Pushing Faith into the Margins
by Dan Juster, Director, Restoration From Zion
The Removal of Yeshua - Believers from the Public Square
By Daniel Juster
"Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another." (Romans 1:26, 27)
The Gay Agenda in the United States
A Kentucky county clerk was recently jailed for refusing to issue a license for a gay marriage. She did not commit any discrimination offense, since she also refused to issue any other marriage licenses. This caused quite a reaction, and several USA Republican candidates for president spoke up for her religious rights and regarding the absurdity of jailing her without bail since there was no danger of her fleeing. Even Pope Francis met with her! The following week a judge in Oregon refused to perform a gay marriage and is now facing disciplinary action.
The radical agenda of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement is not tolerance or civil rights per se, but rather changing society to support their lifestyle and marginalizing those who will not support this agenda. This is not like the civil rights movement of the 1960s when African Americans could not receive services in restaurants, stay in hotels or enter into mainstream society. Indeed, African Americans were marginalized in the society, and civil rights laws were needed to redress this terrible injustice. This is not the case with gays today who are at higher levels of affluence. Public accommodations are open to them. They are elected to public offices. They buy and sell houses wherever they want, and now have equality to serve in the military. But there is one more goal to which the gay agenda people want to press the society. It is to force others into fostering these behaviors and violating their own consciences. Some are thereby forced to be an accomplice to sin. Mike Brown's amazing books on the homosexual movement clearly document this, as well as showing how baseless is the case for biological homosexual predetermination.
This Time is Unique
Note how historically unique this situation is. This is the first time that people who practice a behavior considered immoral by Western consensus going back 4000 years, have been embraced as a specially protected category of people. Why not have special rights for adulterers or sadomasochists? Perhaps this is included under sexual orientation, though the military still disciplines officers for adultery.
In biblical texts it is clear that homosexual relationships are considered a special manifestation of perversion since it is so obvious in our physiology that males and female physical characteristics match and are intended for joining together. The Bible adds to this God's moral design - the requirement that all sexual union be reserved only for covenant marriage. It is not only biblical tradition that considers homosexual behavior immoral, but other non-Western societies as well. In addition to gays, bisexuals and trans-gender people seeking special attention: there is now a bizarre movement to eliminate distinctions in dressing rooms and restrooms according to physical sexual characteristics, instead to go by how a person feels. Indeed, some are saying we should no longer identify boys and girls as such! We should instead give them the opportunity to choose their gender identity for themselves.
The Case for Religious Freedom
This modern tyranny now requires service providers to personally involve themselves in fostering gay behavior. As a consequence, people are told that they should just leave their professions if they are unwilling. But how is this fair to their religious freedom? Religious freedom in this context, would be releasing a photographer to not participate in a gay wedding, or allowing a judge to be free from performing a gay wedding. Indeed, why not just provide exemption for those who have religious reasons for non-involvement? If there are others who will readily provide the same service, what is the problem? This is different than being served in a restaurant, for example, which does is not directly foster the gay lifestyle in serving someone a simple meal.
The problem is that the true motive is not to have a gay wedding, but to publicly reprimand those who don't endorse a way of life. One philosopher called this the motive of a suppressed guilty conscience.
So believers in Yeshua can no longer be judges, or clerks or photographers?! Yet it would be no hardship for gays to simply choose another photographer or another judge. Many would provide the service with no pangs of conscience. So why pick the judge or the photographer who is a known Yeshua-believer? The reason is to persecute those who hold to the classical moral view. The idea is to require a kind of endorsement for gay behavior for all who are involved in any kind of business or public civil role. It is to marginalize Yeshua-believers, and perhaps Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and Mormons. Religion is thereby completely relegated to the private spheres of life.
A Less than Ideal Solution but Still a Solution
A pluralistic society could solve the problem of single sex relationships in a simple way. Covenant commitment rights could be offered to all who want to enter into a civil contractual relationship, whether or not there is any sexual component at all. For example two men or two women who are hetero-sexual but have no desire to marry, could have a life-time covenant with inheritance rights, visitation rights and more. Marriage, on the other hand, could be a religious matter provided by one's community of reference. Many gays and lesbians would not want such a simple solution, since it would end the quest for universal endorsement of their sexual lifestyle.
Israel is not Exempt
This dilemma exists even in Israel. Not too long ago Yad HaShmonah, a Messianic Jewish kibbutz, was prosecuted when they would not rent out their hotel facilities for a lesbian wedding - even though the State of Israel does not actually recognize gay marriage. Since we are partners with Yad HaShmonah and have our Revive Israel facilities there, this greatly affects us. There are unexpected fines to be paid. The moshav now has to redefine itself with less potential for profit.
Yet, if we are in the last days, we should expect such troubles, for the darkness is deepening. As Isaiah foretold, "... the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn" (Isaiah 60:2,3).
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