In 1989 Denmark became the first country to offer civil unions for same-sex couples. In 2012 “Homosexual couples in Denmark … won the right to get married in any church they choose, even though nearly one-third of the country’s priests have said they will refuse to carry out the ceremonies.” In 2013 a gay couple in England sued the Anglican Church for the right to “marry” in the church of their choice.
Could this be coming to a church near you right here in America?
Not too long ago, very few of us would have believed that Americans would embrace same-sex “marriage” or that People magazine would celebrate the “wedding” of Ellen DeGeneres and her female partner. (This took place in 2008.)
Even fewer of us would have believed that professing Christian denominations would embrace same-sex “marriage” and that the Episcopalian Church would ordain a practicing, “married” homosexual as a bishop. (I’m speaking, of course, of the now retired Bishop Eugene Robinson.)
Even fewer still would have believed that Christians would be prosecuted by the state for refusing to participate in same-sex “weddings,” as in baking cakes or providing floral arrangements or taking pictures for these ceremonies. Today this is happening across the country, with the encouragement of Attorney General Eric Holder and the backing of higher courts.
In light of all this, is it really so far-fetched to imagine that the day could come when churches in America would be required to perform same-sex “marriages” or face serious penalties, beginning with the loss of their tax-exempt status?
Last August, the Christian Institute in England announced that a millionaire homosexual couple “launched a legal challenge to the right of churches to opt out of gay weddings.”
As explained by Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, one of the two homosexual men, “We’ve launched a challenge to the government’s decision to allow some religious groups to opt out of marrying same-sex couples.
“We feel we have the right as parishioners in our village to utilize the church we attend to get married.”
He added, “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.
“It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us.”
What is striking about their lawsuit is that in July 2013, England and Wales legalized same-sex “marriage,” and there were plenty of churches that would have gladly performed the ceremony for this couple.
But, as pointed out by Greg Campbell on the Tea Party News Network, “Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and his partner Tony, rather than request a ceremony from a church that would recognize their union, have opted to take the church they regularly attend to court in order to force them to officiate the wedding.”
As Campbell noted, “As Western culture debates the recognition of same-sex marriages, religious groups who stand opposed to gay marriage are routinely steamrolled by governments who have decidedly picked a side in this debate.”
And so, in Denmark, a homosexual couple can go to any state church and demand that the clergy perform their “wedding” ceremony (the vast majority of Danes belong to the Lutheran Church, which is the state church, even though only a small percentage of Danes are actively involved in the church).
This is what gay activists mean by “tolerance.”
Things have gotten to the point that, throughout our country, Christian attorneys are working day and night to get laws passed that will exempt churches from having to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies. They can see the handwriting on the wall. In fact, that handwriting is practically shouting at us to get our attention.
Will we recognize what is taking place before our eyes, or will we stick our heads in the sand and ignore this very real threat to our religious liberties?
Already in 2012, the superintendent of schools in Miami-Dade County, Florida, tried to evict a Southern Baptist church from one of its school buildings after the pastor, Jack Hakimian, preached biblically based messages on homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.”
According to reports, “the school district rents space after hours to 90 different religious groups, collecting $630,000 a year,” yet it sought to evict Hakimian’s church for holding to biblical standards of sexuality and marriage.
The district was forced to back down after being threatened with legal action by Liberty Counsel, but this is just a foretaste of what we can expect.
After all, if religious opposition to same-sex “marriage” is no different than religious opposition to interracial marriage – or so the argument goes – then the day could easily come when churches and denominations that oppose the radical redefining of marriage will be put in the same class as the KKK.
The truth be told, gay activists have been shamelessly comparing conservative Christians to the KKK (and Nazis!) for years now. Why should we expect them to change their strategy when it has worked so well and duped so many?
The ACLU is currently pouring millions of dollars into lawsuits opposing the rights of businesses to oppose same-sex “marriage,” claiming that while “Religious freedom is a fundamental right … we as a nation have rejected efforts to invoke religion to justify discrimination in the marketplace, and there’s no reason to turn back the clock now.”
At the same time, the ACLU claims that there is a distinction between houses of worship and businesses and between clergy and business owners. The former, they argue, do not have to participate in same-sex “weddings” and the like. The latter do as part of their service to the general public.
The obvious question is how long this fragile distinction will stand, especially as anti-“homophobia” hysteria spreads through the country.
Let us learn from the example of Denmark and England, and let us stand all the more boldly for our religious freedoms, both in the marketplace and in the church.
Surrender in one area will surely lead to surrender in the next.