At Least 2k Doesn’t Produce Carrie Nations

Or, even our Lord told Peter to put the sword away.

So here is the strange sequence of events in BaylyWorld.

Last Thursday (April 11), Benjamin D. Curell, a deacon at Clearnote Church (where Tim Bayly is pastor), broke into a Planned Parenthood facility, apparently carrying an ax. His action was to protest the abortions conducted at the building.

The congregation responded by disassociating itself from one of its officers:

Yesterday morning the pastors and elders of Clearnote Church learned that Ben Curell, a deacon of the church, had been arrested for vandalizing Planned Parenthood. No one in the church knew about his plans. We are convinced Ben’s actions were not justifiable civil disobedience. The elders and pastors have met with Ben and admonished him.

Throughout history faithful Christians have confessed that from conception children bear the image of God. Therefore, we at Clearnote Church have encouraged and will continue to encourage Christians to peacefully and lawfully witness against the great evil of abortion.

We have counseled Ben to repent and submit to the civil authority that God has placed over us for our good. This authority reflects and points to the judgment of God before Whom we all one day must give an account.

Notice that the idea of “encouraging” Christians peacefully and lawfully to witness against abortion is precisely what 2k advocates approve. Such a witness goes on in all sorts of ways that avoids the breast-beating of a blog. But peaceful and lawful witness is not what the Baylys require of their 2k enemies. Typically the Baylys don’t encourage but demand, and if they don’t see evidence of objecting to abortion they question the faith of someone who is not as publicly outraged as they are:

Under the Third Reich, were the true shepherds silent in the midst of the slaughter of millions of Jews, sodomites, mentally handicapped, gypsies, and Christians? Then, what about us? When the day arrives and the light reveals our work as shepherds, will it be seen that we have been faithful witnesses against the anarchy and bloodshed all around us? Or will it become clear we have built with wood, hay, and straw?

There are many church officers today who are collaborators employing doctrine to justify their silence. Let me be clear: I am not saying these men are unconverted, but rather that they are unfaithful.

Notice as well that Clearnote’s statement on Ben Curell adopts an attitude toward civil authorities that comes directly from the 2k playbook — that God has placed even not so great authorities over us, for our good no less. That notion of civil authorities has not been one that you can discern in many Bayly posts. For instance:

Our presidents, governors, and mayors ceaselessly toil at enforcing the worship of their gods and the only thing up in the air is which gods the pinch of incense adores: the Only True God or Molech.

This is these United States today. On every street corner, we have altars to Molech where pagans and Christians alike sacrifice our own offspring to demons–something Scripture tells us is so very evil that it never entered the mind of God (Jeremiah 19:5)–and Christians drive by on our way to our church-house, silencing our consciences by assuring ourselves confessing Christians aren’t putting Covenant children in the fire, only pagans do that; that as Christians we have no duty to oppose the fire since the Westminster Divines told us not to meddle in affairs rightly belonging to the jurisdiction of the civil magistrate; that whether the civil magistrate should outlaw the slaughter is a question of public policy not addressed by the general equity of the Law; that pagans have always given their children to the fire, so what’s new; that if we speak up against Molech’s bloodlust, we’ll only alienate the pagans rendering them even more resistant to the pure, unadulaterated, scrupulously clean Gospel message; and on it goes.

But do we hear about any of this incident or Clearnote’s statement at the Bayly blog? No. Instead, it is business as usual when it comes to verbally tarring and feathering 2k. On April 15 the Baylys ran a long-winded piece by Darrell Todd Marina against 2k. Here’s a flavor of the verbal barrage:

However, the more radical “Two Kingdoms” people believe something much worse, namely, that once a question has become “politicized,” Christians ought to avoid preaching on it because it will identify the church with a political party or a political position and drive people away.

The key question ought not to be whether we will offend people and drive them away, but whether we will offend God and be driven by Him out of His presence regardless of how many people fill the pews of our churches. God has strong words to false prophets who seek to please people rather than pleasing God.

What we must ask is whether God has spoken to an issue in His Word. If God has spoken, the church must speak. If God has not spoken, the church must stay silent.

I have engaged Maurina several times before and he still can’t fathom the difference between policy and legislation, on the one side, and what the Bible says about a specific matter on the other. Christians may agree on certain moral norms and have completely different understandings of what the state’s role in executing such morality involves. It’s the same old myopia that afflicted Machen’s fundamentalist and modernist critics. Because he did not support the Progressive reform of the 18th Amendment, for instance, his friends and enemies thought he favored drunkenness. And Maurina has the audacity to suggest that 2k stems from ignorance about politics. It is his own ignorance that draws a direct line from biblical teaching — which may require some exegesis — to the law of the land. I oppose lying. Does that mean I advocate an amendment to the Constitution that adopts the ninth commandment? (When was the last time you heard 2k critics, by the way, oppose mendacity? How would they like hearing that their silence on laws opposing lying means they favor falsehoods?)

