Liberties for All

The following was written by Pastor Larry Peters of Grace Lutheran Church, Clarksville TN. What he says is very much in line with what I have thought concerning the issue of the protection of freedom and rights as presented in recent laws passed in the states of Indiana and Arkansas and also in our neighboring community, Eureka Springs AR. If we are living like Christ, we will be respectful of everyone, regardless of who they are. Doesn’t mean we will support their sin(s) but we will love them just as Jesus does. Here is Pastor Peters:

The GLBT community suffers from being ungracious winners. In the span of a generation, homosexuality has gone from whispers to prime time TV, from the love that dare not be named to the love many see on equal par with love men and women have for each other, and from being illegal to having nearly every legitimate claim before the law that any heterosexual has. But, apparently, that is not enough. Those pressing forth for gay liberation will not be satisfied until they use every tool of legality and public pressure to silence anyone and everyone who disagrees with them — and this includes shouting fire in a crowded theater.

Unless I am wrong, I know of no Christians — except perhaps the lunatic fringe folks of Westboro Baptist Church — who believe that anyone should be denied their full protection and benefit of civil rights before the law. Unless I am wrong, I know of no Christian who believes that gays should be denied employment, commerce, medical care, etc… — only that Christians not be forced to do what violates their conscience and religious beliefs. Unless I am wrong, I know of no Christian who believes that gays should be segregated in the way that Blacks were once treated in America. Yet the GLBT community believes that it has the right to deny the constitutionally protected right of religious expression to those who disagree with them. They are most ungracious winners in the fact that they refuse to be satisfied with free access to every workplace but those very few where religious beliefs contradict homosexuality, refuse to patronize every other bakery or flower shop where their money will be gladly accepted except the very few whose owners have religious beliefs that conflict with homosexuality, and refuse to believe that any dispute with the GLBT agenda is constitutionally protected.

Who would deny that the GLBT community has made a huge turnaround in the attitudes of the general public toward homosexuality? Yet, this very community has become most ungracious in its success and insists upon persecuting churches and people who resist the pressure to accept without reservation their full agenda. Why are these folks being so ungracious, petty, and strident? Could it be that liberalism has become not merely about toleration but about the enforcement of politically correct thought, speech, and action? Liberals are most unliberal with those disagree with them. It has often been said that conservatives are mean spirited, narrow minded, and judgmental but it appears that they do not have a corner on this intolerance. I should be surprised but I am not. Victory often brings with it the grave temptation to intolerance. Christians have their share of guilt in this matter as well. But seldom has a group accomplished so much so quickly and then turned around to feed their enemies to the lions.

Feminism worked for the cause of women’s liberation only to insist upon the right of abortion and the use of abortifacients as the absolute and sole domain of a woman’s conscience and the litmus test for whether or not you are misogynists. Now gays who have begged for tolerance have become the ugly bullies they once abhorred and have made any disagreement with their agenda impossible. Even reasonable people from within the GLBT community fear the bullying tactics now being used against other minorities (in this case religious) who would dare to disagree. How quickly the sweet taste of victory turns foul and putrid when it becomes the very thing that was its own enemy!

The truth is that I have known many gay folks and some of them have been and continue to be close friends. I harbor no desire to see them harmed in any way nor do I seek to have their constitutional freedoms abridged in any way. They know that I oppose gay marriage and they know why. It is not prejudice against them or against anyone to suggest that God’s design for marriage and family is one man, one woman, in lifelong fidelity and faithfulness. As far as I know, they do not seek to have my constitutional freedoms denied me and accept my love for them even with my rejection of homosexual practice as the equivalent of God’s intention in creating them male or female. I pray for them and I know at least some of them pray for me. I believe that any and all who seek to be saved will be saved only through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ. I know that God delights in the repentance of sinners who too often retreat to the well worn ruts of their favorite and familiar sins and this is true for both gay and straight. I pray that I am gracious to those who disagree with me — speaking forcefully on the principle but loving generously the person. My parents taught me that such was not the high ideal but the basic standard of Christian life and conversation.

My desire is both that the Christians who oppose gay marriage and its full inclusion in the life and ministry of the Church will be gracious and those who oppose them will be gracious — in victory or defeat. The battles will surely continue on this matter but pity the future of our nation and of Christianity when it comes down to persecuting mom and pop businesses in their choices of whom to serve. We dare not make laws requiring people to patronize this business or that and we dare not infringe upon the constitutionally protected religious freedom by requiring business people to ignore conviction and faith in order to make a living. Finally, when the public square must be devoid of any moral voice but the prevailing voice of the moment, when churches and their people must be silent in that public square, our nation will have surrendered the cherished freedoms for which so many fought and died for the tyranny of intolerance that will undo us.

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