This is the thirteen-hundredth (1,300) anniversary of the year of King Pelagius of Spain’s most famous battle; one which changed the course of European history. Because of his belief in the teachings of the Bible, he and a small band of Spanish Christians were able to demonstrate that a seemingly invincible enemy could be defeated. Without his courage and heroism, Spain may never have become a strong Christian nation since his time.
Beginning in 718 AD, an army of Africans and Arabs, under the banner of Islam, began their invasion of Spain. This army of Muslims had been conquering countries throughout Africa and the Near East since they began their “jihad” in the late 600s AD. They came across the Mediterranean Sea from Africa into southern Spain and were an unstoppable force that destroyed cities and towns wherever they went. A historian in 754 AD wrote that the Muslims “ruined beautiful cities, burning them with fire, condemning lords and powerful men to the cross; and butchered youths and infants with the sword.”
The objective of the invaders was to sow terror among the Christians so that they would either surrender without fighting or flee. The invaders slaughtered, cooked, and pretended to eat Christian captives, while releasing others who, horrified, fled and informed the people in Northern Spain that the Muslims were eating human flesh. In the face of such a fierce army the Christians had only two choices: acquiesce to Muslim rule or flee to the mountains, where they risked hunger and various forms of death.
Among the Christians that fled to the mountains was Pelagius (better known as Pelayo). He was born in 685 AD and died in 737 AD. He had survived that battle for the city of Guadalete. In Northern Spain the hold on the population by the Muslims was less than in Southern Spain, so there was less threat of attacks in that part of the country. Pelagius became the leader of a small Christian community at the foothills of the Asturian Mountains and was forced to pay tribute to the Muslim warlord in the area. Because the Muslim warlord chose to “marry” Pelagius’ sister, against his wishes (and those of his sister), Pelagius stopped paying tribute to the warlord. This resulted in the warlord sending troops to extract the tribute and to punish Pelagius.
Pelagius fled deep into the mountains with a band of Christians and set up a kingdom called Asturias in 718 AD. The Muslims were not willing to let this group of Christians survive, so they assembled an army of 180,000 men and surrounded the mountain stronghold of Pelagius. The Muslims chose a bishop who had acquiesced to Muslim rule to convince Pelagius that his cause was hopeless.
Pelagius replied to the bishop’s pleadings with the following words:
“I will not associate with the Arabs in friendship nor will I submit to their authority.” Then he made a prophecy (which was fulfilled over the next 8 centuries). “Have you not read in the divine scriptures that the church of God is compared to a mustard seed and that it will be raised up again through divine mercy?”
Pelagius and his fellow Christians held out in the mountain stronghold for four years suffering cold and hunger, but never giving up. Eventually the Muslims attacked the stronghold which was a small valley in the mountains. The Christians were able to surprise the Muslims by hiding in a cave at the rear of the Muslim army and were able to defeat them in this deceive battle. A second battle was launched a month later and again the Muslims were defeated. At this point they chose to leave the Christians alone. It was, as mentioned above, the first time the Muslims had been defeated and it stopped the spread of Islam from expanding into northern Spain and further into Europe and gave the Christians hope of taking back their country.
Because of the success of Pelagius, over the next 800 years (until 1492) the Christians were able to gradually push the Muslims further and further south until eventually they retreated back across the Mediterranean Sea and back to Africa.
Many Christians today believe that there truly is a “wall of separation between Church and State” and that the Church should not get involved in any kind of “political” activity, but should instead leave that to secular organizations. Their belief is based both on Scripture and what they have been taught in the school system and general society.
The Scripture that is often cited for this belief is Matthew 22:21, which states, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Also there is Romans 13:1, which states, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are chosen by God.”
Additionally, since the early 1960s, the Supreme Court has been restricting the role that religion plays in the “public square”, based mainly on the concept of “Separation of Church and State” (which does not appear in the Constitution). This separation idea has led many churches to shy away from anything that even appears to be political, and the vast majority of the Christian community is comfortable with this stance. It is fortunate for us that this has not always been the case. We need only look at the history of early America and the mid-to late-1700s to see how different the position of the Christian community was, and the critical difference this made to the founding of our country.
