Myths that Led to the Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, Part 10

The daughter of a friend of mine recently told me she believes that “if you think a thing is right and commit yourself to it honestly, then it is right. And so then of course I brought up Adolf Hitler…[T]his principle that she announced endorses him, because he did very surely think that he was right. And I confronted her with that. And that was very hard for her. Implicitly, she had endorsed Adolf Hitler.…Now, you see, she’s got some thinking to do, but she didn’t have before. Because she just thought, ‘there’s a kind of person, and the person is sincere and is deeply committed to some values and pursues them honestly. That’s the right kind of person.’…That means that justification is all inside them.…God knows where that can lead!”
Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College


Note: In addition to highlighting two more myths that led to same-sex marriage in this country, this post sounds the alarm about dangerous legislation in the works in California. Occurrences in other places, including Illinois, also give us cause for concern. In my articles, I frequently drill down to discuss not only what is happening but also the philosophical underpinnings of these events. An excellent concise article on the situation in California, along with a clear explanation of why everyone, not just Californians, should be concerned, can be found here


Key point: However well-intentioned its promoters may be, the LGBT lobby is taking America to a very undesirable place.

This week we conclude our series on myths that led the the recognition of same-sex marriage in America. We’re adding two more myths to our list, bringing our total to eighteen. Be aware that while our list is thorough, it isn’t exhaustive.

Go here for a review of all the myths we cover in this series.

Myth #17: Absolute truth does not exist.

Fact: Absolute truth does indeed exist. This includes immutable principles of right and wrong, which are not determined within individuals, but outside of them. Yet, whenever a culture rejects absolute truth, eventually a set of values—the values of an individual or a group of individuals—is brought to bear on that society—with potentially disastrous results.

For the next few moments, as we begin to consider the myth that absolute truth does not exist, I’d like to ask you to forget that we’ve been discussing homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Instead, consider the matter of absolute truth more broadly: What happens when individuals reject absolute truth? Inevitably, they make up their own truth and attempt to live according to it. They do this with varying degrees of success, because typically reality prevents them from living consistently according to the values they’ve decided to embrace. At other times, people may succeed in following the principles they’ve adopted, but it isn’t uncommon in such a situation for other people to be abused and violated.

Episode 4 of the 6th season of the original Hawaii Five-0 television series provides a great illustration. The episode is titled “One Big Happy Family.” In it, an unusual family arrives in Hawaii and commits a string of murders and thefts. Here is the closing scene. (Additional information about this installment, including a transcript of this scene, is available here.)

On the show, Sadie Ferguson is the name of the woman who offered Steve McGarrett the family’s rationale for killing their victims and stealing from them. Her reasoning sounds bizarre to us, but there’s an advantage in its starkness: In this situation, Sadie’s case sounds every bit as ugly as it really is. Why? Right and wrong do exist, and Sadie and her family had violated universal principles of moral conduct. With the trail of blood and robbery so glaringly obvious, and with the Fergusons’ reasoning so blatantly and obnoxiously self-centered, no one would deny this family was guilty of egregious wrongdoing.

Noble-Sounding Lies

Far more often, reasons to do wrong are just as terrible but not nearly as obviously horrific. Think of some of the noble-sounding excuses people use to justify all kinds of wrong actions.

  • Everybody’s doing it!
  • I can only go around once in life; so I should go for the gusto!
  • I need to be true to myself and follow my feelings.
  • Surely God wouldn’t want me to be unhappy!
  • If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with!

Now, all of us need to realize that no one—whether gay or straight, male or female, young or old—is exempt from falling into the trap of using faulty, crazy reasoning to justify doing whatever he or she want to do, even if God forbids it. Satan is a brilliant strategist, and as we have indicated, the kind of reasoning he uses to convince us to do his bidding often sounds attractive and even noble at first. Also, we often are shortsighted and foolish. Our hearts are evil! We entertain the notion, even unconsciously, that our way is better than God’s. It isn’t!

The good news is that when dangerous-but-noble-sounding “logic” is exposed to the light of God’s truth, those with minds that are open, even just a little bit, to His truth often can see just how foolish and even bizarre such reasoning is. It is, in fact, a lie. It’s also ugly—just as ugly as Sadie Ferguson’s justification for murder and theft. You see, the light of truth peels away the masks that hide the lie and that make the reasoning so attractive!

The good news is that when dangerous-but-noble-sounding “logic” is exposed to the light of God’s truth, those with minds that are open, even just a little bit, to His truth often can see just how foolish and even bizarre such reasoning is. It is, in fact, a lie.

Shedding the Light of Truth on Noble-Sounding, but False Ideas

The Ideas

Now, let’s consider several of the points typically made to justify homosexuality and same-sex marriage today. These ideas are about love, relationships, sexuality, and marriage. Take note—they probably won’t sound all that bizarre initially, partly because we’ve heard them so much, and partly because they appeal to our sense of fairness. In reality, however, they too are ugly—because they deny God’s established truth and His design for humanity. Furthermore, if left unchecked, they inevitably will produce very ugly results.

In June of 2013 after the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, Joshua Bowman wrote an article for catholicvote.org pointing out the weaknesses of several arguments being used to promote same-sex marriage. The arguments included these four, which are quoted below directly from the article.

  • Gay Marriage Doesn’t Hurt Heterosexuals
  • If We Accept Gay Marriage, Peace and Love Will Reign
  • Marriage Is About Love and Commitment
  • Couples that Don’t Have Children Still Get Married

In another article, Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine of Family Life offer reasons for opposing same-sex marriage. They begin, however, by citing three rhetorical questions often used in favor of it. Here they are.

  • If two men are in love, and want to declare their commitment, why should we keep them from marrying each other?
  • If two gays want to be married, aren’t they upholding the institution of marriage rather than weakening it?
  • If a pair of homosexuals want to marry and provide a home for children who would otherwise be without a family, then how can that be wrong?

In addition to these and many more arguments, we often hear this: I was born that way. We addressed this argument in our last post.

The Truth

We have sought to lovingly yet forthrightly push back against many of these ideas in previous articles. Here, suffice it to say that both God and nature speak clearly about what marriage is. Moreover, God states clearly in Scripture that homosexual activity is sinful. In addition to offending God, it also is ultimately harmful in this life to those who engage in it.

You may strongly disagree with me on this. If so, then for the sake of our discussion, please consider for a few minutes the possibility that the points so often made to defend and justify homosexuality and same-sex marriage are indeed lies. I’m not saying they are intentional lies; in fact, most people don’t recognize them as lies at all. If this is true, people have become deceived and have been swept away in a very dangerous direction.

Who Is Imposing Their Morality on Whom?

There’s something else. We don’t have to reach very far back in our memories to recall the loud and forceful objections of militant gay rights advocates to laws criminalizing homosexual behavior and upholding marriage as an institution of one man and one woman for life:

What right to you have to impose your morality on me? 

Yet, now that homosexuality has been decriminalized and marriage has been transformed into an institution that also includes same-sex couples, militant homosexual rights advocates are attempting to impose their on morality on the rest of society.

Years ago, Josh McDowell predicted this would happen.1 This clip comes from a presentation he gave prior to October of 2002. In the soundbite, negative tolerance refers to the old definition of tolerance—respecting those who disagree with us—and positive tolerance refers to the new definition—that all beliefs and values are equal.

We don’t have to look far for evidence of what Mr. McDowell said. On Thursday, April 12, 2017, Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, was raked over the coals (also go here) by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). Watch the exchange.

Ben Shapiro observes that

according to Booker, you must celebrate sin in order to believe there is a right for people to commit sin that has no externalities in a free society. This makes sense from a Leftist point of view, where government is the great instrument of the good, not a mere protector of rights—the same people who try to stamp out dissenting thought through “hate speech” legislation are likely to believe that religious Americans feel the same way about using government to stamp out sin. But they’re wrong. And they’re religious bigots.

Yes, those on the left loudly pushing the militant homosexual cause are religious bigots. Just how bad is it? Currently, in ten states, with a good possibility that Maryland will become the eleventh, minors cannot legally receive professional counseling from a pro-heterosexual perspective to help them deal with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. Such counseling has been outlawed! Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), explains part of the reason: Gay activists have misrepresented and demonized legitimate counseling approaches (also go here)—often called reparative therapy—to help encourage heterosexuality. They have overtaken many professional groups and insist on pro-homosexual counseling regardless of the clients’ desires. The American College of Pediatricians stands out as the rare exception.

Gay activists have misrepresented and demonized legitimate counseling approaches—often called reparative therapy—to help encourage heterosexuality.
—Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays—

And now, things are growing even worse. The gay lobby has become a powerful and arrogant player in American life—so powerful and arrogant, in fact, that it is in the process of imposing it’s own “absolutes” on society at large.

For some time, California has been futile ground for coercive LGBT legislation. Now it could become the first state in the nation to ban reparative therapy for everyone! All forms of it this kind of therapy, even counseling given through the sale of a book and in a religious setting from a religious perspective. In a Facebook post, former Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon calls the proposal “the biggest effort at book banning, the banning of counseling services and church conferences, the banning of academic courses, and a general banning of free speech in the history of the United States.” He warns, “Any counselor that suggests to clients that homosexual practice or transgender identification is in any way wrong or unhealthy, irrespective of whether they offer ‘orientation change’ services will become a criminal in the eyes of the state.”

Any counselor that suggests to clients that homosexual practice or transgender identification is in any way wrong or unhealthy, irrespective of whether they offer “orientation change” services will become a criminal in the eyes of the state.
Robert A. J. Gagnon

On television, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp sounded the alarm.

As we have seen in the past, what happens in California has implications for the entire country. Since when does the government have any business preventing an adult from receiving a counseling service he or she wants and is willing to pay for? We may be on the cusp of entering a day when, even though the government has no business whatsoever doing this, it does it anyway! I would encourage you to find out more about AB 2943 here and here.

And be aware: It is especially significant that while AB 2943 prohibits pro-heterosexual counseling to help anyone with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender issues, another proposal AB 2119, “adds the mandate that ‘foster care kids struggling with transgender feelings [must] have access to ‘gender affirming’ counseling, puberty blocking drugs, and sex-change operations.'”

The new tolerance, therefore, is a one-way street down which a steam-roller is barreling, squashing everyone standing in its way!

The new tolerance, therefore, is a one-way street down which a steam-roller is barreling, squashing everyone standing in its way!

Make no mistake. This is tyranny! But it is the inevitable place to which society will go when it abandons absolute truth and one group becomes powerful enough to impose it’s own morality on the whole.

Myth #18: Since absolute truth does not exist, government can manipulate the meaning of marriage to mean whatever it deems appropriate.

Fact: This myth returns us to the place where we started in this series. In part 1 we considered four myths that related to the courts, government, law, and the US Constitution. I encourage you to return there for that discussion.

With Malice Toward Note; With Charity for All

As Abraham Lincoln did during his Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865, I convey these ideas “with malice toward none [and] with charity for all.” We began this post with a quote about the fact that a failure to affirm absolute truth essentially gives a green light to tyrannical actions like those of Adolf Hitler. We next cited an episode from Hawaii Five-0, the original series, that demonstrates what can happen when an individual or a group comes up with their own absolute truth. Let me be clear. I am not saying the leaders of the LGBT community are like Hitler or that the thefts and robberies depicted on a television crime show present a picture of exactly what the gay lobby wants to accomplish.

A book-burning in Nazi Germany, 1933.

I am saying that these represent the kinds of ends to which a society’s or an a group’s abandonment of absolute truth will lead. And significantly, one parallel between AB 2943 and Nazi Germany is glaringly evident: the censorship of books! Without question, the militant LGBT lobby is becoming more and more coercive and tyrannical.

Their agenda must be opposed, lest America be held for generations to come in bondage to all myths that led to same-sex marriage.

 


Update on AB 2943, Thursday, April 19, 2018: Assembly votes to violate the 1st Amendment


Go here for summaries of all the articles in this series.

Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

top image: California State Capitol in Sacramento, California, by Andre m

Note:

1 Josh McDowell, “Tolerating the Intolerable,” Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, aired on March 21 and March 22, 2013. The clip presented here comes from the broadcast on March 21. Mr. McDowell’s talk had aired earlier on Focus on the Family. A CD copy of the Focus on the Family broadcast indicates that the program “last aired in October of 2002.” Josh’s website is www.josh.org.

Myths that Led to the Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, Part 9

All laws banning homosexual activity will be revoked. Instead legislation shall be passed which engenders love between men.…The family unit—spawning ground of lies, betrayals, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence—will be abolished. The family unit, which only dampens imagination and curbs free will, must be eliminated. Perfect boys will be conceived and grown in the genetic laboratory. They will be bonded together in a communal setting, under the control and instruction of homosexual savants.
Michael Swift, homosexual activist—

Key point: The fact that militant gay activists had to engage in a massive public relations campaign to entice the public to accept homosexuality as normal shows that it isn’t normal in any of the ways they claim and that same-sex couples never can have a marriage. Homosexuality may feel normal to those with same-sex attraction, but there is a better way.

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The truth, Jesus said, will set you free. In following the truth, we find the way out of bondage! This is true for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike!

