Pastoral Word

Dr. William D. Watley, Ph. D., Senior Pastor of Saint Philip AME Church
The Supreme Court Decisions for the Week of June 24-28, 2013

The week of June 24-28 must be viewed as an unfortunate time in the history of jurisprudence in the life of this country. During this past week in the opinion of this pastor, the Supreme Court took two giants steps backwards. One step was against disenfranchised minorities who historically have had to jump through onerous hoops to exercise the right to vote. The other step was against the biblical teaching about marriage.
I am old enough to remember voter discrimination and persecution of what I thought was a bygone era. In 1965, when I was an 18 year old college student, like thousands of other Americans, I boarded a bus in St. Louis, Missouri and rode all night long to join the last leg of the historic march led by Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama on behalf of voter rights. A number of us shall never forget the sacrifices and loss of life involved in securing a right supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution. In my sixties, I have seen outright voter suppression in the last two Presidential elections. Past history, as well as, present reality should indicate that voter rights still need federal protection and that this is not the time to reverse any previous action regarding the protection of the voting rights for minorities or anyone else. It is ludicrous for some of us to be fighting the same fight in our mid 60's that we thought we won over 40 years ago. However, if such is the case so be it because WE AIN'T GOING BACK.
I have already given my stance on the issue of marriage as defined by scripture as being a relationship between a man and a woman, period. In Genesis 1 and 2 at the very beginning of creation, even before sin, the word of God established the covenantal union between a man and a woman known as marriage. We do not need to engage in elaborate elucidation on the stance we have already taken except to say that the word of God has not changed and neither have we.

To be perfectly clear, all people irrespective of ethnic identity, class, culture, or gender are welcomed in this church. However, this church does not believe in and will not accept any so-called same gender marriages as being in agreement with the word of God. For us, fidelity to the word of God takes precedence over any Supreme Court ruling. This pastor will not marry persons of the same gender. Neither will any member of this ministerial staff. Beyond that which is legal is that which is moral, and beyond the Supreme Court justices is an Eternal Almighty Judge whose word and whose judgment reign supreme and requires our first and primary allegiance.