But the issue here is not Maurina, it is the repeated bellyaching of the Baylys against 2k in a way that misrepresents 2k advocates and that denies the implications of the Bayly’s shrill jeremiads, especially when all of their talk about Hitler, martyrs, persecution, and courage may actually encourage men like Ben Curell to pick up an ax, much like Carrie Nation, to uphold God’s law. Their rhetoric and logic is irresponsible but may actually be responsible for encouraging folks like Mr. Curell to think they are acting courageously and righteously when they vandalize private property.

Consider the following:

Now then, are the two Bush brothers up to the job? Are they faithful public servants? Will they do what is necessary to save Terri’s life? Will our civic fathers face down the cowardly legislators and judges? Will they show themselves men and rescue Terri from her oppressors?

Both men ought to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ We, the citizens of these United States deserve a straightforward answer to this question.

It would be easy for both the President and Governor to think their duties have been fulfilled and that no reasonable person could expect more from them. They’re wrong. We expect them to be men and stand–now!

If they are determined to abdicate their responsibilities and abandon the citizens under their care and protection, let them say so. Then we the people will have been put under notice that the rule of law is dead and we’re on our own.

The civil authority ceases to have authority when he abandons those at the margins of life to their oppressors. Are President and Governor Bush willing to acknowledge that the courts have betrayed their vows to uphold the Constitution? And will they do what is necessary to remedy the courts’ betrayals of those duties?

You know, “When in the course of human events” and all that.

Or this:

As it’s now against the law for Christians to do anything physical to stop the dismembering of the 1,300,000 unborn children slaughtered each year just down the street from us, soon it will also be illegal for Christians to preach or say anything warning the sexually immoral that their conduct is an abomination to God–and that, unless they repent, they will perish eternally.

Here’s a little prognostication: those believers and their pastors who find saying “No” to abortion distasteful and prefer to say “Yes” to crisis pregnancy centers are likely the same Christians and pastors who, as the cost escalates, will also find saying “No” to sexual immorality distasteful, preferring to say “Yes” to the joys of Christian marriage and morality. Those who feel most comfortable witnessing to the Faith in the “God loves you and has a wonderful man for your plan” or “God loves you and has a wonderful wife for your life” sort of way.

God’s “No” is already a stench in the eyes of Emergelicals, but soon it will become illegal, too. And those who have been timid in these days of the feminization of discourse and the slothfulness of cheap grace will turn and run for their lives when prison terms are added to the cost of biblical preaching and witness.

Or this:

I say it again: secularism is a religion that is utterly intolerant of true Christian faith. It started by privatizing Christian faith and now it’s moved on to removing privacy from our lives and obliterating every mediating institution that could put a check on its totalitariansim.
The day is quickly coming when followers of Christ will be hounded from jobs, business ownership, professorships, the practice of medicine, teaching in the state’s religious schools, owning rental property, preaching in public, publishing and selling books, getting letters to the editor published, getting a degree at the state-funded religious colleges and universities, and the list goes on and on. We will be utterly unclean and every effort will be made to bar us from the public square. When a federal judge forbids legislators from praying in Jesus’ name to open a legislative session, he’s not impeached in disgrace, he’s elevated to a higher court. But it won’t end there.

Even in the privacy of our homes, we’ll be imprisoned by the state. Its religious totalitarianism will seek to control our discipline of our Covenant children, our obedience to God in being fruitful, the way we give birth and die, our practice of church discipline, what’s preached in the privacy of our worship in our church-houses, what our children do sexually, whether our minor children are able to murder their unborn children, even the media we do or do not consume in our living rooms. You think I’m alarmist, but just watch–if you live long enough. And it should be a bit of a wake-up call for you to realize a number of the things listed above are already done deals. For instance, your minor daughter can have an abortion without your knowledge, and the religious educators of our secularist taxpaper-funded schools can help them hide the murder from you.

One more:

Brothers and sisters, we are citizens of a representative constitutional democracy with heavy privileges and duties that flow from that system of government. We are not under a Roman Emporer. We are under ourselves and we ourselves have the legal duty to guard the commons God has been pleased to bequeath to us from the hard work and shed blood of our faithful Reformed forefathers who created these United States.

If we learn anything from the Early Church under the Roman Empire, it’s that empires like Rome and the Secular West must oppress and kill every Christian who believes all authority in Heaven and earth has been given to the Lord Jesus and we must go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything He commanded knowing He is with us to the end of the earth.

