In Defense of Marriage: When Rights Trump Freedom
S. Michael Craven
President, Center for Christ & Culture
Soviet communism attempted to construct a society under a new social and ethical system, which subverted the natural moral order. In doing so, people were compelled to live in contradiction to their conscience. Without the influence of the conscience, moral governance shifts from the self to the state. The lesson here is this: when the society demands conduct that is in contradiction to what mankind knows in his heart to be right and true, the state will coerce such conduct. This principle is summed up in “Colson’s Law,” which essentially states that the more a society is governed by conscience, the less it requires outside enforcement or police. The less conscience, or self-governance, the more police will be required (i.e. totalitarianism).
This same pattern accompanies activist efforts, which seek to legitimize homosexual acts through the imposition of same-sex marriage (SSM). Unable to rely on the democratic process to advance their agenda, gay-rights advocates have instead employed activist judges, propaganda campaigns, indoctrination of youth, and intimidation tactics to impose their moral vision.
The essence of the homosexual agenda and its demand for legal marriage is not about the expansion of civil rights. It is, instead, committed to the complete reordering of our society. Paula Ettlebrick, the former legal director of the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, as much as confirmed this when she said:
Being queer is more than setting up house, sleeping with a person of the same gender, and seeking state approval for doing so . . . Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society (quoted in William B. Rubenstein, Since When is Marriage a Path to Liberation? Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Law [NY: New York Press, 1993], 398, 400.).
In the minds of such, it is Christianity (and religion, in general) that stands in the way of this social transformation. Therefore, it is only natural that as SSM gains traction, there will follow a suppression of religion and persecution of the religious. Harvard professor of law Mary Ann Glendon acknowledged this real consequence of legalizing same-sex marriage. She writes:
Religious freedom, too, is at stake…. Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The ax must fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don’t go along. Religious institutions will be hit with lawsuits if they refuse to compromise their principles (Mary Ann Glendon, “For Better or for Worse? The federal marriage amendment would strike a blow for freedom,” opinion post to online editorial page, The Wall Street Journal, 25 February 2004).
Under unrelenting pressure from this despotic minority, Western nations have already begun to criminalize and suppress any public criticism of homosexuality, encroaching upon our most fundamental rights of conscience and free speech.
In British Columbia, Dr. Chris Kempling, a school counselor, was suspended without pay for three months in 2005 for writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper criticizing the Liberal government’s same-sex marriage legislation. In 2006, Canadian professor David Mullan was fined $2,100 by Cape Breton University, after he told a student homosexuality was “unnatural.”
In January of last year, Christian Vanneste, a member of France’s ruling party, was fined almost $4,000 under French hate speech law for comments opposing homosexuality. What was so egregious? Vanneste dared to suggest that homosexuality was “inferior” to heterosexuality and said the practice would be “dangerous for humanity if it was pushed to the limit.”
Last year, the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites, and Transsexuals (ABGLT) filed a criminal complaint against Christian activist Julio Severo and the National Vision for Christian Awareness (VINACC) for inciting “hatred” against homosexuals, and “homophobia.” The complaint was made because Severo regularly denounces homosexual behavior as immoral on his Web site, and opposes the goals of the homosexual movement. [VINACC was] successfully prosecuted simply for denouncing homosexual behavior as sinful during a campaign to promote family values. As a result, the ministry was ordered to cancel its campaign and all related events.
In America—the land of the free—a Christian photographer who declined to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony” was hauled before the New Mexico Human Rights Division (NMHRD) in January of this year. Elane Photography turned down the job because their beliefs were in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony. The same-sex couple filed a complaint with the NMHRD, which is now trying Elane Photography under state antidiscrimination laws for sexual orientation discrimination.
Last year, June Sheldon, an adjunct professor teaching a human heredity course at San Jose City College, was fired for answering a student’s in-class question about heredity and homosexual behavior. Apparently professor Sheldon did not offer the student the “right” answer. Marcia Walden, a licensed counselor at Computer Sciences Corporation in Atlanta, was fired after she chose to refer a person seeking counsel in a same-sex relationship to another colleague. The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights threatened to prosecute the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of the United Methodist Church after it refused to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony at one of its worship facilities. Students in Boyd County, Kentucky, were threatened with “suspension” and the “possibility of court referral” if they publicly voiced moral objections to the school’s diversity training, which normalized homosexual behavior. A Christian high school student in Michigan was suspended for refusing to remove an “I’m Straight” sticker from his t-shirt when other students were wearing duct tape over their mouths to show support for the pro-homosexual National Day of Silence.
And in a most ludicrous act, Christian publishers Zondervan and Thomas Nelson are facing a $60 million federal lawsuit for publishing “homophobic and prejudicial” translations of the Bible, from a man who claims he and other homosexuals have suffered based on what the suit claims is a misinterpretation of the Bible.
These are just a minuscule sampling of the many actions emerging as the push for SSM gains momentum. This is nothing less than tyranny and injustice under the banner of tolerance and acceptance. With the advance of the SSM movement there has followed an increased tyranny of the state—a concept unthinkable in America—and yet this is one predictable consequence of imposing a moral value that is in contrast to moral truth and the human conscience.
S. Michael Craven is the founder and President of the Center for Christ & Culture. Michael is the author of Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity, published by Navpress and scheduled for release January 2009. Michael's ministry is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, the teaching ministry of S. Michael Craven, visit: www.battlefortruth.org