The Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage between two people of the same sex has stirred up much controversy between those who support the ruling, and those who do not. As Bible-believing Christians, we recognize that the Bible plainly and clearly declares homosexuality to be a sin. So we know that we cannot favor this ruling, nor can we be a part in a homosexual “marriage.” However, what does this ruling, and the LGBT agenda in general, mean for the local church? Will we be pressured to allow same-sex marriages in our churches? Will our pastors be pressured to preform them? The churches will soon be forced to choose: Take a stand for Biblical truth, or compromise and condone sin.
To the churches that would take a stand against same-sex marriage, the SCOTUS ruling seems to offer legal protection.
Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.
However, as I mentioned in a previous article, this only protects religious beliefs and teachings. It does NOT protect religious practices. As I wrote previously,
There is no protection granted for religious expression or practice. The ruling does not touch on this. It only mentions that people and organizations have the right to “advocate” and “teach” against it. There is no right to put said beliefs into practice. Churches aren’t forced to preform sodomite “marriages,” nor are they protected from lawsuits for refusing to marry sodomites. Neither are Christian business owners protected. We will only see more lawsuits against those who refuse to service their weddings on religious beliefs…This ruling gives the churches no protection.
Also, these provisions do not extend outside the church walls, to the public sphere, where we are to to to engage the lost with the Gospel of Christ. For now, we can still proclaim that homosexuality is a sin, both inside and outside the church walls. However, radical LGBT activists want to make this illegal.
Mitchell Gold, a homosexual activist, told NY Times columnist Frank Bruni that churches need to be “made to take homosexuality off the sin list.” Gold founded the group “Faith in America” with the stated goal of “Working to end the harm to LGBT youth and families from misguided religious teaching.” Bruni’s column also quoted David Gushee, who teaches “Christian” ethics at Mercer University, as saying that “Conservative Christian religion is the last bulwark against full acceptance of L.G.B.T. people.” In an article written for Slate, Nathaniel Frank labels Christians opposed to homosexuality as ignorant and delusional. Today, they use strong speech and rhetoric; but tomorrow they will use the power of the courts and law against us as Biblical Christians and churches.
In the not-to-distant future, activists will come against the church with lawsuits demanding that we allow our facilities to be used for same-sex marriage ceremonies. They will insist that those who refuse should be punished, first by loosing their tax-exempt status. In the wake of the SCOTUS decision, there has already been calls to take away the tax-exempt status of churches. They will wear the churches down financially with lawsuits, making examples of some. This will intimidate others to compromise. Biblical churches could be forced to give up their tax-exempt status to remain true to the Bible. If (or when) this time comes, the church will face the financial burden of both corporate and property taxes. Since donations are no longer tax-deductible, giving would decrease. Increase in taxes and decrease in giving will force many churches into bankruptcy. Some will be forced to close.
However, lack of tax-exempt status will not make a church immune from the sodomite activists. Lacking a tax-exempt status, the church would now legally be a for-profit business. And for-profit businesses have had a long loosing record when faced by lawsuits by the activists over religious beliefs. An example can be seen with the Hitching Post, a for-profit wedding chapel in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. The owners of the Hitching Post sued the city, claiming that it’s non-discrimination ordinance could force them to perform same-sex marriages.
The ultra-leftist organization Media Matters accurately pointed out that the Hitching Post was, at the time, a for-profit business, stating:
Conservative media outlets are promoting the cause of an Idaho wedding chapel suing so it can deny services to gay couples, inaccurately portraying the chapel as a religious institution rather than as a for-profit business….The Hitching Post Is Not A Church[.] The Hitching Post is a for-profit business, subject to the city’s ordinance barring discrimination in public accommodations.
(The Hitching Post has since became a religious non-profit.)
In other words, a for-profit business is not protected from violating the religious views of it’s owners on matters of public policy. The article goes on to say that if they were a religious organization, they would be immune to the law:
[City attorney Mike] Gridley wrote that the city will not prosecute legitimate nonprofit religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, or societies or other exempt organizations or anyone else as a result of their lawful exercise of their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion.
Thus, “legitimate religious non-profits” are exempt. However, if a church has it’s non-profit status revoked, it is no longer a “legitimate religious non-profit.” Is it now subject to the non-discrimination laws, and possible hate speech laws? Thus, if a church looses it’s non-profit status, it’s persecution may only be beginning.
Mitchell Gold, believes that churches need to be “made to take homosexuality off the sin list.” How would they go about doing this? By criminalizing freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression via “hate crimes” laws. When these laws include bans on “harassment” based on sexual orientation, they would would make it a crime to oppose homosexuality in public, on social media, or even preach against it from the pulpit. This has already happened in Canada, the UK and Sweden. California has already enacted 1st amendment shredding hate speech laws of its own. The LGBT activists are demanding that their sinful deeds be condoned by the churches. This will be done through litigation and legislation. They sue churches out of existence, and throw ministers into prison for opposing their wickedness. As Bible believing Christians, we need to stand for the truth of the Bible as this persecution approaches.
Unfortunately, many churches will abandon the Bible to go along with the culture. Today, we see many doing this voluntarily. It makes them look hip and trendy and popular. These churches tend to be liberal, having abandoned the Bible and it’s plain teaching decades ago; that they would embrace the LGBT movement and same-sex marriage is not surprising. They exist only to please the crowds, tickle the ears, and rake in the cash. They are hirelings, hungry for fame and fortune. Other churches, however, will cave to the increasing pressure and threats of lawsuits. There will also be a growing movement to cleanse and correct “homophobic” statements in the Bible. “Learned Bible scholars” will insist that the translators had it wrong, and that homosexual acts are not inherently sinful. Discernment ministries have been warning that the NIV and other modern translations are soft on homosexuality for years. Modern evangelicals have largely ignored these warnings. Now, their false Bibles will be used against them, to convince them to change their “old fashioned” views. Or they will have it drilled into them via re-education that the Bible never condemns homosexuality, only homosexual prostitution and lust. To resolve this issue permanently, the “scholars” may produce a new, “clean” translation that sanitizes negative references to sodomy. Homosexual groups have already produced a “Queen James” bible that does just this. Churches that refuse to adopt a pro-homosexual Bible may face further pressure and backlash.
Churches will be told that they need to support the LGBT movement to remain relevant in this culture. But if a church seeks to be relevant to their culture, they cease to be relevant before the Lord and to the Gospel. As Bible-believing Christians, we need to recognize and brace for the coming persecution in the post-Christian western world.