A long, long time ago, I wrote a very long post detailing a secular case against same-sex marriage. One of the reasons was that promoting gay rights would infringe on other basic rights, like the right to free speech and freedom of association. Same-sex marriage denies that that the two genders are different. Those who disagree with this are now being punished for their disagreement, e.g. – Christian business owners. It isn’t difficult to predict that transgender activism will cause the same sorts of problems.
On Friday, Ohio parents were denied custody of their daughter for not being supportive enough of her alleged transgenderism.
The 17-year-old biologically female child identifies as a boy and claims she has suicidal thoughts over her parents’ lack of support for her transgenderism (they won’t, for example, call her by her new chosen male name). The parents were fighting for custody of their daughter back from the state in an effort to stop potential transgender hormone treatment.
An attorney representing the parents, whose names have not been disclosed because of privacy concerns, argued that the girl was not “even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time.” Representatives of the girl argued that a “medical team” claimed that the treatment was a matter of life and death.
Hamilton County Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon granted custody to the girl’s maternal grandparents, who are open to transgender hormone therapy. The teenager has been living with them since 2016.
According to CNN, Hendon also granted the grandparents the option to petition to change the teen’s name to her new male name in probate court. The girl is now covered by their insurance.
“The grandparents, rather than parents, will be the ones to help make medical decisions for the child going forward. But before any hormone treatment is allowed, the court ordered, the teen should be evaluated by a psychologist who is not affiliated with the current facility where he is receiving treatment, on ‘the issue of consistency in the child’s gender presentation, and feelings of non-conformity,'” notes CNN.
I thought this part was very interesting:
The parents’ Christian faith was used against them in the case by Donald Clancy of the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Father testified that any kind of transition at all would go against his core beliefs and allowing the child to transition would be akin to him taking his heart out of his chest and placing it on the table,” argued Clancy.
Brinkman denied the allegations and argued that the parents believed hormone therapy was “unnecessary” and “would do more harm than good.”
In cases like this, I always like to remind Christians to remember how they vote. Many Christians think that a big secular government should be empowered to hand out welfare, stop global warming, provide free sex changes, free abortions and free contraceptives, etc. But they don’t understand that a big secular government does not care about religious liberty, parental autonomy, or conscience rights. They care about redistributing taxpayer money to buy the votes of people who depend on government.
Legislators and judges are paid by taxpayers, through the collection of mandatory taxes. This means that the victims of Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon are paying her salary. They are paying her to overrule their decision-making. Think about that. And think about that again when you decide whether to vote for smaller or bigger government.
Here’s a post from Christian writer Terrell Clemmons about efforts by gay activists to redefine Christianity so that it is consistent with homosexual behavior. This particular post is focused on Matthew Vines.
In March 2012, two years after having set out to confront homophobia in the church, Matthew presented the results of his “thousands of hours of research” in an hour-long talk titled “The Gay Debate.” The upshot of it was this: “The Bible does not condemn loving gay relationships. It never addresses the issues of same-sex orientation or loving same-sex relationships, and the few verses that some cite to support homophobia have nothing to do with LGBT people.” The video went viral (more than three quarter million views to date) and Matthew has been disseminating the content of it ever since.
In 2013, he launched “The Reformation Project,” “a Bible-based, non-profit organization … to train, connect, and empower gay Christians and their allies to reform church teaching on homosexuality from the ground up.” At the inaugural conference, paid for by a $104,000 crowd-funding campaign, fifty LGBT advocates, all professing Christians, gathered for four days in suburban Kansas City for teaching and training, At twenty-three years of age, Matthew Vines was already becoming a formidable cause célèbre.
Terrell summarizes the case he makes, and here is the part I am interested in:
Reason #1: Non-affirming views inflict pain on LGBT people. This argument is undoubtedly the most persuasive emotionally, but Matthew has produced a Scriptural case for it. Jesus, in his well-known Sermon on the Mount, warned his listeners against false prophets, likening them to wolves in sheep’s clothing. Then switching metaphors he asked, “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” The obvious answer is no, and Jesus’s point was, you can recognize a good or bad tree – and a true or false prophet – by its good or bad fruit. From this, Matthew concludes that, since non-affirming beliefs on the part of some Christians cause the bad fruit of emotional pain forother Christians, the non-affirming stance must not be good.