We move now in our series on myths that led to the recognition of same-sex marriage in America to consider two more myths, these about homosexuality.

Go here for a review of all the myths we cover in this series.

Myth #15: Homosexuality is on par with heterosexuality.

Fact: The dynamics of a heterosexual relationship—one man with one woman—stand in sharp contrast to the relationship held by two men or two women.

In an incredibly short period of time—in less than twenty short years, writes Al Mohler — “homosexuality has moved from ‘the love that dares not speak its name,’ to the center of America’s public life.” Mohler contends that this rapid and pervasive change in public attitude is attributable to one of the most successful propaganda strategies ever implemented. He’s right.

In 1987, an article titled “Overhauling Straight America” laid out a plan to win the country over to acceptance of homosexuality. It said in part,

The first order of business is desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights. To desensitize the public is to help it view homosexuality with indifference instead of with keen emotion. Ideally, we would have straights register differences in sexual preference the way they register different tastes for ice cream or sports games: she likes strawberry and I like vanilla; he follows baseball and I follow football. No big deal. At least in the beginning, we are seeking public desensitization and nothing more. We do not need and cannot expect a full “appreciation” or “understanding” of homosexuality from the average American. You can forget about trying to persuade the masses that homosexuality is a good thing. But if only you can get them to think that it is just another thing, with a shrug of their shoulders, then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won. And to get to shoulder-shrug stage, gays as a class must cease to appear mysterious, alien, loathsome and contrary. A large-scale media campaign will be required in order to change the image of gays in America. And any campaign to accomplish this turnaround should do six things:

Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible
Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers
Giver protectors a just cause
Make gays look good
Make the victimizers look bad
Solicit funds: The buck stops here


You can forget about trying to persuade the masses that homosexuality is a good thing. But if only you can get them to think that it is just another thing, with a shrug of their shoulders, then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won.
— “Overhauling Straight America,” a strategic article for gay activism written in 1987 —


You’ll have to give these public relations experts a great deal of credit. Their strategy has been more successful than even they ever could have dreamed.

Consequently, many Americans, “with a shrug of their shoulders,” do indeed see homosexuality as “another thing.” As we noted in a post dated June 30 of last year,

A new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center “found that two years after Obergefell, the Supreme Court decision that required states to recognized [sic] same-sex marriages nationwide, support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally is at its highest point in more than 20 years.” Among Republicans and those leaning Republican, support was essentially tied, with 48 percent opposing same-sex marriage and 47 percent favoring it. We need only go back to 2013 to find a large gap among Republicans. At that time they opposed the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples 61 to 33 percent!

The survey also found that while white Protestants in the evangelical tradition oppose same-sex marriage 59 to 35 percent,

younger white evangelicals have grown more supportive: 47 percent of white evangelical Millennials and Gen Xers—age cohorts born after 1964—favor same-sex marriage, up from 29 percent in March 2016.

Additionally, while African-Americans have generally been less supportive than whites of redefining marriage, since 2015 support among blacks has increased 12 points—from 39 percent to a majority—51 percent.

Overall, 62 versus 32 percent of Americans favor same-sex marriage. Contrast that to findings in 2010, when Americans opposed the idea 48 to 42 percent.

These Perceptions Don’t Fit Reality

The overwhelming success of the homosexual public relations campaign notwithstanding, stark differences between a heterosexual relationship and a homosexual one remain. In other words, these perceptions of homosexuality as “another thing” and “a good thing” simply do not square with reality. Let’s take a hard, long look at reality.

  1. The bodies of a husband and wife fit together. This fitting is clear to us “in the outlines of the genitalia of a male and a female. This is a fitting that obviously is not present with two men or two women. Moreover, sexual intercourse involves precisely one man and one woman. The human bodies of the man and the woman therefore point to monogamy and sexual exclusivity—and those of same sex couples point to abstinence from sexual activity altogether.”
  2. Only a heterosexual union can produce children. But wait! someone will say. Some heterosexual couples are childless. First, exceptions do not negate the rule, and second, childless heterosexual couples are not the same as childless same-sex couples. If a heterosexual couple cannot produce a child, there is a reason other than the fact that their relationship involves a member of each of the two sexes. We know without doubt why two men never will become parents on their own, and why two women will forever remain childless between themselves: Same-sex couples have an innate inability to produce children.
  3. The bodies of a husband and wife work together during sexual intercourse to enhance the probability that the wife’s egg will be fertilized by her husband’s sperm.
  4. When a baby arrives, the tiny boy or girl “is totally helpless. She needs nourishment on a regular basis. He needs to have his diapers changed—repeatedly. We are truly deaf and blind in the most extreme sense if we fail to see that nature’s way of bringing a new human life into the world also makes a clear and bold statement about who should have the primary responsibility to care for newborns when they arrive.” The husband and father, who is physically stronger, is better equipped to protect and provide for his wife and the children that result from their union. The wife and mother is better equipped to nurture and care for her children. This does not mean a woman never can have a career outside the home, but let’s listen to what nature says in and through a woman’s body about meeting infants’ physical needs. She and she alone can produce milk that nourishes her children. While it’s true that some women can’t produce enough milk and that some prefer to bottle-feed rather than breastfeed (the couple’s choice), this does not negate at all the natural ability that women have to feed their newborns. Alarmingly, recently a biological man made national headlines because hormone therapy had made it possible for him to breastfeed—but at significant risk to his baby. Mark it down! It is undeniable that he was not “born that way”!
  5. Because of the innate differences between men and women, heterosexual couples experience a relational mystery that is non-existent among same-sex couples. While homosexuals often do experience a sense mystery with regard to their own sex or gender, the mystery of which I write here is focused on the opposite sex, and consequently, in a heterosexual relationship, on the other person. When a couple approaches this relational dynamic properly, it serves to enhance their relationship and cement their bond.
  6. Male-female differences can be seen in parenting styles. Children need both the strong influence of a father and the encouraging, nurturing touch of a mother.
  7. Natural reproduction “isn’t just about caring for babies and children so they will grow up to become responsible individuals; it’s also about maintaining a healthy society for years to come. The future of the human race depends on reproducing it so those dying out can be replaced. This can occur only with heterosexual couples. As Charles Colson put it, ‘The survival of the human race depends upon marriage as the institution by which we procreate and perpetuate civilization.’”1
  8. The majority opinion in the Obergefell marriage ruling states, “Four principles and traditions demonstrate that the reasons marriage is fundamental under the Constitution apply with equal force to same-sex couples. The first premise of this Court’s relevant precedents is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy.” The decision also says, “The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs.” The ruling’s emphasis on autonomy (and here we’ve cited just two examples) stands in stark contrast to the interdependency that is inherent, and inherently necessary, in a marriage. To “become one,” selflessness and sacrifice are necessary. I realize that with regard to same-sex couples, we are speaking of “committed relationships.” So why is it that the ruling has to underscore individual autonomy so much? If it didn’t, the ruling couldn’t justify making same-sex relationships eligible for marriage. Yet in doing so, the ruling contradicts one of the core principles of marriage!
  9. Homosexuality is associated with increased risks to one’s psychological health (also go here). Although researchers may speculate that the cause of these risks is discrimination against gays and lesbians, this trend is evident even in the most gay-friendly places.
  10. Homosexuality is associated with increased risks to one’s physical health. Heterosexual intercourse, obviously, is not the same as homosexual intercourse. Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family puts it politely—but you readily can understand what he means.

One of the key reasons for the significant risk of disease and physical trauma associated with homosexuality is due to the design of human anatomy and how this anatomy is misused during homosexual sex. The bodies of two individuals who are of the same sex are not designed to be united sexually. Homosexual activity misuses parts of the body that produce no natural secretions to protect against infection and that are designed to carry out other bodily functions.

By contrast, body parts that unite in exclusive, marital, heterosexual sex were created for that activity by God. God also designed the human body so that it protects itself against abrasion and infection, and thus disease, naturally. Sexual fidelity between a husband and wife also keeps infection and disease at bay. In other words, a woman and a man were created by God for sexual union in marriage; the bodies of a husband and wife fit together.2

We therefore are back to item #1.

Another writer, Dr. Paul Cameron, doesn’t describe the situation as politely as does Mr. Stanton (also go here). Yet, we need their descriptions, because they help us more readily understand why homosexuality puts health and even life expectancies at risk.

While here we have not up to this point emphasized the biblical and theological reasons homosexuality is harmful and wrong, this perspective also is important. Go here to read an excellent article that cites biblical teachings on this matter.

Myth #16: Homosexuality is primarily an identity, not a behavior.

Fact: Despite the pervasiveness of the idea that homosexuality is an identity, it is inseparably linked to behavior. Thus, to effectively grapple with and understand homosexuality, it should be seen this way. This is not to say that we shouldn’t be sensitive to those who see themselves in terms of a gay identity, but it is to say seeing oneself in this way will hold a person unnecessarily in bondage to the gay lifestyle.

Writing for Focus on the Family, Jeff Johnston accurately observes,

Over time, the definition of homosexuality has shifted from being a behavior to a condition to an identity. In the Bible, for example, the focus is on the behavior. Scripture says don’t engage in this activity.

As Christians, we don’t want to define people by their attractions or struggle. We should look beyond homosexuality to see a person as a sacred human being created in the image of God. “Being straight” or “being gay” may be the way the culture likes to label people; however, it’s not how God determines our identity or worth. God bases our worth on His unchanging, unfailing, eternal love for us.

The idea that homosexuality legitimately can be considered an identity is reinforced if it it is natural and normal. But is it? Are individuals really “born that way”? I’d like to answer this question from three different angles.

First, in an important sense, everyone is “born that way” — meaning born with a pull to live apart from God and to do whatever he or she wants to do. Just ask Emily Thomes, who was liberated when she discovered that because she was first and foremost made in God’s image, her base desires did not have to enslave her. She admits to being born with an inclination to follow sinful desires. This is indeed the natural condition of every person.

Emily does not mean, however, that homosexuality is a biological trait. In fact, no “gay gene” ever has been discovered. Thus, no evidence exists that homosexuality has a purely genetic cause (go here, here, and here).

Homosexuality can legitimately be considered natural in a second sense as well. Mark it down, though! Our qualifications here are vitally important, so please read this section carefully. In the vast majority of cases, a person experiencing same-sex attraction (SSA) did not choose those desires. For some, the desires arise, and no specific environmental or experiential cause can be pinpointed. This doesn’t mean the urges are rooted solely in one’s DNA, without other influences. Just because an environmental factor can’t readily be recognized does not mean one or more aren’t present. Also, especially among the young, the cultural allure to “be gay because gay is cool” is everywhere. And while we cannot say that homosexuality is purely a choice, neither can we deny that choices—including deliberate, conscious ones—are involved. For such choices, individuals must indeed bear personal responsibility.

Perhaps an illustration will help. We readily acknowledge that in numerous instances the inclination to steal, lie, or cheat on one’s spouse is quite natural. Also, each of these feels natural. Would it be a good and healthy thing to follow through on any of these urges? No. Not everything that can be deemed natural necessarily is good!

Finally, from a third standpoint, homosexuality is unnatural because it violates God’s design for human beings, the human family, and society at large. The above list of ten items is rooted in the principle that human beings are designed a certain way, for a specific purpose. Homosexuality violates these purposes and thus produces hurtful and harmful results.

Again, it’s important to remember that we never should define people, or allow ourselves to be defined, by urges and inclinations. The identity myth does exactly this.


The identity myth defines people according to their urges and desires. This fails to treat people with the dignity and respect they deserve.


Not only did this myth, along with others, lead to Obergefell, it now reinforces it. Even so, no one has to remain in bondage to homosexual desires. Again, ask Emily Thomes. You also can ask Stephen Black, who tells his story here. Stephen is the executive director of First Stone Ministries and the author of Freedom Realized! Freedom from Homosexuality & Living a Life Free from Labels.

Don’t be taken in my the myths! Reality, in the long run, is far better! In other words, when we cooperate with reality, we find and can fulfill our God-given purpose on this earth. That purpose never involves remaining in homosexuality—even if same-sex attractions remain.

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The myths keep us in bondage, but reality—the truth in Christ—shows us the way out.

 

Part 10 is available here.

Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

image credit: top image, www.lightstock.com

1Charles Colson with Anne Morse, My Final Word, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 142.

2Glenn Stanton, “Homosexuality: A Christian Perspective” in A Single Pursuit, Winter, 1998-99, (Nashville: LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1998), 85.

An Easter Surprise

The disciples were expecting Jesus to conquer the Romans and install Himself as King. To their minds, the Messiah would be the conquering King. The predictions by Jesus of His death were not heeded. When He did die, they were totally unprepared.
—Don Stewart1

A condensed version of this article is available here.

As Pastor and author Don Stewart affirms in the above quote, the disciples saw Jesus as a conquering Messiah who would rescue Israel from the Romans. Their hopes were dashed after they saw Jesus arrested, tried, beaten, crucified, and buried. It was over. Jesus was dead.

No disrespect is intended here, I assure you. In describing the certainty of Jesus’ death, it seems appropriate to borrow from Charles Dickens. “Yes, Jesus was dead. Dead as a door-nail. There was no doubt whatever about that!”

