[Originally published July 5, 2008]
The Christian Post brings us this column by Chuck Colson on how the gay rights movement is really just a front for a blatant attempt to persecute Christians for their faith. No, seriously, he’s really saying that.
It is all about equal rights, the gay “marriage” lobby keeps telling us. We just want the right to marry, like everyone else.
That is what they are telling us. But that is not what they mean. If same-sex “marriage” becomes the law of the land, we can expect massive persecution of the Church.
And therefore the oppression of gays must be allowed to continue unopposed.
Remember how they used to tell us that gays weren’t really being persecuted, and that separate-but-equal “civil unions” were a fair compromise that gave gays the same domestic benefits as an official marriage? Well that was a lie, as Colson explains to us now. Civil unions are not even close to being marriage, and upgrading gay relationships from civil unions to full marriages is going to involve some major and significant differences. Quoting his friend Jennifer Roback Morse, Colson writes:
“Legalizing same-sex ‘marriage’ is not a stand-alone policy . . . Once governments assert that same-sex unions are the equivalent of marriage, those governments must defend and enforce a whole host of other social changes.”
The bad news is these changes affect other liberties we take for granted, such as religious freedom and private property rights. Several recent cases give us a sobering picture of what we can expect if we do not actively embrace—and even promote—same-sex “marriage.”
Clearly, civil unions are nowhere near what legal marriage is, and Christians like Colson want to keep it that way. They’re afraid that if we ever stop discriminating against gays, Christians will lose liberties they’ve been taking for granted. Like the freedom to discriminate against gays. And, according to Colson, these liberties are already under assault.
For instance, a Methodist retreat center recently refused to allow two lesbian couples to use a campground pavilion for a civil union ceremony. The state of New Jersey punished the Methodists by revoking the center’s tax-exempt status—a vindictive attack on the Methodists’ religious liberty.
Hmm, the state revoking a church’s tax exempt status for refusing to allow a lesbian civil union? Oh wait, it wasn’t a church, it was a Methodist “retreat center”—a separate institution affiliated with the Methodists, but not a church in and of itself. And, as the NY Times reports, Colson isn’t telling the whole story here.
Since 1989, Ocean Grove’s beach, boardwalk and oceanfront road have received tax-exempt status under the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program, which was created to encourage use of privately owned space for public recreation and conservation. In its original application for the exemption — which saves the group about $500,000 a year and is up for renewal on Sept. 15, according to Bernard Haney, the Neptune Township tax assessor — the association noted that the properties were open to the public and that the pavilion had been used by outside groups.
Some see an inherent conflict between the association seeking tax-exempt status as a public open space with one state agency while suing another state agency for violating its rights as a private religious group.
Gee, ya think? So here’s a cherished Christian liberty that is being threatened by gay rights: the freedom to defraud the government by claiming to provide open, public access to facilities while simultaneously denying access to groups they disapprove of for religious reasons. Let’s look at the next outrage being perpetrated against those poor, docile believers.
In Massachusetts, where judges imposed gay marriage a few years ago, Catholic Charities was ordered to accept homosexual couples as candidates for adoption. Rather than comply with an order that would be harmful to children, Catholic Charities closed down its adoption program.
Seriously, he said that Massachusetts judges imposed gay marriage. He doesn’t mention exactly which men were forced to marry each other against their will, or which women were ordered to take each other to bed, but perhaps that’s because nothing like that ever happened. And meanwhile, what does this have to do with adoption? Again, Colson fails to tell the whole story.
In compliance with the commonwealth’s so-called antidiscrimination laws, the Catholic adoption agency, Catholic Charities of Boston, has already placed children with same-sex couples over the past 20 years.
The above quote, from a pro-Christian, anti-gay web site (notice the “so-called” in front of the word “antidiscrimination”), shows quite clearly that the Catholic Charities decision had nothing to do with the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts. They have been legally obligated to provide non-discriminatory adoption services for two decades, because of laws passed long before gay marriage was legalized there.
So Christian liberty number two, the freedom to make innocent children pay for Christian bigotry, and to use them as mere pawns in a political struggle over the right to discriminate, is also at risk. Christian liberty number three, the freedom to promote anti-gay prejudice in public schools, is also under attack, in California. Colson, however, mentions this only briefly on his way to Canada, where the next example of anti-Christian “persecution” comes from. (Evidently he ran out of American examples and had to import some from other countries.)
Just north of the border in Quebec, the government told a Mennonite school that it must conform to provincial law regarding curriculum—a curriculum that teaches children that homosexuality is a valid lifestyle. How long will it be before the U.S. government goes after private schools?
Yeah, imagine the government telling a private Muslim school it wasn’t allowed to teach that God wants Jews and Christians to be converted to Islam by force, or killed if they refuse. Christian liberty number four, the freedom to promote intolerance and discrimination through private education, is definitely in danger in America, because of what Quebec is telling Mennonite schools. Next?
Even speaking out against homosexuality can get you fired. Crystal Dixon, an associate vice president at the University of Toledo, was fired after writing an opinion piece in the Toledo Free Press in support of traditional marriage . . . Fired—for exercising her First Amendment rights!
Um, yeah, “support of traditional marriage.” What she actually wrote was that she could never wake up one morning and decide not to be black, but gays (she claimed) can stop being gay any time they want, and therefore do not deserve to have their civil rights protected. If that’s “traditional marriage” then traditional marriage is just a code phrase for discrimination, intolerance, and outright lying.
Now, as to whether this did indeed violate her First Amendment rights, I can’t say. People say stupid stuff all the time, and (as Don Imus found out) sometimes have to bear the consequences of intolerant speech. But as a general, liberal principle, I have to say that Colson finally got one right: the Christian freedom to say hateful and untrue things against gays is indeed at risk and deserves to be protected. What it needs to be protected from, however, is not gay rights, but a more general disdain for individual liberty, as expressed in the First Amendment and as threatened by anti-gay Christians like Dixon (and Colson).
Promoters of same-sex “marriage” seem to go out of their way to target Christian businesses and churches. Their goal, it seems, is not the right to “marry,” but to punish anyone who disagrees with them.
No, Chuck, they’re targeting those who are actively engaged in practicing discrimination and oppression against them. The only “rights” that are being threatened are the “right” to be bigoted, oppressive, and intransigent. If you feel punished whenever anybody won’t let you deny others the same freedoms you yourself enjoy, then perhaps you should be punished. If you can’t take it, then don’t dish it out.