It’s time for a gut check for conservative Christians in America. If we are on the right side of one of the greatest social, moral, and spiritual issues of our time, then we need to dig deep, hold our ground, strengthen our commitment, and redouble our efforts, regardless of cost or consequence. But if we are on the wrong side of this issue, then we had best throw in the towel before we lose all credibility and further damage the reputation of the Lord.
The issue of which I speak is that of “gay rights” (or, more broadly, “gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights”), and on an almost daily basis, the mainstream media assures us of two things: 1) Just as many conservative Christians were on the wrong side of slavery, segregation, and women’s rights, we are on the wrong side of the gay rights issue today. 2) It is futile to oppose gay activism any longer, since the battle has already been won and Americans have embraced “equality and tolerance.”
Put another way, those who continue to argue that homosexual practice is sinful or that same-sex couples should not have the right to marry will soon be consigned to the dung heap of public opinion, there to join past generations of slave traders, misogynists, and members of the KKK. Is this true?
To be sure, we are living in times of stunning social transition:
For the third straight year, President Barack Obama has declared June to be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, also commemorating the Stonewall Riots of June 1969.
In New York, both Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg are making an aggressive attempt to legalize same-sex marriage now.
One of the country’s most prestigious law firms, King & Spalding, dropped the United States Government as its client under pressure from gay activists after agreeing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
Media outlets have praised the students of a Florida high school for selecting a cross-dressing teenage boy as their prom queen.
Major league baseball teams have now joined the “It Gets Better” campaign, designed to encourage gay and lesbian youth and teenagers in their sexual orientation, and “It Gets Better” commercials, sponsored by Google and even featuring a word of encouragement from Pixar’s “Woody” of Toy Story fame, have been broadcast during NBA playoff games.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated some of America’s most respected family ministries as “hate groups” because of their alleged spreading of misinformation regarding homosexuality.
When a Chik-Fil-A store in Pennsylvania donated brownies and sandwiches to a pro-family organization that opposed same-sex marriage, college students began to call for boycotts of Chik-Fil-A on their campuses. At the same time, major corporations pour millions of dollars into gay activist organizations and are widely praised for their philanthropy.
And the list goes on… and on. Is it time for us to capitulate? Are we on the wrong side of history once again? Certainly not.
It is true that there are many kind, friendly, hard-working, conscientious LGBT people and they deserve to be treated with civility and respect, but when it comes to biblical truth, there is not a single argument that has been presented or a single discovery that has been made – historically or linguistically or archeologically or exegetically – that would cause us to alter our understanding that God’s Word opposes homosexual practice. And it is true that there are many devoted, loving, same-sex couples, but there is still not the slightest reason to redefine marriage – society’s most fundamental social institution – nor, for that matter, has any proponent of same-sex marriage provided an adequate answer to the most basic of questions, namely, What’s so special about the number “two” if marriage is not the union of a man and a woman?
When it comes to recent polls that indicate that a majority of Americans – especially among younger Americans – now believe same-sex marriage should be legal, we must remember that polls do not tell us what is right, they simply report public opinion. Why in the world should Christian leaders bow down to polls when it comes to determining morality?
We must also bear in mind that other recent polls indicate that most Americans, quite remarkably, believe that more than 25% of the population is gay (as opposed to the correct figure, which is closer to 3%), with Americans under 30 years of age putting the figure at close to 33%. This is an almost unbelievably inaccurate picture (thanks to TV and the media, no doubt), and one that certainly influences public perception towards LGBT people.
The fact is that followers of Jesus are called to swim against the tide of popular opinion and go against the grain of popular morality rather than do what is convenient or expedient. And so, the real question is not whether we are on the right side of history. The question is: Will we do what is right or will we cave in to culture?
Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.
“SAME SEX MARRIAGE: Should it be legal in America?” Debate at the University of Central Florida: Dr. Michael L. Brown vs. Dr. Eric Smaw
University Professors to Tackle Questions Homosexuality and the Family Morals in America.
ORLANDO, FL – On April 21, 2011 at 7:30pm at UCF’s Health and Public Affairs Building (Room 119), Rollins College professor, Dr. Eric Smaw and author and seminary professor Dr. Michael L. Brown will debate the question “Should same sex marriage be legalized in America?” The event will be held at 4000 Central Florida Blvd and is open to the public. After the formal portion of the debate, Brown and Smaw
will field questions from the audience.