Descent from the Cross by Peter Paul Rubens

Jesus’ followers, however, were in for a huge Easter surprise! Jesus had died on a Passover Friday. Following the Passover, early on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene made her way to Jesus’ burial cave and found it empty. Right away she went to Peter and John and told them someone or a group of people — “they” — had removed Jesus body, and she didn’t know where they’d put it.

20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him” (John 20:1-2).

Doubtlessly curious, the two disciples went to the tomb themselves to see if they could figure out what had happened. What they would see would change their lives forever!

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes (John 20:3-10).

John’s account rings with simplicity, and at the same time, authenticity. Here is an eyewitness simply relating what he actually had experienced. Peter and John started to make their way to the burial site. In their excitement and curiosity, they “ran together,” but soon John outran Peter, so he was the first to arrive. John, “stooping down and looking in,” saw Jesus’ grave clothes but didn’t venture in. Peter then arrived and went in. Inside, Peter “saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around his head.” The “handkerchief”—the “cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head” (NIV)—was separate from the rest of the linen cloths, “folded together in a place by itself.” At this point, John also entered, and “saw and believed.” Peter and John did not yet fully understand all that had occurred; verse 9 tells us that “as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” Even so, this was a pivotal moment for these two close followers of Jesus in terms of their understanding and in terms of their commitment to the One who had taught and mentored them for three years.

Knowing About Burial Preparations Helps Us Understand What Peter and John Saw

Let’s rewind in our minds the events of the previous few days to Friday afternoon when Jesus’ body was prepared for burial. John 19:38-42 says that after Jesus had died on the cross and had been confirmed dead,

Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.

According to Jewish custom of that day, no less than two persons were needed to prepare a body for burial. The body was washed thoroughly with lukewarm water. Those involved in the preparation made sure the mouth of the corpse was covered so that none of the water would get inside.2

After they had washed the body, those working on it prepared the burial spices. In Jesus’ case, probably 75 to 100 pounds of aromatic spices were used; we see in verse 39 that Nicodemus had brought with him “a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.” Myrrh, a gummy substance, was blended together with the spices and aloes—fragrant wood that had been pounded into dust particles. The preparers then wrapped the body in linen cloths that women had sewn together without using a knot a single time. A minimum of three linen garments had to be used.3

Beginning at the feet and moving toward the head, the preparers wrapped the body in the linen cloths, placing the myrrh and spices between the folds as they worked. They wrapped the body in this fashion from the feet to the armpits; then, with the deceased’s arms placed alongside the wrapped torso, preparers enveloped the arms in the linen and spices as well. They continued this process all the way up to the neck. For the head, they used an additional, separate cloth. What was the total weight of the encasement for an adult? Typically, about 117 to 120 pounds.4

Encasement is an appropriate word to use here, because that’s just what it was. The myrrh and spices placed between the linen cloths hardened. The grave clothes, therefore, did not consist of loose material but became a shell snugly surrounding the deceased individual.5

Back to the Tomb

Now, return to the tomb in your mind. Do you now see why Peter and John were blown away? What an Easter surprise this was! These disciples didn’t see the linen material that had enveloped Jesus’ body wadded up into a heap or otherwise loosely placed. Nor did they see the grave clothes neatly folded and resting where Jesus’ body had been situated after it was brought into the tomb; although, as the Scripture indicates, the headpiece was “folded together in a place by itself.” The “linen cloths lying there”—the grave clothes that had surrounded Jesus’ body—now were an empty shell made of linen and hardened myrrh.6

Here was proof positive that no one had taken Jesus’ body. Had anyone or any group of people stolen it, they would have had to carry out the grave clothes with it! Otherwise, they would have had to cut open the encasement and pry the body loose—something they would have had neither the time nor the resources to do.

The hollow encasement lay there, intact. No rips, tears, or cuts! Even though Peter and John didn’t yet understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead, they knew that something supernatural had happened.

John testified that he “saw and believed.” No wonder!

The Miraculous Catch of Fish by Duccio This portrays a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to His disciples. See John 21:1-14

And this was just the beginning. As Luke later would write, Jesus “also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them [the apostles] during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

Jesus is risen, indeed!

 

Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Note: The content of this article is available in two separate articles (also written by B. Nathaniel Sullivan) at www.sundayschoolzone.com (here and here).

Notes:

1Don Stewart, You Be the Judge, (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1983), 71.

2Josh and Sean McDowell, Evidence for the Resurrection, (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2009), 174.

3,4,5McDowell and McDowell, 175

6McDowell and McDowell, 194.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Scripture passage marked NIV has been taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Myths that Led to the Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, Part 8

A Call to Return to Bedrock Principles

The act of uniting a man and a woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.
Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. Heb 13
Founding Father Noah Webster, defining the word marriage in his classic and comprehensive dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition—

Key point: Marriage as it has been redefined by the Supreme Court positions the state against the God-ordained institutions of marriage and the family, and consequently, against God Himself. In such a conflict, Christians must choose whether they will follow the state’s definition of marriage or God’s.

  • A condensed version of this article is available here.
  • Go here for summaries of all the articles in this series.

Myth #14: Same-sex marriage has implications for the same-sex couple only, and not for others. “If don’t agree with same-sex marriage,” we were told, “don’t worry. “Changing the definition of marriage won’t affect you!”

Fact: Changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples totally alters the nature of marriage in the eyes of government and in the eyes of society. The implications for families are ominous—even those who, for all the right reasons, firmly hold that marriage is what God and nature have declared it to be.

Many scholars contend that Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language is “the finest English dictionary ever published.” It’s definition of marriage, which is printed above, is enlightening not only with regard to the definition itself—what marriage really is—but also with regard to the perspective on marriage held in the days and years when the United States of America still was putting down its roots as a nation.

Also very telling are the dictionary’s definitions of the words masculine and feminine.

Masculine:
1. Having the qualities of a man; strong; robust; as a masculine body.
2. Resembling man; coarse; opposed to delicate or soft; as masculine features.
3. Bold; brave; as a masculine spirit or courage.

Feminine:
The first syllable may be and probably is from wemb or womb, by use of the for w; the not being radical [not belonging to the root of the word]. The last part of the word is probably from man, quasi, femman, [hence] womb-man.
1. Pertaining to a woman, or to women, or to females; as the female sex.
2. Soft; tender; delicate. Her heavenly form angelic, but more soft and feminine
3. Effeminate; destitute of manly qualities.

Portrait of Noah Webster (1758-1843) by Samuel F. B. Morse

These definitions undoubtedly will sound outdated to many today, but hopefully they will sound refreshing to many others. Founding Father Noah Webster was in touch with reality!

Do not misunderstand. I’m not saying that a man can’t ever be tender or that a woman can’t ever be strong. Yet, even with all the cultural confusion surrounding gender issues today, when we contrast the two sexes in a general way, noting their characteristics and their differences, we see that Noah Webster was right on target. He knew what masculinity, femininity, and marriage were, and are.

Again, the definition of marriage in Webster’s 1828 dictionary is as follows.

The act of uniting a man and a woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.
Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. Heb 13

Definitions Matter

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States changed the definition of marriage nationwide to include same-sex couples. From a legal perspective, a scant majority of Supreme Court justices didn’t change marriage a little bit or even a lot. Instead, they reshaped it completely, altering the very nature of the institution from the inside out. In other words, the Supreme Court recreated marriage to make it mean something diametrically opposed to what it always has meant, and what it means inherently when one man and one woman—one, and only one, of each sex—come together to be united for life and to form a new family. Thus, the change wasn’t one of degree, but of kind.

The Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage didn’t change marriage in terms of degree; rather it established a new kind of institution we still call marriage. But it isn’t marriage at all.

In a previous post, I wrote that the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage actually denies what it means

to be a human being. Natural man-woman marriage, you see, affirms what being a human being is all about. This is not to say that single people or homosexual individuals aren’t human; of course they are! It is to say that natural marriage affirms what being human means. Same-sex “marriage” doesn’t just distort that affirmation; it eliminates it—because if two men or two women can marry each other and have exactly what one man and one woman married to each other have (this notion obviously is a lie), marriage has nothing to do with sex, procreation, children, fatherhood, motherhood, male-female dynamics in a relationship, or anything else that truly makes marriage what it is, and that makes being a human being what he or she is.

David Fowler

Well, does the revised definition of marriage really eliminate the dynamic of male-female differences from the institution of marriage? In the eyes of the government, the answer is yes. Christians desperately need to understand the implications of this for the family and for society as a whole.

Former Tennessee state senator and Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler has seriously considered this matter. In a series of five short articles he articulates the problem, the need, and the challenge that lies before supporters of man-woman marriage. Here are links to those articles and a brief summary of the issues he highlights.

  • Are Tennessee’s Evangelical Pastors Licensing Same-Sex ‘Marriages’? (Feb. 16, 2018) Pastors, and many Christians as well, have tended to think that post-Obergefell, opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages remain very different. In a practical sense they are correct, because no same-sex couple—married or not—ever can have what an opposite sex couple has. Yet in a legal sense they are wrong: a heterosexual marriage in the eyes of the government is a relationship identical to a same-sex marriage! Are pastors who are performing wedding ceremonies for heterosexual couples tacitly lending their support to marriage redefined? They need to consider this issue very carefully.
  • Should Christian Couples Get Legally Married? (Feb. 22, 2018) Just as pastors who officiate wedding ceremonies need to think long and hard about whether they should perform state-recognized marriages, so should a heterosexual Christian couple considering marriage also ask if they really want their marriage to be defined by the state.
  • How Long Before Parents Have to be Licensed by the State? (March 1, 2018) If marriage no longer is at all about male-female differences in the eyes of the state, then biological parents no longer can make the point that their genetic ties to their children give them any special rights as parents. Just ask a couple in Ohio who, in late February, lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter who desires to become a male through hormone treatment. How can a judge make such a ruling? According to Fowler, what happened “shouldn’t really shock anyone, given that the following was the very first sentence in the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex ‘marriage,’ Obergefell v. Hodges: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.'” Do you now see how marriage redefined can mean parental rights obliterated? In the eyes of the government, heterosexual couples—even those who are biological parents—are identical to same-sex couples who have no innate ability to reproduce.

In the eyes of the government, heterosexual couples—even those who are biological parents—are identical to same-sex couples who have no innate ability to reproduce.

  • A Really Hard Question: What Is Marriage Worth to You? (March 9, 2018) What should Christians and other supporters of natural marriage do when the state says marriage is something that it absolutely is not? Do couples have the right to marry without state approval? Yes. These marriages are called common law marriages, and they have been deemed legitimate by the Supreme Court. Common law entails the principle that there is a form of law that predates civil government and that civil government merely acknowledges. So a common law marriage is one not grounded in a statute by which civil government gives its “permission” for a marriage. According to the Supreme Court, most of the early marriage laws in America were not conferring on a couple the right to marry, but allowing them to register marriage and provide evidence to third parties of the marriage. The common law does not recognize any same-sex relationship as a marriage; it sees marriage as solely a heterosexual, 2-person union. Be forewarned! Were a state to adopt common law with regard to marriage, get ready for intense LGBT pressure, including severe economic blackmail, against that state. Were this to happen in your state, where would you stand?
  • What Are Inalienable Rights and Liberty Worth to You?  (March 16, 2018) Our form of government rests upon a foundation that includes the principle “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Is the right to marry also one of those rights, or is it a right that comes from and can be adjusted and changed by government and government alone? When the Supreme Court insisted that states cannot deny same-sex couples the “right” to marry, it essentially said to them they are beholden to the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution and that no law is higher. Marriage, however, was instituted by God and predates the Supreme Court, Congress, the US Presidency, and, for that matter, the United States of America itself! As a matter of fact, the institution of marriage predates any and all governments. Are we willing to push back against the Supreme Court on this matter? If we’re not willing to push back on the issue of marriage, will we be willing to push back on any issue? Where do you stand?

So, anyone who says, Hey, if you don’t agree with same-sex marriage, make sure you don’t have one! is sorely misled—and misleading others. Same-sex marriage affects us all! Let’s make sure we’re ready to resist in the most Christlike and effective of ways.

The future of liberty depends on it!

 

Part 9 is available here.

Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Listen to the latest (March 21, 2018) FACT Report — “Are Inalienable Rights Dead?” — from the Family Action Council of Tennessee.

top image credit: www.lightstock.com
image credit: David Fowler

Myths that Led to the Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, Part 7

This is all coming from a tolerant loving community? An open-minded community that seeks to be understood and wants to understand others?

We’re not going anywhere…. We will love anybody who walks through our doors. We will not condemn anybody—but we will not back down from what Jesus tells us.

Pastor Jeremy Schossau of Metro City Church outside Detroit, Michigan—


A Plea to the Church


Key point: The debate over marriage, sexuality, and gender issues represents the front lines of spiritual warfare today.


Go here for summaries of all the articles in this series.

Myth #14: Same-sex marriage has implications for the same-sex couple only, and not for others. “If don’t agree with same-sex marriage,” we were told, “don’t worry. “Changing the definition of marriage won’t affect you!”

