The owners, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, say for the past several months, the city in which they reside has privately and publicly threatened to apply its nondiscrimination ordinance to them if same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho and the Knapps declined to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony at The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel.
"Each day the Knapps decline to perform a requested same-sex wedding ceremony, they commit a separate and distinct misdemeanor, subject to the same penalties. Thus, if the Knapps decline a same-sex wedding ceremony for just one week, they risk going to jail for over 3 years and being fined $7,000."
"Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted," the Knapps' attorney Jeremy Tedesco, told reporters, adding, "The threat of enforcement is more than just credible. The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines. The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple's freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected, just as the First Amendment intended."
Like this scenario shows, increasingly often, Americans are witnesses to the reality that redefining marriage is less about the marriage altar and more about fundamentally altering the freedoms of about 98 percent of Americans.
This is the brave new world of government-sanctioned same-sex unions -- where Americans are forced to celebrate these unions regardless of their religious beliefs, and where government officials are making it clear they will use their power to punish those who try to stand up for their convictions.
Activists will say that because a business operates publicly, the owners must obey all laws, specifically broadly written anti-discrimination laws. That is just plain dangerous. Under this premise, we are all at risk because now any government body can pass any law it chooses, and according to this premise, we are not to question it because it is the law. With this thinking, slavery should have remained legal. After all, even the Supreme Court said it was constitutional and, according to LGBT activists, we should not question such things, right?
The bottom line is, if a law strips an individual of his or her right to live their faith publicly, then it is a bad law, pure and simple, and must be changed. This is not about hatred of homosexuals. If the LGBT activists would think honestly about it, they would see that a person's love for God and the desire to adhere to His word trumps anything else, and they should try to genuinely understand the position this puts the believer in.
In trying to exercise such understanding, LGBT activists would likely also come to know that out of love for God, Christians have love for our fellow human beings - period. Though I may not agree with someone, or even know them, I know that I feel actual love for my fellow human beings and I would do anything in my power to help someone in need of something. But I draw the line at violating God's Law to do so, and if I am forced to violate God's Law to "help" someone, then it is not genuine help in the first place.
But regarding God's Law, LGBT activists are trying to convince us that the Bible is either false or that it does not state that homosexuality is a sin in the first place, which in fact it does in several passages, including Genesis 19, Roman 1:27, 1 Corinthian 6:9, and a couple in Leviathan that describe homosexuality as an abomination. And for the record, there is no sin in same-sex attraction, only in acting upon that temptation.
Now stating this does not mean that I am personally judging those who engage in homosexual acts – it is not my place to do so, and I simply don’t. Again, this is the Bible’s teaching, it is not my personal judgment of anyone. I am more concerned with how God judges me for my own sins, though I am concerned for the eternal well-being of other sinners as well. That is out of love, not hatred.
On the other hand, in Ezekiel 33:7-9, the Bible warns that we are complicit in one’s sin if we do not try to dissuade someone from it, and in several passages, including in 1 Corinthian, we are warned about being complicit in one’s sin by certain acts of association with those committing the sin. But nowhere does the Bible tell us to hate sinners, or we would all have to loathe ourselves. What the Bible asks us to do is hate the sin because of the damage it does to our soul. Anyone who has love for a fellow human being ought not only try to avoid committing his own sins, but help those struggling with sin to turn away from it.
This leads to another part of the issue. If a homosexual person honestly does not believe his sexual actions are sinful, then he might not be held accountable to God for them - and I pray that is the case because I don't want anything bad to befall any human being. But a believer who knows something is a sin, yet takes part in actions that go against God's teachings, either by committing the sin or being complicit in another's sin, is held accountable.
And this is the position LGBT people are putting Christians in. We are taught about sin, and therefore we are accountable for actions that go against God's teachings. But just because an LGBT person may reject the Bible, is it not right that he or she demand that a believer reject it as well.
Moreover, LGBT activists are telling us that certain things aren't sinful, and therefore say we have no right to avoid what we know to be sinful. In other words, they are asking us to choose their word over God's Word, even though they don't seem to understand or accept that we believe doing so will put our souls in jeopardy. And thanks to bad laws that activists say should not be questioned, there is an attempt to force us to go against what we believe to be true based on literally thousands of years of Biblical teaching. Saying one is tolerant of religion but then denying people's right to live their actual religious beliefs is not supportive of religion at all - nor is it loving.
There are better ways to find common ground. Respecting people's individuality, showing understanding, and being tolerant of their beliefs - not forcing them to violate them - is a good place to start.
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