Dr. Smaw will be responding in the affirmative. He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Law from the University of Kentucky in 2005. His areas of expertise are philosophy of law, international law, human rights, ethics, and modern philosophy. He has published articles on human rights, terrorism, and cosmopolitanism. His most recent publication is “Swaying in the Balance: Civil Liberties, National
Security, and Justice in Times of Emergency”.
Dr. Brown will be responding in the negative. He earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and is a nationally known evangelical lecturer and radio host. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and twenty books, including the recently published study A Queer Thing Happened to America, which is quickly being recognized as the definitive work on the history and effects of gay activism on American culture.
“I believe this debate will address key issues which we cannot avoid, issues pertaining to ‘gay civil rights’ and the redefining of marriage,” said Brown. “But I’m confident that the debate will be conducted with civility and respect, hopefully presenting a model as to how the public debate of such volatile issues can produce more light than heat.”
The debate is part of Dr. Brown’s book speaking tour, The Campaign for Religious Tolerance and Intellectual Diversity. Moderating the debate will be John Stemberger, the President of the Florida Family
The event is sponsored by Resound Missions Base; a southern Orlando school of ministry and a church, centered around a house of prayer.
Dr. Michael L. Brown is host of the daily, nationally syndicated talk radio program, the Line of Fire and serves as a professor at a number of leading seminaries, holding a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He has spoken in over twenty-five nations and has made numerous TV and radio appearances, while his work has been featured in newspapers such as the Washington Post, the Charlotte Observer, and the Baltimore Sun. His most recent book, A Queer Thing Happened to America, proved so controversial that no major publisher was willing to touch it, but it reached #1 on Amazon’s Gay and Lesbian Nonfiction list just days after its release. To request a review copy of the book or to schedule an interview with Dr. Michael Brown, please contact: Domenick Nati at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-346-3342. More information can be found on www.askdrbrown.org.
Writing in the On Faith blog for the Washington Post, Orthodox rabbi Shmuley Boteach claimed that evangelical Christians have “utterly marginalized themselves with their obsession over homosexuality.” Is this true? To be sure, in the aftermath of the elections, a lively debate is taking place as to whether evangelicals have been marginalized politically or, to the contrary, have actually increased in influence. But what about our alleged obsession with homosexuality?
When Rabbi Shmuley made this accusation in a November 1st debate we had on the subject of homosexuality, I conducted an impromptu survey of the audience, which was almost exclusively evangelical, asking them to respond to four questions: How many of them heard a sermon in the last year on the importance of marriage? Virtually every hand went up. The importance of devoting time and energy to the raising of their children? Same response. The dangers of sexual sin (and/or pornography)? The same response again. A sermon about gay activism? Not a single hand.
This, however, did not impress psychologist and professor Warren Throckmorton, who wrote on his blog, “While I mean no disrespect to his audience, I am not going to trust that they are a representative sample. I certainly disagree with Brown about the obsession of some evangelicals with homosexuality,” citing other examples that allegedly backed his claim.
Are the rabbi and the psychologist correct? Was my audience not representative of evangelicals as a whole? (Bear in mind that the audience consisted of people who were interested enough in the subject of homosexuality to come to the debate, yet somehow, if Throckmorton is correct, they were less exposed to the subject than those who were not there. Go figure.)
Let’s step back and think about this in terms of day to day, evangelical life. Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of sermons preached in evangelical pulpits across America, and there are thousands of evangelical books that are published, from novels to devotionals to commentaries to sermon collections to testimonies to books on doctrine, theology, prayer, discipleship, marriage, family, childrearing, worship, education, politics, missions, abortion, social action, and more. There is an almost endless stream of evangelical radio and TV shows, with millions of hours of programming, and there are hundreds of evangelical Bible schools, ministry training centers, colleges, universities and seminaries, offering thousands of courses between them.
Of all those sermons, books, radio and TV shows, and college and seminary classes, how many are focused on homosexual issues? Less than 1% would be a fairly good estimate; less than 10% could be absolutely guaranteed. (I invite Rabbi Shmuley or Prof. Throckmorton to challenge this estimate based on a survey of any of the data just mentioned, some of which is readily available.)
What about pro-family organizations like Focus on Family? Haven’t they been obsessed with homosexuality? Actually, under the leadership of Dr. James Dobson, who stressed the importance of evangelicals being involved in the political process, less than 3% of the Focus budget was devoted to homosexual issues, including funds that were designated to help people overcome same-sex attraction. So, out of a budget that reached $130 million, less than $4 million was devoted to homosexual issues. Contrast this with the budget of an organization like the Human Rights Campaign, devoted entirely to promoting gay activism, and topping $35 million in 2010. Yet it is evangelicals who are allegedly obsessed with the issue?
