Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Defeating "Gay" Marriage is Crucial

Regular readers here are probably sick and tired of this subject. If I may be so bold as to say it, I am too!! However, with every court decision, legislative decision, and state constitutional ballot initiative, this subject keeps rearing its ugly head.

The Drudge Report, as usual, was one of the first websites to link to several articles about the New Jersey ruling which came down just minutes ago regarding same-sex marriage in that state.

Then, I got several emails from several traditional marriage advocacy groups.

Alliance for Marriage had this to say:





Decision Taking Marriage Out of the Hands of the People of New Jersey Will Propel Marriage Amendment In Congress

Marriage Protection Amendment Drafted by AFM Is Essential to Protect Views of the Majority of Americans From Ongoing Activist Lawsuits

WASHINGTON, DC - The Alliance for Marriage called upon Congress today to pass AFM's Marriage Protection Amendment in the aftermath of today's state Supreme Court decision taking the future of marriage out of the hands of the people of New Jersey.

"This marks the second state -- after Vermont -- where radical activist groups have convinced state court judges to hold a gun to the head of the legislature," said Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage. “The legislature will now be compelled to choose between two bullets -- all under court order. Either they create so-called ‘gay marriage’ or they create a civil union scheme that is identical. Either way, the people of New Jersey lose the right to decide -- freely and democratically -- to choose the course that is best for them, their families and their children.”

"Given the continuous attacks upon marriage in courts across the country, AFM's Marriage Protection Amendment is clearly the only hope for the American people to determine the future of marriage under our laws," Daniels added.

The Alliance for Marriage filed an amicus brief in the New Jersey case decided today arguing that the legislature of New Jersey was fully entitled to protect marriage as an institution that seeks to ensure that more children will be raised in a home with a mother and a father.

"Most Americans believe that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose. But they don't believe they have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society," said Daniels. "Americans want our laws to send a positive message to children about marriage, family and their future."

"The constitutional problem created by almost a decade of activist lawsuits to destroy our marriage laws demands a constitutional fix," Daniels added.


Alliance Defense Fund had this to say:




TO: Christine
FROM: Alan Sears, President

New Jersey Supreme Court Denies Victory to Same-Sex "Marriage" Advocates, But Need for Marriage Amendments Reaffirmed...
Minutes ago the New Jersey Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, ruled that "there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage." ADF coordinated the friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of our good friends at the Family Research Council in support of marriage as well as other efforts related to this litigation going back several years.

However, the court gave the legislature six months to create a structure for same-sex couples to receive all the benefits of marriage. We must now pray that the legislature will take this opportunity to do the right thing and protect marriage.

Like the previous decision from the Washington Supreme Court, we had major concerns about how New Jersey's high court would rule --given their record of judicial activism supporting demands of the homosexual legal agenda. (It was the New Jersey Supreme Court that ruled that the Boy Scouts had to allow practicing homosexual activists to be scoutmasters -- a decision overturned in a sharp rebuke by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000.)

A full copy of the ruling can be read at Harris Opinion

ADF Senior Counsel Glen Lavy (right) says: "If marriage can mean anything, then marriage means nothing. This is a wake-up call for people who believe that marriage doesn't need constitutional protection. The court was right to conclude there is no fundamental right to same-sex "marriage," but to characterize marriage as just another option along with other "unions" makes marriage meaningless. It's critical that people vote for marriage amendments like those in Arizona, Virginia, and Wisconsin, which prevent the court from giving same-sex couples marriage in everything but name only."

While we praise God that the court did not fabricate same-sex "marriage", we cannot allow this decision to lull us to sleep. Despite the string of defeats over the past four months, advocates of same-sex "marriage" are re-dedicating themselves to their effort to re-define, and eventually abolish, marriage, and will seek any means they can to do so. In fact, just a few months ago, over 1,200 advocates of homosexual behavior signed on to a statement called "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage" which calls for the complete destruction of the legal framework for marriage and the family. See Beyond Marriage.

Please remain in prayer for the EIGHT states -- Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin -- that will be voting on constitutional amendments on November 7th. These amendments (as well as a federal marriage amendment) are CRITICAL to stop the same-sex "marriage" caravan.

You can be assured that advocates of homosexual behavior WILL NOT GIVE UP in the efforts to force same-sex "marriage" on America. Please also remember the marriage cases pending in California, Connecticut, Maryland, and Iowa.

Read about the nine ADF wins for marriage since this summer...

Alliance Defense Fund
15333 N. Pima Road Suite 165
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
(480)444-0020


But ironically, on this day I also received a stunning email from MassResistance which is an organization that is currently embroiled in a huge fight against gay activists in Massachusetts. I hope you will take the time to read it all; including the links. You will see what parents would have to deal with if "gay" marriage became law in any other state.

If you don't think there is a real threat to religious liberty, freedom of speech, or freedom of association, just take a look at how parent's rights, religious liberty, freedom of speech, and freedom of association are being whittled away by gay activism in Massachusetts. No need to imagine the slippery slope that traditional morals and values advocates would have to slide down as a result of legalizing "gay" marriage. We can already see the chaos that would result just by observing what is going on in Massachusetts today.

I would like to start with the end of the MassResistance email. It is a message that has been floating around the Internet over the days, and it is written by John Haskins. I first heard about John Haskins back in 2001 when I was researching the Tufts University gay indoctrination conference in which high school students were bussed from their schools and given explicit information about how to perform homosexual sex acts. John wrote an article called It's 1984 in Massachusetts and Big Brother is Gay. If you choose to read through that entire forum thread, you will be amazed at what you read there.

Traditional family advocates were sounding the alarm bells way back then. But when "gay" marriage became law in Massachusetts by judicial fiat, the floodgates to destroy marriage as an institution were opened. This terrible decision also led to the blatant infringement upon parents' rights to raise their children in a Christian, biblical worldview.

