Sleeping at Gethsemane

David Virtue david at virtueonline.org
Thu Dec 18 18:19:42 EST 2014


Sleeping at Gethsemane

By Robert Gagnon
https://theopolisinstitute.com/sleeping-at-gethsemane/
December 16, 2014

Sadly, most Christians in the United States, when it comes to
recognizing the dangers to their civil and religious liberties, sleep
the sleep of ignorance that the disciples slept at Gethsemane before the
arrest of Jesus. It ought to be obvious by now how "sexual orientation"
laws and "gay marriage" are used to subvert the civil and religious
liberties of those who rightly view homosexual practice as sinful,
contrary-to-nature conduct.

In terms of protecting themselves against such developments, it matters
not if they reach out in love to those who are same-sex attracted,
acknowledge their own need for God's grace, and speak out against a "God
hates fags" rhetoric that exists only on the extreme fringes of the
Christian faith. They too will be subject to the same harassment and
curtailment of liberties. Sometimes in a misguided effort at
appeasement, orthodox Christians even offer support for "sexual
orientation" laws and same-sex civil unions or marriage in the mistaken
hope that they will lessen the ire of homosexualist activists. In
reality, they merely supply such activists with the political weapons by
which the liberties of Christians will be attenuated.

Most pastors have failed to fulfill their responsibility to alert their
flock to the dangers that the church is now facing. Consequently, most
Christians cower in the face of abusive attacks by those promoting a
homosexualist agenda, just as the disciples fled at Gethsemane when
Jesus was arrested. Sadder still, many Christians, particularly those
who consider themselves among the elite of evangelical Christianity,
continue to relegate this issue to the back burner of political
concerns, dissuading fellow believers from seeing this as a central (in
my view, the central) political issue of our day.

Our children are being taught at school (with our tax money,
incidentally) that their parents are bigots for opposing homosexual
unions. Teachers who don't toe the line are threatened with dismissal.
They must teach about "Stonewall" and other historical occasions of
homosexualist advocacy as positive events in history, irrespective of
the fact that such readings are at odds with reality. They must lift up
people like Harvey Milk, who bedded many an underage boy and lived a
sexually promiscuous life with hundreds of male sex partners, as heroes
of history, or be fired. The entire state of California already mandates
that the "historical contributions" of "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender Americans" be included in textbooks and teaching in
California Public Schools, while expressing forbidding any "materials
that reflect adversely" on LGBT persons or the gay rights agenda.

To get an idea of what else is coming down the pike for America's
elementary and secondary schools, one need only look to Canada and
Britain. The Vancouver (British Columbia) Board of Education has adopted
a new policy that mandates that all schools from elementary on up
appoint at least one staff person to promote "LGBTTQ+" resources to
"students, staff and families" and that all high schools have "Gay
Queer/Straight Alliance Clubs"; that under no circumstances are staff
ever speak positively to students about "programs or services that
attempt to change a student's sexual orientation or gender identity";
that teachers regularly combat in the classroom "homophobia," understood
as any critical attitude toward homosexual and bisexual relations and
the "Trans" life; that all teachers in elementary and secondary schools
avoid masculine and feminine pronouns (using "xe," "xem," and "xyr"
instead) and references to "boys and girls," in order to avoid offending
"transgendered" students; that schools "reduce or eliminate" all
"sex-segregated" activities; and that in sports students can participate
in either boys or girls athletics in accordance with their own
self-perceived "gender identity," in addition to having access to shower
and rest room facilities that correspond to that identity. Already in
the United States some school districts have adopted similar policies.

Christian colleges like Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., are now being
threatened with loss of accreditation and/or loss of federal funds if
they have moral standards that prohibit all sexual conduct outside of
marriage between one man and one woman, including homosexual
intercourse. Students at Gordon College seeking public school teacher
certification are no longer allowed to student-teach in an area school
district because of Gordon's policy on homosexual activity. Intervarsity
chapters and other Christian groups have been de-recognized in various
colleges (including at Vanderbilt; and all the public universities of
California) if they operate with the notion that the views of student
leaders of Christian groups should be, well, Christian (i.e., comport
with the orthodox sexual ethics of the Christian faith taught by Jesus
and the apostolic witness to him).

