Category Archives: gay marriage

On Phil Robertson, Utah Polygamists, and Robert E. Lee | Morgan Trotter

This is a blog post I wrote about 18 months ago.  I feel it speaks surprisingly well to the events of the last couple weeks.  I commend it to you again.  (To read the article, click the link below.)

On Phil Robertson, Utah Polygamists, and Robert E. Lee | Morgan Trotter.

A Conservative Christian Response to the Supreme Court Rulings on Gay Marriage

This is a post I wrote back in July 2013 when the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. Everything I said back then still applies today, and even more so. My thinking on this topic has not changed even though the SCOTUS has now required all states to recognize marriages between people of the same sex.

Morgan Trotter

Well, the US Supreme Court (a.k.a. the SCOTUS) has ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act and on California Proposition 8, and both rulings went in favor of those who support gay marriage.  Among Christians there is no monolithic response.  Some more liberal-leaning Christians are falling in step with the prevailing view in the culture, saying it’s time we “modernize” and allow gays to marry.  Supporters of this view both inside and outside the church treat it as a civil rights issue, claiming it’s discriminatory to prevent homosexuals from having the same rights and privileges as heterosexuals when it comes to marriage.

We need to recognize, though, that there are real problems with this view, especially for Christians who believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God and have committed themselves to following what the Scriptures teach.  We who are Bible-believing Christians trust that in the Bible God has…

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On Phil Robertson, Utah Polygamists, and Robert E. Lee

Or, The Bible Said It Would Be This Way

“And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 24:10-13

Three news items caught my attention yesterday:

1) Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s dismissal by A&E network due to comments he made against homosexuality in an interview with GQ magazine:

2) A federal judge in Utah’s dismissal of a key provision of the state’s anti-polygamy law, citing as a key precedent the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year:

3) The US Army War College’s consideration of removing portraits of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson because they “fought against America”:

Each of these stories indicates a major and recent shift in thinking in our culture.  The Phil Robertson case exposes an attempt on the part of a major media company to suppress any and all speech against gays in any form.  The fact that a major cable network felt the need and the freedom to drop Robertson immediately shows how much traction pro-homosexuality forces have gained in the last few years.  We’re seeing more and more cases in which as soon as a public figure (usually a Christian) espouses opposition to the homosexual agenda they are excluded and ostracized.

Consider the example a few months ago in which Tim Tebow felt pressure to cancel a speaking engagement at a Baptist Church in Texas all because the church leadership had spoken out openly against homosexuality.  As a result it had been labelled an “anti- gay church”–never mind whatever good the church might be doing. All they cared about was that the church had taken a stand against homosexuality.  Tebow started getting heat from the media about speaking at an “anti-gay church” and eventually succumbed to the social pressure and cancelled the engagement.

Many Christians feel Tebow shouldn’t have bowed to the pressure, and they may be right.  But the situation, which is one of several we’ve heard about in the news lately, shows how it’s getting to the point in our culture at which anyone who speaks out against homosexuality is black-listed.  Phil Robertson’s situation reveals this even more clearly.

The tide of public opinion is turning quickly on this issue, so much so that it may not be long before companies will refuse to knowingly hire anyone who opposes gay marriage or speaks out in any way against homosexuals.  So much of it is fueled by peer pressure and the fear of being ridiculed or ostracized.  Very few people these days have the stomach or backbone to weather the intimidation tactics used by liberals and homosexual activists and the social backlash that results from them.  And if people start losing their jobs, or having trouble getting jobs, over this sort of thing, then the pressure will take a very tangible financial form as well.

The Utah marriage case also shows how quickly public opinion is changing, and how willing the sheep are to be led astray.  As recently as just a few years ago public perceptions of Mormon polygamists were universally negative.  Now, though, suddenly “plural marriage” and “polyamory” (the love of more than one person at a time) are becoming acceptable possibilities.  The judge in the case cited this year’s Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act as a primary precedent in the case.  The reasoning is that if the law no longer limits marriage to being between a man and a woman, then why should marriage be limited to only two people either?