The following is what Mr. Haskins has to say today. I sincerely hope that his words will awaken Christians to the negative affects that "gay" marriage imposition would have on us all.




"...Americans are the first people in the history of the world to believe that peace is the normal condition of mankind. It's a dangerous conceit. War, and preparations for war, are the norm." -- Michael Ledeen

Ledeen's insight also describes magnificently the complete failure of the pro-family movement and other "conservatives" to grasp that they are in a war for everything that matters and that the sacrifices and commitment -- and, yes, "radicalism" (that dirty word) -- necessary are far beyond what we are now making. Proudly "pragmatic" moderates control the pro-family movement and "conservatism," whatever that has degenerated into. They ruthlessly, sometimes even viciously, undermine and attempt to humiliate and ostracize any conservative or pro-family leader or group that seems "too radical" for them.

We have seen it over and over again in Massachusetts and the catastrophic consequences of the surrender here will be felt for many generations around the entire country. They manifestly have no grand strategy, no real weapons that would intimidate their enemies, no end game and no concept of offense. How is this possible? It is because their fundamental characteristic is that they are unwilling to acknowledge that the enemies of their children are waging war on them. A war for everything.

Why is this so hard for "respectable conservatives" to face? Because it would require real sacrifices in standard of living, social acceptance, and leisurely lifestyle. It is far more comfortable to continue endlessly splitting the difference between good and evil until there is no more good left to split, snickering all the while at those who seek to emulate the passion and "radical" commitment to ideals and principles that drove the Founding Fathers to revolution and that characterize every Godly figure in the Old and New Testament.

In a war of bullets this would be called treason. In politics and culture wars it is merely a permanent state of "dignified" surrender.

John Haskins


The entire MassResistance email:



MassResistance - ** Oct. 25 Email Update **

It's gone too far:
Get involved!
Join the movement to take back our government in Massachusetts! (Feel free to pass this along to others)



www.MassResistance.org
Please help by Donating!
MassResistance Blog
Weekly MassResistance Radio Show

In this email update:

1. Major US corporations funding legal attacks on David Parker -- and the push for homosexuality in schools!
2. Ex-homosexual to speak at MassResistance fall banquet Nov. 14! Homosexual newspaper phones MassResistance for more info.
3. Learn the truth about the "anti-bullying agenda" in schools on MassResistance radio show, now posted.
4. Gays claim "big victory" in Hong Kong as courts lower age of consent for homosexual sex to 16.
5. An observation . . . ("must read")

=== 1. Major US corporations funding legal attacks on David Parker -- and the push for homosexuality in schools! ===

The next time you go to Staples, or use Verizon phone service, do your banking at Bank of America, or choose Comcast for your Internet, or buy a Gillette razor, keep this in mind: you are helping bring the homosexual agenda into your schools, including the elementary schools. And worse than that, you are helping them stop David Parker in his federal civil rights lawsuit to require that he be notified and able to opt out when adults discuss homosexuality or transgenderism with his first-grade son.

This past Saturday night at a fancy fundraiser dinner in downtown Boston these same companies and others donated thousands and thousands of dollars to the "Human Rights Campaign" (HRC), a national hardcore homosexual activist group. HRC calls itself "the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender political organization" and raises money to push the homosexual agenda into public schools and businesses, and to use vicious intimidation tactics against anyone who gets in their way. They are very clear about how they want to change America and its people.

Oh, and did we mention: the keynote speaker of that event was Deval Patrick, Democratic candidate for governor! And these also include Blue Cross Blue Shield and Tufts Health Plan -- why are health organizations funding this??
See for yourself: Here are links to the HRC fundraising dinner.


Coming out against David Parker

Last month, the Human Rights Campaign (and their alter ego, Human Rights Campaign Foundation) led a group of Massachusetts pro-gay organizations in filing a 24-page "amicus brief" in federal district court against David Parker's lawsuit -- Parker's attempt to get the Lexington, Mass., school officials to respect his civil rights.

Among many other insidious things, they claim that David Parker's claim is "frivolous", and they go on to say:

The mere lack of congruence between plaintiffs' religious beliefs and what the Lexington schools have chosen to teach . . . does not state a claim that the defendants have intentionally denigrated the plaintiffs' religion and are engaged in a campaign to teach the children that the parents' religious beliefs are wrong.

Worse than that - they make the absurd claim that the child has a "right" to be exposed to homosexuality even if the parents disagree:

If a parent chooses to have his or her child attend the public schools, that child has a right to a broad and high quality public education, not one constrained by individual parental beliefs.

And here's some of their legal logic:

[T]he plaintiffs attempt to avoid a motion to dismiss by resting on what is essentially a flawed syllogism: 1) they have religious beliefs which are disapproving of people who are gay or families headed by gay people; 2) the Lexington schools teach principles of equality, diversity of society, and welcoming of all to the schools, including children who are gay or whose parents are gay; and therefore, 3) the school defendants are intentionally targeting the plaintiffs' religious views and "campaigning to teach" the plaintiffs' children "that the family's religious faith was incorrect."

And here's what Human Rights Campaign also says in the brief about why they are committed to supporting the defendants (the school officials and teachers) against David Parker:

HRC supports the ability of defendants to provide students with a diversity of viewpoints, regardless of religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
This is what these corporations are funding -- against David Parker and you!
Here's the entire "amicus brief" filed by the Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and other groups against David Parker.

Parker Lawsuit

And here's the David Parker info on his arrest, harassment, and his lawsuit against the school, etc.

David Parker info

David Parker is funding this mostly out of his own pocket. The muscle to oppose him is coming from big business. And that same money is also being used to proselytize kids in the public schools in Massachusetts and across America to accept homosexuality, bisexuality, or transsexuality as a normal lifestyle.

