For two thousand years, Christians have been persecuted in many places all over the world for teaching and practicing their faith. This is not new. The news sources are telling us of places where Muslim radicals are giving Christian believers an ultimatum today which amounts to, “Convert or die!” Many are dying for their faith.
Strangely, however, a similar ultimatum is about to be presented to Christians in the United States. Changes in the law are mandating that believers violate their consciences and their faith or suffer a variety of consequences. The truth is that the First Amendment to our Constitution was adopted some 225 years ago to prevent such a situation by guaranteeing the “free exercise” of religion. Unfortunately, the political events of recent years have worked to negate that guarantee and will soon force Christians to choose between obeying God or obeying the government. Is there not a way to reverse the course of the ship of state and avoid the imminent collision of religion and government?
The issue that is producing this conflict is the redefinition of marriage by the supreme court to include the union of homosexual “lovers.” Marriage has always had a logical and needful definition making two people of the opposite sex into one legally for many reasons, and nations of all times and places have historically recognized this traditional and rational definition. The viewpoint of civilization has been consistent about what marriage is.
But in recent years, when laws that reaffirmed the traditional definition of marriage were adopted by the people of certain states, they were called by opponents in the media “bans on same-sex marriage.” This label of course was misleading. You might as well speak of a “ban on the jackalope.” Of course, there is no such thing as the jackalope, and so there cannot be a ban on the species.
A list of animals native to a certain region cannot be said to ban the jackalope if that mythical creature is not on the list! Likewise there is no such thing in our society as same-sex “marriage,” and so a law defining marriage in the time-honored way ought not reasonably to be called a “ban” on faulty definitions. The effect of these laws is to discard false definitions by affirming the right one, but labeling them as bans on homosexual marriage gives the impression that they bring a form of persecution to a segment of the population. The laws simply fortify the right definition of marriage against the attacks of the irrational. They do not take away anybody’s rights. Contrary to the misleading propaganda, it is not the homosexual community that is being persecuted.
When the law calls for the acceptance of these “marriages,” those whose religion prevents them from recognizing or accepting them will suffer persecution. Already Christian businessowners have been run out of business for refusing to cater “gay weddings.” How will the revision of civil-rights laws to cover the interests of same-sex couples affect consistent Christians? Will there be fines, penalties, or jail time for those who refuse to recognize same-sex couples as married or participate in same-sex weddings? Will the changes in the law bring churches that teach and practice the Bible into legal trouble? The Bible condemns homosexual activity as sinful, just as it condemns heterosexual activity committed out of wedlock.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affection: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 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.—Romans 1:24–27
Bible-believing Christians cannot go against the teaching of Scripture, no matter what the government tells them to do, or not to do. Acts 5:29 is clear: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Christians have no choice.
Will ministers who decline to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies be denied the right to perform other weddings?
Will churches with policies against homosexual activity or same-sex marriage lose tax exemption or incorporation? How many churches in the United States will fold under the burdens the new anti-Christian public policy will bring upon them?
Somewhere this week ISIS will demand that a Christian renounce his faith, or die. Someday soon Christians in our country will be told to abandon their religion or suffer serious consequences. “Progressive” activists don’t seem to understand that a person with religious convictions cannot just change! Recently, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made the pronouncement that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed” in order that the progressive agenda be fulfilled. To accept same-sex marriage, the Christian must reject the divine origin and authority of Scripture. To do that, he must reject the teachings of Jesus Christ, his Lord and Saviour. He must recant his faith to make the change. And a Christian cannot do that.
True believers in Christ will not shrink from suffering for Him, but do Americans want to make them suffer? Is it the will of the people that large numbers of decent citizens suffer for their faith in the Land of the Free? Some think that the trouble caused for Christians by derailed politics is a matter of unintended consequences, collateral damage. Others suppose that the suppression of biblical Christianity is actually a goal of the progressives and that believers are in the cross-hairs of their sights. Whatever the truth is about why this is happening, the ugly face of religious persecution is coming quickly to America, disguised as tolerance and equality, and only Americans can stop it.