You may be tempted to think if marriage is redefined to include same-sex couples, then the whole issue may just go away and the two sides can come to some sort of grudging peace. Everyone can get on with their lives, right? Well, not so fast. One of the things that is often overlooked in the debate over marriage is the effect redefining marriage will have on religious freedom.
In short, redefining marriage to include same-sex couples poses a significant threat to religious freedom. Examples abound to illustrate this fact.
In New Mexico, a Christian photographer was fined several thousand dollars after she politely declined to use her artistic talents to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony”.
Attempts have been made in Vermont, Illinois, and New Jersey, just to name a few states, to force Christian businesses to open their properties for same-sex wedding ceremonies, in opposition to their sincere religious beliefs.
A city in Kansas attempted to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance that would have forced churches to open their facilities for same-sex weddings regardless of their religious beliefs to the contrary.
A Christian-owned business in Kentucky was accused of unlawful discrimination when it abided by its faith and declined to print t-shirts for a local “pride festival” that celebrates homosexual behavior and same-sex relationships.
These examples illustrate the effect that redefining marriage has on religious freedom. But the “marriage” issue is more than just about marriage. The push for same-sex “marriage” is really a broader push to normalize homosexual behavior in society, which also has a negative effect on religious freedom.
The latest example of this is the pressure on the Boy Scouts of America organization to change its membership policy to include individuals who advocate or engage in homosexual behavior. This may not seem like a true threat to religious freedom, but over 70 percent of chartering organizations for Boy Scout troops are religious organizations. These churches will face a difficult choice if the Boy Scouts’ leadership changes its policy. Do the churches abide by their religious beliefs and cease being a chartering organization?
These kinds of choices are faced by Christians across America with increasing frequency. We must not forget the simple fact that religious freedom is the casualty of a society that embraces same-sex “marriage” and the normalization of homosexual behavior.
But we are not powerless. The voice of the church is needed now more than ever. In this moment, there are at least two things you and your church can do:
1. Sign up to participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday on June 9, 2013. On that day, pastors across America will stand together and preach sermons about what Scripture says regarding God’s design for marriage and sexual behavior. Pastors have traditionally led the way in speaking to our culture at times when we have been confronted with momentous questions. It was pastors who spoke out against slavery, child labor, and for civil rights and women’s suffrage. Pastors have a lot to say about marriage – the first institution that God created. And society needs to hear what the church has to say.
2. Sign the petition to encourage the Boy Scouts of America to stand strong and resist pressure to change its membership policy. If your church is a chartering organization for a Boy Scout troop, download our sample policy you can adopt to prepare your church in the event the Boy Scouts do change membership requirements.
Now is not the time for America’s churches to be silent. Because together we can speak up to protect religious freedom.