Terrell’s response to this is spot on, and I recommend you read her post to get the full response.
Matthew Vines in particular, and LGBTs in general, appear to be drivingly fixated on changing other people’s moral outlook. But why? Why are they distressed over the shrinking subset of Christianity that holds to the traditional ethic of sex? Note that Matthew found an affirming church in his hometown, as can most any LGBT-identifying Christian. Affirming churches abound. Gaychurch.org lists forty-four affirming denominations – denominations, not just individual churches – in North America and will help you find a congregation in your area. Why, then, given all these choices for church accommodation, are Matthew and the Reformers specifically targeting churches whose teachings differ from their own?
One gets the sense that LGBTs really, really need other people to affirm their sexual behavior. Certainly it’s human to want the approval of others, but this goes beyond an emotionally healthy desire for relational comity. Recall Matthew’s plea that non-affirming views on the part of some Christians cause emotional pain for others. He, and all like-minded LGBTs, are holding other people responsible for their emotional pain. This is the very essence of codependency.
The term came out of Alcoholics Anonymous. It originally referred to spouses of alcoholics who enabled the alcoholism to continue unchallenged, but it has since been broadened to encompass several forms of dysfunctional relationships involving pathological behaviors, low self-esteem, and poor emotional boundaries. Codependents “believe their happiness depends upon another person,” says Darlene Lancer, an attorney, family therapist, and author of Codependency for Dummies. “In a codependent relationship, both individuals are codependent,” says clinical psychologist Seth Meyers. “They try to control their partner and they aren’t comfortable on their own.”
Which leads to an even more troubling aspect of this Vinesian “Reformation.” Not only are LGBT Reformers not content to find an affirming church for themselves and peacefully coexist with everyone else, everyone else must change in order to be correct in their Christian expression.
This is the classic progression of codependency, and efforts to change everyone else become increasingly coercive. We must affirm same-sex orientation, Matthew says. If we don’t, we are “tarnishing the image of God [in gay Christians]. Instead of making gay Christians more like God … embracing a non-affirming position makes them less like God.” “[W]hen we reject the desires of gay Christians to express their sexuality within a lifelong covenant, we separate them from our covenantal God.”
Do you hear what he’s saying? LGBTs’ relationships with God are dependent on Christians approving their sexual proclivities. But he’s still not finished. “In the final analysis, then, it is not gay Christians who are sinning against God by entering into monogamous, loving relationships. It is we who are sinning against them by rejecting their intimate relationships.” In other words, non-affirming beliefs stand between LGBTs and God. Thus sayeth Matthew Vines.
The rest of her article deals with Vines’ attempt to twist Scripture to validate sexual behavior that is not permissible in Christianity.
Vines seems to want a lot of people to agree that the Bible somehow doesn’t forbid this sexual behavior so that the people who are doing it won’t feel bad about doing it. If he can just silence those who disagree and get a majority of people to agree, then the people who are doing these things will feel better.
Matthew Vines is annoyed that Bible-believing Christians expect homosexuals to work through their same-sex attractions, abstain from premarital sex, and then either remain chaste like me, or marry one person of the opposite sex and then confine his/her sexual behavior to his/her marriage. But how is that different than what is asked of me? I am single, and have opposite sex-attractions, but I am also expected to abstain from sex outside of marriage. I have two choices: either remain chaste or marry one woman for life, and confine my sexual behavior to that marriage. I’m not married, so I’ve chosen to remain chaste. If I have to exercise a little self-control to show God that what he wants from me is important to me, then I am willing to do that. I’m really at a loss to understand why so many people take sexual gratification as a given, rather than as an opportunity for self-denial and self-control. I am especially puzzled by sinful people demanding that other celebrate their sin – and using the power of the government now to compel others to celebrate their sin. Christianity is a religion where the founder prioritized self-sacrificial obedience above pleasure and fulfillment. You really have to wonder about people who miss that core element of Christianity.