Fact: Same-sex marriage and all the “rights” that flow from it relating to gender and gender identity issues will affect everyone and every institution—perhaps especially the church. The good news, however, is that the church can help people find the truth about matters related to gender and sexuality. Everyone needs a compass in his or her life. Today is a day of opportunity, and the church must seize it!

Lake Ingle is a senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he is a religious studies major. At this point, however, his planned graduation, scheduled for May, is in doubt. Why? Because he challenged his professor in the classroom, pointing out that officially, biologists say only two genders—male and female—exist. You can learn the details of what is happening to him here.

Sadly, this is the kind of day and world in which we live! It is undeniable that confusion over gender and gender identity issues has intensified since June of 2015 when the Supreme Court struck down laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman in all fifty states. Moreover, the confusion will grow even more widespread and intense. Everyone, and every institution, will be affected.

Indoctrinating the Young

It is well known that in education, the militant LGBT movement doesn’t focus just on young adults in colleges and universities. They hone in on children, even kindergarteners! Statement #93 of our “95 Theses for the Protestant Evangelical Church in the 21st Century” reads as follows:

[T]he militant LGBT movement is targeting America’s children and is succeeding in indoctrinating them. The movement is using America’s institutions, including the public schools, in their quest. The church has failed to educate itself regarding this specific threat, has failed to warn parents, and has failed to equip them to protect their children from the onslaught. Again, for more information go herehere, and here.

To this group of three articles, we can add this one as well.

Even something seemingly as innocuous as a picture of a teacher’s spouse on his or her desk can make a profound impression on a child. A male teacher may have a photo of his “husband” on his desk, or a woman teacher a photo of her “wife.” “Who is that?” a student may ask, and the answer communicates a great deal more than the idea that the individual pictured is a member of the teacher’s family. Parents’ objections will have no effect, because the government, after all, has said that two men or two women can “marry” — and that by itself is essentially a verdict that the relationship is normal.1

Five Audio Clips and a Video Tell an Important Story

Returning to the responsibility of the church with regard the LGBT agenda and it’s impact on children, families, and society, it is good news indeed that not every church has remained silent against the backdrop of the militant LGBT effort to indoctrinate kids. Yet too few have, and those that do are vilified. Recently, one church simply moved to offer a listening ear and loving guidance to young women with questions and concerns about sexuality and gender identity issues. Here’s what happened.

Metro City Church is a Christ-centered, outreach-oriented, multi-campus church outside of Detroit, Michigan. Jeremy Schossau [pronounced SHAW-so] is the founder and lead pastor of the church. Pastor Jeremy

Pastor Jeremy Schossau
  • understands the desperate need teens have for clarity on gender and gender related issues,
  • realizes how the Bible and a biblical worldview provide answers to pressing questions, even about that, and
  • seeks to address those pressing questions not only with biblical truth but also with compassion and love.

The Workshop

Moreover, he leads his church to do the same in all three of these areas. Accordingly, earlier this year, Metro City Church offered a workshop for girls ages 12-16. The “Unashamed Identity Workshop” is designed to help girls with questions about gender identity or who are struggling with uncertainty about their sexual orientation. At the sessions, participants find caring adults who listen. Then, through conversation and biblical counsel, leaders answer questions and provide loving guidance. No one is condemned or coerced. Among other things, the young women learn that at their age, asking questions is normal, and having concerns about one’s sexual orientation does not mean an individual is gay, lesbian, or bisexual (also go here). The church launched the program and advertised it through its website and Facebook page.

Kudos to Pastor Jeremy and his church! They have done exactly the kind of thing that Jesus would do were He still on the earth. He would be unafraid of any issue and willing to speak both compassionately and truthfully in order to meet people’s needs. Although He never intentionally would try to be controversial, He would not shy away from any topic just because it might be controversial.

And consider this. People in the church who are struggling with these kinds of issues often feel they’ll be misunderstood or condemned if they ask questions or share concerns. Just offering such a workshop sends an important message: Here is a safe place to ask questions and find answers. Of course, the church must to an excellent job leading the group; but when it does, the sessions themselves reinforce the initial invitation to come and ask questions. 

Despite all these benefits, a backlash erupted—from outside the church walls.

The Backlash

Quite likely, many people objected to what the church was doing because they didn’t fully understand the nature of the workshop sessions and just how the girls involved were being counseled. At least some others—perhaps even many—either didn’t care how the church was doing what it was doing or they knew and engaged in a deliberate misinformation campaign. Add political pressure to the mix as well. It didn’t take long for some Michigan state legislators to urge the state’s attorney general to investigate the church.

Metro City Church was thrust onto the national stage, and Pastor Jeremy made every effort to clarify what his church was doing, why, and how he and his church saw the people in the larger community.

Many churches refuse to address anything related to homosexuality or gender issues because it is “too controversial.” They fear they might become targets of militant gay activists, just as Metro City Church has become. While I understand their fears, they need to realize that even if they “stay on the sidelines” of this issue, they still will not be spared the effects of militant gay activists’ efforts to silence the church.

There’s something else—something I don’t understand. I don’t understand a church’s unwillingness to help people in the areas where they are questioning and hurting the most. If we do not help our young people sort out issues relating to homosexuality and gender identity, then others will “help” them in ways we don’t want them to, and we will have lost our opportunity set their feet on the path God wants them to walk! I’m not talking about coercion, but loving guidance. This is a spiritual battle, and pastor Jeremy and his church, to their eternal credit, are on the front lines!

The Lies Teens Hear and Are Tempted to Believe

On the February 13th edition of Family Research Council’s radio program Washington Watch, FRC President Tony Perkins talked with Pastor Jeremy about the workshop.

Take a moment and reflect on what Pastor Jeremy just said. Members of the gay community—or at least some members of the gay community—are telling young people that if they are questioning their sexuality or sexual orientation, it’s an indication that they must be gay! Yet having questions about one’s sexuality in the teen years is quite normal, and it categorically does not indicate he or she is a homosexual or will become one. Significantly, nor do feelings of attraction to the same sex! In the vast, vast majority of cases, these feelings will naturally disappear! Young people are being deceived—and if the church will not counter these lies, who will?

Young people are being deceived about gender identity issues, and if the church will not counter these lies, who will?

Bringing Parents and Teens Together

There’s something else Metro City Church is doing right. It is involving parents in the workshop. Parental participation is encouraged, but not mandatory if the teen feels uncomfortable with her parents being present at all the sessions. This ought to be a no-brainer to people, but apparently parental involvement frightens militant gay activists.

A Platform to Declare the Gospel

Finally, it is noteworthy that God has used this “firestorm” to give Metro City Church and Pastor Jeremy Schossau a national platform to present the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have discussed at length the relationship between God’s design for marriage and the gospel, and considered how upholding marriage is one of the most effective ways to uphold the gospel. Metro City Church and its pastor are remaining faithful, and they are not backing down. Consistently, they are telling the truth in love!

The Challenge for the Rest of Us

Metro City Church has become a target of militant gay activists, but one reason this church has been so hard hit is because so few other churches have stood alongside it, doing the same kind of thing Metro City Church is doing. The more “targets” gay activists believe they must hit, the more difficult it will be for them to hit all of them effectively. Remember what we said earlier: Even if you try to sit on the sidelines of the spiritual battles occurring over gender and gender identity, you still will not escape the effects of militant gay activists’ efforts to silence the church. Are you going to cooperate with them when they go after your church and maneuver to keep you and your faith community from sharing the gospel? Are you going to cooperate with them now by never addressing sexuality and gender identity issues in any context? Young people are struggling and looking for solid answers. What would God have you and your church do? You can begin to learn about these issues by reading this article, and this one. Reading these articles represents a modest start, but it’s a step in the right direction. Check back here periodically for additional links. We’ll try to give you more help as you plan steps your church can take in this area of ministry.

Sitting on the sidelines with regard to these issues is not a viable option for a Bible-believing, Christ-centered church that truly cares about and loves people.

The lesson for the church at large is clear. Hebrews 13:4 states in unambiguous terms, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

First Corinthians 6:9-11 is instructive for us as well.

[D]o you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (emphasis added).

Who will show sinners the way to freedom—the way we also didn’t deserve but found by God’s grace?

Will your church do its part?

Will you do yours?

 

Part 8 is available here.

Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

1David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee gets credit for this illustration.

top image: www.lightstock.com

Note: With the exception of the clip from FRC’s Washington Watch, the audio clips featured in this article were lifted from this sermon.

Unless otherwise designated, all Scriptures have been taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Myths that Led to the Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, Part 6

These activists aren’t after a “live-and-let-live” policy. They’re on a march to force all Americans to celebrate and affirm what they do under the penalty of law.
Tony Perkins


Key point: Same-sex marriage never was the ultimate goal of LGBT activists. Rather, “marriage equality” is a means to even more destructive ends. In the process, advocates of man-woman marriage are being punished severely for their views. Yet, even those who stay silent cannot remain unaffected by the societal upheaval that is taking place.


You can view brief summaries of all the articles in this series here.

Myth #14: Same-sex marriage has implications for the same-sex couple only, and not for others. “If don’t agree with same-sex marriage,” we were told, “don’t worry. “Changing the definition of marriage won’t affect you!”

Fact: Same-sex marriage affects everyone because it influences the culture with regard to everything from perceptions about what marriage is to attitudes about how to deal with those who dare to express support for the natural family. Those who dissent, even politely, are severely punished—under the banners of “diversity” and “tolerance.” These ideals are misleading, because genuine diversity isn’t pursued, nor is tolerance practiced.

Barronelle Stutzman

Let’s begin by highlighting briefly how advocates of man-woman marriage often are treated. Here we see some of the clearest evidence that same-sex marriage adversely affects people who oppose it and act on their convictions. We aren’t talking here about people who treat homosexuals rudely, but individuals who, based on their deeply held religious beliefs, politely turn down opportunities use their talent and their goods and services in same-sex weddings.

Jack Phillips

On December 5, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In that case, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner and operator Jack Phillips has been told by the state of Colorado that he must provide custom-made wedding cakes for same-sex couples. Keep in mind he gladly does business with homosexuals in all other contexts—but believing that marriage is between one man and one woman, he could not, in good conscience, participate in a same-sex wedding. He was sued, and his case has gone all the way to the Supreme Court.

In commenting on Jack’s case and where we as a nation now have arrived in the debate over what rights flow from government recognition of same-sex marriage, Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families observes that years ago,

Gary Bauer

the left and the radical gay rights movement made a version of a libertarian, live-and-let-live argument: You can marry who you want, I just want to marry who I want. And a lot of Christians, particularly young Christians, bought that argument. It was, we were told, a matter of love to accept it.

But as is almost always the case with radical social change, what started out as a libertarian appeal inevitably turned into a movement to use of the full power of the federal government to threaten and browbeat everyone into kneeling in submission to the new normal.

It’s a variation of what has happened in the abortion debate. The pro-abortion movement started out arguing that women should have “the right to choose” to control their own bodies, but recently has focused its efforts on forcing nuns to subsidize abortions.

Jack Phillips isn’t the only wedding service provider who believes in natural, man-woman marriage (also go here). Yet these attempt to coerce those who do not wish to celebrate same-sex weddings into actively participating in them isn’t the only way the new definition of marriage is affecting more than just gay and lesbian couples.

A Means to Many Different Radical Ends

It is now clear that “marriage equality” has not been the only goal of militant homosexual activists—and probably this has not even been the primary goal. Now that the government recognizes same-sex unions as marriage, activists can use that very fact as a crowbar to pry open a great many other “opportunities,”—legal and otherwise—for themselves and for other LGBT individuals. In other words, as important as marriage is, we are wise to see the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling as about a great deal more than marriage alone. It is about marriage—but it’s also about everything else! If you don’t realize this, you have been hibernating during the last two-and-a-half years as marriage debate has given way to debates over whether biological males can use women’s restrooms and whether children who express discontent with their biological sex should be given puberty-blocking drugs or other hormone therapy.


The Supreme Court ruling redefining marriage is about marriage—but it also is about everything else!


Dr. James Dobson made some dire predictions just weeks before the Supreme Court issued its decision about marriageHe wrote of a torrent of lawsuits that would be coming against Christians and others who believe in man-woman marriage. He also said,

Pastors may have to officiate at same-sex marriages, and they could be prohibited from preaching certain passages of Scripture. Those who refuse to comply will not only be threatened legally, but many will be protested and picketed by activists. Perhaps this is a worst-case scenario, but maybe not. Prison is also a possibility.

Moreover, it isn’t far-fetched at all, Dobson contended, to envision that Christian wedding service providers will have to choose between serving at same-sex weddings and going out of business. And Christian colleges, especially those that receive federal money through any avenue at all—even individual student grants and loans—could be prohibited by law from teaching the biblical view of marriage. Dobson went on to cite a then-recent piece from liberal newspaper columnist Frank Bruni, who had written that church leaders ought to be forced to remove homosexuality from their list of sins.

In the same opinion piece, Bruni also said that the

debate about religious freedom should include a conversation about freeing religions and religious people from prejudices that they needn’t cling to and can indeed jettison, much as they’ve jettisoned other aspects of their faith’s history, rightly bowing to the enlightenments of modernity.

