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The Source of Our Joy After the Harris Funeral Homes Supreme Court Decision

June 16, 2020

Just a little over one year ago, flames engulfed the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. I was deeply saddened by the loss of this beautiful architecture, which has pointed millions toward God for nearly 1,000 years. But I was more disheartened by the palpable symbolism: Europe had lost its Faith and, in the absence of God, was burning to the ground.

Fast forward 14 months and across the Atlantic, and it is America in flames.

I’m deeply saddened by the nonsensical Harris Funeral Homes opinion that the Supreme Court majority issued yesterday. But I’m even more disheartened by what the opinion symbolizes: a society that has completely lost its way.

Many Americans have stopped going to church and believing in God. They’ve embraced a “cancel” culture. And citizens have resorted to burning down police stations and businesses. Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have victims. And we are now reaping the rewards from decades of bad ideas including those spawned by the sexual revolution.

Yet I can’t help but feel joy as I go to work today. I know that Christ has already won by conquering sin and death. He has blessed me with a beautiful family and countless friends and co-workers who are willing to stand up and witness to the Truth. He provides amazing clients, like Tom and Nancy Rost, who do what is right despite persecution and derision. He deigns to allow me to assist Him in building His Kingdom here on Earth in the work that I do, even though He does not need my inadequate “help.” He loved me into being and continues to love me despite my countless imperfections.

And it is precisely because He is good, because He is perfect, because He is all powerful, because He is love, that I praise Him and give thanks for the bad days with the good, the defeats with the victories, and for the sorrow as well as the joy. Even when it’s hard. Because joy and true happiness come from living a life that is oriented to God’s will.

As we continue to share the Truth about marriage and human sexuality, it’s particularly important to keep that last point in mind. President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Archbishop Gomez, speaking about the Harris decision yesterday, put it far more eloquently than I could:

By erasing the beautiful differences and complementary relationship between man and woman, we ignore the glory of God’s creation and harm the human family, the first building block of society. Our sex, whether we are male or female, is part of God’s plan for creation and for our lives. As Pope Francis has taught with such sensitivity, to live in the truth with God’s intended gifts in our lives requires that we receive our bodily and sexual identity with gratitude from our Creator. No one can find true happiness by pursuing a path that is contrary to God’s plan.

So please do not be discouraged by this setback. We know and trust that God is in control.

Know that I am praying for all of you. I am praying for this ministry. I am praying for Tom and Nancy, their entire family, and all their employees at Harris Funeral Homes. I am praying for the Justices. I am praying for the ACLU, for the SPLC, and for all those who oppose religious freedom.

And I am praying that God will continue to show us the best way to evangelize, the best way to share the Truth, and the best way to keep the doors open for the Gospel. Thanks to all of you for answering His call!


John Bursch

John Bursch, Senior Counsel

Senior Counsel, Vice President of Appellate Advocacy

John Bursch, Vice President of Appellate Advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom. He has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court and over 30 State Supreme Court cases.


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