Perhaps in part because of the recent election, the past week produced another round of finger wagging at conservatives who oppose gay marriage. From the religion columnist of the Grand Rapids Press to Newsweek and Jon Stewart, we were reminded again that we are mean-spirited, afraid, stupid, and hopelessly out of date.
I support the human rights of all people, including (but not especially) homosexuals. In the interest of advancing the conversation, I will ignore the name-calling and ask three questions which the left must answer if they seek public legitimacy for their views (rather than resort to their current strategy of argumentum ad baculum—i.e., appealing to the big stick).
1. What is our new and improved definition of marriage? If marriage is no longer a covenant between one man and one woman, then what is it?
2. What is the source of this new definition? It doesn’t come from the scriptures or tradition of any world religion. It doesn’t come from natural law (as most junior high boys could tell you, the possibility of gay penguins does not overturn the basic facts of biology). Are we grounding our new definition in social convention? If so, is that a suitable foundation, or have we just taken a giant leap down the slippery slope? If our definition of marriage is grounded in something as ephemeral as social norms, what happens when these social norms change?
3. While it is wrong to discriminate against homosexuals in most employment opportunities, the majority of our churches and religious organizations are constrained by the Word of God to not hire unrepentant, practicing homosexuals. Are we committed to provide an exception to these groups?
Last week’s election in Kalamazoo included a referendum that would outlaw “employment, housing and public-accommodation discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification.” I am assuming the bill passed (is that true, Ray?), but what bothers me is that I didn’t read anything in the Press story about an exception for churches. If a practicing homosexual pushed the issue and applied to become an associate pastor in Ray’s Kalamazoo church, could Ray be sued or jailed for dismissing the applicant for this reason?
Perhaps this is a moot issue for some reason that I’m not aware of. I may be missing some key piece of information. But unless our zeal for the human rights of homosexuals includes an exception clause for churches and parachurch organizations, I can envision a day when our pastors are in jail and our churches and schools are sued into oblivion.
One of the left’s arguments against criminalizing abortion is that we would have to arrest the numerous mothers who had one. Well, this argument cuts both ways. Are we prepared to jail thousands of pastors and presidents who refuse to hire practicing homosexuals on religious grounds?