What you should do:

People across America need to let these companies know -- in the absolutely strongest terms possible -- that we won't stand for companies using our money to attack us and our children -- and David Parker.

If the people at these businesses don't personally hear from you it will be as if we don't care. If this is not worth an extreme amount of outrage, what is?
Go to our TAKE ACTION PAGE with phone numbers and other contact info!

Take Action Page


Going after your children:

This slick 48-page book, "Reference Guide to Coming Out", published by Human Rights Campaign, was distributed to students at a local high school just this past week. Guess where the money came from?

=== 2. Ex-homosexual to speak at MassResistance fall banquet Nov. 14!
Homosexual newspaper phones MassResistance for more info.===

This is your opportunity to meet and hear a powerful story from a former homosexual who has left that lifestyle and is now happily married with children. He will shatter the false propaganda you've been hearing about this from the "gay" movement. Emerging as one of the nation's key speakers on 'coming out' of homosexuality and the 'gay' agenda, Stephen Bennett brings a bold, uncompromising perspective on one of the most heated topics in America today: homosexuality. As a man who lived the "gay" lifestyle until he was 28 years old, Stephen is now happily married to his wife of 12 years, Irene. They are the parents of two little children - a boy and a girl. Stephen is an outspoken, passionate speaker with a resolve to educate America about the truths and dangers of homosexuality, as well as to dispel the myths of the "gay" misinformation campaign. He appears frequently on numerous television and radio broadcasts nationwide. He also writes for many national publications including WorldNetDaily, is the Special Issues Editor on homosexuality and the 'gay' agenda for the American Family Association, and has been asked to speak on behalf of Concerned Women for America. Stephen is now co-authoring his first book, I Was Gay.

(This week the homosexual newspaper "Bay Windows" left a message on our office phone wanting to interview us for a news story about this banquet. As we've said before, the ex-gay movement is the homosexual community's worst nightmare because it directly confronts their political agenda and propaganda about "being born that way".)

Stephen Bennett"Let's Focus on the Children: Living In a World They Didn't Make"
Tuesday evening, Nov. 14, 2006
6:30 pm
Holiday Inn, Boxborough, Massachusetts

ALSO: Special appearance by David Parker: David Parker will be giving an update on his situation!

Do not miss this great opportunity! Only $40 per person -- table of 10 for $375.

For more info & payment information, please email Bob or call 781-890-6001.

=== 3. Learn the truth about the "anti-bullying agenda" in schools on MassResistance radio show, now posted. ===

MassResistance Radio Show airs twice each weekend:
Saturday at 10 am,
Sunday at 7 pm.
TUNE IN: WTTT AM 1150 in Boston

This past weekend's show -- now posted -- features: Great state rep candidates Will Whittlesey (from Natick, who got on the ballot via write-in!) and Lonnie Brennan (Andover) These guys are both first-rate -- the kind of people we desperately need on Beacon Hill! Also, have you noticed all the talk about the need for "anti-bullying" programs in the schools? Well, here's what you need to know about the "anti-bullying" agenda in the schools, and its homosexual activist connection. And more on Romney and "gay marriage".

Now posted (for streaming audio and also podcast) on the MassResistance website:
MassResistance Radio show

Also, there's more of the anti-bullying agenda on the MassResistance Blog

Homosexual activist behind state's new "anti-bullying" curriculum

=== 4. Gays claim "big victory" in Hong Kong as courts lower age of consent for homosexual sex to 16. ===

We couldn't help but notice the buzz and excitement in the homosexual press over the last few days around their "victory" in Hong Kong. With their usual political maneuvering, they got a court to strike down the age-of-consent laws for homosexual sex to 16 years old! That's right -- men legally going after teenaged boys in high school. Of course, this is nothing new, unfortunately. Last year we reported that they had successfully gotten it down to 16 in Britain, and were now trying to get it down to 12.

Make no mistake about this tragic and destructive movement. Coming to your state before too long.

"Gay sex victory as Hong Kong government abandons under-21 law.


=== 5. An observation . . . ===

This has been floating around the Internet over the days, written by our own John Haskins. We thought it was important enough to reprint here.

"...Americans are the first people in the history of the world to believe that peace is the normal condition of mankind. It's a dangerous conceit. War, and preparations for war, are the norm." -- Michael Ledeen

Ledeen's insight also describes magnificently the complete failure of the pro-family movement and other "conservatives" to grasp that they are in a war for everything that matters and that the sacrifices and commitment -- and, yes, "radicalism" (that dirty word) -- necessary are far beyond what we are now making. Proudly "pragmatic" moderates control the pro-family movement and "conservatism," whatever that has degenerated into. They ruthlessly, sometimes even viciously, undermine and attempt to humiliate and ostracize any conservative or pro-family leader or group that seems "too radical" for them. We have seen it over and over again in Massachusetts and the catastrophic consequences of the surrender here will be felt for many generations around the entire country. They manifestly have no grand strategy, no real weapons that would intimidate their enemies, no end game and no concept of offense. How is this possible? It is because their fundamental characteristic is that they are unwilling to acknowledge that the enemies of their children are waging war on them. A war for everything. Why is this so hard for "respectable conservatives" to face? Because it would require real sacrifices in standard of living, social acceptance, and leisurely lifestyle. It is far more comfortable to continue endlessly splitting the difference between good and evil until there is no more good left to split, snickering all the while at those who seek to emulate the passion and "radical" commitment to ideals and principles that drove the Founding Fathers to revolution and that characterize every Godly figure in the Old and New Testament.In a war of bullets this would be called treason. In politics and culture wars it is merely a permanent state of "dignified" surrender.
John Haskins

Please help MassResistance continue to do our job! If we don't win the fights going on in our Legislature over the next several months, our schools and our lives in Massachusetts will be changed forever.