The irony of this is that one of the key arguments conservatives have been using against gay marriage is that it will open the door to other, worse behaviors like polygamy or pedophilia.  Gay marriage supporters have laughed at this reasoning, claiming it’s preposterous.  Apparently it’s not so preposterous after all.  DOMA was only struck down a few months ago.  Gay marriage hasn’t even been legalized in that many more states.  And yet here already the protections against polygamy are being lifted, and the demise of DOMA was openly cited as the rationale.  I’ll wager that it won’t be long before we’ll start seeing legal challenges to the age of consent as well.

It appears a time is coming in the near future when we’ll be facing an anything-goes morality.  Matthew 24 in the Bible describes what the world will be like in the last days, and in verse 11 it tells us that in those days “lawlessness will be increased.”  Webster’s dictionary defines lawlessness as “not regulated by or based on law; not restrained or controlled by law; unruly; illegal” (  I would add that when the Bible speaks of lawlessness it refers to the breakdown of man-made laws, but even more to the disruption of God’s laws.

This is literally what we’re seeing before our eyes.  In the early ’60s the Supreme Court removed laws that allowed public prayers in our schools.  In 1973 the law protecting unborn children was struck down by the Supreme Court.  Nowadays the trend seems to be on steroids.  In June of this year a law protecting the traditional (and biblical) definition of marriage between a man and a woman was struck down.  Now based on that, a key provision of a law protecting marriage as between only one man and one woman was removed as well.

Before our very eyes we’ve seen the dismantling of all these laws that upheld God’s ways.  In each case the law in question had been the law of the land since the founding of our Republic.  So these changes have signaled a “sea change,” as they say,” in the ways Americans view morality. In each case the Supreme Court has embraced a new way of looking at things that had never been known before.  What will be next??

It has become fashionable these days to denigrate the Bible as just an old-fashioned, out of date book.  But I will tell you this: Many things the Bible predicted are coming true.

About the last days Matthew 24:10-13 says: “10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (emphasis added).

Verse 10 speaks of a time when “many will fall away.”  This is speaking of falling away from the Christian faith.  Over the last generation we’ve seen countless young people who were raised in the church leave, never to return.  And in the last decade or so many previously professing Christians have lost all interest in church, and others have renounced Christian faith altogether, some turning to New Age and other religions, and others becoming atheists.  Many of today’s militant atheists attended church when they were younger.  With a few exceptions, Christian churches and denominations are reporting membership losses across the board.

There’s a lot of hand-wringing today over these losses.  And we should be saddened and concerned to see so many people abandoning “the faith once delivered to the saints.”  But it should not surprise us.  The Bible said this would happen.  Some churches are bending over backwards and flipping cartwheels trying to get those who have fallen away back in church.  But when the gospel is changed or compromised in order to do so, such efforts are misguided.  According to the Bible, this is to be expected in the years before the Lord returns.

Matthew 24:11 says that in the last days “many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.”  To fully understand this trend, you have to take the long view, going back 150 years.  We’ve seen it with the rise in cults and alternative religions during that time, with the advent and growth of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, various cult leaders, and most recently, the New Age movement.

That may seem like a long time to look back to, but if you study history you can see the world has been on this trajectory leading up to the end for a long time.  You had the rise of all these cults in the latter half of the nineteenth century.  Then in the early 20th century there was the growth of Zionism, leading to the formation of the state of Israel in 1948.  During the same period, you had the growth of Darwinian evolutionary theory which caused many people to lose faith in the teachings of the Bible.

In the early 1900s many of the historic Christian denominations were renouncing the Bible and traditional Christian beliefs in favor of a new modern interpretation that left no room for anything supernatural.  Now in the late 20th and early 21st centuries the evangelical church has succumbed to a very similar spirit in which many evangelicals and conservative churches are also rejecting or redefining basic Christian beliefs just as the traditional churches did almost century ago.

