The Growing Conflict

I’ve written previously about the conflict that is growing over the liberty to publicly maintain the view that homosexuality is not an acceptable alternative lifestyle. Christians who hold to Biblical teaching on homosexuality are going to be increasingly under fire. Two cases in point are in the news right now, and both deal with college education.

Julea Ward was a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University. I emphasize was because she was expelled from the university’s graduate program in school counseling because she believes that homosexuality is a sin.

After the expulsion, she took the university to court, relying on the First Amendment’s right to the free exercise of one’s religious beliefs.  On Monday, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh dismissed her lawsuit, thereby upholding the university’s action in expelling her.

Of course, the university did hold out hope for her to return to her graduate studies, but the ground rules were as follows: she would only be allowed to remain in the program if she went through a “remediation” program so that she could “see the error of her ways” and change her belief system about homosexuality.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which brought her lawsuit, responded, 

Christian students shouldn’t be expelled for holding to and abiding by their beliefs. To reach its decision, the court had to do something that’s never been done in federal court: uphold an extremely broad and vague university speech code.

On the heels of that ruling is another case, also brought by the Alliance Defense Fund, on behalf of Jennifer Keeton, another graduate student in counseling, this time at Augusta State University in Georgia. The issue is nearly identical to that of Julea Ward’s. Keeton is a graduate student in a counseling program. Her Christian beliefs declare homosexuality to be sinful behavior. That is not allowed in the program.

College officials told her that her beliefs are unethical and incompatible with the consensus within the counseling field. Faculty in the program told her she had to change her beliefs if she wished to graduate. Their demands didn’t stop there, however.

Additionally, the faculty ordered Jennifer to complete a remediation plan that includes “diversity sensitivity training,” remedial reading and writing projects, and suggested attendance at a “Gay Pride Parade.”  The purpose of the remediation plan was to change her beliefs, and if the plan is not completed to the school’s satisfaction, she could be expelled. 

One Alliance Defense Fund spokesman said that these cases should be a warning to Christians who are enrolled in public colleges and universities.

Public universities are imposing the ideological stances of private groups on their students. If you don’t comply, you will be kicked out. It’s scary stuff and it’s not a difficult thing to see what’s coming down the pike.

From the perspective of liberal secularism/progressivism, all beliefs should be allowed except one—the Biblically based Christian view. Tolerance is the watchword, unless you happen to be someone who believes in absolutes based on Christian doctrine. That view, they say, should not be tolerated.

The prophet Isaiah clearly warned,

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. [Is. 5:20]

Issues: No Dichotomy

The issue that first got many evangelicals involved in politics was abortion. After that, it was a threat to private schools from the IRS. Those were both in the 1970s. As the 1980s progressed, so did the “gay rights” agenda. That has increasingly received attention.

All of these are sometimes categorized as the “social issues.” Commentators often talk about those being the hot-button issues for evangelicals because they are focused on problems of morality. I cannot argue with that. They deserve our concern.

I would like to note, though, that we sometimes divide these issues into artificial compartments. In my view, all issues come back to some aspect of morality, and they all affect our society. The division that is usually made is between the moral concerns and the economic concerns, but stop and think for a minute: how can we divorce economics from morality?

How money is spent is a moral issue. How much we spend has to do with morality as well. If we go into massive debt, how is that not a matter of right and wrong?

If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to reorient your thinking and realize that there really is no division. Citizens—and particularly Christian citizens—should see our national concerns as interconnected. In the same way as there should be no dichotomy between sacred and secular [God is the author of all knowledge and gave man the ability to think and create], neither is there a dichotomy between morality and economics or government structure or any other issue one might raise.

Let’s be renewed in our minds. Let’s see the whole rather than the parts in isolation.

Supreme Decisions

This seems to be Supreme Court week. First, we have the confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan, then two decisions are handed down by the Court that have significant ramifications, one for good, the other just the opposite.

The good: the Second Amendment has survived the scrutiny of the Court—how nice of them to decide it’s really there. By a slim 5-4 decision, the Court declared that the right to keep and bear arms applies to states and cities, too, thereby overturning a Chicago ordinance that tried to prohibit the right of self-defense by carrying a firearm.

Now, I’m no gun nut. I’ve never owned a gun, and I’ve only shot guns one time—at an NRA range. I have to say I enjoyed it, and was a much better shot than I expected I would be. All that to say, I’ve never had much experience along that line, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution and should not be abridged. There are definitely benefits that come from gun ownership:

As some commentators have noted, though, there is a downside to this: the fact that the vote was only 5-4 shows how far we have strayed from written guarantees in the Constitution. Think about it—four justices on the Supreme Court were willing to say this right does not exist nationwide.

There was one bit of hypocrisy on display in this decision as well. Sonia Sotomayor voted with the minority after telling senators in her confirmation hearings that the right to bear arms was “settled law.” Apparently, she wanted to unsettle it. Again, this shows how much credence we can give to what nominees to the Court say during their hearings. The same applies to the Kagan hearings going on currently.

