Friday, June 21, 2024
Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeAll The NewsCould the Pulpit be Muzzled?

Could the Pulpit be Muzzled?

By Larry Page, Executive Director • Arkansas Faith & Ethics Council

Social change agents have intimated that faith believers’ religious rights (rights affirmed and guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) should be subjugated to the recently declared rights of LGBTQ groups. Now, those advocates are coming out and saying it point blank.

The United Nations (UN) has recently published a report that requires people of faith, regardless of the religion or faith to which they adhere, to acknowledge that the “rights” of members of the LGBTQ groups are superior to and transcendent over the believers’ traditional and deeply held religious beliefs. The report was written by the UN’s so-called independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The report sets out a role for the world’s governments to impose sanctions against religious entities which fail to endorse and support LGBTQ ideology, goals and expansion. The report states that governments should “encourage religious institutions to consider ways in which representatives will be held responsible in cases in which they promote discrimination against LGBT and other gender diverse persons.”

The UN’s statement also pointed out religions that condemn homosexual acts and transgenderism as sins, when it said “there are dark corners where LGBT people are regarded as sinners and second-class citizens who should be scorned and abused.”

The overarching theme and orthodoxy stated by the report is the supposed principle that rights declared for those seeking alternative sexual lifestyles and gender fluidity and the underlying ideology behind those beliefs should be paramount to religious liberty rights if a conflict exists between the two sets of beliefs. An inference that can easily be drawn from the report is that merely stating a defense of traditional biblical marriage (one man/one woman and nothing else) and the insistence that God created humans male and female (two sexes/two genders and no more) is tantamount to discrimination, humiliation and scorn aimed at those wishing to pursue alternative lifestyles.

We can make a biblical defense of God’s truth regarding sex, marriage and gender in a calm, measured and even compassionate and Christlike demeanor without demonizing, castigating or marginalizing others. And that is how we should present ourselves and our sound doctrine. To do it with animus or intent to harm is wrong — not Christlike — and should be condemned as the antithesis of seeking to be winsome to the world.

Make no mistake about it. There are plenty of “enlightened” social warriors (true believers) in America who want nothing more than to see the goals set out in the UN’s report come to fruition here in our country. Then there are those who aid and abet the true believers by engaging in virtue-signaling, wanting to show they are on the “right side” of history as they mistakenly see it.

Those social warriors and their allies in academia, in mainstream media, in medicine and science, in liberal religious denominations and in some quarters of federal government and in its bureaucracies are focused on discounting the role traditional and deeply held religious beliefs play in the lives of Americans and the orderly functioning of our institutions and relationships.

The full membership of the UN will have the opportunity to reject the report by a majority vote; and it is our hope that will be the result. However, regardless of the outcome of that vote — whether it is approved and formally adopted by the UN or rejected as it should be — we have seen what is planned and being attempted here and abroad. So, now is not the time for us to be complacent.

Lest one thinks that the concern expressed here is only about defending traditional and conservative Christian beliefs, think again. Should the efforts to trample religious rights prevail, the impact could cut across the full spectrum of faith systems and religions. For example, a Baptist pastor and his church could be forced to host and conduct a same-sex wedding. Or perhaps a doctrinaire Muslim baker might have to design and bake a cake for a reception celebrating that same-sex marriage. Then again, how about an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi being required to conduct a Bar Mitzvah service for a 13-year-old transgender male, who is a female adolescent biologically. You see, the scope is far wider than just concern for Christian beliefs and practices.

Please know that there are steps churches and religious institutions can take to provide the best chance to prevail in a conflict between traditional religious beliefs guaranteed by the First Amendment and the “new” LGBTQ sexual and gender rights. The full explanation is too lengthy to set out in this article. Suffice it to say that much can be accomplished by updating a church’s governing documents (e.g., constitution, bylaws, etc.) and by adopting effective agreements, such as membership, facility use and employee agreements. They are several resources to facilitate a church accomplishing those objectives.

We, here at the Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council, have put together a packet of such model modifications for documents and the proper wording of agreements. There is no cost to you if you’d like to receive that packet. Also, an onsite presentation of these materials with an explanation and directions for use is available from us. If it is necessary for us to come to present a conference to a church or association, again there is no cost or fees charged. Help with expenses is accepted, but not required.

Feel free to contact me at llp@arfaith.org or (501) 837-1688 and, for more information, visit arfaith.org.

RELATED ARTICLES