Perspectives

Will religious liberty survive sexual liberty?

Observers of the state of religious freedom in the United States, including me, are very encouraged by recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court robustly affirming the First Amendment’s protections of religious liberty and the freedom of speech in cases where religious liberty and sexual liberty were in direct conflict. In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the court affirmed that Colorado may not target religious beliefs when enforcing public accommodation laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity protections. In NIFLA v. Becerra, the court affirmed that California may not target pro-life pregnancy care centers and compel them to speak the government’s pro-abortion messages or speech-burdening messages. The National Center for Law and Policy is humbled and honored to have actively participated in both victories. However, in spite of these clear wins, dark storm clouds remain on the horizon. One example is that Colorado Christian baker Jack Phillips is again being targeted and hauled before the state civil rights commission, this time for refusing to bake a transgender cake!

Another example comes from our neighbors to the north. Trinity Western University, an evangelical Christian University in Canada, capitulated to LGBT pressure earlier this month by agreeing to abandon its biblical sexual ethics policy for students, after losing a court case at the Canadian Supreme Court challenging the refusal of some law societies to recognize its graduating law students. University President Bob Kuhn stated that making its moral covenant non-mandatory would “successfully position us to better fulfill the Trinity Western University mission.”

While we may sympathize with the incredible cultural and legal pressure faced by Christian educational institutions in light of the sexual liberty legal juggernaut, it is deeply disturbing that so many churches and organizations are quietly giving in rather that engaging and resisting. Far too many Christian ministries are not faring so well under this growing pressure—deciding to preserve the institution over fidelity to biblical Christianity. As a result, many Christian institutions are well on their way to apostasy. The unhealthy pattern begins with persistent pressure, usually followed closely by compromise, leading to capitulation and, ultimately, assimilation. Case in point: when we tried to rally Christian colleges in California to oppose a “sexual liberty” law (SB 1146) which would have begun to dismantle and destroy faithful biblical colleges in California in 2016, it was very difficult to get fearful Christian institutions to step up to oppose this truly evil legislation. When a few finally did, we were able to gain leverage and ultimately defeat this bad bill.

These dark trends are not surprising, given the same weaknesses being evident in “evangelical” churches and pulpits in America today. Under the growing cultural pressure, most pastors indulge in the sin of silence, either failing to confront or refusing to courageously confront pagan sexual liberty with a robust biblical apologetic. This leads the flock, which is constantly bombarded with the sexual liberty replacement worldview, to believe that biblical sexual ethics are really not that important. As a result, we see rampant adultery, fornication, porn use, divorce and other types of unbiblical sexual debauchery in the church! Many churches are increasingly accepting the heresy that homosexual and transgender conduct is biblically normative. An example of this growing weakness is that when man-woman marriage was threatened in California, it was constitutional attorneys at the National Center for Law and Policy who wrote the talking points for pastors—so that pastors could begin to talk about God’s design for marriage from the pulpit!

An ethically, morally and sexually compromised church is left with little or no moral capital or authority to confront the pagan radical sexual liberty that is corrupting us and our children. As the new extreme, graphic, and pornographic sex education curricula is rolled out in thousands of public schools across the United States, directly attacking and undermining the Judeo Christian worldview on sexuality, the church is largely silent, having forfeited its moral voice for a bowl of pottage—the twin idols of temporary comfort and peace. Among other dark themes, the sexual liberty replacement worldview erases the bedrock beliefs that gender is binary (male and female), sex should be reserved for man-woman marriage, ethics are more important than feelings, pornography is dangerous and destructive, and that love should not be awakened before its time. A tragic example of this is that, shamefully, very few evangelical pastors and churches have stepped up to help the concerned parents righteously fighting the pornographic sex education programs in San Diego and elsewhere, in spite of repeated pleas for assistance.

The implications of this sexual liberty replacement worldview are staggering—especially the fact that our future adults are now marinating in these harmful and corruptive ideas in public schools, which are being reinforced on our televisions, movies, and popular culture. But what is more staggering and profoundly more disappointing to me is the Christian church’s generally weak and wimpy response to these existential threats—threats which I believe are potentially civilization-destroying issues. History teaches us that freedom is not the natural state of man. If we value freedom, we must be willing to advocate for it and fight for it. As Christians, until we fear God more than we fear men and our love for our children and grandchildren overcomes our fear, we will see only continued compromise, capitulation and assimilation to the radical sexual liberty agenda and, along with it, perhaps the sunset of religious freedom in America.

Will religious liberty survive sexual liberty in America? Evil is not inevitable—if we banish fear and cowardice. If God’s people will humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from sin, there is much hope. Awesome spiritual power is unleashed when courageous Christians do the right thing and actively engage the culture in unity, speaking the truth in love for righteousness’ sake, advocating for the common good.

 

— by Dean R. Broyles, Esq.

Broyles is a constitutional attorney serving as the President of The National Center For Law & Policy (NCLP), an organization fighting to promote and defend religious freedom. Copyright© The National Center For Law & Policy. Reprinted with permission.

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