“It is … it is going to be an issue.” With those words, spoken yesterday before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Solicitor General of the United States announced that religious liberty is directly threatened by the legalization of same-sex marriage. Donald Verrili, representing the Obama Administration as the nation’s highest court considered again the issue of same-sex marriage, was responding to a question from Justice Samuel Alito. His answer confirms with candor the threat we have long seen coming.
When it comes to Newsweek‘s cover story, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” Eichenwald appears to be far outside his area of expertise and knowledge. More to the point, he really does not address the subject of the Bible like a reporter at all. His article is a hit-piece that lacks any journalistic balance or credibility. His only sources cited within the article are from severe critics of evangelical Christianity, and he does not even represent some of them accurately. The opening two paragraph of the article sets the stage for what follows: “They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation. They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.”
Though not all of America’s Founding Fathers were Bible-believing Christians, the United States was nevertheless founded on biblical principles. These Fathers declared that our rights come from God, the Sovereign Creator. The U.S. Founding Fathers recognized that our rights come from God and that government should exist to protect our rights. However, if there is no God basis, then our rights can only come from the generosity of the state and its leaders. If the state gives us our rights, then the state can take them away.
Some arguments just have to be made, and made well. In the case of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the moment for such an argument arrived last week when that court had to rule on appeals over the question of same-sex marriage coming from the four states in its federal jurisdiction, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In each case, Federal District Courts had struck down measures banning same-sex marriage. Now, the question loomed before the three judge panel of the Sixth Circuit. Until last week, no federal appeals court had ruled against same-sex marriage in the aftermath of the U. S. Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision striking down the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA]. That changed when the panel of the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, affirmed the measure limiting marriage to one man and one woman in the four covered states. The decision sent shock waves throughout the nation.
One of the most amazing statements by the Apostle Paul is his indictment of the Galatian Christians for abandoning the Gospel. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel,” Paul declared. As he stated so emphatically, the Galatians had failed in the crucial test of discerning the authentic Gospel from its counterfeits. In our own context, one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this — the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.
The issue of Halloween presses itself annually upon the Christian conscience. Acutely aware of dangers new and old, many Christian parents choose to withdraw their children from the holiday altogether. Others choose to follow a strategic battle plan for engagement with the holiday. Still others have gone further, seeking to convert Halloween into an evangelistic opportunity. Is Halloween really that significant?
This is how religious liberty dies. Liberties die by a thousand cuts. An intimidating letter here, a subpoena there, a warning in yet another place. The message is simple and easily understood. Be quiet or risk trouble.
Christians across the nation are mobilizing to defend a group of Houston pastors who were ordered by the city to turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity issues or Houston mayor. Their message is simple – Don’t Mess with Texas Preachers.
The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.