That decision was positive, but the other decision was disturbing. A Christian group at a California university was denied funds as a student group because it had as its requirements that individuals wanting to be part of the organization had to adhere to basic Biblical tenets, which included standing firm on the Biblical belief that homosexuality is not acceptable. Discriminatory, the university said. And the Supreme Court agreed. Once more, this was a 5-4 decision. Its impact will ripple throughout the nation as Christian groups will be under fire for being . . . well, Christian.

The decision shows how acceptance of homosexuality has infiltrated our society. Even more, it shows that there is a noose around the neck of the First Amendment’s right of free exercise of religion. Christians are now open to penalties for practicing their faith.

As I’ve said before, the worst part of all this is the undeniable fact that, to some extent, we now live under an oligarchy. Five people can determine the direction of our society. The judiciary has become a little god. This does not bode well for the future.

The Official Government Stance on Homosexual Rights

Last Friday, while everyone was distracted by the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Obama administration released the following proclamation that declared June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. It needs to be read in its entirety to appreciate the sweeping scope of this proclamation:

Much work remains to fulfill our Nation’s promise of equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.  That is why we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, and ensuring Federal employees receive equal benefits.  We must create safer schools so all our children may learn in a supportive environment.  I am also committed to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” so patriotic LGBT Americans can serve openly in our military, and I am working with the Congress and our military leadership to accomplish that goal.

As we honor the LGBT Americans who have given so much to our Nation, let us remember that if one of us is unable to realize full equality, we all fall short of our founding principles.  Our Nation draws its strength from our diversity, with each of us contributing to the greater whole.  By affirming these rights and values, each American benefits from the further advancement of liberty and justice for all.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2010 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.  I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.

I know there are some who will read this and have no problem with it. They will be taken in by the words “prejudice” and “discrimination.” Yes, they will say, we must end this injustice.

There is no direct comparison between the racial discrimination suffered by African Americans historically and those who claim the mantle of discrimination based on “sexual orientation.” That very phrase is misleading. It is based on the idea that one does not choose homosexuality; rather, it is inherent within the person.

First, there is no scientific evidence for that assertion. It has become the conventional wisdom in some circles simply by repeating it endlessly. It’s the modern manifestation of the classic tactic that if you repeat a lie consistently and continually, many people will eventually accept it as fact.

Second, and most importantly, as I’ve stated before in this blog, there is no Biblical foundation for acceptance of homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle. Every Biblical reference to it declares it to be a sin against God’s created order.

Yet now the federal government has made it official: we need to move forward [?] to make homosexuality an honored practice in this nation.

I speak for many when I say I will not go along with this push; I will continue to treat it as God does. What does that mean? First, it is a sin. Second, all sin can be repented of and forgiven. Those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle can be redeemed: God reaches out to them to convict them of their sin and offer His salvation. Everyone who responds to His offer can be set free.

That is not hate. That is love.

Opposing Kagan: Let Me Count the Ways

Well, here we go again. It’s time for another round of  trauma as we prepare for hearings on President Obama’s latest nominee for the Supreme Court. She is current Solicitor General for the U.S. and former dean of the Harvard Law School. Thirty-one Republicans opposed her appointment for Solicitor General, so she is not without controversy regardless of the administration’s attempt to portray her as a legal moderate.

Elena Kagan: Supreme Court Bound?

So what are the basics on Elena Kagan? Why can she be opposed on principle?

Let me count the ways.

First, I don’t accept the view that any president should just get whomever he wants on the Court and that as long as the person is “qualified,” he or she deserves the job.

It all depends on the meaning of “qualified.”

On the surface, someone who works as Solicitor General and who was the dean of Harvard’s Law School would seem to be qualified. By whose standards, though? My basis for judgment is different than what most senators will use for their evaluation. Here are the problems from my point of view, in no particular order:

  1. She has no courtroom experience as a judge. While I’m not absolutely wedded to the position that this is mandatory, it certainly should make one pause, especially when one takes into consideration we’re talking about the highest court in the land.
  2. She is an ideological clone of Barack Obama. Therefore, she will promote his agenda on the court.
  3. She is an ideological clone of Barack Obama. Therefore, she doesn’t believe in following the original intent of the Constitution. In her mind, it’s a nuisance that gets in the way of “progress.”
  4. She is an ideological clone of Barack Obama. Therefore, she is pro-abortion.
  5. As dean of the Harvard Law School, she worked to keep military recruiters off campus. Her view of the military is Standard Leftist.
  6. She despises the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding homosexuals serving in the military, calling it discriminatory.
  7. One possible reason for her strident views on #5 is that it is an open secret that she is a lesbian. I believe homosexuality is a sin and should not be promoted in society in any way. Placing a lesbian on the Supreme Court sends the wrong signal. I know I am in the minority now with this view, but I must stay faithful to Biblical teaching and give it priority. This is a character issue.

All the factors listed above [and I’m sure more will surface as I have time to read more about her] converge to make her unacceptable as a Supreme Court justice.

Of course I realize that there is about a 99% chance she will be confirmed.

Fortunately, she is only replacing someone who shares her views and not a conservative who believes in original intent. That battle may be in the future, but I pray it will not occur during this current administration.