As for evangelical voting in the elections, it is true that certain moral issues are important to evangelicals, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, but for better or worse, issues like the economy or the reach of the government play a much more dominant role, as seen in the recent elections. Plus, how much of our time and energy is spent voting or politicking?
The truth be told, it is actually gay activists who are obsessed with homosexuality (which is no surprise, since from their perspective, this is who they are and they are fighting a battle for equality and civil rights), and they are often joined in their obsession by an all too-willing media, which is also obsessively focused on anyone who takes a public stand against gay activism. And so, virtually every day, we hear about the move to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or about gay teen suicides, or about the fight for same-sex marriage in the courts, or about gay-focused legislation like the Hate Crimes Bill or ENDA, or about some other gay-related story. And from another angle, as noted by Time Magazine‘s Michael Kinsley, “Kids are also exposed constantly to an entertainment culture in which gays are not merely accepted but in some ways dominant. You rarely see a reality show without a gay cast member, while Rosie O’Donnell is a coveted free agent and Ellen DeGeneres is America’s sweetheart.”
For the last two years, our president has officially recognized June as Gay Pride Month, and in 2009, he welcomed 300 gay activists to the White House to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots (“This is your house,” he said to them). In the business world, 300 of the nation’s biggest companies earned perfect scores from the Human Rights Campaign by kowtowing to their demands, while on our campuses, college professors have been fired and students expelled for expressing differences with homosexual practice. Yet the moment we draw attention to today’s pervasive obsession with homosexuality or raise an objection to the queering of America, we are immediately accused of being obsessed. How convenient!
So let the truth be told. It is gay activists and their allies, not evangelicals, who are obsessed with homosexuality. We evangelicals are simply holding our moral ground.
Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, “The Line of Fire,” and author of the forthcoming book A Queer Thing Happened to America
Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org.
We’re in the middle of the Top Ten false “facts” reported by Judge Vaughn Walker in his decision to overturn Proposition 8 in California—a decision that could erode marriage and First Amendment rights in the entire country. See yesterday’s column here if you missed the first five false “facts.”
6. “No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.” (FF 46)
I guess thousands of ex-gays just don’t exist in Judge Walker’s special-pleading universe. Neither does renowned Columbia University psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Spitzer, who concluded that some highly motivated individuals can change their orientation from homosexual to heterosexual through reorientation therapy.
This is significant because Spitzer is no propagandist for the religious right. Quite the contrary—a self-described “Jewish atheist,” Spitzer has been a hero to homosexual activists since 1973 when he helped get homosexuality declassified as a mental disorder. Recently, however, they’ve turned on him because he reported the truth.
Dr. Spitzer said that his 2003 study “has been criticized severely by many people, particularly gay activists, who apparently, feel quite threatened by it. They have the feeling that in order to get their civil rights, it’s helpful to them if they can present the view that once you’re a homosexual you can never change.”
When asked whether the American Psychiatric Association should now change their position statements that say orientation cannot be changed, Dr. Spitzer said, “I think they should, [but] they will not be. . . . There’s a gay activist group that’s very strong and very vocal and is recognized officially by the American Psychiatric Association. There’s nobody to give the other viewpoint. There may be a few who believe it but they won’t talk.”
Dr. Spitzer then acknowledged explicitly that politics often trump the scientific facts at organizations like the APA (an organization cited to bolster Judge Walker’s conclusion). He also said that the APA should stop applying a double standard by discouraging reorientation therapy, while actively encouraging gay-affirmative therapy that’s intended to confirm and solidify a homosexual identity. Good point by Dr. Spitzer. After all, if people can be talked into it, then why can’t they be talked out of it?
Sexual orientation isn’t like race either. You’ll find many former homosexuals, but you’ll never find a former African American.
Of course Walker’s “fact” even if true is irrelevant anyway. Marriage does not need to be redefined just because people can’t change their sexual desires. Otherwise a legal “marriage” relationship must be created for every particular sexual desire.
7. “The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment.” (FF 70)
Incredibly, Judge Walker says that this conclusion “is accepted beyond serious debate.” Citing a study by the politicized APA, Walker never admits that not enough research has been done to evaluate the well being of children living with homosexual parents. And he ignored evidence presented by the defense that contradicted his “fact.”