After a couple of generations were born in America, there was a decline in regular church attendance. Keep in mind that 99% of America’s population was Bible-believing Christians. There were various reasons for this decline, which we won’t go into here. God, however, had a plan, and He inspired evangelists to begin what would become the greatest revival the country has ever experienced.
Once the revival had succeeded, regular church attendance again exceeded 90%, and Americans were not willing to go to war against “God’s-appointed” ruler (King George III) without clear Scriptural basis. Fortunately, God’s Word was there to help the country. Because the Protestant Reformers in the 1500s had faced similar problems going against the civil authorities in many countries who were aligned, there were many writings covering this very issue.
In the Bible there are numerous recorded instances of Christians and Jews defying government authority, when and only when that authority is not acting within God’s Law. The instances include: the Hebrew midwives defying Pharaoh when he ordered them to kill the male children, Daniel and his companions in Babylon defying the Chaldean King who ordered them to worship him as a god and, in the New Testament, Peter and James, after the day of Pentecost, defying the Jewish Leaders and continuing to preach on the Temple grounds. All of these instances had in common that God’s Law had been violated and Christians and Jews chose to follow God’s Law instead of man’s.
American congregations were advised that in order to justify a “revolution”, they must be sure that the King and Parliament were, in fact, violating God’s Law. Such justification was found in the actions of the King who had chosen to not only be the executor of laws, but gave himself veto power over any law the colonial assemblies passed. Further, he also required all Royal Judges to swear loyalty to him and to follow his decrees and not those of the colonial assemblies. He became a dictator, and therefore was acting against the will of the Americans and violating God’s Law.
The Americans had tried numerous times to reach a compromise with the King, but he refused, stating the he “was born to rule and that the colonists were born to be ruled over.” (Which is a clear violation of God’s Law.)
The Americans stated clearly in the Declaration of Independence that the King had violated God’s Law and spelled out the long train of abuses that the king had perpetrated against the Americans. The Preamble reads, in part, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (emphasis mine).
During the Supreme Court session that ended on June 30, 2018, the Court chose not to hear, among others, two cases which were decided at the lower court levels with conflicting outcomes. Both of these cases had to do with prayer at public meetings. In one case, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that it was constitutional for School Board meetings to begin with student-led prayers that were predominantly Christian. In another case, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that it was unconstitutional for a County Commissioners meeting to begin with prayers offered by the Commissioners themselves who were predominantly Christian.
As recently as 2014, the Supreme Court had ruled on prayers to open public meetings. In that case (Town of Greece v. Galloway), the Court ruled that “Americans should have the freedom to pray without being censored, even when opening public meetings.” However, the 4th Circuit Court decisions goes against that previous ruling. The Supreme Court has therefore let stand two decisions which are in conflict with one another.
The Supreme Court has become the final arbiter of what is constitutional and what is not. In the two cases they declined to hear, they let stand two lower court decisions which are in conflict with one another. The question then becomes: under what circumstances can a prayer (invocation) be given at a public meeting? The last case upon which the Court did rule is the 2014 case in which they said essentially that as long as there is an opportunity for people attending the meeting to “opt out”, and as long as the meeting format provides an opportunity for a variety of faiths to provide the invocation; then the invocation before a public meeting is constitutional.
It is unfortunate that these types of cases keep coming up, and the fault lies squarely with the Supreme Court and its unwillingness to provide a “general guideline” which covers all public meetings. The Court has chosen rather to rule on each individual case, causing confusion. They are “splitting hairs” on this issue. Therefore questions still arise such as: is it okay to pray at a public school event? Is it alright to pray at a school board meeting if members of the board pray or if a student leads the prayer? At City Council and County Commissioners meetings, is it acceptable to have clergy lead a prayer, or is it okay if a member of the Council or Board of Commissioners leads the prayer? The Court has arrived at different decisions on each of these instances or rejected cases that have been decided by lower courts that have ruled.
