No doubt, adherents of various religious bodies who believe in the ‘End Time’ phenomenon, would readily tell whoever care to listen that their fear is about to materialise. The world is coming to an end, they say, and with recent happenings around the world, they may have their point. Or how do one justify recent court rulings of sensitive issues that bother on marriage and family around the globe? Take for example the legalization of same-sex marriage by the United States in June and the seemingly support for adultery by some countries. In just a week, several countries across the world shunned what is believed to be the norm and are embracing what many see as abnormal.
Japan fired the first salvo against popular religious tenets concerning marriage, when one of its courts ruled that a husband who sleeps with another woman is not committing adultery if the sex is a ‘business transaction’. The ruling was made after a man’s wife sought compensation from a club hostess who had a long-term sexual relationship with her husband. Masamitsu Shiseki, judge of the Yokohama district court, said if the intercourse is for ‘business’, it “does not harm the marital relationship at all”.
That same week, a constitutional court ruled that adultery was no longer part of the South African law. For many years, any spouse caught cheating could end up being sued by the innocent partner. Not anymore. In a unanimous judgment written by Mbuyiseli Madlanga, judge at the highest court in the land, “The breakdown of the marriage was as a result of a failure by the spouses themselves to sustain their marriage and thus it would be inappropriate for the courts to intervene”, he said. In addition, the court said monetary value could not be attached to marital fidelity and the third party involved in the fidelity could not be sued for ‘damages’.
The legalisation of same-sex marriage through a court ruling in the United States, US, recently, is also one ruling that shook the world, and the last is yet to be heard about such abnormality, as such ruling is not novel. The US became the 21st country to give a nod of approval to homosexuality, when its Supreme Court ruled in its favour on June 26, 2015. The ruling states that the “denial of marriage licences and recognition to same-sex couples violates the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution”. The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and South Africa, have also approve homosexuality.
For religious bodies, these recent happenings are better seen as ‘Armageddon’, and one they are prepared to fight against. As a proof that the bodies will not fold its hand and watch “Hell let loose”, Russell Moore, president, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Baptist Convention, US, assembled a coalition of evangelical leaders to issue a statement on the ruling. The statement reads, “As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. The state did not create the family and should not try to recreate the family in its own image.” But how far could they go in rescinding such rulings, remain to be seen.