The heresy, the unbelief, the rise of false prophets, and the embrace of false religions has been increasing exponentially over the last 150 years.  And it’s reaching a fever pitch at this point in history.  It is all leading somewhere.  I will probably blog about that in the weeks to come.

Matthew 24:12 speaks of the increase in lawlessness which we’ve already explored.  All these verses, and indeed all of Matthew chapter 24, have been coming true before our very eyes (I will talk more about that in future blog posts), showing that the Bible is a reliable guide to life in our world and what the future holds.  What we are seeing is no surprise to the careful student of the Scriptures.

So you can ignore the Bible if you want to, but it is eerily accurate at describing where we’ve come from and where we’re headed. Those who reject the Bible and its treasures do so at their own peril.

The news story about the US Army War College considering the removal of portraits of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson illustrates another major shift in thinking in our society.  After the Civil War President Andrew Johnson eventually pardoned anyone and everyone who had “committed treason” against the United States by fighting for the Confederacy.  Stonewall Jackson died during the war, but in the years after the war General Lee was widely regarded by southerners and northerners alike.  Both Jackson and Lee are generally acknowledged as brilliant military tacticians and their battles are often studied in advanced military training.  (The info here about Lee and Jackson and in the paragraphs below is based on Wikipedia articles on these two military leaders.)

In the years following the Civil War northern leaders made a conscious effort to re-integrate the nation and mainstream southerners back into national life.  Lee had been a loyal soldier in the U.S. Army and now that the Confederacy was once more part of the United States, his brilliant leadership of the Confederate army was later recognized for what it was.  It was realized that the former Confederacy was now “us” again and had been re-integrated into the union, and so its history was now part of “our” history.

Now some professors at the U.S. Army War College want to undo all that.  They want to ignore the accomplishments of two great American generals and create a revisionist history that once again only sees them as the enemy.  No doubt this is a function of an extreme liberal perspective that can only see the Confederacy through the lens of the bad things it stood for, like slavery, and wants to completely discount everything having to do with it for that one association.

The reason I mention this here is because, just as liberals want to demonize Phil Robertson for expressing views on homosexuality that go against today’s views on Political Correctness, so also these folks at the War College want to re-demonize Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, presumably because of their association with slavery.  In fact, though, neither Jackson or Lee was an advocate of slavery and Lee expressed relief when the slaves were finally emancipated at the end of the war.

What the Phil Robertson and the War College situations have in common is that each represents a rather extreme effort to control thought and perception.  Those who oppose Phil Robertson want to suppress all negative speech against homosexuals.  Those at the War College who seek to have the portraits of the Confederate generals removed desire to control our thinking by scrubbing our history of anything unpleasant or not in keeping with present-day Political Correctness.

As Bob Dylan once sang, “The times they are a-changin.”  Rapidly.  And not for the better.  May God help us.

A Conservative Christian Response to the Supreme Court Rulings on Gay Marriage

Well, the US Supreme Court (a.k.a. the SCOTUS) has ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act and on California Proposition 8, and both rulings went in favor of those who support gay marriage.  Among Christians there is no monolithic response.  Some more liberal-leaning Christians are falling in step with the prevailing view in the culture, saying it’s time we “modernize” and allow gays to marry.  Supporters of this view both inside and outside the church treat it as a civil rights issue, claiming it’s discriminatory to prevent homosexuals from having the same rights and privileges as heterosexuals when it comes to marriage.

We need to recognize, though, that there are real problems with this view, especially for Christians who believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God and have committed themselves to following what the Scriptures teach.  We who are Bible-believing Christians trust that in the Bible God has faithfully revealed His will, His desires, and His purposes for the human race.

The first problem with same-sex “marriage,” though, is one that should be recognized by more than just those of us who put our faith in the Bible: Those who advocate gay marriage are asking the rest of us to abandon what has been the traditional view of marriage not just in America, not just in Western society, but in every culture throughout the entire history of the world.  In one fell swoop these folks want to overturn the collective wisdom and practice on marriage that has existed since the beginning of human history.  Until the last couple decades every culture, and even every religion, throughout the world has taken it for granted that marriage is a contract between a man and a woman. While it’s true that in ancient times polygamy was practiced, even in those cases, the marriage was still between a man and one or more women.  The marriage of two people of the same sex to one another has never been accepted anywhere in the world until very recent times.  Surely there is a reason, a collective wisdom behind this (about which I will say more below).