Prior to 1962 it was okay to pray in school and any other public meeting. Since that time it became “unconstitutional”. Similar issues have arisen with regard to the display of the Ten Commandments, with the Court deciding that some “versions” of the Commandment are “denominational” and therefore promote one religion over another and thus cannot be displayed on public land.
The Court has gradually moved toward eliminating God from the public square and the results are easy to see today. Other countries have followed suit and again the results have not been good. When God disappears from the lives of people, the population loses its sense of direction and priorities. It happened over and over again to the Hebrews when they got to Israel. Anyone who reads and understands the Old Testament knows what consequences befell the Hebrews.
The lessons in the Old Testament are clear and obvious. When people turn their backs on God, He will wait for a time to see if people repent and turn back to Him; but if not He will provide a “reminder”.
On Monday, 6/4/18, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on the Masterpiece Bakeshop case. The case was about a Christian baker in Denver, CO who refused to custom-make a wedding cake for a gay marriage. Jack Phillips, the owner of the shop, had offered to sell the couple any of the ready-make cakes in the shop, but stated that, because of his belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman, he would not comply with their request for a custom-made cake.
The case was taken before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) who found that the baker had violated the anti-discrimination laws in CO and, therefore, should either make the cake or be fined. The case then went through the federal legal system with the courts affirming the CCRC’s decision. In January of this year the case was heard by the Court and, on Monday, they issued their ruling.
The majority (7 to 2) found that the CCRC did not take into consideration the religious rights of the bakeshop owner and were in some instances hostile to those beliefs. The Court therefore ruled that the CCRC would need to take another look at the case. Left out of their decision was to what extent a business or individual selling services to the public can refuse those services to a customer, because of the business owner’s religious beliefs.
Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in which he stated:
“Some of the commissioners at the formal public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried in to the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillip’s faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust…The comments thus cast doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the Commissions adjudication of Phillip’s case.”
Justice Kennedy also stated that,”When the CCRC considered this case, it did not do so with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires.”
Supporters of Masterpiece Bakeshop point to the ruling as a win for Christians, as they see in it that the government cannot treat them differently than others, and must take into serious consideration the beliefs of Christians when deciding what course of action to take. Those who support the government forcing current societal beliefs on Christians point to the fact that the Court did not say the baker could legally refuse to make the cake. Instead it declared that when someone demands a Christian baker make a cake, that person must first seriously consider the the baker’s beliefs and be respectful of them before then forcing him to make the cake.
In truth, the latter position, unfortunately, is one which may prevail in government going forward until other similar cases are decided upon by the Supreme Court. The point is that the Court did not say the baker could refuse to make the cake, it merely said that the lower courts or commissions cannot be hostile to the religious beliefs of either party in the case.
In 1952 the Supreme Court ruled on one of the many religious freedom cases that have come before over the years. The case was Zorach v Clausen. This decision, like several previous ones, argued that the government should not merely permit the free exercise of religion, but should actively cooperate with religious authority. The decision, reads in part:
“The First Amendment does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State. Otherwise the State and religion would be aliens to each other, hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly. We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.”
The Supreme Court could have used this case as a guide, however it was not mentioned. The Court stated plainly that they did not want to rule on the broader issue of to what extent religious beliefs take precedent over civil law. So Christians need understand that they may still be subject to persecution for their beliefs and may continue to be subject to the whims of the judicial system.
A law passed in California in 2015 has required Pro-Life Planning Clinics to advertise state-funded abortion services. Pro-Life groups sued the state and on Tuesday, March 20th, the Supreme Court heard arguments in this case. A decision on this case will come later in the year. Many Pro-Life groups are watching this case as other states might institute similar requirements, should the Court rule in favor of California.
The argument from the California side is that many of the women who have “un-wanted” pregnancies do not know that the State provides low-cost or no-cost abortion services. They argue, therefore, that any clinic or family planning, or pregnancy center must advertise the State’s services regardless of their beliefs about abortion.
