The question that many Bible believing Christians are asking themselves about the gay marriage issue is “how did we get here?” Our generation has been free and blessed more than most of the believers before us. Now we find ourselves facing some of the most troubling times that we could imagine. The events that are unfolding are not isolated to specific regions but are world-wide. We are seeing Biblical prophecies unfold on a daily basis. The redefinition of marriage and love have threatened the free practice our faith as much as anything that has happened. Much has been said and written about it, but I feel compelled to share some of my thoughts on the subject.
I don’t believe the redefinition of marriage could happen if there were not certain conditions that would make it a possibility. I came across a study that was conducted in 2013 by Patricia Morgan, a scholar on marriage and the state, on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Urban Children, located in London, England. Her research was conducted from data from seven of the more than twenty countries that have legalized gay marriage. The study confirmed some of the social conditions that I have observed in my own experience as a minister in America.
The homosexual population in America is between two to three percent, according to almost all surveys conducted in recent years. Even if the figure is slightly higher you have to wonder how a small minority could have such an impact on the rest of society. The obvious answer is that it takes a high percentage of heterosexuals’ assistance. This can be attributed to the change in attitude toward the sanctity and spiritual nature of marriage. The popularity of cohabitating without marriage is reflective of the abandonment of marriage as a spiritual and religious institution. Another social trend has been the attitude toward having children. The legalization of abortion reflected the loss of love for mankind. There is also the role of the state in child rearing. The “cradle to the grave” provision by the government has discouraged people from seeking traditional families and feeling an obligation to be self-dependent for the sake of their children. Decades of educational institutions teaching information about the origins of life, abortion, human sexuality and moral values contrary to religious teachings have rendered accountability to a higher authority insignificant. Society is seen through the prism of man being the ultimate authority without any absolute truth. This has resulted in people acting upon desire (lust) rather than conscience. The search for God and hope in eternity has been replaced by living only for their time on earth.
This brings us to the subject of religious liberty. A friend of mine shared with me that he saw a bumper sticker that said, “Where my freedom begins, your religion ends”. Religion and secularism have been on a collision course for many decades. Despite attempts to revise American history, the truth about the influence of Christian values in our culture is undeniable. Even today Christianity, in one form or another, is the predominate religion in America. How did society become predominately secular with so many religious people in it? It is because the dominant religion is Christianity. There is no provision in Biblical teaching for Christians to convert others by force, threat or intimidation. The only tool we’ve been given is the great commission, which commands us to go into all the world teaching and preaching. In other words, using the power of influence and appealing to the conscience of man to consider the gospel of Christ as the answer to understanding life, judgment and salvation. It is Christianity’s tolerance and commitment to each person making their own choice about faith and salvation that has allowed the unbelievers freedom to live as they choose. It may be true that Christians have neglected their duty to be faithful to the cause of Christ, but it’s also true that we live in a time when the world is preparing for a global government that must function under mans’ authority instead of Gods. Powerful spiritual forces are having their own war outside of our view.
Another question that merits discussion is, “Is homosexuality an unchangeable birth trait that deserves civil rights protection?” I have heard some Christians say that they believed they were born that way. I was always troubled by that statement, believing that is a behavioral trait acquired by exposure, experimentation, abuse or other means. My position has changed somewhat as I have studied the scriptures. I believe that we are born into a world condemned because of sin (the willful rejection of God’s design and behavior that reflects that rejection). The body we are born into is carnal and not redeemed. It possesses the capability of satisfying its desires apart from God’s instruction. The Bible teaches that a child is innocent as long as he can’t discern right and wrong, but there comes a time when he is mature enough to make a willful choice to sin against God. He then becomes accountable for his sin. Each person born has sin nature within him. This is why death is in our body, it is a judgment. Each of us have some sinful desires that are stronger than others. Some notice at a young age strong sexual desires while others may encounter temptations of anger, violence, selfishness, dishonesty and the list goes on. From this standpoint homosexuals are born with this temptation in them. God’s answer to dealing with our particular temptations is to recognize that these desires fall short of His standard, and to confess that we need deliverance from sin and a renewed mind. It is this recognition that leads us to the knowledge of the sacrifice that Christ made for us when He suffered our punishment for sin and conquered death for us. We realize that life is more about conscience than desire.
The issue of civil rights is where the threat to religious liberty comes into play. When abortion was legalized Christians reacted with expected shock. We have been teaching against, and working to reverse it since its beginning. The same could be said of the secularization of education and the decline of social morality. The difference in these issues and the homosexual movement is that we have always been free to teach against abortion and the other social issues because they weren’t about civil rights. The push to see homosexuals as a minority that merits protection form discrimination threatens the free exercise of religion because civil rights protections have traditionally trumped religious liberty. Homosexual desire and behavior can be practiced by a person of any race or gender, it can be abstained from, it can be undetected by others and people can go in and out of participation. For many more reasons than these it is unimaginable that it could be a civil rights issue. The standard for civil rights protection has been that the protected have an unchangeable condition that is not a behavioral choice and should not be the basis for discrimination. This standard cannot be lowered without opening the door to other behavioral decisions. The weakening of the moral foundation of America threatens the future of our children and grandchildren.
In conclusion, let me challenge Christians to be fervent in their effort to reach others with the gospel of Christ. This the only way to change hearts and minds. Also, we need to see the urgency in saving religious liberty in America. Unfortunately, those who have demanded tolerance have none to give. They have made it clear that they will do everything in their power to silence any voice of descent or disagreement. May God be with us.