Donate to MassResistance by credit card

Donations can also be mailed to: MassResistance, PO Box 1612, Waltham, MA 02454

Contact us if you want to get involved.

AS WE'VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG - IT'S UP TO THE PEOPLE NOW! THIS CAN AND WILL BE WON.

Also, check out the MassResistance blog (for you red-meat activists)!

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Updates:

New Jersey High Court Tells Lawmakers to Redefine Marriage

Conservatives say today's ruling in favor of same-sex unions must motivate values voters to get to the polls.

Nathan Bradfield weighs in with his post New Jersey Supreme Majority Epitomizes "Breathingist"

11 comments:

Stephen said...

Dear Christine

I understand and share your concern over the state of marriage, however, we have had "civil unions" in New Zealand for some time now and they don't appear to have done marriage any particular harm. Jesus claimed that it was divorce, as allowed by Moses due to the hardness of men's hearts which was doing marriage harm. I would tend to agree.

As for "teaching homosexuality" in schools, I think I should explain a little. We don't want to convert your straight children and make them gay. If I had my way, there would be no more gay children because being gay is particularly difficult. I think it's perfectly normal to want your children to grow up straight and I think it's perfectly normal for you to tell them that is what you expect of them and to do your best so as to get them to grow up straight.

However, in order to lower the risk of suicide and so that children who are actually gay don't end up putting themselves in abusive positions, I think it's important for them to know that some people believe homosexuality is a normal and valid form of sexual expression, though it is very rare. The big problem we have with young people and sex is we make it into a taboo, so when young people come up with questions, they find adults (who are supposed to be looking after them and teaching them) refuse to explain anything.

If any young person asked me about homosexuality, I would tell them that most people question their sexuality at some point in their lives and that they are most likely straight. I would encourage them not to label themselves until they are older and have at least gotten through puberty. Puberty is tough enough without trying to label yourself "straight" "gay" or "other" (it took me till I was 25 to come to that conclusion myself). I would also advise them to hold off on sex, but young people seldom listen to that bit of advice it seems.

The Hong Kong situation is a sad one. You see, the age of consent for heterosexual couples was 16. Homosexual couples risked life imprisonment if they had sex at 20 or younger. This law change essentially makes the homosexual age of consent the same as the heterosexual one. It does not indicate a general desire for the gay public to have sex with teenagers, only an acknowledgement that gay teenagers (like straight teenagers) will tend to have sex whether we like it or not. Putting gay kids in prison for life and letting straight kids off free for the same "offense" seems a little harsh to me, I am sure you would agree.

In love

Stephen

Christinewjc said...

Hi Stephen,

Are you the "Stephen" from the "Garden Guy" site? Your demeanor seems familiar. In that thread, you replies were kind and considerate (unlike many others who posted there!) even though we were in the midst of disagreement on this issue. Nonetheless, welcome to my Talkwisdom blog.

In a perfect world, what you shared might be considered civil and reasonable. But since we live in a world corrupted by evil, sin and death, we must examine the true motives behind people and their actions.

Granted, this was a long blogpost, so perhaps you missed this part:

[T]he plaintiffs attempt to avoid a motion to dismiss by resting on what is essentially a flawed syllogism: 1) they have religious beliefs which are disapproving of people who are gay or families headed by gay people; 2) the Lexington schools teach principles of equality, diversity of society, and welcoming of all to the schools, including children who are gay or whose parents are gay; and therefore, 3) the school defendants are intentionally targeting the plaintiffs' religious views and "campaigning to teach" the plaintiffs' children "that the family's religious faith was incorrect."

Note the "therefore" and the bold (mine) within that paragraph. If you read it carefully, you will see that the goal is a lot more sinister than the claim to "fight hate and bullying." The defendants in the David Parker lawsuit are trying to approach the case with the idea that they know better than the parents because in their skewed worldview, they believe that what the Parkers are teaching their son (Biblically correct view of homosexual behavior as undesirable and sin against God) within their (constitutionally protected, btw) own traditionally held religious beliefs is wrong!

So, you see that the fight goes into much deeper than "tolerance." It actually delves into the realm of spiritual matters that the school administrators and teachers should not be doing!

There are many school programs designed to fight discrimination, intolerance and bullying that don't have to get into detail about gay behavior issues! Breaking Down the Walls is a good example. IMO, the GLSEN group has gone way to far in their indoctrination goals within public schools for any sane person to think that this issue is only about "keeping kids safe" and "fighting bullying." They use this as a guise for promoting gay activism in the schools. I have personally witnessed this a few years ago when my kids were in high school.

I don't know how familiar you are with the David Parker incident, but briefly, he is a Christian parent who went to the school to request being told when "gay" issues were presented in the classroom so that he can choose to opt out his child from that kind of indoctrination (the teacher assigned first graders the King and King book about two homosexual kings marrying). After a series of emails, the school officials invited Mr. Parker on campus to discuss the issue. Long story short, after he got there, they refused to even consider his request (or acknowledge his parental right to avoid them teaching his child contrary to their religious beliefs). Mr. Parker refused to leave until the matter was settled, and it ended up that the police were called and he was arrested.

There are many details to consider, so remember that this is a brief explanation.

Later, the charges were dropped (mostly because the gay lobby at the school probably knew they violated his rights in many ways), but his son was harrassed later that school year and it is perceived to be a direct result of this controversy.

Mr. Parker has counter-sued and we have this situation today.

One of the most arrogant statements that I heard before Mr. Parker sued, which came from one of the teachers involved (there were many!! had to be this (paraphrased here):

"Gay marriage is legal now here in Massachusetts and there is nothing that parents can do about us teaching their children whatever we want about homosexuality."