The Pro-Life clinics and pregnancy centers see this law as a violation of their right to religious freedom under the First Amendment. That is, the right not to advertise for services they object to on religious grounds. Additionally, the Pro-Life groups believe that the new law is one which “compels speech”, which in this case means that regardless of beliefs, the clinics must “speak” about abortion services. Historically, the Court has ruled that individuals and groups cannot be “compelled to speak” beliefs with which they do not agree. The Pro-Life groups also realize that this new law is a desperate attempt by the Pro-Abortion groups because the Pro-Life movement has gained broader acceptance within the population across the country.
For Christians, the issue should be clear. Life begins at conception and God is “knitting you in the womb”. From that point forward, any termination of life is murder. Many Pro-Lifers get caught up in the arguments such as, “What about rape or incest?” Such arguments are distractions when you stick to the Truth as stated above. There are many remedies in rape and incest cases after the child is born. But until that time, any termination is murder.
What is missing from the arguments on behalf of California is the answer to the question: “What are the consequences from the broader concept that once the government can compel speech in one instance, what is to stop them from compelling it in others?”
A similar case was argued before the Court earlier this year in the Masterpiece Bake Shop being required to participate in a gay wedding when it violated their Christian beliefs about the definition of marriage. While the outcome of this case will come later this year and while this case of not coerced “speech” but “action”, the concept is the same. It is the government requiring actions by Christians which are against their beliefs.
While the Court, over recent years, has moved far away from the original intent of the First Amendment, there is always hope that they will show common sense in this and the Masterpiece Bake Shop case to protect Christians from what amounts to religious discrimination.
The Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment (the very first of all amendments) to emphasize that the government should not interfere with religious practices, nor should they “establish” a state sponsored religion (as had been the case in England). Today, America has “Secular Humanism/Anti Christianity” as its state sponsored religion. Christian principles, which are the bedrock of this country’s founding, are no longer welcome in the public square. It is time for us to begin the long road to restoration of those principles so as to not continue to lose favor in the eyes of God.
Up until the last number of years, the answer to the title question, does sex equal gender, was an obvious “YES”. However, with the success of the homosexual community’s drive for “protected class” status under the law, that same community has now moved to bring into the fold the “transgender” community. While the number of homosexuals in the population is below 5% by any measure, the transgender community is even smaller at fewer than 1%. This is not to say that merely because a group is a minority they should not be treated appropriately, but rather the amount of attention to the “issue” far exceeds the “problem”.
In order to keep money flowing to “oppressed minority” groups, the homosexual community has now (as mentioned above) co-opted a new group of people. They have enlisted the help of the psychological profession with a subtle change in the classification of the “issue” that transgenders face. Prior to the 1980s, any male or female who believed he or she was the opposite sex was classified as having a gender disorder. Now, however, that diagnosis has been officially changed to gender dysphoria. By eliminating the term “disorder” people with this problem can be considered “confused” rather than needing real help.
In truth, these people do need real help, and not the kind that includes hormone therapy to enhance a chosen gender. In fact, just the opposite. Science is clear that the sex and gender of a child at birth is the one that child will have for the remainder of his or her life, and the body will adapt itself throughout life to maintain that gender, regardless of what treatments are used.
Sadly, many of the people with gender disorder do need serious help, as many of them have experienced childhood trauma, which science indicates may lead to gender confusion. In 2008, a study by Holly Devor, PhD showed that 60% of gender disorder individuals were abused as children. The study also showed that those who suffered abuse had long-term effects of this abuse. There are other studies with similar results both among the transgender and homosexual communities. These studies show gender confusion does not come from being born in the wrong body, but develop after birth.
It is unfortunate that today’s society has chosen to glamorize the issue and to encourage those who have the gender disorder to “come out” as a sex opposite to that which they were born. Such encouragement only leads to additional life-long problems and a significantly higher suicide rate. Additionally, such encouragement has led to parents allowing their male children to begin hormone therapy to prevent the development of puberty. It is now “cool” to be a boy who dresses like a girl or visa-versa. This does not even begin to touch on the other social issues of gender choice bathrooms, locker rooms, or sports activities. All of which have begun to raise their collective “ugly heads”.
