EQUIPPING THE BODY OF CHRIST
|CHURCH AND STATE ARE ON A COLLISION COURSE OVER GAY RIGHTS||30 |
Recently, on MSNBC/Reuters news service there was an article titled “Pastor Defends Exorcism of Gay Man” dated June 26, 2009. In this story we read about an African-American ministry that conducted an exorcism on a young man and posted it on You Tube. The young man happened to be gay. Needless-to-say, such a thing has generated a firestorm of controversy. I see one white woman giving her opinion as she states “this young man’s soul was murdered”. Without question, this has brought the gay vs straight debate once again to the “edge of the knife”. In particular, this news story has brought focus on the issue of how much say or authority the state should have in the affairs of the church.
Next, we are witnessing the ongoing saga of Perez Hilton who many remember from the most recent Miss USA contest. We saw how Mr Hilton took it upon himself to deny Miss California success in her career because she expressed her Christian views. Now, more recently, we have witnessed a new episode involving Mr Hilton and the pop band called “Black Eyed Peas”. Seems that Mr Hilton is exhibiting particular aggressiveness toward young, professional “women”.
The issue of gay rights vs the conservative, evangelical church community is fast becoming the watershed or “societal tipping point” in the debate concerning all things church and state. There is not a greater or more significant issue in this debate than that of gay rights. The reason being is that there is no middle ground between these two groups on this issue. There is no middle ground between the homosexual and the conservative, evangelical Christian. Therein lies the gravely serious concern about this issue. Gone are the days when our society could watch movies such as “Conair” and see a gay individual standing up in front of an airplane and dancing to the song “Sweet Home Alabama” in front of a plane load of convicts and, then after having watched the movie, just simply “forget about it all”.
Anytime you talk about “rights” you are talking in legal terminology. And, anytime you are talking in legal terminology you are talking courts, judges and legal interpretation. The problem for our society now is that when it comes to the issue of gay rights and the position of the conservative, evangelical Christian, there is absolutely no middle ground. What I am saying is that you could never ask a serious Christian to accept the idea of “well we will agree that you have the freedom to preach and teach anything you choose and the freedom to classify anything you choose as a sin according to your interpretation of the Bible – except homosexuality.” The serious Christian cannot accept such a position because according to conservative evangelical theology, to deliberately compromise on your personal, moral conviction would, in turn, place that particular Christian’s soul in jeopardy.
On the other hand, the militant homosexuals will never accept the idea of “well, what if we write a law that classifies any negative talk against homosexuality as a hate crime, however; evangelical churches and Christians will be exempt from this law because it would infringe upon their freedom of religious beliefs.”
What we are faced with, as a society, on this issue is quite simply that it is fast becoming “all or none” for both sides. There is no middle ground. In the mind of the Christian, there can be no acceptance of a law that would require that Christian to compromise his or her moral conviction. But, on the other hand, in the mind of the homosexual, there can be no acceptance of a law that would class anti-gay talk and commentary as a hate crime for only some people, but at the same time, allow an entire class of people to be exempt from prosecution for the same. If a hate-crime law of this type is passed (and we are close), and then a Christian Pastor is arrested for preaching against homosexuality, everyone might as well buy tickets to Washington D.C. because such a case is clearly headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Enforcement of such a “hate crime” law would be no simple matter. If this scenario develops in our society, we will see a “Pandora’s Box” opened up and our society will be changed forever. It will never be put back again. The reason this is so is because it’s not just a simple matter of interpreting homosexuals as a “class” of people. It goes way beyond that. Let’s make some logical observations.
Our country has a recent history of the civil rights movement. There is the history of blacks being discriminated against by whites. In the course of seeing the history of racist manifestations on the part of whites toward blacks, it was never said or thought that “being black” was morally wrong. Instead, whites were simply saying, in no uncertain terms, “you are black, therefore, you are of a different class”. And, the whites chose to discriminate against this class. The difference between this and the issue of gay rights is galactic. For you see, for two millennium it has been the position of the Christian church that homosexuality is a sin. Never did the Christian community simply say that homosexuals were of a “lower class”. This difference is enormous and this difference means everything in this debate. For you see, to define homosexuals as a “class” and then, to say that society cannot speak ill of this “class” means that the Christian would be asked to give up or change his or her moral conviction on the issue.
Let’s look at it another way. Being a black person is not a choice of behavior. Only black people can be black. However, being a homosexual is a choice of behavior as we clearly see that there are both black and white homosexuals. This reality leads to the next point.
The court that would bring to trial such a case of discrimination and supposed hate crime involving a Christian would have the burden of proving or disproving that there is a legitimate and sustainable process of reasoning as to why evangelical Christians believe and teach that homosexuality is wrong. In other words, out of all the things that a Christian would consider wrong or evil, the court would be challenged with the burden of determining whether the Christian did or did not “pick homosexuality out of a hat” and then, in turn, classify it as sinful. I can see where a courtroom trial would very quickly become focused on the “basis” for the belief that homosexuality is “wrong or bad”. It would be inevitable that the court would be faced with simply saying that the Christian can call anything he or she wants to call sin – except homosexuality. The only alternative would be for the court to put the entire “belief system” of the Christian on trial. Either way, such a court would then, in essence, be dictating morality and deciding what the Christian has the right to believe is sin or not. This is extremely treacherous ground for our legal system.
We hear a lot of talk about diversity in our society. But, what I am seeing is that the “developing definition” of “diversity” is that diversity means “anything but Christian”. Or, another way to put it would be that diversity means acquiescence for all serious Christians. We give up our religious rights and freedoms to a pseudo-class of citizens who are willfully choosing to participate in behavior that the Christian considers sinful behavior.
America is slipping off her moral foundations. Speaking of diversity, it seems ironic that the Christian position on homosexuality is discussed in the media but, never the position of other religions such as Islam. What do Muslims believe about homosexuality? Or, does the burden of “diversity” only apply to the Christians?
I can envision an “irony of ironies” where, let’s say, an African-American Pastor living in Selma, Alabama would be invited to preach at an African-American church in Montgomery, Alabama. And, during the course of delivering his message on that particular Sunday morning, this African-American Preacher would speak of homosexuality and describe it as being a sin that damns the soul. Shortly thereafter, upon driving back to Selma, he is pulled over by the highway patrol and arrested for having “violated the civil rights” of the homosexual community. If we are not careful, this is exactly where all of this is headed. It would turn our country into a “legal no man’s land”. Our body of law would become un-interpretable and thus, there would be no law.