What has been implicit throughout human history–that marriage is a contract between a man and a woman–is made explicit in the Bible.  The Old Testament prohibits a man from having sexual relations with another man (see Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13).  Likewise, in  the New Testament the apostle Paul tells us that homosexuality is a form of human degradation resulting from man’s rebellion against God, and from idolatry (see Romans 1: 18-32, especially verses 26-27), and that those who practice homosexual behavior will not inherit the kingdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9).

There are those who try to remove the biblical authority of these passages by questioning the translation of certain words, or by pointing out that Jesus himself was silent on the subject of homosexuality, and by accusing Paul of some sort of legalism.  However, their arguments appear to be motivated by a desire to nullify the plain teachings of the Bible because they don’t like what it says.  But the Scriptures are clear on this matter, there is no ambiguity in the plain meaning of the texts, and the Old and New Testaments speak in unison in declaring homosexual behavior to be an aberration that is outside God’s will for humanity, and therefore prohibited by Him.

[Edit June 26, 2015: I will add that while Jesus never said anything explicitly on the topic of homosexuality, he did speak these words about marriage, which seem very applicable to this topic: “Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4)  In case you missed it, Jesus said that God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman.]

To many in our softened post-modern culture, in which absolutes are questioned, this seems unbearably judgmental and cruel, and so we might do well to consider why the Bible has such strong things to say against homosexual behavior.  The reason is fairly simple, and straightforward.  In the book of Genesis, chapter 1, we see that God made human beings to be of two genders, male and female.  In chapter 2 we are told that God instituted marriage between a man and a woman.  Simple biology confirms this.  To be graphic for a moment: A man’s penis was created to fit into a woman’s vagina.  A man was not created with an corresponding receptacle in his body to receive a penis into his body (and from a medical standpoint we know that the way in which gay men try to make this happen creates all kinds of health problems, because it is not natural, and isn’t the way things were made to be).  Likewise, there is no part of a woman that fits adequately into her vagina in the same unique way that a man’s penis does.  So simple biology shows that homosexuality goes against nature, and is not the way we were created to be.

Until recent decades, this was a no-brainer.  Even until the 1980s or so, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychologists viewed homosexuality as a psychological problem and an unnatural state.  However, over the last few decades the cultural revisionists in Hollywood and in our universities have been hard at work putting out as much propaganda as they can to erase that understanding.  And apparently they’ve been pretty successful, considering that now a majority of the American people supposedly believe gay marriage should be allowed.  If you ask me, it’s a result of propaganda and peer pressure, but that’s a topic for another post.

So simple biology tells us that homosexuality goes against nature and against the way God created the human race to operate, which is why He prohibits it in His Word.  But the gay community and those who support the gay lifestyle have done everything they can to try to nullify the argument from nature.  They now claim that biology cannot be taken into consideration in these matters.  This is an example of where the teaching of secular evolution comes into play.  They claim that biology doesn’t figure into it because we just evolved this way.  And in secular evolution there is no morality; the way we are isn’t right or wrong, it just is.  And so they claim that the reason there are gays and lesbians is merely because of evolution.  Therefore, they claim,  our anatomy doesn’t play into the moral discussion.

Now at this point someone may say: But homosexuals claim they’ve been that way as long as they can remember, so they must be born that way.  That’s a debatable point, because it still could be due to environmental factors which take effect in the very early months or years of life.  But even if they are born that way, does that automatically make it right or sanctioned by God?  It’s claimed that alcoholics are born that way, too, but no one is trying to say alcoholism is a healthy or desirable way of life.  Children with birth abnormalities are born that way as well (though some liberals would prefer to just have them aborted), but we don’t celebrate those either.  The mere fact that someone is born a certain way is not an argument that being born that way is good or desirable.

