Friday, April 10, 2009

The headline reads:

Faith Groups Increasingly Lose Gay Rights Fights

The article cites the following cases:
  • A Christian photographer was forced by the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission to pay $6,637 in attorney's costs after she refused to photograph a gay couple's commitment ceremony.
  • A psychologist in Georgia was fired after she declined for religious reasons to counsel a lesbian about her relationship.
  • Christian fertility doctors in California who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian patient were barred by the state Supreme Court from invoking their religious beliefs in refusing treatment.
  • A Christian student group was not recognized at a University of California law school because it denies membership to anyone practicing sex outside of traditional marriage.

Notice who is affected: A photographer; a psychologist; a group of medical doctors; and a student association at a law school. Now, when it comes to the fourth group, the claim -- a claim that is increasingly acquiring the force of law -- that, "if you accept money from the government, you must play according to the rules made by the government" might -- let me say that again: MIGHT apply. Most student groups recognized by their university are also granted funding, or a space in the student union building, or some other benefit; and so they can certainly be said to be receiving (financial) support from the government. But, leaving that student group for the moment, the other three are clearly instances of people in business who are doing their best to follow their moral compass, as they have learned it from the faith group with whom they are involved.

There should be an incredible uprising of outrage against these actions taken by the government. Why should anyone be forced to extend their services to someone living a way of life that, to them, is unacceptable?

Sometimes, when questions of this sort are asked, the reply from those who do not have a problem with what is happening will offer the "Jim Crow" laws of the southern states after the Civil War, which persisted into the 1960's, making "legal" (which does not, necessarily, also mean, "moral") discrimination against people on the basis of the color of their skin. But there has yet to be conclusive proof that one can no more select their sexuality than their skin color; that we are "helpless" when it comes to our biological background. People of color are born that way; but can it be said with absolute certainty that sexual orientation operates in the same way? The court of science is still investigating the matter.

I sometimes wonder of those who want to make the argument that their sexual orientation is "pre-set" at birth recognize the slippery slope they have created in order to make acceptable in society the practice of homosexuality. Why stop there? Doesn't the same argument apply to make legal -- and then acceptable -- polygamy? Polyandry? Group marriages? The agenda of those who advocate sexual relations between adults and minors -- "Sex before eight, before it's too late?" Those who advocate sexual relations with animals? How can anyone say with a straight face that all of these other practices are not acceptable, but that homosexual practices are not to be included with any of these others? Indeed, when it comes to polygamy, we can actually cite examples from the Old Testament where polygamy was an acceptable practice: Abraham, Jacob/Israel, and Solomon all immediately come to mind. Polygamy has more of an historical basis for acceptance than does homosexual activity. Why isn't that practice acceptable? Why shouldn't it be legalized between consenting adults?

Sorry. I get kinda worked up when these things happen. Last week, of course, it was the decision by the court in Iowa that same-sex marriages must be offered by the State, despite a law on the books that provided otherwise. I didn't get into that topic then because I have already said something about that -- if not here, then in other places around the internet. In short, I believe that the state is perfectly within its rights to offer, in the secular realm, the benefits traditionally associated with marriage to other forms than would be acceptable to most Christians: same-sex, polygamous, polyandrous, and so on. But it's one thing to make such relationships legal; it is another thing entirely to force religious groups who do not agree to act contrary to their faith. Yet that is what is starting to happen. Consider this part of the article cited above:
Some legal analysts suggest that religious groups that do not support gay rights might lose their tax exemptions because of their politically unpopular views.

Those of us who are among the faithful must recognize that the culture is turning against us, and we must prepare ourselves accordingly. First, they will tax our churches. OK, fine: we'll pay the tax. Then they'll take our churches, probably as a result of our losing a lawsuit for violating the "civil rights" of a gay couple who have been refused a request to be married in our church. Fine. We'll meet elsewhere. Some of us, particularly church pastors and leaders, may be imprisoned for violating these "civil rights"; or for "hate speech" because we dare to say that sexual activities outside of marriage as we define it are sinful. It that's how it must be, it must be. But we will not be silent. We will not cease to speak the truth of the faith once delivered to the saints. We must not, and will not, by God's grace, deny our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, nor distort what we have been taught through the holy Scriptures and the Orthodox Church.

Since when has anyone had a "civil right" to have their picture taken? Since when has anyone had a "right" to insist a doctor perform a procedure to which the doctor objects? As for marriage, there is not, and never has been, a "right" to marry in the Church. That has always been a privilege, subject to the requirements of the Church, and no other power can dictate what is, and is not, acceptable.

Dark times are coming, little children. Get ready...