Do you think that is the right attitude to have? I certainly don't. It is turning the tables towards favoring a behavior that is abhorrent to many Bible believing Christians...that of arrogant, gestapo-like homosexual indoctrination being forced upon all children, no matter what the parents want or don't want!

Can you be genuine in your Christian walk and type back a reply that admits that this is aberrant and wrong? I hope so.

Perhaps things aren't as messed up in New Zealand as they are in Massachusetts. Perhaps the fact that the term "civil unions" allows people to realize that a gay couple union is not the same thing as marriage helps to keep the manipulation tactics of homosexual indoctrination at bay. But here, particularly in the state of Massachusetts (California and New Jersey too), it's a serious concern and problem for many parents; especially religious Jews and Christians.

limpy99 said...

Again with the activist judge's argument. New Jersey has no law or constitiutional article banning gay marriage. I learned that today by reading the newspaper. It does have constitutional language about equal rights. Therefore, the Court gave the legislature a choice, (or, as your sources so subtly put it, "held a gun to their heads"), either legalize gay marriage or come up with an alternative that gives a gay couple all of the legal rights that a heterosexual couple has. This does not take the matter out of the hands of the public, even though, as I've said before, the courts are not supposed to decide cases based on thier popularity with voters, but rather on the law as it exists. Indeed, the legislature, which is elected by the public, (or the mob, since this is New Jersey), has to decide, and presumably the elected representatives of the people will listen to the people when making their decision. And the people, even the small-minded souls terrified of the big, bad homosexual menace, still have the right to try to get a constitutional amendment passed outlawing gay marriage or unions, in which case the court would have a law to interpret as you deem correct. Probably won't happen in NJ, but they still ahve the right to try.

I don't know anything about Parker's case, so I won't comment on the specifcs of it. In general, however, I think that the schools do have to draw a line somewhere as to what they will and will not do to accomodate a parent's belief. A general policy that everyone in school is going to be tolerated and not bullied seems like a fine thing. You may argue that this is an insidious attempt to further the homosexual agenda, but taken to an extreme point of view, what if I decide I don't want my kids taught that blacks are equal to whites? that women are fit for anything other than cooking and having babies? that Mexicans aren't thieves? that algebra isn't some vast conspiracy launched by Arabs to make us all miserable? The schools, especially the public ones, have to function in such a fashion as to educate ALL kids. And a policy of tolerance towards all furthers this. I don't know about "King & King", but I do know I want my kids is the best learning environment possible and that includes getting along with everyone.

Except those chess club geeks.

Stephen said...

Hi Christine,

Thanks for the warm welcome. Yes, that's me, the "Stephen" from the "garden guy" forums.

I should predicate my response with the clarification that you and I come from vastly different perspectives on the topic of homosexuality. I believe homosexuality is not condemned in the Bible, whereas you do (I invite you to read the books which analyse the so-called "clobber" passages). This difference of opinion means that we see the world through different coloured lenses. I hope we can still talk about this candidly.

My motivations are to demonstrate to you and your readers that there are many gay people who are sympathetic to your quandary as fellow people of faith, but respectfully disagree with you with respect to homosexuality. I hope that by doing so, I can help to foster better dialog, which is the only way this issue will be resolved in the church.

Ok, as to your question, the text in bold is the plaintiff's characterization of the situation. If they are right, then I would agree, it is very un-Christian to willfully curtail someone else's freedoms. That said, I do not think that the defendant's goal is to curtail the plaintiff's religious freedoms, I believe they are trying to walk a very fine line between respecting the right of the plaintiff and his children to their religious convictions and their obligation to the rest of the students to provide them with an education. The flippant remarks by a teacher to the press illustrate the arrogance of some people but not necessarily the motivations behind teaching about homosexuality in schools.

Also, I think it's important to point out this: nowhere in the Bible are Christians promised to spared from persecution for their religious beliefs. In fact, we are promised we will be persecuted for our religious beliefs. Gay Christians get persecution twice over, we'd like to think we're doubly-blessed that way. :)

I understand and sympathise with the plaintiff's position. So, this leads to the natural question: what is the scriptural response to this situation? What is the Christian response to people who disagree with us, both within the faith and without?

Rather than using this very political example, let's use a simpler one, so that we can look at the situation a little more objectively, then try generalize out to the more volatile case.

There are some Christians who are convicted in the Spirit that eating certain foods (or meat) is sinful. This is not as far fetched as it sounds, you can read more about this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_vegetarianism. Certain denominations and even some charismatic movements practice vegetarianism out of religious conviction. Let's say you and I have a friend Bob who is one such Christian. Nice enough guy, but he has his ways, you know?

Now, you and I both (hopefully) know that nothing we can put into our bodies makes us unclean to God, and so we do not abstain from meat or certain foods. We are not convicted in the Spirit that this is wrong and we happily partake of meats and other foods, knowing full well that we are justified by faith and faith alone (many references to justification by faith which I am sure you already know).

Bob finds himself is in a bit of a quandary: he desires a world in which all people are brought into obedience before God. He desires that all people abstain as he does. Bob might feel like he should lobby his government to pass laws restricting the consumption of certain foods. He may decide to protest peacefully outside butcheries or places where these foods are sold, handing out pamphlets telling people that they are sinning by eating this food.

There can be no doubt there are people like this. They are passionate in their convictions and they fully believe God Himself has convicted them of this particular thing. They hand out pamphlets trying to espouse the horror of meat to all people of all faiths.

Can or should Bob lobby the government to prevent the general (non-Christian) population from eating meat? Can or should he expect non-Christians to abstain from eating meat because of his religious beliefs?