But does one really need a study to know that Walker is wrong? Was your father different as a parent than your mother? To say no is laughable. In fact, even Rodney Dangerfield could expose this false fact. “No respect at all—when I was a baby, I was breast fed by my father!”
Later in the opinion, Walker makes the unbelievable assertion that, “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.” Who sez? The imperial Judge Walker.
Questions for the Judge: Why do you assert that men and women are interchangeable as parents but not as sex partners? After all, if gender really is irrelevant to marriage as you maintain—if men and women are interchangeable—then why argue for same-sex marriage at all? Why not just tell homosexuals, “Gender is irrelevant to marriage, so instead of making a fuss, why not just go ahead and marry someone from the opposite sex”?
Why not? Because when it comes to their own personal gratification, homosexual activists like Judge Walker clearly recognize the big difference between the sexes. But when it comes to the more important priority of raising children, they say there is no difference between the sexes. Children are just going to have to take a backseat to their sexual desires. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse sums up the attitude of homosexual activists well. She writes, “[Homosexual] adults are entitled to have what they want. Children have to take what we give them.”
8. “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.” (FF 77) Really? Do religious beliefs that drunkenness is sinful or inferior to sobriety harm alcoholics? No, those beliefs help such people by telling them the truth about destructive behavior instead of enabling them with liberal fantasyland talk about how all behaviors and lifestyles are equal.
9. “Proposition 8 results in frequent reminders for gays and lesbians in committed long-term relationships that their relationships are not as highly valued as opposite-sex relationships.” (FF 68) This is not meant to be offensive, but what if certain relationships really are more valuable to society than others? Clearly, the procreative committed relationship of a man and a woman is more valuable than any other relationship in society because it is necessary for society’s very survival. To comprehend the impact of this, you just need to consider two questions.
1) What would happen to society if everyone lived faithfully in natural marriage? Our country would thrive with a drastic reduction in numerous social problems including illegitimacy, crime, welfare, and abortion.
2) What would happen to society if everyone lived faithfully in same-sex marriage? Society wouldn’t thrive because it wouldn’t even survive. It would end the human race!
This is not to say that such a law would cause this, but merely to point out that certain relationships are more valuable to a society than others. The truth is that homosexual and heterosexual relationships are not the same, can never be the same, and will never yield the same benefits to individuals or society. No law can change that fact; only deceive people into thinking so.
If this point offends you, then you have a problem with reality not me. I didn’t make up the facts of nature. I’m just admitting them—something Judge Walker and many same-sex marriage supporters seem unwilling to do.
10. “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.” (Conclusion)
The real fact is that Judge Walker fails to provide any “rational basis” for overturning Proposition 8—no rational basis from the constitution or common sense. While lecturing the people of California that their “private moral views” cannot be used to make their laws, Judge Walker has simply imposed his own “private moral view” that same-sex marriage must be sanctioned. That is objectively immoral and unconstitutional itself.
He claims that the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage “exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.” If that’s true, that’s not for him or any judge to decide. The people of California have said that time has not passed.
Disagree? Then you have the burden of persuading your fellow citizens to pass a constitutional amendment sanctioning same-sex marriage. That’s what the amendment process is for! When judges short-circuit that process, we are no longer a free people who govern ourselves.
(For more about this complicated and sensitive issue, get my compact book from which some of this article is adapted: Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.)
Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org.
When one judge overturned the will of more then seven million Californians last week in Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, he listed 80 supposed “findings of fact” (FF) as evidence that Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Many of those 80 findings are not facts at all. They’re lies or distortions.
Before we address the top ten false “facts” asserted by Judge Vaughn Walker, there is one real fact in his opinion that defeats the entire case for his opinion. Here it is:
“The evidence at trial shows that marriage in the United States traditionally has not been open to same-sex couples.”
Since that fact is unquestionably true, how can Judge Walker honestly declare that Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment? Certainly no one in 1868 intended the Fourteenth Amendment to redefine marriage. Only the most tyrannical form of judicial activism can get Judge Walker to his conclusion.
Second, Prop 8 doesn’t violate the Fourteenth Amendment because every person in America already has equal marriage rights. We’re all playing by the same rules—we all have the same right to marry any non-related adult of the opposite sex. Those rules do not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws” because the qualifications to enter a marriage apply equally to everyone—every adult person has the same right to marry.
What about homosexuals? That leads us to Judge Walker’s first false “fact.”
1. “Sexual orientation is fundamental to a person’s identity and is a distinguishing characteristic that defines gays and lesbians as a discrete group.” (FF 44) This is the most important of the false facts because Walker’s entire case collapses without it. The “fact” is false because it ignores the difference between desires and behavior.
