1 Timothy 4:1 ~ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
In the ongoing battle for gay acceptance many good heterosexuals have been caught in the cross hairs and have lost their will to fight for truth or simply stumbled and gotten confused over the real issues. Once such stumble may have happened in Maryland over the issue of gay marriage.
Contrary to what we noted in our story “You Go Maryland...In God We Trust” there are other pastoral voices that endorse gay marriage in the state as well. Pastor Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in the Prince George’s County town of Clinton, is one such pastor that supports the gay marriage bill of Maryland. He is also reported to have strongly stood with Governor Martin O’Malley lending his time talent and voice to the expansion of marital rights to same sex couples. This is some of what he has said:
“I think that using private, religious beliefs, and local church practices for legislation establishes a dangerous precedent in America,”…
“We have fought for inclusion, for freedom of religion, so that means if I want to be free to exercise my own religious beliefs, I have to extend that same courtesy and right to others, regardless of what I may think they do in private,”
And the last thing to examine is this:
“Gays and lesbians are part of our communities, they are part of our families, they are part of our church families,” …“I believe that the church ought to be a place where all people, regardless of their lifestyle, ought to be welcome.’
Now, I want to be the first to say that I don’t know Pastor Coates and in that spirit, I’m confident that he is a good man and an excellent servant of God. So I do not aim to impugn his character. However, he has made certain truth claims which seem to be a basis for his argument in support of homosexual marriage and I believe that his truth statements should be examined as I believe that they exemplify a departure from the faith as it pertains to these matters.
In the few comments that we are examining, the pastor makes three basic assumptions with his argumentation in support of gay marriage:
- Religious beliefs should not be the basis of public practices or policy.
- The extension of religious freedoms mandates the extension of all personal and private freedoms.
- Gay people are in every part of our society therefore the church should not be prohibitive in their acceptance and ultimately the extension of equal rights.
Now, Let's examine these arguments in a little more detail
#1 ~ Religious beliefs should not be the basis of public practices or policy.
#1 ~ Religious beliefs should not be the basis of public practices or policy.
This is called religious pluralism. In order to understand this we must look at the chief proponent of this type of religious pluralism today. Not surprisingly, President Obama has adopted this position and spells out his version of religious pluralism very well for all interested parties to note:
"And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us even as we cling to our faith to persuade through reason, through an appeal, whenever we can, to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works and charity and kindness and service that moves hearts and minds." ~ President Barack Obama 5/17/2009Then, President Obama to our American troops overseas at Bagtam Airfield at Afghanistan on March 28th 2010 he stated the following:
“[American success is] what’s possible when people come together, not based on color or creed, not based on faith or station, but based on a commitment to serve together, to bleed together and to succeed together as one people, as Americans.”...“But all of you want to build—and that is something essential about America. They’ve got [The Taliban] no respect for human life. You see dignity in every human being. That’s part of what we value as Americans. They want to drive races and regions and religions apart. You want to bring people together and see the world move forward together. They offer fear, in other words, and you offer hope.”One can hear Senator Barack Obama in his 2006 speech "A Call To Renewal" explain a portion of the relationship between faith and secularism for himself in this video clip.
Under what has been called the "recasting of American and American values" by this President, within most modern doctrines of pluralism, religious beliefs are considered to be an imposition upon those who do not share the same set of beliefs and something that prohibits growth and the welfare of the community at large. The basis of the President's views seem to be rooted in his response to the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks and subsequent wars, pointing out that societal problems are what happens when religious fundamentalism dominates a society instead of shared values. (I've already dealt with the refutation of the President's assumptions in this area on this site, I only point out what seems to be his basis for his belief on pluralism)
Certainly the pastor is espousing the modern political view of the faith and how it should affect public life. Ultimately, the problem is that within his view there are 2 sets of morals…public morals and private morals. Private morals may be objective and static, but public morals are subject to a morally relativistic application, group think and societal whims. The only problem is this approach turns objective moral values into relative moral values and therefore creates havoc at all levels. Anything that is taught privately is subject to modification publicly. In essence this is the epitome of hypocrisy. It is utter confusion and a complete contradiction. The just live by their faith:
Heb. 10:38 ~ Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
(Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11)
What Pastor Coates is saying is that religious faith should be powerless and ineffective in public matters. Of course he doesn’t want Sharia for example, but core Christian values, when implemented, don’t come close to Sharia as applied within Islam. His view, just as our President’s view, is a "red herring" and ridiculous argument.