Professional counselors, added Dr. Dobson, would become yet another target of the state, which would issue regulations mandating their practices adhere to the government’s definitions of marriage and morality. School textbooks, too, would be rewritten to advance the gay agenda even further. After all, if marriage is not just for a man and a woman but also for two men or two women, then homosexuality is on par with heterosexuality—and all government entities, including schools, should treat them the same way.

Right Before Our Eyes

Do any of Dr. Dobson’s warnings sound extreme today, nearly three years after same-sex marriage was made legal nationwide by judicial fiat? There is no question that the push for everything LGBT activists want has accelerated—and a great deal of what Dr. Dobson predicted is happening right before our eyes! Mark it down! If Jack Phillips loses his case before the Supreme Court, the dam will burst and a flood of litigation will come crashing down on those who believe in man-woman marriage. These lawsuits will relate to every context in which dissent can be expressed. Current trends portend that this is precisely what will happen.


If Jack Phillips loses his case before the Supreme Court, the dam will burst and a flood of litigation will come crashing down on those who believe in man-woman marriage. These lawsuits will relate to every context in which dissent can be expressed.


The assault on counseling and counselors currently is ongoing. Keep in mind that with regard to counseling and therapy, gay activists’ goal is to prohibit clients from getting help to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction and help to grapple with other related issues. Not surprisingly, part of the strategy is to misrepresent and demonize this type of professional help. You can watch one professional counselor set the record straight here. If anyone is struggling with same-sex attraction and/or gender identity issues and wants help, shouldn’t he or she be able to get it? Not if militant gay activists have their way!


If anyone is struggling with same-sex attraction and/or gender identity issues and wants help, shouldn’t he or she be able to get it?


The push to promote the LGBT agenda in schools started long before the Obergefell decision was released (go here, here,  hereherehere, and here.). This article shows how the marriage ruling makes the problem much, much worse—and harder to fight.

A Total Makeover of Society

So, why can’t two people who love each other marry? This was the question we repeatedly were asked. It sounds innocent enough, but homosexuals have not been singled out for mistreatment at this point. For millennia, there have been a good many loving relationships that governments have not recognized as marriages or potential marriages. A father cannot marry his daughter; nor can an individual marry his or her pet cat or dog; and two men or two women couldn’t marry because their relationship also did not and cannot qualify as a marriage. Now, however, the government says it does.

Quite tellingly, a lesbian activist admitted five years ago that the real goal of her movement is destroying marriage altogether. Masha Gessen said,

It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. …(F)ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there—because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.

The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist.


(F)ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.
—Masha Gessen, lesbian journalist and activist—


Tim Huelskamp

Tim Huelskamp, a three-term congressman from Kansas’s first district, understood this. CNSnews reporter Lauretta Brown summarized Huelskamp’s statements at the 2014 March for Marriage this way.

Congressional Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) said he agreed that the ultimate goal of homosexual “marriage” is to destroy the institution of marriage altogether by diminishing it to whatever type of contract people sign on to and, at the same time, denying the natural right of children to be raised by a mother and a father.

Author and political science professor Paul Kengor also sees the goal as the total destruction of marriage and the family. The radical left, he says, has been trying to obliterate the family for two hundred years. Now, in and through same-sex marriage, militant LGBT activists have found the perfect means by which they can fulfill their cherished dream.

Societal Chaos

Just how radical will it get? Fasten your seatbelt! Among other things, LBGT activists are “now encouraging society to view children as ‘genderless.'” Canada issued the first gender-neutral government ID card for an infant in April of last year, and not long after that, the state of Oregon began issuing state ID cards and driver’s licenses that also are “gender-neutral.” The designation for the individual’s sex can be M, F, or X. Ponder this for a moment: What would it be like to grow up from infancy in a setting where the adults taking care of you refuse to acknowledge that you are a boy or a girl?


What would it be like to grow up from infancy in a setting where the adults taking care of you refuse to acknowledge that you are a boy or a girl?


Leftists, including LGBT activists, will continue to advocate this type of approach to reality, even as they also attack everyone who dares to publicly make the case for a biology-based gender identity framework and the traditional family. If allowed to continue unchecked, activists’ efforts will lead to societal chaos. Note carefully that radicals wouldn’t be able to accomplish all this, certainly not nearly as effectively, without same-sex marriage.

Ben Shapiro

Within a few days after the Supreme Court released its decision redefining marriage, Ben Shapiro expressed concerns similar to those of Dr. Dobson. He wrote,

Leftists have already moved to ban nonprofit status for religious institutions that refuse to acknowledge same-sex marriages; leftists have already sued into oblivion religious business owners who refuse to participate in same-sex weddings. It will not stop there. Religious schools will be targeted. Then, so will homeschooling programs. The secular religion of the left has been set free to pursue its own crusade against the infidel.

And who is “the infidel” in this case? Anyone who does not share, and yes, celebrate, everything about LGBT agendas and lifestyles. Or it might just be someone who wants a semblance of order in society.

The Grieving Don’t Even Get a Break!

In Cincinnati, Ohio on March 7, 2018, a male employee at a funeral home won the legal right to dress as a woman when he performs his duties for his employer. It was a three-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that ruled in the employee’s favor. Alliance Defending Freedom represented the Michigan funeral home and its majority owner in this case. ADF’s report on the ruling read in part,

The company’s sole corporate officer and majority owner, Thomas Rost, is a devout Christian whose faith informs the way he serves customers with compassion during one of life’s most challenging moments.

The male employee served as a funeral director, regularly interacting with the public and grieving family members and friends. After informing the funeral home of his intention to begin dressing as a female at work, the employee was dismissed for refusing to comply with the same company dress code that all other men are required to follow while on the job.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) took the matter to court on behalf of the dismissed worker. Note that the EEOC, a government entity, contended for the LGBT position. On the first round, a lower court ruled in favor of the funeral home. In its ruling, the federal district court cited the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and stated that it protected a business owner’s right to enforce a dress code rooted in genuine religious convictions. The EEOC appealed that decision and won.

Gary McCaleb, ADF Senior Counsel, had this to say after the 6th Circuit panel overturned the lower court’s ruling:

American business owners, especially those serving the grieving and the vulnerable, should be free to live and work consistently with their faith. The funeral home’s dress code is tailored to serve those mourning the loss of a loved one. Today’s decision misreads court precedents that have long protected businesses which properly differentiate between men and women in their dress and grooming code policies.

The multi-location funeral home has won more than one award for the services it has rendered in the three communities where it is located in and near Detroit. Now, according to the court, it must allow a man in women’s clothing  to serve as a funeral director. This means he must be allowed to wear women’s clothing while he performs his work with grieving families! Would you want a man in women’s clothing to coordinate the arrangements for the memorial service and burial of one of your loved ones? Might this court ruling set the stage for the eventual closure of the funeral home? One doesn’t have to have a wild imagination to envision this scenario.

Yes, it is a myth that same-sex marriage affects only same-sex couples. There are even more incidents to highlight as we seek to expose this important myth. Tune in next time to read about at least two more events.

You will see evidence, not only of the marriage ruling’s severity, but also of its pervasiveness.

And you’ll understand even more thoroughly why we must contend for natural marriage in robust and compelling ways.

 

Part 7 is available here.

Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

image credit, top image: rainbow flag flying in the Castro District of San Francisco, California

image credit: Gary Bauer at the 2007 Washington DC Values Voters conference

image credit: Ben Shapiro at the University of Missouri in 2015

 

 

 

Myths that Led to the Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, Part 5

At the most basic level, marriage and its offshoot, the family, are based on the sexual complementarity of a man and a woman. It is a union in fact, not just in form, based on a conjugal sexual act that unites the man and wife in a bond that includes every level of their being: biological, physical, emotional, mental, mystical, and spiritual. It is the primary reason we maintain that homosexual relationships, even if granted marital status by secular law, can never be legitimate marriages, or even unions, in concept or in fact.
Illinois Family Institute


Key point: Nature clearly defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. Refusing to recognize same-sex relationships as marriages, therefore, isn’t arbitrarily discriminating against gays or denying them equality; rather, it is upholding reality and rejecting a lie.


You can view summaries of all the articles in this series here.

Recently we’ve been highlighting a number of myths that led to the imposition of same-sex marriage in the United States by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015. Remember that a myth is a falsehood that is widely believed and accepted as true. To see what myths we’ve discussed thus far, go here. In this article, we will highlight two more.


A myth is a falsehood that is widely believed and accepted as true.


Myth #12: All discrimination is bad and must be criminalized.

Fact: Discrimination based on prejudicial factors such as race with the clear intent of mistreating certain individuals or groups has no place in a civilized society. Accordingly, such discrimination should be, and in many cases has been, outlawed. However, not all discrimination is wrong or harmful. Some discriminatory actions are appropriate and even needed. Indeed, these actions are based on rational, clear-headed, and constructive thinking.

People and societies discriminate all the time, and they do so legitimately. Truck drivers are required to have commercial drivers’ licenses, and rightly so. If you don’t have one, don’t expect a trucking company to consider hiring you. Editors, writers, and journalists also must be skilled in their lines of work; you wouldn’t expect a news organization to hire as a journalist someone who couldn’t write. Furthermore, patients waiting to see a doctor in an emergency room have a right to assume the hospital discriminated against unqualified applicants to fill ER positions! All of this is discrimination. But—and here’s the important point—it isn’t arbitrary discrimination.

Consider one more example. Should a white actor have been considered for the main role in 42, the 2013 film about the life, challenges, and accomplishments of baseball superstar Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player to play on a Major League team? Of course not! It was right and even expected that Robinson would be portrayed by a black actor, and no one was wrong to discriminate against white actors when casting the part.1 Chadwick Boseman, who currently can be seen in the Marvel superhero film Black Pantherlanded the role.

Why Limiting Marriage to One Man and One Woman Isn’t Wrong or Bigoted

In their book Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, authors Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet affirm the legitimacy of discrimination with regard to the meaning of natural marriage:

John Stonestreet

Societies always privilege some relationships to qualify as marriage, while they discriminate against others. The distinctions made between relationships can either be based on essential qualities or on arbitrary qualities. Distinctions based on essential qualities are not made in order to insult or trivialize the quality or sincerity of a couple’s love and devotion for one another. Rather, distinctions based on essential qualities are those that are made between certain relationships that qualify as marriage and other that don’t. They are based on the sort of unique relationship marriage is and the purpose it alone serves.2

Sean McDowell

McDowell and Stonestreet go on to contrast this kind of discrimination to the Jim Crow laws that prohibited interracial marriage. We had our own discussion about this in a previous article. These distinctions were arbitrary because they were racist. In other words, they were based on the subjective assumption that certain people, because of the color of their skin (an irrefutably immutable trait with which they had been born), were less valuable than others.

Not all discrimination based on sex is wrong, either. The two male authors aren’t offended that they can’t become official members of MOPS—an organization for mothers of preschoolers. And they’re also perfectly OK with not being given a senior citizen discount at McDonalds when they purchase coffee. Why? Because they haven’t yet reached the age to qualify for it. These distinctions, they point out, are not arbitrary; nor are they arbitrarily applied. If senior discounts were given to everyone, they wouldn’t be senior discounts at all!3

This is the point about marriage. A “marriage” isn’t really a marriage unless it involves a man and a woman—one member of each of the two sexes. If two men or two women are involved, the relationship can’t be a marriage, no matter how many times it is called one and no matter how long government and society pretend it is one. The longer a society pretends, the greater the price it will have to pay.

Myth #13: Equality for gays with regard to marriage will be achieved only when discrimination preventing gays from marrying each other is eliminated.

Fact: Natural marriage itself treats everyone equally. Allowing two men or two women to “marry” creates, not equality, but a lie that will exact a heavy cost from society, especially its children.

In June of 2013 after the Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional, Pastor Wes McAdams wrote,

Wes McAdams

If a man is a homosexual, either in the sense of having homosexual attractions or in the sense of having had practiced homosexuality, there are no laws against him getting married—to a woman. A homosexual man has the exact same rights as a heterosexual man; they both have the right to marry a woman. Likewise for women, there is total equality. All women have the right to marry a man. I am not being flippant about this issue. Like it or not, that is the definition of equality.…

McAdams goes on to name some relationships that don’t qualify as a marriage—a person and an animal, a person and an inanimate object, and, yes, two men or two women. He continues,

But why? Why can’t our government call the union of any two (or more) entities a “marriage”? Because the government didn’t create the institution of marriage; God did. God has simply given the government—for the good of society—the authority to regulate marriage (Romans 13:1-7). So, because the government did not create marriage, it has no right to define it; God has already defined it.

As we said in a previous post, natural, man-woman marriage affirms everything about what it means to be a human being. Same-sex “marriage,” however,

doesn’t just distort that affirmation; it eliminates it—because if two men or two women can marry each other and have exactly what one man and one woman married to each other have (this notion obviously is a lie), marriage has nothing to do with sex, procreation, children, fatherhood, motherhood, male-female dynamics in a relationship, or anything else that truly makes marriage what it is, and that makes being a human being what he or she is. Marriage, after all, is is unique among human beings. It is unknown in the animal kingdom!

