It’s a morning I’ll remember for a long time.
Jan 20, 2009.
The historic inauguration of the first African-American President of the USA, Barack Obama.
It was an exciting time for many people.
Not least the gay community of America.
Unlike George W. Bush, Obama was seen as a very pro-gay: a supporter of gay rights like no other President before him.
But here’s the interesting thing: in his first term as President, Obama publicly held that marriage was only between one man, and one woman.
And no one accused him of anti-gay prejudice or homophobia.
Up until early 2012, most people believed that you could genuinely love gay people, and yet hold to the traditional definition of marriage.
How times have changed.
The worldwide Anglican communion (i.e. group of Churches) discovered this change firsthand.
The heads of the Anglican Churches from around the globe held a meeting recently in the UK, to try and head off a split between its liberal and conservative wings.
And marriage was an important part of the discussion.
To cut a long story short, the overwhelming majority of Anglican Churches worldwide decided to keep marriage defined by their Churches in historical, Scriptural terms: as only between one man, and one woman.
In other words, a Christian church reaffirmed a historical Christian belief: about as earth-shattering as Greenpeace reaffirming its commitment to protect the environment.
And yet, not everyone was pleased.
1) When The Church Stirs Up The Secular Elite
Not happy, Church of England.
Some in the secular elite could not accept that a Christian church would (re)commit to the Christian view of marriage.
The editorial board of The Times UK, a highly respected newspaper, had this to say about the UK Church of England, after the worldwide Anglican Communion’s decision on marriage:
They are…defending discrimination that should be unacceptable in the 21st century…If Anglicanism must split, there is only one side the Church of England should be on. At the moment it is on the wrong one.’
Obama publicly held to traditional marriage up until early 2012, and no-one batted an eyelid.
But a mere 4 years later, a Church believes exactly the same thing, and it’s deemed ‘unacceptable’.
And here’s the (ominous) point:
2) The Secular Elite Are Beginning to Pressure Churches
“You can believe anything you want about marriage, as long as it’s same-sex marriage”
The pressure is (still) subtle, yes. But it’s very real.
Writing about this outcry against the Anglican Church’s decision to hold firm on marriage, James Mumford in the Spectator writes:
The outcry is indicative of a profound shift. Institutions founded on certain precepts to which its members are expected to subscribe shouldn’t be allowed to act on them if those precepts don’t square with a prevailing agenda.’
Back in 2013 advocates for same-sex marriage argued that the church’s beliefs about sexuality shouldn’t be imposed on the rest of society.
That makes sense.
But now the church is being told it shouldn’t hold those beliefs at all.’
The push for Same Sex Marriage is going totalitarian. Basic freedoms, such as the freedom of association, and freedom of religion, are now considered disposable, in the face of same-sex marriage.
And it’s not good for human rights:
3) Basic Human Freedoms Are Under Threat
The Totalitarian Mindset Is Growing.
It is easy to overlook how ominous this shift really is. The conviction that organisations and communities cannot determine their own distinct ethos, their own rules for membership and their own criteria for leadership imperils the very survival of a pluralistic society.
What is the point of institutions if they don’t have the freedom to organise themselves in the way they see fit?’
If society – or it’s secular elites – starts demanding that Christian Churches are not allowed to believe, let alone teach the Bible, then are we really a free society?
But here’s something else Christians need to keep in mind:
4) The Only Way For Churches and Christians To Avoid Pressure
Bow The Knee To The Modern View Of Sexuality.
Many Christians think that we won’t cop flack if we get out of the public marriage debate, and stop advocating against the legal re-definition of marriage.
Apart from this being a dereliction of loving the most vulnerable, it’s now becoming clear that such a tactic won’t work.
As far as the secular elites are concerned, our beliefs about human sexuality are the problem.
Nobody has put this more clearly than columnist Frank Bruni, of the New York Times. He writes:
‘[Secular society should free] 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.’
Merely believing in Biblical sexuality/marriage is ‘prejudice’.
And until Christians bow to the enlightenments of modernity (i.e. secular sexuality), we won’t be left alone.
Free Or Totalitarian?
Totalitarian regimes and societies are threatened by having organisations and individuals who have views that differ from the norm. In such societies, compulsion and oppression is the order of the day. But free societies are not threatened by the existence of such groups and individuals: such groups are allowed to live and practice their views in peace.
And so, it seems a growing number of same-sex marriage advocates are happy to move toward a less free, and more totalitarian society.