How Should the Church Respond in Perilous Times?

The times in which we live are unprecedented in the history of America. Every generation thinks the cultural decline is worse than in prior times. These times are clearly unprecedented—at least in American history. But the threats we face today are not unprecedented in Judeo-Christian history, a point I will address later.

Let me give just two examples. For the first time in world history, the citizens of a country are being forced to participate in genocide. No government has ever forced its citizens to participate in genocide until now. Yet, that is what is happening in America with the ObamaCare law, which forces employers to provide and/or pay for abortion-inducing drugs or devices. And many individuals are now being required to make a monthly payment separate from their insurance premiums to fund abortion.

The second example is the deconstruction of marriage. Until 2000, no government in world history had every officially sanctioned same-sex unions. Norway, Denmark and Sweden were the first to do so. In 2004, Massachusetts was the first state in America to put the government's sanction on same-sex "marriage." Throughout all of world history, we are only 14 years down this road and only 10 years in America.

When the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear five cases involving same-sex marriage, the immediate result was that same-sex marriage became "legal" in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. But the impact was much broader than just five states. Since June of 2013, multiple federal and state courts have struck down statewide constitutional marriage amendments passed by overwhelming margins of the voters.

Prior to June 2013, over 60 lawsuits were filed across the country seeking to have the courts force same-sex marriage on the people. Liberty Counsel was involved in more than 50 such cases. We won every case except one in California by a 4-3 vote, but that decision was quickly overturned by Proposition 8, a statewide marriage amendment.

In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 opinion stated that the federal Defense of Marriage Act that affirmed marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes was "unconstitutional." This was the match thrown on gasoline that spread fire across the country. Then in 2014, the Court stood by to watch marriage burn.

The implications of same-sex marriage on the church and the culture are staggering. As a policy matter, same-sex marriage is bad for children. The policy sends the message that moms and dads are irrelevant to the well being of boys and girls. Same-sex unions forever deprive children from having a mom or a dad. Children do best when raised by a mother and a father. The complimentary genders are important to the well being of children.

I cannot in this limited space go list all the reasons why and how same-sex marriage will have a negative impact on marriage, personal health and children. But I do want to focus on one area of concern—religious liberty and freedom of conscience. The agenda behind same-sex marriage is aggressive and intolerant. We are witnessing a clash of worldviews and this is a zero sum game, meaning that co-existence is not possible. This is not because Christians are intolerant, but because the agenda will not tolerate an opposing worldview.

When same-sex marriage came to Massachusetts in 2004, Catholic Charities' adoption ministry was forced to shut down after decades of placing orphans in homes with moms and dads. The government required the adoption ministry to cease operation because the ministry refused to place children in same-sex households. This same tragic story is repeated in other states where same-sex marriage has been sanctioned by the government.

In New Jersey, same-sex unions caused a Christian denomination to lose property tax exemption on a facility when it refused to allow it to be used for a same-sex ceremony. In New York, a farm owned by Christians was fined $10,000 for refusing to allow a same-sex ceremony on the property. In New Mexico, a Christian wedding photographer was fined and forced to cease photographing weddings unless and until she agreed to photograph same-sex weddings. And in Oregon, a baker was forced to stop baking wedding cakes because she refused to bake a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex union.

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