Intolleristas are bloodthirsty for exclusivists. It was this way with the Early Church under Rome and it’s this way with the Late Church under Western Secularism. Separation of church and state is the death of Christian evangelism and discipleship unless Christian evangelism and discipleship becomes as vapid as the R2K monomaniacs.

Christian life, worship, evangelism, and discipleship are utterly incompatible with Western Secularism’s pluralism. Every single time a man under the Lordship of Jesus Christ tries to clothe our naked public squares, he will be shouted down by those convinced they don’t have gods and they don’t worship and they are as broad-minded and tolerant as can be.

The real wonder is that Mr. Curell or someone like him did not vandalize a seminary or a church where 2k views prevail.

Postscript: it looks like a pattern in the Curell family (and it looks like the Baylys may oppose civil disobedience only when conducted with a weapon — or they don’t respect deacons as much as pastors.)

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485 Comments

  1. sean
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Richard. It’s never near as relevant or helpful when someone like yourself acknowledges what I already know about myself but I’m willing to condescend and receive gratitude from my lessers for their sake.

  2. sean
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m resisting the emoticon.

  3. Mikelmann
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    “I’m resisting the emoticon.”

    Thank you.

  4. Posted April 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Zrim,

    Maybe Maurina should have published his piece there. Maurina & an ally are complaining about my post today on my blog and my response is centered around Maurina’s lack of judgment in (1) publishing there, and (2) rubbing our noses in it here. When are the Neocalvinists going to get their own house organ?

    On another note, we finished season 2 of “The Killing” two nights ago and I still maintain it is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. I didn’t guess the killer. What a writer or writers to plot that out. I’m telling my son who is an aspiring writer that if he can learn to write like that he’ll be a millionaire someday. Fabulous show.

  5. Posted April 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Erik,

    I don’t think anyone is going to bring up charges against a 2ker. Probably the most radical anyone in the 2k camp gets is not being against the government allowing for same sex marriage, and even this is a minority view amongst 2kers. Because 2k is so closely associated with confessionalism, they would have a hard time coming up with an actionable charge that any 2k advocate is out of line with the confessions or the Reformed system of doctrine. Every 2ker I have ever interacted with believes homosexuality and abortion are sins, and should be dealt with using appropriate measures of church discipline if it occurs with our church members.

    As far as I can tell, you have the hard core Evangelical political activists like the Baylys who see 2k as a threat to their sociopolitical agendas, and they are heavy on heated rhetoric, low on intelligent debate. Then you have those influenced by Kuyperianism, which has become tantamount to orthodoxy in some circles, to some (certainly not all) of these 2k also is viewed as a threat, but usually they will hang in and have meaningful debate with 2kers. The only folks who might contemplate issuing charges are those in the first group who elevate politics (always of the most conservative kind) to the levels of doctrinal orthodoxy – this group is loud, but relatively small and they seem to be more interested in sabre rattling than bringing actual complaints before the church courts.

    Then there’s the theonomists, but they don’t count right (Kidding Doug!!!!)

  6. Posted April 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Sean, good. Your sanctification is increasing.

  7. Zrim
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Erik, next up is “House of Cards.”

    Jed, you said a mouthful about Kuyperianism being tantamount to orthodoxy. Around here, there isn’t even any meta-cognition for cultural transformationism. It’s as given as the Trinity. And Xn schools.

  8. Posted April 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I think we’re going to try “Wallander” and some of the other Scandinavian detective stuff.

    I’m also through two episodes of season 2 of “The Wire”. No kids watching that, though.

  9. sdb
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    @EC I highly recommend Wallander. I caught a few episodes on PBS Mystery last year and was hooked.

    @RS – I don’t think anyone here is saying that church shouldn’t speak out against homosexuality and gay unions. The question is whether it is sinful for a Christian to support political policies that have the effect of promoting sin. One example of course is gay marriage, and I laid out an argument a Christian might follow to conclude that she should support state recognition of gay unions. Another contemporary example are the proposals in various states to set up tax credits for donations to private schools and tuition. Such credits have been created to entice people to give more money to religious schools (including Mormon, Muslim, Jewish, Mainline, and Catholic schools). If it is sinful for a Christian to support state recognition of gay marriage (Joe Carter’s position), why isn’t it sinful for a Christian to support tax credits for Mormon schools? Or to state it more generally, why is a libertarian approach to religious ethics (the state should not interfere with the free exercise of your religious regardless of whether it blasphemous or not unless there is a compelling secular reason of general application like outlawing human sacrifice) acceptable, but a libertarian approach to sexual ethics (the state should not interfere with the way that consenting adults order their sexual relationships unless there is a compelling secular reason of general application) is sinful?

