Thursday, March 3, 2011
Neuhaus' Law Revisited...
From Touchstone and the MereComments Blog: The Telegraph reports on an UK High Court ruling against a Christian couple who wanted to be foster parents. They were disqualified because they couldn't not tell a child that a homosexual lifestyle was acceptable. The judges had stated that "biblical Christian beliefs may be 'inimical' to children, and implicitly upheld an Equalities and Human Rights Commission (ECHC) submission that children risk being 'infected' by Christian moral beliefs". The [Christian Legal Centre] said the judgment summary "sends out the clear message that orthodox Christian ethical beliefs are potentially harmful to children and that Christian parents with mainstream Christian views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents".
From Al Mohler: Attorney General Eric Holder informed Congress yesterday that President Obama had ordered the Department of Justice to cease all efforts to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts. The announcement came without public warning, even as the administration was dealing with an international crisis in Libya and a political showdown over unions in Wisconsin.
The Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] emerged in 1996 as at least one state — Hawaii — indicated the very real possibility that it would vote to approve same-sex marriage. The Act makes clear that no state can require any other state to recognize a same-sex marriage, and that the federal government is prohibited from extending marital benefits to same-sex couples. The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 85 to 14. In the House of Representatives, the vote was 342 to 67. Faced with such overwhelming congressional support, President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law.But 1996 was a long time ago, politically and culturally speaking. President Obama vigorously and repeatedly declared his opposition to DOMA during the presidential campaign of 2008.
Churches will find little support from the law or the government when it comes to defending positions that conflict with the progressive beliefs of the social justice movement. Although the issue is same sex marriage and homosexuality in general, other issues will soon replace these as this movement for radical social change marches on. Euthanasia, assisted suicide, abortion, genetic engineering of babies, reproductive technology in general, stem cell research, etc... these are all issues in which orthodox Christianity may find itself the enemy of the state whose opinions mirror a secular agenda in which the particularity of life and the family order are exchanged for a values neutral world (except to insist that all opinions/stances/orientations are equal).
I am no doomsday prophet but it would be foolish not to consider how these things will impact the status of the church before the world and the work of the church on behalf of Christ. We have lived under the illusion of being not only a protected estate before the Law but also a preferred perspective by the nation and its people. That illusion has surely been shattered by events such as those reported above. Maybe it is true that what we thought was only an illusion of reality, a false perception of friendliness between culture and Christianity, but how many people my age would have thought that at this time in history Christianity would be seen by many as an enemy of culture, education, science, and justice? At this point in our history, it is even more important that we not soften or adjust the message of the cross but speak even more clearly and boldly the truth of the Scriptures in love. As much as these indicate that we may find ourselves an unpopular minority, it also indicates that the message we preach and teach is needed now more than ever.