Now, it may sound at this point like I’m just hating on gays.  That’s not the intention.  Let me say upfront that the approach of Westboro Baptist “church” is a horrible distortion of biblical teaching on homosexuality.  God does not hate “fags” (and it’s unloving to use derogatory terms like that to speak of gays).   God loves all people, including homosexuals, and desires all to come to the knowledge of salvation and deliverance through Jesus Christ.  And while homosexuality is a sin, it’s no worse of a sin than adultery, fornication, or any other form of sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.  Heck, it’s no worse of a sin than my own lust or gluttony.

And I am not claiming to be perfect or spotless in the area of sexual morality myself.  I’ve made my share of mistakes.  So any righteousness I have comes not through my own good behavior, which the Bible says is nothing but “filthy rags,” but only through my faith in Jesus Christ.  Thank God, He forgives my sin when I come to Him in confession and repentance.  When we trust in Him, He takes our sin and gives us His righteousness.  And he will do this for anyone who comes to him, about any sin, including that of homosexuality.

But I simply wanted to explain why the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong–because it goes against the way God created men and women.  God intended a man to have sex only with a woman, and then only in the context of the committed lifelong relationship we call marriage–between a man and a woman.

Our culture is in the process of rejecting this view, though.  Many Christians are up in arms, upset that we seem to be losing the “culture war.”  Well, guess what?  This isn’t the first time in history Christians have been in the minority, nor the first time the prevailing culture’s morals have gone against the Bible.  The early church faced a much worse situation in the pagan Roman Empire.  Homosexuality (and sexual immorality in general) was rampant in that culture (though they didn’t have anything like gay marriage), and in the pagan mindset homosexuality was even celebrated as a legitimate form of “affection” and recreation.

This was the case for the first three centuries of the church’s existence.  How did things change in favor of Christianity?  It wasn’t through laws and politics, for Christians had no political power or visible presence.  It happened one heart at a time, as the Christian faith spread like wildfire, first through the lower classes, and eventually even breaking into the upper classes.  If any change is going to happen in our day, it’s going to happen the same way as well–one heart at a time, through love, prayer and conversions–conversions to a new heart and a new way of thinking, God’s way of thinking.

Gay “marriage” is already the law in, what, a dozen states now?  And think how fast that has happened.  In a matter of just a few years.  And with California’s Prop 8 being struck down without a referendum or anything, one has to wonder how much longer the laws protecting traditional marriage in the states which have them are going to be upheld.  We can no longer expect the government to uphold our beliefs or our moral standards.

So then we will have a choice.  Will we capitulate to the popular majority opinion, or will we stand up for what the Bible teaches, even if we have to do so as a dissenting minority?  Are we willing to be counter-cultural and go against the flow?

Pastors will be under more and more pressure to perform same-sex marriages.  As a former pastor myself, I am keenly aware of the situation they’ll face.  If pastors want to be faithful to the God of the Bible, then they will need to take a stand on conscience.  As Bible-following Christians they will have to say: “The state may say it’s OK, but as a Christian, I cannot in good conscience marry two people of the same sex.”  As Christians we will have to say “The state may sanction gay marriage, but based on what the Bible teaches, I do not agree with it and cannot support it.”  And if you find your pastor or church or denomination giving in on this issue, then it may be time to change churches, hard as that may be for some.  We are going to have to make a distinction between what the government allows, and what we as Christians are willing to go along with, just as we have done on the issue of abortion.  Instead of expecting the government to uphold our view, we’re going to have to accept that it no longer does, and live by our consciences, even if they puts us at odds with the prevailing majority.

Well, these are my thoughts on the matter.  I’m sure I haven’t expressed them as well as I could.  And it’s a very controversial issue, so I won’t be surprised if I take some flack for the things I’ve said.  But Jesus took a lot of flack for me, so it’s the least I can do for Him and His church…..  Blessings to all, even those who do not agree with me on this very thorny topic…..