Psychologists have known for many years that this mental problem is treatable and there are doctors available to help. Particularly in young people who go through many changes in their early lives counseling and therapy are able, in most cases to solve the problem. Also, as many doctors will tell you, most children grow out of this gender disorder by the time they complete puberty.
The Bible is quite clear on this issue. In Genesis 1:27 we read, “So God created man in His own image; male and female he created them.” Later in Genesis 2:18, “Then the Lord said, it is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper fit for him”. God defined the roles for both male and female so that they would always be compatible, not interchangeable.
There is real damage to innocent children that can be done by “gender fluidity” and the blurring of roles that God established for men and women. Certainly there are times when a single parent must assume both roles, but that is not God’s plan. God’s plan is for the man to be the spiritual head of the household and the protector of the family, while the woman is to be the caregiver for the family. Both these roles are vital for the survival of the family. Neither one is less valuable than the other.
As Christians we must stand against this trend in society to promote acceptance of gender disorder. It is not now, nor has it ever been, part of God’s plan. Our own children are at risk and need our prayers and our guidance.
Today, December 5, 2017, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the Masterpiece Bakery v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case centers on whether or not the owners of a commercial enterprise which is open to the public is allowed to determine who they will provide products or services to, or if they must serve anyone who comes through their doors, regardless of the business owner’s religious beliefs. The decision on this case will be made public sometime in the first quarter of 2018. The Court has previously decided cases which put the outcome in doubt, because the “public accommodation” requirement decided in the 1960s says that a business cannot discriminate based on race, and in the recent Hobby Lobby case, the Court decided that faith-based businesses do not have to comply with the Obamacare mandate regarding birth control.
The case may come down to a simple fact that black people are born black whereas gay people have made a lifestyle choice. The decision therefore will hinge on whether being a “constitutionally protected lifestyle” (which is a recently “discovered” right by the Court) is more “constitutional” than the religious freedom (which is contained in the written Constitution) of the owner of the business.
If the Court decides in favor of the baker, it may have to acknowledge that the homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and not something people are born with. Such a decision would undermine one of the fundamental tenants of the homosexual community: that homosexual people are “born that way”. While they may acknowledge that there is no “gay gene”, they believe that homosexuality starts in the very early stages of life, rather than something that someone who has reached the age of reason (however that is defined) makes on their own.
Unfortunately, this Court has tended to make narrow decisions based on the specifics of the case and has shied away from making blanket decisions (that is with the exception of the gay marriage case). The Court could decide that making a cake is actually an expression of the owner’s artistic talents and therefore is his ‘personal property’ which would allow him to pick and choose who his customers are. This leaves to door open to additional law suites which try to define what “artistic expression” is and is not. Such a decision would leave open the question of what is the extent of religious freedom enjoyed by other business owners.
In the worst case scenario, if the court sides with the Civil Rights Commission and forces the baker to make the wedding cake for the homosexual couple, religious freedom will suffer a large setback. We know from experience how aggressive segments of the homosexual community are and you can be assured that other Christian owned businesses will be targeted, forcing them to make the decision to go against their beliefs or close their businesses (as those would be the only choices).
While, as yet churches and other court-defined religious organizations have not been forced to go against their religious beliefs on matters pertaining to abortion, a negative outcome from the Masterpiece Bakery case could certainly subject those organizations to recognize homosexual marriage and in some cases require them to participate in such ceremonies.
The Bible clearly instructs believers to follow God’s law and teachings even if they conflict with government mandates or laws. Christians must stand up for their beliefs and not walk away from the Truth. We need to continue to proclaim the Truth in the face of both social and legal opposition. We need to stand on that Truth and we know that, though we may suffer, God has a plan to prosper and not to harm. He always blesses those who obey His Word.
This year, nearly a month ago on October 31st, we celebrated the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral. The act of nailing a document to the door was not, in and of itself, that unusual, but it was its content that was to make history. As mentioned, the act itself was not that unusual; the nailing of documents to the door was a call to debate, and the defense of one side or another was posted for all to read and thus respond.
