Posted by: pastortomvabeach | May 20, 2009

Thought for the Week May 17, 2009

Note: I didn’t get this posted last week, so I am making two posts this week.

If you pay attention to any national news you have probably seen the public debates that are more and more frequent over same sex marriage. Within the last few months Iowa and Vermont have declared it legal in their states for homosexual couples to marry. In addition, the District of Columbia, while not saying it was legal to marry within the district, voted to recognize any marriage from any state where same sex marriage is legal. The vote must be approved by the U.S. Congress who acts as the governing body for D.C., and at this point has decided not to vote which would carry the same connotation as if it was approved.

Many in this debate ask what is the big deal. If homosexuals want to get married, why not just let them and quit fighting about it. What harm does it do to the rest of the country by simply calling their relationships marriage? There are many answers to these questions that pertain and are powerful reasons to continue the debate. One of the most important reasons is the effect gay marriage and all that goes with it has upon religious liberty in our country. Chuck Colson produces an email commentary each day and on May 12, he addressed this very issue. Since there is no way I could improve on Mr. Colson, I am including his article in its entirety.

Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ and Religious Liberty—Why They Can’t Coexist, by Chuck Colson from BreakPoint, May 12, 2009, reprinted/posted with permission of Prison Fellowship, “As more states—like Iowa—approve same-sex ‘marriage,’ conservatives are claiming that freedom of religion is in peril. Same-sex ‘marriage’ supporters accuse them of engaging in hysterical gay-bating. Who’s telling the truth? Let me share some stories with you from an excellent news broadcast produced by National Public Radio. Then you decide.

Two women decided to hold their civil union ceremony at a New Jersey pavilion owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. This Methodist group told the women they could not ‘marry’ in any building used for religious purposes. The Rev. Scott Hoffman said a theological principle—that marriage can only exist between one man and one woman—was at stake. The women filed a discrimination complaint with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights. The Methodists said the First Amendment protected their right to practice their faith without being punished by the government. But punish the Methodists is exactly what New Jersey did. It revoked their tax exemption—a move that cost them $20,000.

Then there’s the case of the Christian physicians who refused to provide in vitro fertilization treatment to a woman in a lesbian relationship. The doctors referred her to their partners, who were willing to provide the treatment. But that wasn’t good enough. The woman sued. The California Supreme Court agreed with the woman, saying that the doctors’ religious beliefs didn’t give them the right to refuse the controversial treatment.

In Massachusetts, Catholic Charities was told they had to accept homosexual couples in their adoption service, or get out of the adoption business. They chose correctly—get out of the business.

In Mississippi, a mental health counselor was sued for refusing to provide therapy to a woman looking to improve her lesbian relationship. The counselor’s employers fired her—a move that was backed up by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In New York, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University refused to allow same-sex couples to live in married student housing, in keeping with the school’s orthodox Jewish teachings. But in 2001, the New York State Supreme Court forced them to do so anyway—even though New York has no same-sex ‘marriage’ law.

In Albuquerque, a same-sex couple asked a Christian wedding photographer to film their commitment ceremony—and sued the photographer when she declined. An online adoption service was forced to stop doing business in California when a same-sex couple sued the service for refusing, on religious grounds, to assist them.

Convinced? Clearly, homosexual ‘marriage’ and religious liberty cannot co-exist—because gay activists will not allow them to. As marriage expert Maggie Gallagher puts it, same-sex ‘marriage’ advocates claim that religious faith ‘itself is a form of bigotry.’

Tune in tomorrow, for I want you to learn how you can help protect both our religious rights and marriage itself. I know this may sound alarmist, but it’s true. If we don’t work to stop this juggernaut, we may soon find ourselves hunted down at work, at school, and even at church—as others have been—by those determined to force us to accept as a moral good what God calls evil.”

Beloved friends, Paul urged us to “Walk as children of light…and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:8, 11) It appears that if the homosexual agenda is ever fully realized, we, as Christians, may not even be allowed to oppose this agenda by opting out of participating in that which goes against our faith and conscience, without facing law suits or worse. As Colson infers these activists do not just want to have things their way but they want us to approve of them and participate in them.

This is why it is vital for us to be constantly in touch with our senators and congressman both at the state and federal levels whenever laws that expand the “rights” of those with alternative sexual lifestyles are presented. At first blush they may seem of no harm to Christians and religious freedom but the hidden agenda may not work that way.

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend contacting our senators regarding Senate Bill 909, the so-called “hate crimes law”. This has been approved by the House of Representatives and is waiting Senate approval to be signed into law. It has the potential to cause Christians to be charged with a crime for simply voicing opposition to homosexuality or other alternative sexual preferences. It’s time to stand up. Are you ready? Just a thought.

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