Bakers are being fined as much as $150,000 if they refuse to letter a
"gay wedding cake," even if they are willing to sell cakes to homosexual
couples, just not specifically design it for a wedding. Photographers in
some states are liable to fines of thousands of dollars if they politely
decline to photograph a "gay" or lesbian "wedding," even though it is
their right not to contribute their gifts of artistic expression to
further what they regard as immoral sexual conduct. Florists unwilling
to provide floral arrangements for "gay weddings" are likewise being put
of business. A couple in upstate New York who allow their scenic barn to
be used for weddings were fined $13,000 for declining a lesbian
"wedding." A civil rights commissioner has found that a Kentucky
Christian T-shirt company that refused to print shirts for a gay pride
parade is guilty of discrimination, requiring its employees to attend
diversity training, with fines to follow if the violations continue.
Religious liberty does not even exempt religiously affiliated
associations, like retreat centers connected with denominations that
forbid same-sex marriage, from renting its facilities out for homosexual
"marriages."

Increasingly, Christians in "white-collar" positions who don't support
homosexual indoctrination at the workplace are being fired. Some have
been fired simply for expressing the view on Facebook and other social
media outside the workplace that "gay marriage" is immoral. Even in
professional sports, coaches and players that express publicly their own
thoughts about the immorality of homosexual practice are disciplined or
fired. A major CEO was removed when it was discovered (horrors) that he
once had the audacity to contribute to California's Proposition 8.
Employees, both blue-collar and white-collar, have been fired for
indicating that they no longer want to be bombarded with emails that
promote a homosexualist agenda. Not joining in work station "coming out"
celebrations can be cause for dismissal in some places of employment.
Workers at the water cooler may rail against "bigots" who oppose a
homosexualist agenda but workers who express disagreement with such an
agenda can be terminated.

The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are currently pushing
for a "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" promotion bill that
will make this the law everywhere. Employment "non-discrimination"
policies for "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" lead to
discrimination against any employee who indicates less than enthusiasm
for promoting all things homosexualist in the workplace. This past
summer Obama issued an Executive Order mandating that all corporations
receiving contracts from the federal government (whether for-profit
businesses or charitable relief agencies) embrace affirmative-action
"sexual orientation" and "gender identity" policies. Even religious
organizations "are not exempted or excused from complying with the other
requirements contained in this Order," namely, "race, color, ... sex,
sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin."

Recall how the Obama administration revoked an invitation to a socially
conscious pastor to offer a prayer at Obama's Second Inaugural when it
was discovered that he had once, a decade earlier, given a sermon where
he expressed the view that homosexual practice was sin. It didn't matter
that the minister had worked tirelessly against sex trafficking and
shown the love of Christ in countless other social justice causes. He
must be defined as a bigot if he doesn't bend the knee to the idol of
homosexualism. The Obama administration appoints as judges and officials
only those who are wedded to the homosexualist cause. If you are not,
you have no right to serve in the executive branch or the judiciary,
however well qualified. Obama regularly compares those who oppose "gay
marriage" to racial bigots who opposed interracial marriage up until the
1960s.

At Dartmouth College, my alma mater, an African Anglican Bishop who was
appointed to lead the Tucker Foundation, which oversees all social
justice and religious ministries on campus, had his appointment
terminated before he even arrived on campus because it was discovered
that a decade earlier he had expressed disappointment over the
appointment of Vicky Gene Robinson to be the first "gay" Episcopal
Bishop. Even though the African bishop protested that he was now
affirming of "gay marriage" they terminated his employment because at
some point in his life he had expressed opposition to this idolatry of
homosexualism. Dartmouth went on to hire as the moral overseer of the
campus a lesbian Episcopal minister who was "married" to a woman.