No. Paul is quite clear that we Christians are not expected to judge those outside the faith (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). He also very clearly says that we should abide by the laws of the land (Romans 13). This does not mean Bob has to eat meat. Bob can still abstain. However, Bob is not permitted to steal people's food and throw it away because he sees it as sinful. Nor should he think he is justified in trying to force non-Christians to become vegetarians. "Put the wicked man from among yourselves." As far as Bob is concerned, the non-Christians can be judged by God for eating meat, it is none of his concern.

How is Bob to sleep at night? How can he let his children go to a school that not only serves meat in the cafeteria, but also teaches his children that human beings are omnivores and that it is perfectly natural for us to eat all sorts of food, including meat?

Bob, appalled at this situation, might appeal to the good will of the school, to beg them to refrain from exposing his children to this false doctrine, from exposing his children to this temptation. What if they forsake his ways and start eating meat? He can’t be there 24 hours to protect them, after all! The school laughs at him. He is a loony, a fundamentalist. They tell him they have every right to teach his children whatever they like, as long as it's true and they send him on his way.

Bob could try lobby government for changes to the law, so as to prevent meat in schools. But as we have seen before, God doesn't take too kindly to mixing one's religious convictions with politics. Also, the sad fact of the matter is: there is no way the world is going to stop eating meat based on Bob's religious beliefs.

Surely this is not God's will for Bob? Surely, though he has to live in the world, he doesn't have to be of the world? Surely there is a way he can raise his children in the way he feels is the most scripturally sound?

Bob has many alternatives. He could choose to send his children to a vegetarian school. There are many schools which are becoming more and more friendly towards vegetarians, both for religious and health reasons.

Another option would be to take them to a completely Christian school. There are many Christian schools set up for the purpose of teaching students what they need to learn without compromising the religious beliefs of their parents. If Bob doesn't find any of these solutions satisfactory, he could home-school, or to move to a community of like-minded Christians who share his values and will support a school that is Christian-vegetarian affirming.

Alternatively he could very carefully explain to his children (with justification) that what they learn in school is the way of man and not the way of God, that although the other kids may eat meat, this is wrong. This is my preferred approach. When Bob's children grow up, they will have to make their own decisions about partaking of meat. Bob should convince them in their own hearts that meat is morally wrong, not by "hiding" meat from them. Because after going to a vegetarian school all their lives, what is the first thing his kids are going to be curious about? Meat, of course.

These are all scripturally sound responses to the situation, where Bob can retain his religious integrity and still abide by the laws of the land.


What about us? Should Bob be permitted to judge those of us within the faith, who disagree with his religious convictions?

Well, here it becomes a little more like give and take. Paul actually uses the example of vegetarianism in Romans 14 to make one of the most profound statements of the whole book. We are fortunate indeed to have used the same example:

"Now accept one who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions. 14:2 One man has faith to eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 14:3 Don't let him who eats despise him who doesn't eat. Don't let him who doesn't eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. 14:4 Who are you who judge another's servant? To his own lord he stands or falls. Yes, he will be made to stand, for God has power to make him stand."

Wow! That's pretty explicit there! Bob is what we would call a Christian of "weaker" faith. "Weaker" is a very emotive term and it's not meant to be condescending. I have the utmost respect for vegetarians. These are Paul's words.

Bob is not to judge us for our eating meat, but is there any responsibility placed on us by this freedom? Yes, there is:

"14:12 So then each one of us will give account of himself to God. 14:13 Therefore let's not judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother's way, or an occasion for falling. 14:14 I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; except that to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 14:15 Yet if because of food your brother is grieved, you walk no longer in love. Don't destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 14:16 Then don't let your good be slandered, 14:17 for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 14:18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 14:19 So then, let us follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up. 14:20 Don't overthrow God's work for food's sake. All things indeed are clean, however it is evil for that man who creates a stumbling block by eating. 14:21 It is good to not eat meat, drink wine, nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, is offended, or is made weak."

Wow! Though we may be permitted to eat meat, we should not do so in a way as to cause Bob to stumble. Does this mean we should abstain from all meat? No. It does, however, mean that we should not "flaunt" our liberty to Bob so as to cause him to stumble. We should humble ourselves and refrain from doing or saying anything that would make Bob falter in his faith. This is the responsibility of those with "stronger" faith.

Next, Paul makes quite a bold statement:

"14:22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who doesn't judge himself in that which he approves. 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it isn't of faith; and whatever is not of faith is sin."

This is an admonishment to us. We must be absolutely certain, when we eat meat, that we do so with complete faith. Only then are we not condemning ourselves by our actions.

How does Paul's "weaker faith" argument apply to other situations? Well, Paul mentions the Sabbath I the same terms as eating meat in Romans 14, so we can see it applies even to the 10 commandments.

I would hazard, however, that it doesn’t apply to the commandment to love. I think we are all called to love, there is no amount of faith that can make up for a lack of love. After all, if I have faith to move mountains and don't have love, I am nothing. So, murder, stealing, lying, all those sins are covered under love (as Paul explains in Romans 13).

Does it apply to homosexuality? Is it possible that while you are convicted that homosexuality is wrong and I am convicted that it is right, we can still both live together as Christians under the banner of love and tolerance? Under the banner of "judge not" and "do not cause to stumble"?

Yes, I think so.

Does Paul anywhere equate the eating of meat with marriage? Yes, he does:

1 Timothy 4:1-6: "But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, 4:2 through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron; 4:3 forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving. 4:5 For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer. 4:6 If you instruct the brothers of these things, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith, and of the good doctrine which you have followed."


You are well within your rights, having diligently studied scripture and prayed about it, to be convicted in the Spirit that homosexuality is wrong for you. You are not within your rights to impose your religious conviction on any non-Christian. As far as Christians are concerned, you should also not judge, but remember that we too are justified by faith and we too will stand alone before God to answer to Him. In turn, I must do everything in my power so as to prevent my freedom from the bondage of sin to cause you to stumble.

