Here’s a link that emphasizes what I have been warning about for sometime. There will be repercussions for maintaining a conservative view of gender. The first hint has been in the marketplace. Businesses that have demurred when asked to participate in certain activities that they find objectionable have been penalized for their decision. The next arena, it would appear, is education. The government, in order to be consistently non-discriminatory, will need to seek to withhold tax benefits from institutions that “discriminate,” i.e., religious colleges and universities. The result will be that students who need grants or loans in order to attend college, will have to choose a school that maintains a government approved orthodoxy.
This is intent of a bill before the California legislature. It looks like it may not pass. But the question is, how long will it be before such bills gain the support they need? The trajectory of law seems to be shifting.
In doesn’t take much imagination to see the next steps. If tax benefits can be withheld from religious colleges, are we far from similar consequences for churches who, according to developing cultural attitudes, are discriminatory? When that happens, how many churches will be able to go forward “business as usual?” When church properties join the tax rolls, how many congregations will be able to survive? When salaries of clergy are taxed at the going rate, how many will be able to continue working?
You get the idea. This is our future. I am not saying that we should rise up in outrage. I doubt it would do much good. What I am saying is we must get ready to be the church without help from Uncle Sam. To do that may require guts and creativity, but I’m betting we can expect a little help from heavenly places.
What is the “Eden State”? It is a nation that believes the self-evident rights of its citizens are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights — privileges — were precisely the ones bestowed on the first humans. And we all know how that turned out. Perhaps we are on the precipice of a similar catastrophe.
The dispute over the acceptability of the covenant offering of heterosexual marriage as distinguished from a committed partnership is similar to the dispute between Cain and Abel. One offering was acceptable to God, the other was not. Even though Cain was undoubtedly sincere and his offering carefully prepared, his offering was rejected. This aroused resentment in Cain. When he learned that his contribution was not suitable to his Creator, “Cain was very angry, and his face fell” (Genesis 4:5-8).
You Make Me Mad
The same dynamic appears to be playing out today. When we declare that a same-sex partnership cannot be a marriage, an offering pleasing to God, there is a Cain-like reaction. Knowing the final outcome of Cain’s response does little to reassure me as we reject same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, we have to continue to regard marriage as an offering clearly planned by God Himself. Anything else, no matter how sincerely and lovingly presented, simply will not do.
Like it or not, we followers of “The Way” must weigh in on same sex issues, including same sex marriage.
Admittedly, I would just as soon ignore the whole business, but cultural progressives are not inclined to rest until everyone acquiesces to the agenda, or are at least is identified as miscreants. We cannot yield, of course, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be left to it.
The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution, is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.
And so it is that the Supreme Court of the United States, drawing from the corpus of the constitution, interprets the will of the nation and its founders. Moreover, the voice of the people is heard in the decision of the court. If that be so, the seeds of the recent decision affirming a right to marry regardless of gender have been germinating in the constitution from the beginning. Now, the will of the people has brought those seeds to full flower. The Supreme Court says so.
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has brought us to this. Some forward-thinkers predicted it would eventually come—Francis Schaeffer, for example. He said a culture that made decisions beyond the pale of moral absolutes, basing them, instead, on personal fulfillment and affluence, would be bound to move toward the preferences of the individual. Thus, as a free people, we are free to marry whom we please.
What should be the response of those of us who follow “The Nazarene?” We must graciously demur. Are we ready for the consequences? I doubt it.
More on the implications of recent developments in the days ahead.
Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about it. We can’t escape the sense that our world is in decline, even decay. Nowhere does that feeling seem more real than in the realm of sexuality.
We want to call your attention to a blog post. We think it speaks to the need for us as dwellers between the worlds* to evaluate our values with respect to sexuality. It is written by Jeff Mallinson, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Concordia University, Irvine; co-host of Virtue in the Wasteland Podcast; and Director of League of Faithful Masks. The post is called, “The Kids Are Not All Right.” It appears at a blog called, “The Jagged Word.”
We think you’ll find it to be a thoughtful exploration of the decline of sexuality in the contemporary West and its particular impact on the young.