Category Archives: politics

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)].

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…..

"It’s the Ideology, Stupid!"

The Psychology of the 2008 Election

With the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate, the true nature of politics in 21st century America is being revealed. Curious things are happening in the wake of this decision.

Liberals in the Demo Party and the media immediately responded to Palin’s selection by asking incredulously, “How will she have time to raise her kids if she becomes the Vice President??” Can you imagine them ever asking that about a woman nominated by their own party? The Democrats are the party of Feminism and the N.O.W. Under normal circumstances they would never imply that a woman’s place is in the home raising her children. Yet suddenly now with Palin they are sounding almost, well, downright conservative.

When Palin and the Republicans came forward with the information that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant out of wedlock–which they did voluntarily, by the way–the liberal media and members of the Democratic Party (minus Barack Obama, I must admit) immediately jumped on it as supposed evidence that Palin is not a suitable candidate for the socially conservative Republican Party. They expected Republicans, and especially evangelical Christians, to respond in horror and turn against McCain (they could only wish for this outcome in their fondest dreams). To their surprise, though, conservative voters have, in almost liberal fashion, rallied behind Palin and been very quick to forgive. And after hearing her speech at last night’s RNC meeting, they’re now ready to jump on board with her as McCain’s running mate.

It’s very interesting–Democrats expressing concern over a woman allowing the duties of high office to distract her from her motherly responsibilities, and being shocked that the woman’s daughter is pregnant out of wedlock, while Republicans hail the woman as a new heroine for the party and wink at her daughter’s moral indiscretion. These are interesting times indeed.

What this odd juxtaposition of events reveals is how much ideology drives the perceptions of political candidates in America. If a particular candidate holds the same worldview and beliefs as you do, you’re much more likely to excuse their behavior. Likewise, any candidate whose views oppose our own we are likely to scrutinize carefully for any failing or foible which might be used to criticize them.

Republicans will look for anything they can find to de-legitimize a Democratic candidate, and Democrats do the same with Republicans. For example, consider the age and experience of the candidates on both sides in this election:

Republicans criticize Barack Obama for being too young and inexperienced, yet Sarah Palin is almost the same age as Obama and has about the same or less years of political experience. Nevertheless, Republicans laud her as the new young hope for the Republican future. Likewise, Republicans trumpet John McCain’s many years of experience on Capitol hill while at the same time criticizing Joe Biden–who is younger than McCain–of being just another “old” Washington insider.

Lest we think this is just a Republican trait, we can readily see that the Democrats are doing the same thing. They promote Obama as the new voice of “change” and “hope” while saying Sarah Palin–again, about the same age–is too wet behind the ears, even though she has more executive experience than Obama. In a similar way the Dems hail the experience Biden brings to their ticket while making fun of McCain’s age.

It’s all so hypocritical, on both sides. So what’s really driving all this? Ideology. Worldview.

The two parties represent opposing ideologies which, judging by polls and the results of previous elections, are held by roughly equal portions of the electorate. One of these worldviews, that held by the Democrats, typifies everything the 1960s cultural revolution stood for: So-called sexual freedom, pacifism, feminism, civil rights, and now also gay rights. Along with this is the assumption that the government is responsible for fixing poverty and social inequalities.

The worldview held by the other half of the electorate, represented by the Republican party, in many ways represents a desire to recover aspects of American society that were changed by the 1960s. This group longs for a return to old-fashioned values with regard to sex, religion, and personal morality. This group also favors free market capitalism and believes government involvement in economic and social issues should be minimal.

These two sets of American values are in direct opposition to one another. It’s a situation in which, if one set of values is allowed to take hold, the other set is rendered null and void. For example, the Democrats (by and large) favor abortion rights and gay marriage, while the Republicans (for the most part) are against abortion on demand and are strong proponents of traditional marriage.

These two sets of values are in such strong opposition, and are the kinds of things people feel so strongly about, that it promotes an “end-justifies-the-means” kind of mentality in American politics. Thus you have Democrats, who would normally be thrilled at the prospect of a woman in high office, chilled by Sarah Palin, because she’s not the right kind of woman–she’s a woman who doesn’t share their ideology. This goes to show that for Democrats it’s more important that their overall ideology be supported than that a woman be elected. This is why Palin makes them so mad, by the way–because her presence forces them to make a choice they’d rather avoid–between their ideology and the chance to accomplish one small part of their platform: to have a woman in office.

Lest we think it’s only Democrats who display this kind of hypocrisy, though, we can be assured Republicans do it, too. The way Republicans have been so willing to forgive Palin’s daughter’s indiscretion shows this. Not that they shouldn’t be understanding about it. But can you imagine how Republicans would respond, and especially conservative Christians, if a similar revelation came out about a Democratic candidate? They’d likely pounce on it faster than a boa on a rat, and be making all kinds of complaints about how someone like that isn’t fit for office. In truth, conservatives who were very hard on the Clintons (and rightly so, in my opinion) have been much more willing to look the other way when it has come to questions about the actions of the current administration.

I personally can’t understand why many people in this country are so willing to let traditional marriage between a man and a woman go the way of the dodo bird. But there are many who seem to want that–or else have succumbed to peer pressure and allowed themselves to be bullied into it. But for those who hold to this position, they will go to any lengths to try to insure that a candidate who holds their values is elected.

By the same token, those who prefer the government to stay out of regulating big business have an equally strong stake invested (no pun intended) in electing a candidate who will allow their practices to continue unchecked. So they are equally motivated to promote a candidate who will support their values.

These are just two examples. But the point is that both sides see the stakes as being very high, and are motivated by this to use whatever means necessary to get elected, even if it requires a little hypocrisy here and there. Such, I guess, is the nature of politics.

And, I must confess that I’m just as guilty as anyone else. For me, a candidate’s views on issues of personal morality are of paramount importance when considering a candidate. Even though I sympathize with the Democrats on certain issues, it’s ultimately where the candidates stand on moral issues that will determine how I vote. In this case, even though McCain is more liberal than I would like, Obama is far more liberal. Overall I think McCain is much closer to my values than Obama is, and so I will probably reluctantly cast my vote for McCain. I do admire him for his war service and his long career of integrity in the Senate. Even so, though, I am choosing to wink at a few things, because I feel that electing McCain will promote my values and beliefs much better than a vote for Obama would.

That’s my 2 cents on the coming election. And if I’m not mistaken, for most American voters, the candidate they choose in November will be determined by how well that candidate seems to represent their personal values, regardless of whether that candidate has been entirely consistent in his actions…..