My service to God is not conditional on me getting my needs met. And my needs and desires are no less strong than the needs of people who engage in sex outside the boundaries of Christian teaching. We just make different decisions about what/who comes first. For me, Jesus is first, because I have sympathy with Jesus for loving me enough to die in my place, for my sins. I am obligated to Jesus, and that means that my responsibility to meet expectations in our relationship comes above my desire to be happy and fulfilled. For Matthew, the sexual desires come first, and Scripture has to be reinterpreted in light of a desire to be happy. I just don’t see anything in the New Testament that leads me to believe that we should expect God to fulfill our desires. The message of Jesus is about self-denial, self-control and putting God the Father first – even when it results in suffering. I take that seriously. That willingness to be second and let Jesus lead me is what makes me an authentic Christian.
There is a good debate featuring Robert Gagnon and a gay activist in this post, so you can hear both sides.
A husband-and-wife baking team must pay a $135,000 fine for declining to make a cake for the wedding of two women, Oregon’s second-highest court has ruled.
A three-judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a decision by a state agency that led to the fine and forced Aaron and Melissa Klein to close their bakery.
The court ruled that baking wedding cakes is not “speech, art, or other expression” protected by the First Amendment. The judges said the state did not “impermissibly burden the Kleins’ right to the free exercise of religion” because it compelled the Christian bakers only to comply with “a neutral law of general applicability.”
Oregon law prohibits businesses from refusing service because of a customer’s sexual orientation, as well as because of race, gender, and other personal characteristics.
“We are very disappointed in the court’s decision,” Michael Berry, deputy general counsel at First Liberty Institute, which represents the Kleins, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Friday. “I think that punishing people for their religious beliefs is … not American, and it’s wrong.”
“It does not matter how you were born or who you love,” one of the lesbians, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, said in a written statement following the ruling.
[…]After the Kleins declined in 2013 to make a cake for the wedding of Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, citing their Christian religious beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, they also faced protests that eventually led them to shut down their bakery.
[…]Berry, the First Liberty attorney, said his legal team is deciding how they will move forward, which could mean appealing to the Oregon Supreme Court.
How would same-sex marriage affect your marriage? That’s what proponents of same-sex marriage asked before forcing us all to participate in their gay weddings. The Christian bakers in question did not discriminate against individual gay people, they just didn’t want to be participants in a view of marriage that is unacceptable to any Bible-believing Christian. Marriage is important in Christianity. It’s a union of complementary male and female natures designed to provide children with male and female parenting.
If you’re living in one of the blue or purple states in the map above, then you are vulnerable to persecution by your state. It’s very important for Christians to be aware of where they live, and to whom they are paying taxes. I think husbands in particular need to be careful about what they study, where they work, and where they live, given the challenges that Christian families face from the secular state. Secular leftists are in love with their sinful rebellion, and morality makes no sense to them. We have seen many, many examples of people on the secular left using threats, coercion, vandalism and even violence, to get others to agree with them.
It’s worth remembering that we’re in this situation largely because pious Bible-oriented pastors have been taking a vacation from the moral issues of the day, e.g. – abortion and same-sex marriage. They see their role as feeling good and being liked. Using science and philosophy to train Christians about the case for pro-life and or the case for natural marriage is too much work. I guess they think that it’s better to just focus on proper theology for the 50th time in a row, and not say anything divisive about current events.
This is from the less liberal of Canada’s two national newspapers, the National Post.
An evangelical Christian couple have filed a court application alleging the province discriminated against them based on their religious beliefs by rejecting their application to adopt a child.
The Edmonton couple — whose are identified only by initials in court documents — allege an initial recommendation they be allowed to adopt was revoked after “interference” by the Ministry of Children’s Services, and that they were told their religious beliefs related to gender and sexuality were contrary to the “official position of the Alberta government.”
“If we did not change our religious beliefs regarding sexuality, to conform to the beliefs of Child and Family Services, we would not be approved for adoption,” said the woman in an affidavit filed Nov. 1 with Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton.
The couple’s identities have been redacted from the documents filed in court, but a copy of a Safe Home Study Report completed in February 2017 describes them as employed, owning their own home and having happy and healthy family and community networks. They indicated they hoped to adopt a child, or up to three siblings, between the ages of seven and 17. The Catholic Social Services worker who prepared the report said in an email she was “pleased” to recommend them for adoption.
However, the report recommended a “homosexual child” not be placed with the couple because of an assessment that though they said would unconditionally love a child questioning or exploring their sexuality, they would not support the “lifestyle,” which could mean a child may not feel accepted.
