Five lawyers vs four lawyers representing a deeply divided country have made a decision, which will shape further the minds, hearts and conscience of Americans and will have serious ripple effects on the morals of people around the world. This was primarily a political and ideological decision on the part of the judges. They would not have dared to make this decision 40 years ago or even 20 years ago. But a lot has happened in the last few decades that has changed the way Americans understand and experience family and sexuality thanks to the concerted efforts of many people with deep pockets and many politicians who have been taking advantage of those deep pockets for their own benefit. Americans are also being changed by the media and the wealth of degenerate actors and actresses who have been advocating their own immoral lifestyles as the norm.
All this is in direct contrast to Orthodox Christian values as lived by millions of people in the last 2000 years. Orthodox Christians, of course, have lived austere, ascetic lives in the midst of adversities and persecutions, but stood steadfast on the issues of sexual continence and family values. The Orthodox Church, drawing from the teachings of Christ and the Apostles has a tremendous corpus of decisions, known as the Holy Canons, put together by the Saints and spiritual leaders over centuries, which specify in detail both the norms of behavior on sexual and marital issues, as well as the penance appropriate for those who cross the boundaries and hurt themselves and others in the process.
The purpose of these decisions and parameters of life, which the Holy Canons advocate, is “to help us, who live in this broken human condition, realize when we fall away from God, and guide us back to healing and restoration in our relationship with God.”
The Holy Canons show compassion for the sinners, the broken human persons, and try to bring them back to the Church, the spiritual hospital, so that they may be healed and restored in God’s Love. The Church has a compassionate spiritual process in place to help both homosexuals and heterosexuals to realize that sexuality is not the center of human life, because when the Kingdom of God comes in power at the Resurrection “they will neither marry nor be given in marriage, but they will be like angels in heaven.” (Matthew 22:30)
The decision of the five-of-nine U.S. Supreme Court judges is in utter conflict with the teaching of Christ, the Holy Apostles and the Saints of the Orthodox Church, because it has neither concern nor compassion for the broken human beings, but rather endorses their brokenness and encourages their fall further away from God. There is nothing in this decision that is spiritually beneficial for those involved, in spite of the claim of Justice Kennedy (who now presents himself as a spiritual authority).
For us, Orthodox Christians, this is not an issue of Rights, but an issue of Salvation, healing from the wounds of our sins and ultimate spiritual perfection in the likeness of God – theosis. No one has ever and no one ever will reach the perfected state of theosis by immersing themselves in sexuality. On the contrary, many people who have chosen the road of sexual continence, have been declared Saints through the spiritual gifts and spiritual powers granted to them by the Holy Spirit, like the most recent saints, Paisios and Porfyrios.
Fr. Panayiotis is a parish priest at Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church of Marietta, Georgia.
Fr. Panayiotis is also a member of the International Association for Patristic Studies, the Orthodox Theological Society of America and the North American Patristic Society. He continues his research in the Early Christian period and has published several articles in international theological journals. He has given a series of Lectures at the Nazarene University College of Calgary, Canada and the Pecos School of Spiritual Direction on Orthodox theology and Spirituality and has led numerous spiritual retreats locally and in various States of the U.S. Fr. Panayiotis serves as President of the Clergy Syndesmos of the Metropolis of Atlanta since July 2008 and has been on the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council since July 2010 and the Archdiocesan Council since July 2012.