What Martin Luther did was to call into question one of the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church: that of “justification”. That is to say, that one is saved by grace through faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9) (Sola Fide, Sola Gratia). The Truth is found in the Bible alone, and not in what the Church may say it is (Sola Scriptura). Further, that Jesus Christ is our only Lord and Savior (Sola Christus). And finally, we live for the Glory of God alone, not for the Church or anyone therein (Soli Deo Gloria).
These themes contained in Luther’s theses were put forth to convince the Church that they needed to change and reform their practices which had corrupted their doctrine. The Church had been allowing people to “buy” their way into heaven. The money, of course, went to the Church allowing them to expand and beautify their churches. It had also led to the placing of “unqualified” individuals into positions of authority in the Church, as they were able to buy a Bishop position, or even Cardinal. The Church wanted to be the “go-between” between God and the people, setting the rules based on their interpretation of Scripture (to which few had access).
The Catholic Church had been the only Christian denomination for more than 1,000 years and, during that time, had grown to be more of a political force than a spiritual one. They did, however, use their spiritual authority to convince the political leaders to “cooperate” with the Church, when it suited their needs. They had lost sight of their true mission, which was to share the gospel and grow up life-long followers of Christ. It became, rather, an international multinational enterprise designed to enrich its members.
Luther defended himself at a “trial” in Worms, Germany and was fortunate to have royal supports who protected him from the Church, or he would have been “eliminated” as a heretic, as those who had come before him had been. Luther found sanctuary in Germany and was able to translate the Bible into German for the general public to begin to know the Word of God directly and personally.
Once the earthly power of the Church had been broken, others followed Luther in defiance of the Church. What would become the Protestant Reformation had begun and there was no turning back. The Church did begin to push back against the “heretics” who now taught that Scripture was the final authority and not the Church. For the next 300 years numerous conflicts within and among nations were largely based on religious grounds. Thousands of people were killed defending what each thought was the “true” religion.
While there were negative consequences of this Reformation, there were many positive ones. There was a gradual spread of the Bible in native languages, and although Bibles were still hard to come by (because of the expense of the printing), it was able to be read by those who were literate.
The Reformation also allowed for the questioning of “authority” on the political level, as it had been questioned on the spiritual level. Ultimately the founding of this country was based on a willingness to question the authority of the King which had been born, in part, out of the Reformation. The Reformation laid the ground work for the justification of questioning kings and princes, whose actions did not line up with the Word of God. The Founding Fathers studied the writings of the early Reformers to find the scriptural justification for the American Revolution. Such works proved critical to the Americans who were reluctant to defy the “lawful” king without scriptural justification.
In July 2012, two men asked the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop (in Littleton, CO) to make them a cake for their homosexual wedding. Because the owner (Jack Phillips) is a Bible-believing Christian, he refused to make the cake, telling the homosexual couple that, because of his faith, he could not in good conscience make a cake that promoted homosexual weddings.
The two me filed a complaint against the Cakeshop with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) in 2013. Mr. Phillips contacted the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) which took the case defending him in front of the CCRC. In December 2013, an administrative law judge ruled against the shop saying that designing and creating cakes was not “free speech” protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. They also ruled that the shop would have to make the cake or stop producing any cakes for weddings (40% of the shop’s business). Mr. Phillips and his staff were ordered to go through a “re-education” program and file quarterly “compliance” reports explaining why any future cake requests were declined.
In July 2016, the ADF filed a petition with the Supreme Court to decide on the case. The case was accepted by the Supreme Court and will be heard October 2017. In addition to the filing by the ADF there have been numerous “friends of the court” brief filed supporting Mr. Phillips. Among those supporting the defendant is the Department of Justice as well as a large number of Senators and Congressmen who have written in support of Mr. Phillips’ right to exercise his religious freedom.
A decision by the Supreme Court will be made during this term (which will last into next year). At that time the Court will decide if a Christian business can refuse service based on their religious beliefs. If the Court rules in favor or the homosexual couple, it could mean that Christian businesses would be forced to perform homosexual weddings and or participate in them by catering or photographing them. The alternative, of course, is to close the business.