In love

Stephen

Christinewjc said...

Dear Stephen,

Thanks for sharing your heart on this volatile issue in such a civil and Christian-brotherly manner. It is so rare here in America (unfortunately) because the battle lines are often drawn and no one wants to cross over for reasonable discussion without demonizing the other side. At least that has been my experience, most of the time. Two exceptions were bloggers named Mamalicious and Deb. They at least held conversations with me that were loving and trying to be understanding while disagreeing on certain aspects of what it means to be a Christian. They both expressed to me their acceptance of being self-identified lesbian persons and how they think that continuing in a same-sex relationship is not (in their view) a sin against God and His Laws.

I only brought all that up as a backdrop to my reply.

Last night, after reading your long comment (ha ha...you join me and Deb in the longwinded poster category!), I wanted to sleep on it, pray about it, and seek the Holy Spirit's leading in my answer to your post.

Well...as usual, when I have something heavy on my heart or occupying my mind, I awoke two hours early! It is usually in the early morning hours where Scripture, commentaries, real life situations, and answers to tough questions are brought to my mind. That is what happened this morning. It was kind of a "flood" of information that overwhelmed me a bit, but hopefully, I will be able to sort out my thoughts and answer your post thoroughly, Scripturally, and with points to back up what I reply to you. This will probably take some time and I plan on starting right away.

Is it OK with you if I start a new thread based on your comments? If you prefer to keep the convo going in this thread then I will do that.

The reason I'd like to start a new thread is because your reply delves into several other related subjects...that being "judge not," "don't cause a brother to stumble," and "weak Christians vs. strong Christians."

I do have a few questions. I hope you won't mind answering them.

1. How and when were you born-again in Jesus Christ? Would you consider sharing your testimony with me? You can either share it here or send it to me by email. (chriswatson@cox.net)

2. How old are you now? From your post I know that you are over 25.

3. How long have you been a Christian and how long have you studied the Bible? Your answer will give me a reference point. As we both know, we could study the Bible till we are 100 yrs. old and still never know it all! It's a unique and remarkable book that continually teaches us throughout our lifetimes.

If interested, you can get some background information about me by reading my testimony here.

Stephen said...

Hi Christine. Feel free to post whatever you like on your blog, it is your blog after all :)

I think people react to you in a negative way because they perceive you reacting to them in a negative way. When you quote Bible verses that talk about "wicked" people and then point to homosexuals and say "they are sinning, they are wicked" it's very hard for me not to take that personally. You may believe you are in the right, but I believe you are in the wrong.

When I first read your list of questions I kind of felt a little offended, as though you were questioning my "Christian credentials". As though, if I was saved back in 89, that would be different to if I was saved in 99. Of course there is no such thing as "Christian credentials". The last shall be first and all that. Some of the most "on fire" Christians I know are recent converts (none so zealous as the recently converted). Also, from my experience, those Christians who go around exaggerating their Christianity are usually making up for a perceived weakness in their own faith (be it real or imaginary). The weak shall be strong.

When or how long ago I was saved shouldn't have a bearing on my faith or my ability to read & understand the Bible. Nor should it have any bearing on my ability to talk to you about faith. After all, if God can speak through a donkey, He can speak through me too.

Then I decided it was awfully rude of me to not tell you something about myself, so here is the short version:

I don't consider myself a Biblical scholar, but I have had the Bible with me all my life. Like all of us, I wish I read it more. I am very careful who I listen to about religious matters, as it's so easy to be swayed by false doctrine.

I am 27. I was born in Apartheid South Africa in 1979. I immigrated to New Zealand at 18 and am now working for a New Zealand company in Texas for 1 year. After which I will return to New Zealand and hope to find a nice husband :)

I have quickly written up something of a brief Christian testimony.

This is my website, there's a lot of information about me, including my coming out story, which I guess qualifies as a "gay testimony".

Christinewjc said...

Hi Stephen,

I'm sorry that you felt offended by my questions. I certainly didn't mean to "question your credentials." I just thought it might help our conversation along by knowing each other's Christian background and testimony.

After going to your links and reading about you I see that we have a few things in common! A Catholic mom and Protestant dad; plus, an introduction to the (somewhat startling) Charismatic side of Christianity!

After reading your testimony, background, and coming out explanation, I can see your point about "not wanting to cause a brother to stumble."

I wouldn't want to do that.

I'm not sure where you read about me "quoting Bible verses and calling homosexuals wicked."

Perhaps you are referring to the post that describes Jesus' reference to the signs of the end times and his return as being similar to "the days of Lot?"

The Bible tells us that the men of the city of Sodom came to Lot's door, specifically because they wanted to have sex with the male visitors. Lot told them, "do not do so wickedly." He was obviously referring to their desire to "know them carnally." Knowing that these male visitors were special messengers from God, Lot was apparently trying to protect them while under his roof, pleading with the homosexuals not to do this. We know that these men outside were suddenly struck with blindness so that they couldn't find the door. There is a lot of symbolism involved in this account.

But if discussing these "clobber verses," as you described them doesn't appeal to you, I think it might be best to continue our conversation in the direction that you want to take it. I certainly would not want to upset you anymore. I realize that you happen to think that these same verses should be interpreted differently.

So, I will leave it up to you to direct where our conversation goes from here.

God bless...

Stephen said...

Well, let's talk about Sodom a little if you like. Biblical scholars who want to condemn homosexuality don't usually use the story of Sodom because they know it's not theologically sound. I'm almost suspicious that you bring it up because people don't usually bother to use it anymore.