My next statement will offend some people. I mean no offense, only to convey the truth. State laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman didn’t keep legitimate marriages from occurring; they kept counterfeit marriages from taking place.


State laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman didn’t keep legitimate marriages from occurring; they kept counterfeit ones from taking place. 


The Obergefell ruling equates counterfeit marriages with the real thing.

Obergefell essentially says that
1 man + 1 woman
=
1 man + 1 man
or
1 woman + 1 woman.

This absolutely cannot be true. This article highlights ten ways the assertions and implications of Obergefell deny reality. Just as treating counterfeit money as real money exacts a price—even when this happens out of ignorance—so too does treating counterfeit marriages as real. Mark it down! Sometimes the most innocent among us are the hardest hit. It’s especially hard on the children of same-sex couples. Through no fault of their own, they are out either a mother or a father as a result of the very nature of their parents’ “marriages.”

An Illustration from Science

An instructive example comes from the field of chemistry.  I readily acknowledge that other examples from chemistry could be used to argue against my point, so the illustration has some limitations. Even so, it is extremely helpful for us, because it so clearly illustrates what marriage is and what it cannot be. This presentation begins with the words, “Another type of bond—” but remember that this chemical reaction is demonstrating “one type of bond” among human beings that has no equal.

You also need to know this, if you don’t already: The ionic bond between an atom of sodium, a metal, and an atom of chlorine, a gas, creates a molecule of salt.


The ionic bond between an atom of sodium and an atom of chlorine creates a molecule of salt.


Therefore:

  • We don’t call two atoms of sodium salt, because they’re not!
  • Nor do we call two atoms of chlorine salt. They’re not, either!
  • Yet, when an atom of sodium and an atom of chlorine come together, their innate chemical properties create a reaction that gives sodium a charge of + 1, and chlorine a charge of – 1. These opposite charges bring the two atoms together to form a compound that is an altogether different substance than either sodium or chlorine. Sodium chloride is salt.
image of a grain of table salt as seen by a scanning electron microscope

Do you see the point? Of course, not just any man and any woman will marry—but when a man and a woman come together in marriage, their inherent differences serve to establish a bond that is altogether different from any relationship that two men or two women can have between themselves. A new kind of relationship is created; a new family begins.

This video comes even closer to presenting our analogy. It highlights a few aspects of this chemical bond that don’t parallel marriage, but overall, in the most basic of ways, it shows how it does.

So you see, marriage is what it is because it is what it is inherently. Discriminating  against same-sex couples by saying their relationships don’t qualify as marriages is not discriminating arbitrarily, but purposefully, in accord with what nature teaches.

What are some things that can happen when government seeks to overrule nature’s definition of marriage? How bad can it get? The myth we will consider next time will give us an opportunity to address these questions.

Be sure to return.

 

Part 6 is available here.

Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1David Fowler, President of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, gets credit for this example.

2,3Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet, Same-Sex Marriage: Athoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, (Grand Rapids, Baker Publishing Group, 2014), 26.

 

Billy Graham’s Critical Hour of Decision—and How God Used It to Change the World

As you go through this world with all its storms and its trials…keep your eyes on the Bible, keep your eyes on Christ, and you won’t go wrong. Don’t you follow your feelings. You follow Christ.
Billy Graham (November 7, 1918–February 21, 2018)—

 

Billy Graham’s evangelistic ministry began in 1947. Although the man who would become the world’s best known evangelist had been the preacher at seven evangelistic campaigns prior to the crusade that began in September, 1949 in Los Angeles, it was during the Los Angeles campaign—his eighth—that the press took notice. When it did, Graham was thrust onto the national stage.

Interestingly, the series of meetings held just prior to those in Los Angeles didn’t go well at all, at least not according to human standards. That crusade was held in Altoona, Pennsylvania. On one hand, apathy seemed to prevail, just as it could in any city or town. On the other, various ministries in the area were competing with one another, and squabbles broke out over insignificant issues. Also, the larger religious community was polarized. Altoona was home to several advocates of a strong fundamentalist perspective, and tensions erupted between them and others on the opposite side of the theological spectrum. And as if all that weren’t enough, during one of Graham’s sermons, a woman in the choir with obvious mental problems yelled repeatedly—then she wouldn’t cooperate when members of the evangelistic team tried to calm her down. Billy Graham later wrote that after the services in Altoona, “I pondered whether God had really called me to evangelism after all.”1

Billy decided not to quit—not yet. Looking ahead to Los Angeles, Graham and his team evaluated the most common criticisms people had offered regarding evangelistic meetings. They took steps to address those issues, which included complaints about finances and concerns about a lack of follow-up for people who indicated they wanted to know Christ.

Two large circus tents were erected together as one in a parking lot in downtown LA. The resulting canvas arena could seat 6,000 people. The first service of what was originally planned as a three-week campaign was held on Sunday, September 25; but near the conclusion of the three-week period, several of the organizers asked Graham to extend the effort one more week. Billy agreed to do so after a well-known radio personality attended one of the services, came under great conviction, and committed his life to Christ.

William Randolph Hearst

During the fourth week, the news media took notice, which represented a sharp contrast from news reporters’ prior indifference to the crusade. William Randolph Hearst, an influential power broker in the newspaper industry, eyed the meetings and told reporters to “Puff Graham

The evangelistic services became the talk of the city. Stories of changed lives—including those of numerous well-known individuals—abounded. The tent was enlarged so it could hold up to 9,000. Yet as massive as it became, even this coliseum couldn’t accommodate everyone who attended. Loudspeakers had to be set up outside the tent for those who couldn’t get inside. The time was extended as well, until, eight weeks after it started, on Sunday, November 20, the last meeting of the Los Angeles crusade was held. Graham was thirty years old at the time. In these eight weeks, 350,000 people had flocked to hear him—and about 3,000 individuals made decisions for Christ. The Los Angeles crusade was a turning point for Graham and his ministry. As it turned out, it was a turning point for the nation and the world as well.

Billy Graham in 1954

An Even Bigger Story

Poster for a 1946 Youth for Christ Rally in Detroit that alluded to the European Tour

As newsworthy as the Los Angeles meetings were, perhaps the bigger story is what happened in Graham’s life between Altoona and Los Angeles. Billy Graham was struggling. Chuck Templeton, a close friend with whom he had ministered in England during an effort led by Youth for Christ several years earlier, had begun to doubt the trustworthiness of the Scriptures. Templeton was no lightweight. He had been pastor of one of the largest churches in Toronto. He was an unusually gifted communicator, and people had sensed God’s hand on him. In fact, before Chuck Templeton began vocalizing his doubts, many people who had heard both Templeton and Graham preach were especially impressed with Templeton. But now he’d resigned his church. He had become a student at Princeton Theological Seminary and was captivated by intellectual arguments against the trustworthiness of the Bible. One of Billy’s friends overheard Chuck say, “Poor Billy, I feel sorry for him. He and I are taking two different roads.”2

At that point, though, Graham was not on a path different from the one Templeton was traveling. Rather, he stood facing a fork in the road, struggling over which path to take. He never doubted Christ’s deity or God’s plan of salvation. Yet He agonized over whether or not the Scriptures could be trusted, whether or not they were fully reliable.

At the time of his struggle, Billy also was influenced by Miss Henrietta Mears, who was on the staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California. Miss Mears had built a phenomenal Sunday school at her church. In the first three years of her leadership, the enrollment grew tenfold to 4,500. A sincere and humble lady with a positive, enthusiastic manner, Mears strongly believed in the authority and reliability of the Bible and encouraged Billy to do the same. But she didn’t do so with a blind eye to scholarship. Mears was familiar with the arguments being used to discredit the Bible.

Meanwhile, Templeton made no secret of his views: “Billy, you’re fifty years out of date. People no longer accept the Bible as being inspired the way you do. Your faith is too simple. Your language is out of date. You’re going to have to learn the new jargon if you’re going to be successful in your ministry.”3


Billy, you’re fifty years out of date. People no longer accept the Bible as being inspired the way you do. Your faith is too simple. Your language is out of date. You’re going to have to learn the new jargon if you’re going to be successful in your ministry.
—Charles Templeton, who, at one time, was thought to be more likely to influence the world for Christ than Billy Graham—


Billy Graham later recalled, “I ached as if I were on the rack, with Miss Mears stretching me one way and Chuck Templeton stretching me the other. Alone in my room one evening, I read every verse of Scripture I could think of that had to do with ‘thus saith the Lord.’”4 Among other things, he reflected on Jesus’ own attitude toward the Bible—one of wholehearted acceptance and affirmation. Billy knew that if he could not trust God’s Word, he would have to leave the ministry.

Finally, he took a walk. He’d become a Christian years before, but this also would be a critical hour of decision5 for him. He continued to struggle for a while, but at last he came to a point of surrender. He knelt and opened his Bible. It was too dark to read, so he prayed. He recalls that his prayer went something like this: “O God! There are many things in this book I do not understand. There are many problems with it for which I have no solution. There are many seeming contradictions. There are some areas in it that do not seem to correlate with modern science. I can’t answer some of the philosophical and psychological questions Chuck and others are raising.”

Billy knew he needed to say more, and soon he felt liberated to say it: “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word.”6


Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word.
—Billy Graham, in a prayer of commitment, at a critical hour of decision—


As he rose from his place of prayer, Graham later recalled, he felt God’s power as he had not felt it in many, many weeks. While he had numerous questions that remained unanswered, he now had chosen the path he would take. He writes, “In my heart and mind, I knew a spiritual battle in my soul had been fought and won.”7

The evangelistic campaign in Los Angeles would begin one month later. It would be a series of meetings that would set the stage for a ministry God would use to change the world. Yes, that’s how critical Billy Graham’s hour of decision was!

Setting the Record Straight

It’s important here for us to make four clarifications.

First, we do not mean to imply here that if an effort for God “flops,” it was because the person who was seeking to serve Him was having theological problems or struggles. Church history testifies that many initially apparent “flops” actually turned out to be tremendous successes when viewed long term. Yet it is undeniable that if a spokesman for God isn’t sure what he believes, God’s blessing on his efforts will be hindered.

Second, we also are not saying that a trust in God’s Word automatically will bear immediate abundant fruit, as was the case with the crusade in Los Angeles. Of course, God’s promise is sure:

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please.
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:11).

Sometimes, however, fruit does not appear until many, many years after the seeds were planted.

A third thing we are not implying is that a person must or even should believe God’s Word in a total blind leap of faith, without any rational reasons for doing so. Faith in God’s Word is reasonable.


Faith in God’s Word is reasonable.


Lee Strobel

Just ask Lee Strobel, a former investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune who was an atheist. He became a Christian after he investigated the historicity and viability of Christianity. After becoming a believer, he wrote an entire book titled The Case for Faith.8

One final word of caution is in order. This is our fourth consideration. While faith is reasonable, we must never approach the Bible expecting all our questions to be answered. If the Bible really does have God as its ultimate author, as the Bible affirms (see 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21) and as Christians historically have believed, should we not expect that at least some parts of it will be beyond our comprehension? God, after all, is infinite, and we are finite. God has revealed Himself in ways we can understand, but part of the understanding we acquire when we learn about God includes the reasonable idea that we cannot fathom everything about Him and must exercise faith regarding what we don’t see or comprehend.

Let’s put it another way. If you had no unanswered questions about the Scriptures, you wouldn’t need to exercise faith. Keep in mind that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Why does God require faith? I believe at least part of the answer is that you can’t have any kind of meaningful, deep relationship with someone you don’t trust!


Why does God require faith? I believe at least part of the answer is that you can’t have any kind of meaningful, deep relationship with someone you don’t trust!


Have you trusted Christ as your Savior, as Billy Graham did when he was 15 years old? If not, you can do so today. Here’s how.

As a Christian, have you experienced doubts about God’s Word? Doubts and struggles occur at times in the Christian life, but we need to make sure we don’t respond to them in the end with unbelief, as Chuck Templeton did. Thus, a critical hour of decision like the one Billy Graham had may be necessary for you.

God can be trusted, and He honors those who put their faith in Him.

You can take that, my friends, to the bank!

 

Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.


newsreel on the LA Crusade, 1949


Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

top image: Billy Graham (right) with son Franklin in 1994

Los Angeles Crusade Poster, Billy Graham Library

credit for photo of Billy Graham in 1954

credit for photo of Lee Strobel

 

Notes:

1Billy Graham, Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham, [New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997], 134

2Graham, 138.

3Graham.

4Graham.

5Hour of Decision would become the title of a weekly radio broadcast produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

6Graham, 139.

7Graham.

8Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 2000).

 

Sources cited:

Graham, Billy. Just As I Am. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. Pages 98-100,133-143. All quotations in the account of Billy Graham’s struggle come from this work: pp. 134,138,139.

Strobel, Lee. The Case for Faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 2000.

