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Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Proposition 8 and the Value of Marriage, Part 2

I am uncertain whether the same-sex marriage debate is a battle that the church should be fighting, I know it is not my fight. This is why, as delineated in my previous post, my fear is not equal rights given to same-sex couples but the loss of rights taken from church and individual. I want to make it clear that I have always been quick to admit that 1) the church has mishandled the issue of homosexuality both inside and outside the church (see blog "The Charges Against Christians") and 2) there are rights being withheld from same-sex couples on the state and national level that they should have.

However, the implications of current proposed legislation permitting same-sex marriage poses one of the greatest threats to a Christian's freedom of religion and freedom of speech we have seen in our lifetime. The threat is not in the rights given, but the rights taken away if there is nothing written into said proposed legislation protecting the freedom of churches and individuals. What follows was my primary motive in the first blog.

At the risk of passing myself off as prophetic, this debate will continue to rage even as same-sex couples are given not just equal but more rights and privileges beyond those of heterosexual married couples. The debate will continue because what they are fighting for is not equal rights, but equal value in the minds of Americans. This will only be established when they have changed how our children are taught and even what our churches can preach. If you disagree, consider the following:

1) Any school that teaches or even talks about marriage would have to change their content. This was a big factor in the Yes on 8 Campaign, because anyone with kids in the public school would be effected, without a say in the matter. Every state entity would be teaching a counter morality (and therefore inherently religious) subject which seems to encroach on the First Amendment and the establishment of religion.

2) Any person or organization who speaks out against same-sex marriage would see their thoughts and words criminalized as 'hate-speech'. We have already seen this take place in Canada, where one is not allowed to speak or preach on homosexuality and same-sex marriage or refer to the Bible's stance on it. We would most certainly see the same from the state in a hindrance of freedom of speech and an interference in the beliefs and teachings of the church.

3) If same-sex marriage is sanctioned by the state, any church refusing to marry a same-sex couple will be seen as taking a political stance and thus be threatened with losing tax exemption status (this has already taken place in Massachusetts). Similar consequences loom for churches refusing to ordain a homosexual in a same-sex marriage.

These are not examples of rights being withheld from same-sex couples. These are examples of attacks being made on our minds and what we are allowed to value, teach, and even think. If same-sex marriage could be allowed without the infringement of our freedom of speech and religion, perhaps I would consider it. But, from the examples we have already seen, this doesn't seem the likely scenario. As it stands, I cannot rescind on my earlier post but renew my defense of state's current definition of marriage.

I doubt those fighting for same-sex marriage and campaigning on a platform of rights, freedoms, and liberty would defend a parent's right to keep their child from being taught that same-sex marriage is OK and morally equal to heterosexual marriage. Or defend a preacher's freedom to teach what he believes is permissible for his congregation. Or defend a church's liberty to refuse to perform a wedding that they cannot morally endorse.

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