Firstly, God had already decided to destroy the cities and was sending His messengers in to warn Lot and also to check if there were any righteous people left in the city (as He promised Abraham, though I am sure God knew exactly what He was doing).

When the angels visited, the men of Sodom did indeed express a desire to rape them. Let's get this clear: the men of Sodom wanted to brutally force themselves sexually on two strangers. They wanted to gang-rape them.

If the angels had been female, would you have thought this any less of a sin? Certainly not!

If the men of Sodom offered to brutally gang rape me, do you think I would be pleased? Certainly not!

It doesn't matter what culture you're from or what gender you are, gang-rape is not the way to honour visitors among you, especially visitors who are messengers from God.

In those days, as is in fact the case today, forceful sexual violation of another person was considered to be an extremely demeaning form of punishment. They used to rape both the men and women of people they conquered in war. Rape has nothing to do with sexual desire, as any rapist or rape victim will tell you, it has to do with power: exerting your dominance over someone. The men of Sodom, in their wickedness, wanted to shame and punish the angels by exerting power over them.

How do we know my interpretation of the Scripture is correct? Is there anywhere in the Bible where the sin of Sodom is explained?

The book of Wisdom (admittedly in the apocrypha) says:

Wisom 19:13 And punishments came upon the sinners not without former signs by the force of thunders: for they suffered justly according to their own wickedness, insomuch as they used a more hard and hateful behaviour toward strangers. 14 For the Sodomites did not receive those, whom they knew not when they came: but these brought friends into bondage, that had well deserved of them. 15 And not only so, but peradventure some respect shall be had of those, because they used strangers not friendly.

Jesus and Ezekiel also concur, the sin of Sodom was inhospitability.

I think the story just goes to show how wicked the people of Sodom were. They would have harmed the very messengers of God in this way. Lot tried to avoid this by offering up his daughters. This (rather dubious) action was not so as to protect the men of Sodom from committing a homosexual act, but rather to protect his guests. The Jews did (and do) view treatment of strangers to be very very important. So important that Lot would have offered the virginity of his daughters up in otder to save them from the shame.

Stephen said...

Also, I respectfully submit that nowhere in the Bible does it claim that the men of Sodom were "homosexuals".

Linking the term "Sodomy" and "Sodomite" to anal sex is a relatively recent thing.

Christinewjc said...

Dear Stephen,

I am sitting here trying to decide whether or not to post this comment. I decided to come back up to the top just to tell you that I do not want to hurt you or your walk with Jesus Christ. I have found myself in this predicament several times in the past, and it led, unfortunately, to a few gay and lesbian commenters leaving this blog.

That's not my goal, but it happened. It was then that I wrote this blogpost, thinking that it might be better for someone else (perhaps an ex-gay Christian believer) to minister to gays and lesbians. I thought that perhaps it was a sign from the Lord (the fact that they left) that I shouldn't be arguing with the gay-behavior-affirming Christians anymore.

But then, I meet wonderful people like you who want to discuss our differences. If I just "agree to disagree" then everything will be "comfy...cozy," so to speak (a line I borrowed from the movie "Hook"). But the gospel isn't a message that is always comfy and cozy. In fact, because of our need to acknowledge our sinfulness before God, confess, and repent, it is the "bad news" of the gospel that must be heard first before the Good News of the gospel can be realized.

I'm babbling... forgive me. But I wanted to add this up top so that you won't consider what I wrote below as "clobbering" you.

I'm off to an appointment now...be back later.

Love & Belief,
Christine

*******

I had previously discussed (link below) what Jesus was referring to when he said that his return would be "as in the days of Lot" and in the "days of Noah." We know how grievous the sins (which also included idolatry...but especially the sexual immorality going on) were during those two times. Because of unrepentance (and ignoring the warnings of Noah), the people perished.

There is a verse in Jude that mentions Sodom and Gomorrah, which equates the sins of those cities with going after "strange flesh."

Jud 1:7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Jud 1:8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.


I did a search at the Blue Letter Bible website for corrolating verses to Jude 1:7 and you can read them here.

The whole, entire message of the Bible must be taken into consideration when discussing certain verses. Looking at correlating verses helps us in our understanding of individual verses. We find the following verses under the term "strange" as correlating with the warnings in Jude.

Gen 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.


Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:


Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.


1Cr 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

With that said, I will agree with you that the men of Sodom were out to rape the angels who appeared as men at Lot's house. No question about that. However, when examining the whole of Scripture on this subject (especially taking into consideration Jude), we cannot help but notice the sin involved is not just about the fact that these men wanted to rape the male visitors.

Going back to Jude, notice the reference to Jesus:

Jud 1:17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;


Jud 1:18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

Please don't think that I am saying that homosexual sex acts were the "only sin" that Jesus was refering to would be a sign of the end times and his return. But as was pointed out by author Jerry Cesario (included within this post), it is, unmistakably, one of the signs.

However, there's certainly enough blame for "ungodly lusts" to go around!

Isn't our world filled with ungodly lusts?? We see the explosion of porn. We hear about internet predators seeking sex with underage teens. We see the terrible rape and murders of children (both homosexual and heterosexual perpetrators), and the kidnapping and murder of college students.

I thank God that the book of Jude ends on a positive note.

Jud 1:19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.


Jud 1:20 ¶ But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,


Jud 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.


Jud 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:


Jud 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.


Jud 1:24 ¶ Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,


Jud 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Clinging to the Lord Jesus Christ will see us through...Amen?

Stephen said...

*grins*

I hope you and I are in agreement on one thing: we are all wretched in the sight of the Lord and it is only by Grace, His completely unwarranted and undeserved favour, that we are saved.

I believe this is the path God has chosen me to walk. May you never be faced with as great a test if your faith as I have been faced.

In love

Stephen