Regardless of the final decision by the Supreme Court, the truth about homosexuality remains the same. The Bible is very clear on this matter, both in the Old and New Testaments. Some might argue as to the validity of the Bible as a whole, but apart from that argument, there can be no doubt as to the truth.
In Genesis 19 there is the account of Lot protecting the two angles while he is living in Sodom, and the angles warning him to get his family out of the city, as it would be destroyed due to its wicked practices of homosexuality.
Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”
In the New Testament we can see two prohibitions against homosexuality: directly and in the context of the sin of adultery. In Romans 1:26-28 we see this when Paul is writing to the Romans: “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is unnatural. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error with was due.”
Within the Jewish community it was understood that homosexuality was a sin and an abomination. It did not need to be called out specifically, although Paul does. We also know that God made us “male and female” and that He created us in His image and that his work was “good”. He wanted us to “be fruitful and multiply”, and His plan can only be accomplished when man and woman are joined together in marriage.
It is also important to remember that we, as Christians, are to love our neighbor. That love is to be a conscious, active love, focused on bringing people into the kingdom of God. If they are leading a sinful life, regardless of what that is, we are to love the individual and help them turn away from their sinful ways. Our approach should always be with love and compassion and prayer so we do not drive them away from the salvation message. Also keep in mind that our responsibility is to “plant the seeds” and let “God bring the increase”.
When we look at the original documents written by the Founding Fathers, we see a very religious group of men who publicly professed their belief in the principles of Christianity, and fought a war of independence to defend them. The writers of the Constitution all stated publicly that they were affiliated with one of the established Christian denominations present in America.
While it is true that there is no mention of God in the Constitution, the writers of that important document purposely left out a reference to Him, because they did not want the federal government establishing an official national church. They had left a country that had such a church and saw the excesses and abuses that resulted. Further, they did not want the federal government to have the power to “define” God. The Constitution was designed to limit the federal government, and the first 10 amendments to that document added additional restrictions. The states wanted to further insure the government was truly limited.
The First Amendment was “first” because of its importance to the states and to the people. The modern secular progressive community reads this amendment as meaning that, because the government should not establish a religion, they should not favor any one religion and remain silent when it comes to any mention of religion. Again, the mistake they make is to read what has come to be known as the “Establishment Clause”, and not the “Free Exercise” Cause. The whole point of putting these two concepts in the same amendment was to have a balance between favoring one religion over another and allowing individuals to publicly express their religious beliefs.
The Founding Fathers wanted to make sure that the government did not stifle the free exercise of religion in public. Such exercise is not favoring one religion over another, but rather allowing all religions access to the public square. As further evidence of the intent of the Founders, we need merely to look at the Declaration of Independence, which lays out the principles upon which the country was founded, and which underpins the basis of a Constitutional government.
The Declaration clearly states that there are certain inalienable rights that government cannot take away, and that those rights come from God. Further, that God is the Creator of all things and that He does, in fact, exist. Such a statement had not previously been so stated in any governing document in the Western World. So when we honor God in the public square, we are conforming to the principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.
Secular progressives (who dominate today’s media, Hollywood, and public education system) disagree with this stance, and will defend their position by referencing all the Supreme Court cases which support the silencing of free exercise of religion in the public square, and unfortunately for us, they are right. These decisions were put forth by liberal courts who based their decisions not on any precedents, but on what was a popular view in society at the time they decided.
Armed with these court decisions, the secular progressives have proceeded to try to force the elimination of any image of Christianity from the public square. They do not want any crosses on city or state emblems or symbols. No crosses on public property, along with the 10 commandments. Of course, those who are offended by the removal of those symbols are not considered, only those few who are offended by the existence of the symbol. The minority is protected from offense over the objections of the majority.
As Christians, we should continue to press our case, as those unprecedented decisions by the courts can be reversed. They were made by men and can therefore be overturned by men. We have the Founding Fathers and God on our side and the historic truth should, in the end, win out.