Additional sources used:

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Billy Graham: God’s Ambassador, (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1999), 45-54.

http://www2.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/exhibits/LA49/01readmore.html

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/sep/02/local/me-then2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Templeton

Myths that Led to the Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, Part 4

[G]ay marriage is simply not on par with the black civil rights struggle. Not even close.…I have gay friends who are married. The states in which they reside might not recognize their unions, but their friends and families do, and they generally live their lives in peace. No one is turning water hoses on them. They are not being attacked by police dogs. There is no Bull Connor or Ku Klux Klan. They are not being lynched en masse, drinking at separate fountains, or being ordered to the back of the bus. This is not to say that gay Americans who wish to have the full benefits of marriage afforded to heterosexual couples don’t face adversity. That’s a major part of the current debate. But it is to say that any hardship they face can’t compare to what black Americans faced 50 or 150 years ago.
Jack Hunter in 2013, who at that time personally favored same-sex marriage but believed it should be left to the states—

I resent having my race compared to what other people do in bed.
Janet Boynes (brief bio here), an African-American and author of Called Out: A Former Lesbian’s Discovery of Freedom


Key point: Homosexuals have not always been treated with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings, but they cannot legitimately compare their quest for gay rights and same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement; nor can they draw any substantive parallels between their quest for recognition of same-sex marriage and the effort to end interracial marriage in the US.


Go here for summaries of all the articles in this series.

Recently we have been exposing numerous myths that led to same-sex marriage in the United States. Keep in mind that a myth is a false idea that is widely accepted as true. In this post, we add two more myths to our list.


A myth is a false idea that is widely accepted as true.


Myth #10: The denial of marriage to same-sex couples is akin to the denial of civil rights to blacks during the Jim Crow era.

Fact: The civil rights movement sought genuine equality for blacks in the post-slavery, Jim Crow era. By contrast, the “equality” sought by advocates of same-sex “marriage” for gays is not true equality, but a manipulation of society’s most foundational institution to create advantages for a small fraction of society. This has occurred at an exceedingly high cost, however unintended, to society as a whole.

Some background information on Jim Crow laws is in order. Southern Democrats were largely responsible for them. As we noted in a previous post,

Racist Democrats in the South after the Civil War no longer had the institution of slavery to bring blacks down, so they found other ways. “Jim Crow laws” were widely used for this purpose. Jim Crow was a character created by Thomas “Daddy” Rice. In the 1830s, Rice wrote and performed for audiences in blackface and spoke in a black dialect. The name Jim Crow caught on, and by the late 1830s it had become a negative term people used to refer to a black man.  We’ve noted that during Reconstruction (a period lasting from 1855-1877), federal laws were passed that afforded certain basic civil rights to blacks. However, in

the 1870s, Democrats gradually regained power in the Southern legislatures, having used insurgent paramilitary groups, such as the White League and Red Shirts, to disrupt Republican organizing, run Republican officeholders out of town, and intimidate blacks to suppress their voting. Extensive voter fraud was also used. Gubernatorial elections were close and had been disputed in Louisiana for years, with increasing violence against blacks during campaigns from 1868 onward. In 1877, a national Democratic Party compromise to gain Southern support in the presidential election [an event we highlighted in our ninth point on this list] resulted in the government’s withdrawing the last of the federal troops from the South. White Democrats had regained political power in every Southern state. These Southern, white, Democratic Redeemer governments legislated Jim Crow laws, officially segregating black people from the white population.

Go here and here to read some examples of Jim Crow laws and to learn about the segregation and oppression they engendered. Jim Crow laws were enacted not just during the 19th century in the years following the Civil War, but also well into the 20th century.

at a streetcar terminal in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1939

These laws routinely put blacks at a disadvantage, as they were denied access to a great many opportunities readily available to whites—even things as simple and benign as the same public restrooms and seats at the lunch counter at Woolworth’s. Moreover, in this environment, racism often prevailed, and it gave way to overt cruelty, even lynchings. Blacks and other fair-minded citizens fought against this social climate, rightly demanding equal treatment for those the Jim Crow laws intentionally targeted.

Numerous Black Leaders Decry a Link Between Gay Rights and Civil Rights

Rev. William Owens, photo from campusa.org

Has the quest for recognition of same-sex marriage been similar to the civil rights movement of the 1960s? Not according to Rev. William Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors. In an interview at the March for Marriage in Washington, DC in late March of 2013, Pastor Owens, a veteran himself of the civil rights movement, declared,

I marched and many other thousands of people marched in this same location years ago on the claim that we were being discriminated against, and today the other community is trying to say that they are suffering the same thing that we suffered, but I tell you they are not. They are not suffering what we suffered, and I sympathize with people who face discrimination. Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, but what they’re going through does not compare to what we went through.

There is no comparison, and for many years, the African-American family and community have been under assault from all sides – abortion, single family households, poverty and a failing education system.

Changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, Owens added, would be “devastating to all of our families.” He went on to conclude,

Perhaps, you were not old enough to be with me in the civil rights movement in the late 50s or the early 60s, but I’m marching again, and this time I’m marching to defend marriage between a man and a woman.

Alveda King, photo by Gage Skidmore

Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a civil rights leader in her own right, spoke against the ruling that established recognition of same-sex marriage in the United States. Here is an excerpt from an article at WND highlighting King’s concerns.

“Love is not the problem. You can love who you want. It’s the sex that is the problem. Sex is not the same as love. People get that mixed up even in marriage,” King said in an interview with WND. “Sex should be part of that marriage union as that is where children come from. Of course all the models we have today are broken. But that was the design. We have people all confused. How it got mixed up is a long story I can’t go into here. It would take days, but we have a lot of teaching to do on this issue.”…

While still a member of the NAACP, she has said in the past that she believes it’s a mistake to place the LGBT community in the same category with blacks in the civil rights movement and that her uncle would never have approved of doing this.

Clarence Thomas also sees no link between the fight for gay rights and the struggle for equality among blacks:

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas

Thomas—the court’s lone African-American justice, and only the second black jurist to serve in its 226-year history—unleashed a scathing dissent in the Obergefell vs. Hodges same-sex marriage case, rejecting the notion that gays, like African-Americans, had suffered from second-class citizenship. Unlike slaves, he argued, lacking the right to marry didn’t prevent gays from traveling freely across state lines, or subject them to overt discrimination.

At the same time, the justice argued, the 5-4 court majority that made same-sex marriage the law of the land Thursday was misguided in its attempt to grant government the power to bestow “dignity” on gays and lesbians, something they should have already had.

“The government cannot bestow dignity,” he writes, “and it cannot take it away.”

You can read excerpts from Justice Thomas’s dissent here.

Tony Evans, photo by The Urban Alternative

Black pastor Tony Evans also has warned against drawing parallels between the quest for same-sex marriage and the civil-rights movement that sought equality for blacks, saying, “The issue of race is not an issue of choice. It’s an issue of birth.”

Is homosexuality a choice? The right answer to that question isn’t a simple yes or no, so we can’t say Dr. Evans is entirely wrong. It is undeniable that various choices are involved in living a homosexual lifestyle. Homosexuality, you see, is inseparably linked to behavior. Race is not. Skin color is irrefutably an innate, immutable characteristic. These differences prevail even when Dr. Evans’ assertion about homosexuality is qualified. In other words, his point remains valid.

Keeping this in mind, let’s cite a quote from civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King. A pivotal event in the quest for equal treatment of blacks was the March on Washington that took place on August 28, 1963. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King gave is immortal “I Have a Dream” speech.

You can read it in its entirety here, and you can watch it here. At the climax of his speech, Dr. King spoke of having a dream, and his dream included this:

I have a dream today.…

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

As we have indicated, skin color is an immutable characteristic over which people have no choice, but homosexuality is linked inseparably to behavior, behavior that is undeniably tied to deep impulses but also rooted in choices made. No one, at least no one with any credibility at all, has ever made the case that it is a sin to be black. Many decent people, however, including people who respect homosexuals’ right to live as they choose, do hold to the belief that engaging in homosexual sex is sinful and wrong, and that it is harmful to the people who engage in it. Accordingly, in good conscience they cannot approve of homosexuality, let alone celebrate it.

Ignoring and Silencing the Opposition—All in the Name of Tolerance

The idea of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle on par with heterosexuality is relatively new in American life. Anti-sodomy laws were still on the books in a number of states until the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas overturned them in 2003. While militant gay activists will point to this as evidence of unfairness and bigotry, I point to it as evidence of a societal consensus that homosexual activity has harmful consequences. Same-sex marriage, which also came to be recognized in the United States as a by court order, was implemented only as recently as 2015 through Obergefell v. Hodges. Furthermore, the Obergefell decision was the climax of a years-long process in which 32 state constitutional amendments limiting marriage to one man and one woman were overturned. Most of these amendments, which were adopted by due process, received overwhelming support at the ballot box. Yet in many court cases, defenders of natural marriage were left without due representation. Not only is this unfair, it is un-American.

The civil rights movement had its share of court rulings, of course; but that movement was broad in its scope, touching consciences and seeking to shape minds and hearts as well as working to enact laws through legislative bodies. Even as early as 2009, concern was raised that the road to same-sex marriage was becoming littered with judicial activism in ways the quest for civil rights for blacks never was.

As we have indicated, many people who could never be described hateful or bigoted still have legitimate objections to homosexuality and same-sex marriage on medical, social, developmental, and moral—and yes, religious—grounds. These individuals respect those who disagree with them but rightly believe they should receive respect as well. It is more than disconcerting that militant homosexual activists, some of the very same people who preached “tolerance,” said “live and let live,” and contended that same-sex marriage would harm no one, rush to accuse those who disagree with them of bigotry and hate. They adamantly demand that Christian bakers and other wedding service providers be forced out of business if they politely refuse to participate in a same-sex wedding, even when these business operators readily and happily serve gay customers in all other contexts.

It is significant that a group of black leaders spoke publicly in support of Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who in 2012 politely turned down a same-sex couple’s request for a wedding cake (also go here). They sued Jack, and his case is currently before the US Supreme Court.


It is more than disconcerting that militant homosexual activists, some of the very same people who said “live and let live” and who contended that same-sex marriage would harm no one, are quick to accuse those who disagree with them of bigotry and hate.


There’s more. In an excellent piece entitled “Is America Running Out of Patience with LGBT Activism?” social researcher Glenn Stanton paints a vivid picture of militant LGBT advocates’ views.

If you don’t believe that Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, you’re the worst kind of hateful. If you think a child deserves a mother and a father, you are a bigot. If you think a gender-dysphoric boy should not be treated as a girl, you’re evil. If you think a man should use the men’s restroom, regardless of what sex he thinks he is, you are discriminatory. If you think parents’ desire to get their children counseling help for their same-sex attraction is okay, you’re very dangerous. If your church teaches that homosexual sexual activity is wrong, your church is bigoted. You must agree with every part of LGBT values or be slimed. This dictatorial absolutism is not sitting well with many Americans.

Nor should it. Take note! These are matters that relate directly to the content of one’s character! While many individual homosexuals do respect those who disagree with them, militant gay activists and the LGBT movement as a whole do not.


These are matters that relate directly to the content of one’s character! 


Myth #11 The denial of marriage to same-sex couples is akin to denying interracial couples marriage.

Fact: Limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman and banning interracial marriage are as different as night and day.

Marriage is about uniting one man and one woman, not uniting a man and a woman who are members of the same race. A marriage bringing together a heterosexual couple of different races still is a marriage, and advocates of interracial marriage bans knew it! They knew that such unions could and would produce children, which is one of the natural outcomes of heterosexual marriage. Thus, to abandon their prejudicial perspective, supporters of laws forbidding interracial marriage would have to move toward acknowledging what marriage really is: a member of each of the two sexes coming together in lifelong commitment to each other—irrespective of race. Much to the chagrin of those who supported interracial marriage bans, interracial marriage affirms the true meaning of marriage.

By contrast, same-sex marriage distorts—more accurately, destroys—the true meaning of marriage as an institution. Neither two men nor two women are the same thing as a man and a woman. So to demand that two men or two women can be married is to manipulate society’s most basic institution and reshape it according to the whims of adults.


Neither two men nor two women are the same thing as a man and a woman.


The consequences for the children involved are enormous!

“It’s a very different thing for a child to say that ‘I have a Caucasian mother and an Asian father” than “I have two dads and no mother.” There is no research saying biracial parents are developmentally harmful to children,. But there are thousands of definitive studies showing motherless and fatherless families limit every important measure of children’s physical, psychological, emotional and intellectual development.”1 [The authors cite these studies in a footnote in their book; to see the listing, go here.]

Many, many more considerations could be highlighted about these two myths, but these are among the most important. Here’s the bottom line. When someone tells you the quests for gay rights and gay marriage are a lot like the quest for equality sought by African-Americans  during the civil rights movement, set the record straight.

The two are light years apart.

 

Part 5 is available here.

Copyright © 2018 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Note:

1Glenn T. Stanton and Dr. Bill Maier, Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 36-37.

image credits:

top image: outside a bus station in Durham, North Carolina, May, 1940
Rev. William Owens: www.caapusa.org
Alveda King: photo by Gage Skidmore
Tony Evans: photo by The Urban Alternative

 

Myths that Led to Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States, Part 3

Someone who wants to explain what marriage is has the difficult task of explaining something that every one of our grandparents simply took for granted, that everyone two generations ago thought was common knowledge—that marriage is a permanent, exclusive union of husband and wife. Much of human wisdom is tacit knowledge. Only when it is attacked does it need a formal, explicit defense. Explaining why marriage is the union of a man and a woman is like explaining why wheels are round, but it has to be done.
—Ryan T. Anderson1


Key point: Through the process of natural procreation, nature teaches that marriage can only be the union of one man and one woman committed to each other for life and to the well-being of their children. Ideally, through the sacrifice and commitment required to maintain a marriage and to rear children to become responsible adults, family relationships deepen and become richly rewarding and fulfilling for all. The ideal isn’t always the reality, but failures to reach the ideal never should keep us from upholding it; nor should these ever compel society to change the definition of marriage.