Then, in mid-March, the worker contacted the couple again and said Child and Family services had received the report and had additional questions about their views on sexuality.
The worker and the couple sent emails back and forth. In one, the woman wrote she believes homosexuality is a choice.
During subsequent meetings with Catholic Social Services and Child and Family Services, the couple said they made it clear they would seek counselling and support if their child was questioning their sexuality, but they could not encourage a lifestyle that “we knew caused a higher proportion of anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts than other lifestyles,” according to the affidavit.
On May 3, the couple’s adoption application was officially rejected, according to court documents.
What’s interesting to remember is that the salaries of the government workers at Child and Family Services is paid for by taxpayers – taxpayers just like this evangelical Christian couple that’s being discriminated against. They’re good enough to pay for government, not good enough to avoid discrimination by government.
Whenever the government discriminates against Christians, it’s important to remember that many Christians actually vote for secular government at election time. The problem with many Christians today is that they think that government redistributing wealth is the same as people giving away money directly to people or organizations they know. The Bible doesn’t endorse giving money to a secular government in order to alleviate poverty. The government is there to enforce laws and protect the public from evildoers. Still, in Canada, lots of Christians vote for bigger government. And then things like this happen, and you wonder why they do. When people vote for big government, they may not like what they voted for. Just ask the people in Venezuela how big government is working for them.
Consider this story from the Daily Signal, and keep in mind that these are only the documented cases.
Freedom of religion isn’t as protected as some Americans may think. In fact, reported attacks on religion are increasing in the U.S. and, according to First Liberty Institute, the evidence is undeniable.
The 2017 edition of a First Liberty report called “Undeniable” shows threats to Americans’ First Amendment rights spanning the past five years.
The number of documented incidents of religious discrimination grew 15 percent in 2016 compared with 2015. The number of incidents increased by 133 percent, from 600 to more than 1,400, between 2011 and 2016.
“We’re in a battle right now for religious freedom in the future of our country,” First Liberty President Kelly Shackelford said in a Facebook Live video Sept. 12.
Justin Butterfield, editor-in-chief of the study, said in an interview with The Daily Signal that much of the data comes from court filings from across the country.
The research team also collects reports from news outlets and other organizations, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group.
Butterfield, who has a law degree from Harvard, said researchers specifically looked for instances where someone was illegally restricted from, or prosecuted for, practicing his or her faith.
Some people like to think that gay rights are a wonderful thing, but you can’t expect people who are involved in a sin to treat those who disagree with them with respect. Sin causes people to want to coerce and silence those who disagree.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a brief Monday with the Washington Supreme Court asking it to take up the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a floral artist whom the state and the American Civil Liberties Union sued for acting consistently with her faith.
ADF filed notices of appeal in April on behalf of Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, after a lower state court ruled that she must pay penalties and attorneys’ fees for declining to use her artistic abilities to design custom floral arrangements for a long-time customer’s same-sex ceremony. Rather than participate in the ceremony, Stutzman referred the customer, whom she considers a friend and had served for nearly 10 years, to several other florists in the area who would provide high-quality arrangements and wedding support.
[…]“Government is supposed to protect freedom, not intimidate citizens into acting contrary to their faith and conscience,” added ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “The two lawsuits have the potential to financially devastate Barronelle’s business and personal assets – including taking this 70-year old grandmother’s retirement and personal savings – simply for acting in accordance with her faith. We hope the Washington Supreme Court will review this case not only because of the important legal and constitutional implications, but also because of the devastating impact the lower court’s ruling has on Barronelle.”
Barronelle just asked to not be forced to celebrate something that she didn’t believe in, and the attorney general of Washington thought that an appropriate response to her refusal to celebrate gay marriage was to take everything she owned, and block her from earning a living in the state of Washington.
It’s very important to people who are behaving immorally that they not be judged or shamed by religious people for their immoral choices. How far would social liberals go to stop religious people from judging them? Well, in America, they resort to lawsuits, censorship, coercion, vandalism and even violence. You’ll recall the attack by domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins against the Family Research Council building. Corkins was, of course, a social progressive and in favor of legalizing gay marriage, and opposed to religious liberty.