In most mainline seminaries today (let alone secular colleges and
universities) candidates for faculty positions who are known to have
published in favor of the scriptural and orthodox position on
male-female marriage are not hired. After all, institutions of higher
learning cannot tolerate the hiring of "bigots." Most colleges today
even give an affirmative action bump to applicants who identify as
"gay," lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or no gender at all.

Articles and op-ed pieces in the New York Times, the Washington Post,
USA Today, Time, Newsweek, and other major media outlets, heavily
staffed with homosexual activists, routinely mock those who oppose "gay
marriage" as hateful, ignorant bigots (for an example, check out this
tendentious article). Christians who believe that homosexual practice
represents a degradation of the gendered-self are regularly ridiculed on
TV sitcoms and dramas, even as homosexual characters are represented in
greater numbers than African Americans. Balanced discussions of "gay
issues" on television are now a nearly extinct species.

Against parental protests and concerns for safety, "bathroom bills" have
been passed in many jurisdictions that allow males who identify as
female to use female rest rooms. Women's colleges are now beginning to
enroll men who regard themselves as women or as no gender at all,
claiming that the subjective sense of self is more important than
biologically-based gender, even as these same "all women" schools
contradict themselves in admitting women who view themselves as men.

In many states, even if an adolescent and his or her parents want to
receive help in managing or reducing the intensity of homoerotic urges,
that adolescent is forbidden by law to do so because, allegedly, it
confirms the adolescent's "internalized homophobia" (so much for the
self-determination of the client). Christian adoption agencies that
believe that it is inadvisable to place children in homes exhibiting
gender confusion and instability (which defines homosexual parenting
situations) have been put out of business. Foster care parents in some
jurisdictions must first indicate affirmation of homosexual practice
before they can be deemed suitable caretakers.

Most recently the lesbian mayor of Houston had subpoenas issued to some
Houston pastors, compelling them to either produce transcripts of every
sermon in which they discussed the issue of homosexuality and "gender
identity" or face contempt of court (after the public outcry the demand
has been reduced to speeches by the pastors pertaining to Houston's
"Equal Rights" Ordinance, which allows "transgendered men" to use
women's restrooms). Two ordained ministers in Idaho who for a fee
conduct Christian weddings were threatened with six months in jail and
$180,000 in fines for declining to officiate at a homosexual "wedding,"
even though the homosexual couple could easily have walked across the
street to get married at the courthouse. The national outcry forced city
officials to back down and reclassify the business as a "religious
organization"; but expect this sort of thing to reappear throughout the
country.

A professor of English at a secular college (Robert Lopez) has been
harassed by persons in and outside of his institution simply because he
shared the story that his upbringing by two lesbians was less than
ideal. Others who have come forth to tell their stories about life in
homosexual households have had their workplaces phoned by gay activists
to demand their firing and their home addresses and phone numbers
published for further harassment.

It is not a question of "live and let live" when it comes to a
homosexualist agenda. It is a question of homosexualist advocates doing
their best to drive out of the public square with abusive rhetoric and
the teeth of "sexual orientation" laws anyone who calls into question
their agenda. So, no, I'm not willing to support ridiculous
"interpretations" of the Constitution that codify me and other believers
who adopt the view that Jesus held about marriage and sexuality
generally as bigots and the moral equivalent of racists. Surprisingly,
I'm not willing to supply the legal bat with which to beat me senseless.
Imagine that.

It is time for Christians to make it their top political priority to
vote against any politician who promotes a homosexualist agenda. If they
do not, they will leave their children with a legacy of oppression
against Christian believers, which they themselves had the luxury of
avoiding for most of their adult lives. Who is foolish enough any longer
to vote for candidates who regard said voter and his or her family as
hateful, ignorant bigots and support policies and appointments that will
codify that assessment in the law?

Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of The Bible and Homosexual
Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Abingdon Press), among other works.




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