Having certain sexual desires—whether you were “born” with them or acquired them sometime in life—does not mean that you are being discriminated against if the law doesn’t allow the behavior you desire. Good laws discriminate against behavior. They do not discriminate against people. If Walker’s false “fact” was a real fact, we’d have to redefine marriage to include not just same sex couples, but also relatives, multiple partners, children or any other sexual relationship people desire. After all, those are “sexual orientations” too.
In other words, there should be no legal class of “gay” or “straight,” just a legal class called “person.” And it doesn’t matter whether persons desire sex with the same or opposite sex, or whether they desire sex with children, parents, multiple partners or farm animals. What matters is whether the behavior desired is something the country should prohibit, permit or promote. And that’s a job for the people, not judges.
2. “California has no interest in asking gays and lesbians to change their sexual orientation or in reducing the number of gays and lesbians in California.” (FF 47) Other than helping them avoid disease and live longer, absolutely no reason. As I document here, health problems are higher and life spans shorter for homosexuals. This has touched me personally (and perhaps someone you know as well)—a childhood friend of mine died from AIDS at the age of 36. How is it wise public policy to endorse behavior that leads to such tragic results? That’s exactly what same-sex marriage does—it endorses homosexual behavior, which results in serious health problems and shorter life spans. Permitting unhealthy behavior is one thing, but endorsing it is quite another.
But won’t same-sex marriage help reduce gay health issues? Not likely. See Judge Walker’s next false fact.
3. “Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions.” (FF 48) What does “successful” mean? It has nothing to do with children according to Judge Walker. In his “the stork brings children” universe, marriage is merely about coupling; procreation is just incidental to it. He thinks a “successful” marriage is merely about commitment, but he can’t even support that case.
In another instance of special pleading, Judge Walker ignores the evidence that at least half of committed homosexual relationships are open as even the New York Times reported. (Other studies found even higher rates of promiscuity and infidelity.) This is so well known it’s a travesty that Judge Walker claims exactly the opposite is true. The Times reported, “None of this is news in the gay community, but few will speak publicly about it. Of the dozen people in open relationships contacted for this column, no one would agree to use his or her full name, citing privacy concerns. They also worried that discussing the subject could undermine the legal fight for same-sex marriage.” Maybe Judge Walker was worried too, and that’s why he didn’t bother mentioning this real fact with his false facts.
4. “Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages.” (FF 55) Judge Walker cites just four years of data from Massachusetts to make that sweeping conclusion about the most important relationship in human civilization. The truth is that evidence from other countries over a much longer period shows a mutually reinforcing relationship between same-sex marriage and illegitimacy. And the disastrous results of 40 years of liberalized divorce laws show how monumentally important marriage laws are to the health of marriages, children, and the nation.
5. “Proposition 8 does not affect the First Amendment rights of those opposed to marriage for same-sex couples.” (FF 62) It’s too bad Judge Walker didn’t look to evidence from Massachusetts for this false fact. If he had he would have seen that court-imposed same-sex marriage has severely affected First Amendment rights. Same sex marriage may not affect heterosexual marriage behavior quickly, but it certainly affects the free exercise of religion very quickly.
Parents in Massachusetts now have no right to know when their children are being taught homosexuality in grades as low as Kindergarten, neither can they opt their kids out (one parent was even jailed overnight for protesting this). Businesses are now forced to give benefits to same-sex couples regardless of any moral or religious objection the business owner may have. The government also ordered Catholic Charities to give children to homosexuals wanting to adopt. As a result, Catholic Charities closed their adoption agency rather than submit to an immoral order. Unfortunately, children are again the victims of the morality that comes with same-sex marriage.
“But you can’t legislate morality!” some say. Nonsense. Not only do all laws legislate morality, sometimes immorality is imposed by judges against the will of the people and in violation of religious rights. There is no neutral ground here. Either we will have freedom of religion and conscience, or we will be forced to adhere to the whims of judges who declare that their own distorted view of morality supersedes our rights—rights that our founders declared self-evident.
Think I’m overreacting? If this decision survives and nullifies all democratically decided laws in the 45 states that preserve natural marriage, religious rights violations in Massachusetts will go nationwide. In fact, it’s poised to happen already at the federal level. President Obama recently appointed gay activist Chai Feldblum to the EEOC. Speaking of the inevitable conflict between religious rights and so-called gay rights, Feldblum said, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”