#2 ~ The extension of religious freedoms mandates the extension of all personal and private freedoms.
The Pastor says:
“… if I want to be free to exercise my own religious beliefs, I have to extend that same courtesy and right to others, regardless of what I may think they do in private,”
The mistake of this thinking is that 1- sex is tantamount to a “religious belief”. Now some people believe that I’m sure, as they approach sex religiously, but most rational, non sexually addicted persons distinguish the difference between sexual rights and religious rights. They are categorically different. Unfortunately the Pastor mixes them together and creates a concoction of something (although I have no idea what)
And 2, the pastor’s sentiments unfortunately are absent of the principles of our nation’s founding fathers who declared that all men have been endowed with certain UNALIENABLE RIGHTS given to us by God our creator.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." ~ The US Declaration Of Independence 7/4/1776In other words our personal freedoms and the right to live religiously free is not a chess piece of compromise as it pertains to the rights of others. Neither are our religious freedoms granted or conferred to us by the state or government. Thinking to the contrary is more in line with socialist and communist lines of thought on freedoms, rather than in line with true fundamental American values. As a side note, I believe that we need to understand the difference between INALIENABLE rights and UNALIENABLE rights because they are often spoken of as one in the same.
The last thought that we will examine from the pastor’s commentary is:
#3- Gay people are in every part of our society therefore the church should not be prohibitive in their acceptance and ultimately the extension of equal rights.
This is simply a “straw-man” argument, appealing to emotions, which asserts that the church wishes to reject homosexuals. This is a LIE. The church wishes to reform homosexuals and minister to their need to be free from homosexuality. Noone lines up homosexuals at the door and says “Gay’s Can’t Enter” There is a standard of what is called HOLINESS (Heb. 12:14) and the servants of the Lord are known by that standard. Homosexuality is a sexual SIN and like heterosexual sexual sins are unacceptable and displeasing to God.
In addition, NOONE has called for a lesser existence for gay people in general. Where is the “war” on homosexuals especially the "war" inspired by Christianity and Christian values? Some say, homosexual children are bullied at school because of religious values…It is amazing that those same ADULTS take time to persecute children because of their anti-religious beliefs and then claim exemption for their actions...The fact is that heterosexual children have been bullied at school since public education began. In addition, need we talk about Jim Crow racism at the school level??? These things are par for the course of human existence and are a product of SIN. Things of the sort certainly shouldn’t happen, but they do. Only now we’re making laws to protect a person’s sexual expression which is atrocious and bias. If I were a polygamist, or another of what has been defined as a "sexual minority" I would be shouting from the housetops of disparity and inequity based on the same path that the gay agenda has promoted.
As a pastor to any other pastor, from a biblical point of view, if it is truly believed that marriage is an institution of God (and I believe that’s the real issue, the belief is that marriage is a product of the state and government rather than something conferred to man by God) then marriage cannot be compromised as something other than what God has ordained for it to be. For any PASTOR that is faithful to the word of the Lord, that is probably the most compelling personal argument against attempts to redefine marriage.
In short, gay people are welcome at any church I know, most certainly just like sinners of all kinds are welcome. However, a TRUE body of believers aren't enamored with or accommodating of either homosexual or heterosexual sins. They reach repentance, faith in the blood of Jesus and remission of sins!
I don;t know this to be the pastor's case, but unfortunately, certain leaders, compromise right, sound and biblical standards for the accolades and acceptance that is placed before them. Political and social acceptance may make too many of us comfortable and cower down to sin. What we fail to realize that in seeking the acceptance of the world and political officials, we deny Christ and all that he stands for. We become like salt with NO savor.
I wonder is the song really true for many modern leaders? Would we really rather have Jesus, than silver and gold? If so, SOMETHING has got to be left at the door. I wonder what will it be?