Go here for summaries of all the articles in this series.

Having studied teething and other similar discomforts that make infants and toddlers restless and fussy, 19th-century midwife and children’s nurse Charlotte N. Winslow created a “medicine” that would calm any child. In 1844, she passed her formula along to Jeremiah Curtis, her son-in-law, who was a Maine druggist. He and his business partner, Benjamin A. Perkins, marketed and sold the potion under the name “Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup.” During the 1850s, Curtis and Perkins moved their business to New York City.

Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup was widely advertised. The company promoted its product through newspapers and other print media such as trading cards, cookbooks, and calendars. And it became quite popular. This letter, along with numerous other endorsements, appeared in the December 1, 1860 edition of the New York Times.

DEAR SIR:

I am happy to be able to certify to the efficiency of MRS. WINSLOW’S SOOTHING SYRUP, and to the truth of what it is represented to accomplish. Having a little boy suffering greatly from teething, who could not rest, and at night by his cries would not permit any of the family to do so, I purchased a bottle of the SOOTHING SYRUP, in order to test the remedy, and, when given to the boy according to directions, its effect upon him was like magic; he soon went to sleep, and all pain and nervousness disappeared. We have had no trouble with him since, and the little fellow will pass through with comfort the excruciating process of teething, by the sole aid of MRS. WINSLOW’S SOOTHING SYRUP Every mother who regards the health and life of her children should possess it.

LOWELL, Mass.
Mr. H.A. ALGER.

A youtube.com video purporting to be a “turn-of-the-century pharmaceutical ad” showcases how quickly parents could come to depend way too heavily on Mrs. Winslow’s formula. Even though the video’s title indicates Mrs. Winslow had created a cough syrup, the name of the product did not include the word cough.

The sad truth is that Mrs. Winslow’s formula was dangerous to kids to begin with!

The primary ingredients of the syrup were morphine and alcohol, with approximately 65 mg of morphine per fluid ounce. A teaspoonful of the syrup, then, had the morphine content equal to that of approximately twenty drops of laudanum. Given that the 1873 edition of The Health Reformer suggested that babies six months of age receive no more than two to three drops of laudanum, the dosages listed on the bottles of Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup are alarming: For a child under one month old, the recommendation was 6 to 10 drops; children three months old were to be dosed half a teaspoon; and children six months old and up were to be given a teaspoonful three or four times a day! The recommended dosage for children with dysentery followed the amounts outlined above but was to be repeated every two hours until visual improvement was noticed. A teaspoonful of the syrup would have contained enough morphine to kill the average child, so it isn’t hard to understand why so many babies who were given Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup went to sleep only to never wake back up again…. There is no statistic of the number of children that died from the use of soothing syrup, as many caregivers did not link the death to the syrup or they chose not to reveal the use of the syrup, but thousands of children are believed to have died from overdoses or from morphine addiction and withdrawal.

A teaspoonful of the syrup would have contained enough morphine to kill the average child, so it isn’t hard to understand why so many babies who were given Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup went to sleep only to never wake back up again.
Museum of Health Care

Thankfully, The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 required manufactures of medicines to list ingredients on the packaging of their products. Moreover, it established standards of medicinal purity and forced drug companies to abide by them. As a result, producers of Mrs. Winslow’s no longer could include morphine in their product and had to remove the word “Soothing” from its name. In 1911, the American Medical Association condemned the potion as a baby killer—but it wasn’t taken off the market entirely until 1930.

To be fair, we should acknowledge that Mrs. Winslow’s Syrup was created in an era when labeling of ingredients in medicines was not common and when medical professionals, including druggists and doctors, didn’t adequately understand the effects those ingredients would have, both good and bad. This was true of procedures as well as medicines; on December 14, 1799, an ailing George Washington was treated with a procedure known as bloodletting. The loss of blood he experienced at the hands of his doctors is now believed to have contributed to his death three days later. Nearly a century would pass before bloodletting as a treatment would fall fully out of favor.

More to the point, parents and other family members, understandably, trusted trained physicians and pharmacists. Modern medicine was in its infancy at the time, however, and even with the “best information available,” sometimes led to dangerous and deadly myths that exacted a heavy price.

Myths About Marriage

While we can be glad we live in a day when medical professionals have a much more accurate understanding of diseases, treatments, and cures; we unfortunately have regressed in our understanding of marriage. Scientific discoveries have given way to great medical advances, but with regard to marriage, we have trashed to our own peril what the natural world and ancient wisdom teach us.

Sadly, with regard to marriage, we have trashed to our own peril what the natural world and ancient wisdom teach us.

In fact, a large number of dangerous and deadly myths about marriage led to the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2015 that opened the door to recognition of same-sex marriage in the United States. That ruling, named for the plaintiff in the case, James Obergefell, doesn’t just rest on perilous myths; it also is reinforcing them. In turn, these myths also are reinforcing in people’s minds the perception that the Obergefell ruling is valid. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Like the parents who gave their children Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, multiplied millions today—many of whom are sincere and well-intentioned—are being led down a deadly path. It is the purpose of this series of articles to expose the myths that led to and that now are reinforcing Obergefell. 

We highlighted four myths in part 1 and four in part 2. All eight myths we have named thus far are listed here. In part 3 we will focus on just one, but a critically important one. We need to understand why this myth has such a strong grip on our culture, and even on the church.

Myth #9: Marriage has more to do with sexual pleasure and emotional ties than producing children.

Fact: An individual has to accept this idea to believe that a same-sex relationship really can be a marriage, because same-sex relationships cannot produce children. Thus, to call a same-sex relationship a marriage eliminates procreation from the marital equation.

Of course, we would not minimize the importance of sexual and emotional bonding between a man and his wife, but let’s make sure we don’t miss what nature tells us about the connections between their emotional bonds, the sex act, sexual pleasure, and children. The union of the man and his wife in the one-flesh act of sexual intercourse leads to conception and birth and the one-flesh expression of their union in the form of a child!

Reinforcing the idea of marriage as only about emotional ties and sexual pleasure has been the ceaseless mantra of same-sex marriage advocates who have repeatedly asked, “If two people love each other, then why can’t they marry?” Yet, as we said in an earlier post, “Marriage is about love, but it’s not about love exclusively.”

In his book Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson calls this relatively new perspective on marriage the “consent-based” view of marriage. This point of view says

marriage is primarily about an intense emotional union—a romantic, caregiving union of consenting adults.… [According to this view, the thing that] sets marriage apart from other relationships is the priority of the relationship. It’s your most important relationship; the most intense emotional, romantic union; the caregiving relationship that takes priority over all others.…2

Yet, as Anderson goes on to say, this view of marriage actually fails to see the marriage relationship as unique or special. In other words, it views it as different from other relationships in terms of degree rather than as a different kind of relationship. This view

cannot explain or justify any of the distinctive commitments that marriage requires—monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence—nor can it explain what interest the government has in it.

Lightstock

If marriage is simply about consenting adult romance and caregiving, why should it be permanent? Emotions come and go; love waxes and wanes. Why would such a bond require a pledge of permanency. Might not someone find that the romance and caregiving of marriage are enhanced by a temporary commitment, in which no one is under a life sentence?3

Moreover, Anderson asks, why should such a relationship be exclusive? And why should it be limited to just two people?4

With regard to heterosexual marriage, the arrival of children answers these questions loudly and clearly. Marriage should be permanent, exclusive, and limited to the man and the woman alone for the sakes of the children involvedThis is what nature tells us. While same-sex couples can adopt and thereby “bypass” their infertility, we cannot afford to miss the message nature sends about their relationship in and through their innate infertility. It cannot be a marriage! This isn’t bigotry, but reality!

While same-sex couples can adopt children and thereby “bypass” their infertility, we cannot afford to miss the message nature sends about their relationship in and through their infertility. It cannot be a marriage! This isn’t bigotry, but reality!

Let’s return to the heterosexual couple and note that even if they have no children, permanency, exclusivity, and restricting their union to two and two alone still make perfect sense. First, two is the natural number because only two sexes—male and female—exist. Furthermore, just as male-female differences make procreation possible, they also work together to cement a heterosexual couple’s relationship in ways utterly impossible with two men or two women. Here is a part of the evidence.

The Culture

Unfortunately, today people overlook this evidence when they think about marriage. Why? Because in people’s minds, the “consent-based” view of marriage and the radical individualism that gave birth to it are deeply, deeply ingrained in the American psyche. John Stonestreet made this point a number of years ago in a very insightful BreakPoint commentary. The idea, he says, of marriage as “anything other than a private expression of mutual affection” is totally foreign to average citizens and even “unintelligible.” Yes, they may desire to have children, but to them, having kids isn’t what marriage is all about: “When someone speaks about the social dimension of marriage and the centrality of child-rearing, they may as well be invoking the idea of arranged marriages and dowries.” You see, in a world that values freedom as “liberation from constraints, especially institutional constraints,” marriage can’t be viewed as anything desirably special unless it is seen, as Ryan Anderson put it, as a “consent-based” relationship. The alternative is to see it as restrictive and constraining, and therefore undesirable.

The Church

In the church, especially among younger Christians, views on marriage are not a great deal different. While a great many churches acknowledge the biblical pattern of one man and one woman committed to each other for life, rarely, if ever, do they mine the rich relational jewels that marriage affords a couple deeply committed to God, each other, and the welfare of their children. Marriage, according to God’s plan, offers a deep intimacy and a strong security foreign to all other relationships. But to have these, sacrifice is essential. Writing in First Things, college professor Abigail Rine observes,

As I consider my own upbringing and the various “sex talks” I encountered in evangelical church settings over the past twenty years, I realize that the view of marital sex presented there was primarily revisionist [mainly “an emotional, romantic, sexual bond between two people” rather than both a demanding and richly rewarding relationship in which the couple sacrifices for each other and for the well-being of their children]. While the ideal of raising a family is ever-present in evangelical culture, discussions about sex itself focused almost exclusively on purity, as well as the intense spiritual bond that sexual intimacy brings to a married couple. Pregnancy was mentioned only in passing and often in negative terms, paraded alongside sexually transmitted diseases as a possible punishment for those who succumb to temptation. But for those who wait, ah! Pleasures abound!

Using Rine’s article as a backdrop, John Stonestreet explains in another BreakPoint commentary why young Christians have difficulty embracing a prohibition against same-sex marriage.

As Rine points out “the redefinition of marriage began decades ago” when “the link between sexuality and procreation was severed in our cultural imagination.”

And if marriage “has only an arbitrary relationship to reproduction,” then it seems mean-spirited to Rine’s students to argue that marriage by its very nature excludes same-sex couples.

Sadly, both the church and the culture are imprisoned by a myth, by a deadly, false idea! Again, the myth we’re highlighting is this: Marriage has more to do with sexual pleasure and emotional ties than producing children.

Lightstock

Changing the Culture’s Perception First Means Changing the Church’s

Here we see the results of the church’s failure to uphold marriage as an institution that mirrors God’s character and that reflects Christ’s relationship with the church. An emphasis on purity was and is needed, of course. But so is an emphasis on sacrifice and its rich rewards. Nothing can hold a candle to making a positive difference in the world beyond one’s own lifetime through one’s children!

Nothing can hold a candle to making a positive difference in the world beyond one’s own lifetime through one’s children!

Yes, it is difficult to sacrifice, but we have immeasurably benefitted from the One who sacrificed His all for us. In Philippians 2:5-11, Paul challenges us to emulate Him and His service to others,

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Keep in mind as well that Jesus Himself said,

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

The Key

Pastors and Bible study leaders, the key to loosening the grip of this myth on the culture is leading and guiding God’s people to break free of its grip on them and on the church at large. Christians cannot fight spiritual battles in the culture if they’re unfamiliar with the weaknesses of the myths Satan uses to entice people. On the other hand, when God’s people understand what marriage is, and why it is what it is, they’ll be far better equipped recognize and reject the myths that have led to cultural and government recognition of same-sex marriage.

Moreover, they’ll understand that such recognition is a lot like Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup—soothing to some, yes; but also dangerous…

…and potentially deadly.

 

Part 4 is available here.


Significantly, just four days after I posted this article, this BreakPoint commentary was released: America’s Reversal on Gay “Marriage”—What Really Happened?


Notes:

1Ryan T. Anderson, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2015), 17.

2,3,4Anderson, 15.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Links to all the articles in this series are available here.

top image: Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup promo picture—National Library of Medicine

Part 1: Myths Relating to the Courts, Government, Law, and the US Constitution

Part 2: Myths Relating to Male-Female Differences, Procreation, Parenting, and the Absence of a Mother or Father in Every Home Run by a Same-Sex Couple