosexual or who have entered into same-sex marriages.

And it’s settled law, right? It’s time to move on. Stop talking about it. Don’t be so judgmental. Live and let live. Plus – and this is the real kicker – many suggest the very best way to win someone to the Lord is to just love them and let God sort it all out. 

Only these people are guilty of “sloppy agape” – a tendency to prioritize “niceness” over truth and misapplying the “God is love” principle. They’ve elevated “niceness” to a scriptural virtue. Yet, ignoring a matter of scriptural principle and looking the other way when it comes to destructive behaviors and lifestyles is actually not very nice at all.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Just change the dates, names and subjects. Writing in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis opined:

A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save.

Lewis goes on to say that the goal should be redemption, not niceness. The pursuit and process should be marked by spiritual renewal – not accommodating someone in their own sin and making them feel so comfortable as to never want to change and turn from it.

It’s true that same-sex marriage is the law of the land, but that doesn’t mean Christians should surrender the conversation out of fear of being called “mean.” There’s too much at stake – and too much going wrong in society to simply turn away from the great gift of God-honoring marriage.

It remains an open question how this bill will shake out in the United States Senate. As concerned citizens, we should be contacting our respective senators and urge them to vote “No.”

And whether it’s about marriage or some other hot-button societal issue, always say “no” to “sloppy agape.”