    Is it because you think toleration of homosexual behavior among unbelievers provokes God’s wrath in a way that toleration of the worship of false gods among unbelievers doesn’t? If so, why is that?

  10. Bobby
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t think anyone here is saying that church shouldn’t speak out against homosexuality and gay unions.” -sdb

    No. That’s exactly what I’m saying.

    On the issue of homosexuality (i.e., sexual orientation), I’m not sure what why there’s a need to speak out at all. Some 3% of the population is gay. We don’t exactly know why. But we know that it is generally involuntary, and that no amount of “praying the gay away” is going to change it. So, I see no reason for the church to speak out against homosexuality, unless it also plans to speak out against gravity, etc.

    As to same-sex marriage, I see no reason why the church ought to concern itself with how the state establishes default rules for the ownership of real and personal property. After all, that all that civil marriage is. So, I believe that the church has as much interest in speaking out against same-sex marriage as it has in speaking out in favor of the rule against perpetuities.

    The church should preach Christ…and not a whole lot else.

  11. mark mcculley
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    What is the practical difference between a w-view which produces “Christian soldiers” and a w-view which produces “Christians who are soldiers”?

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/04/26/is-there-a-distinctively-christian-way-to-be-a-bus-driver/

  12. sdb
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Bobby,
    I didn’t see your earlier comments I guess. Your comment is incoherent – are you really suggesting that a minister should avoid topics he comes across in the scripture if they are only relevant to a few percent of his congregation? If so, what’s the cut off? 10%, 20%, 30%? Nor am I sure what being voluntary has to do with anything. My attraction to nubile co-eds on campus may be involuntary, but that doesn’t mitigate the sinfulness of adultery (even if I can’t pray the attraction away). It looks like you are falling prey to Venus envy – the certainty and empirical basis for physical science isn’t conferred to confirmation biased, ideologically driven, poorly sampled, “studies” by appending the word science to them (don’t forget that 2/3rds of social “scientists” admit to sampling practices that invalidate their results, 10% falsify data, and 50% don’t report null results – hard to escape the conclusion that the entire field is pseudosicence garbage). But allowing that social “science” can achieve even a pale imitation to science, it isn’t clear what your analogy means. Is it OK to throw bowling balls off of overpasses because of the fact of gravity? Pastors shouldn’t preach against anger if someone has a natural, involuntary short-temper?

    Finally, what does it mean to “Preach Christ” anyway? Is it just repeating his name over and over? Is it exegesis of his Word (even the parts that only apply to 3% of the population)? Can pastors mention the sins Chirst is saving us from? Should we be exhorted to turn from our sins (including gay sex for those who are thus inclined)? In short I have no idea what you are talking about, nor why it is relevant to this conversation.

    What I’d like to hear from someone who believes it is sinful for a Christian to advocate for a libertarian politics as it regards sexual ethics, is how support for a libertarian approach to religious ethics is any different. So far, the responses have been incoherent or non-responsive. I know I’m a terrible writer and comm boxes aren’t exactly known for encouraging thoughtful dialog, but I’ve been hoping however naively that a 2k critic could explain how they distinguish these.

  13. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    SDB: the certainty and empirical basis for physical science isn’t conferred to confirmation biased, ideologically driven, poorly sampled, “studies” by appending the word science to them (don’t forget that 2/3rds of social “scientists” admit to sampling practices that invalidate their results, 10% falsify data, and 50% don’t report null results – hard to escape the conclusion that the entire field is pseudosicence garbage).

    Oh, you’re way on top of this one, brother. Props. The social science academy is corrupt. Social “science.” It never looks for what it doesn’t want to find, and destroys anyone who finds it.

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/01/same-sex-science

    [Short version: when it comes to homosexuality, science knows next to nothing.]

  14. Bobby
    Posted April 27, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    sdb,

    I’m simply saying that there is no clear Scriptural teaching directed to the question of whether the state ought to extend the bundle of legal rights we call “civil marriage” to same-sex couples. And because Scripture provides no clear teaching on it, ministers indeed should not be preaching about it. Sure, the Bible condemns homosexual sex acts. It also condemns gluttony. It also condemns no-fault divorce.

    We seem to have an easy time recognizing that, despite the church’s condemnation of gluttony, the state doesn’t need to toss fat people in jail until they lose weight. Nor do we demand that the state punish those who obtain divorces for improper reasons. Thus, we accept that Scripture does not compel us to seek state intervention to punish every sin condemned by the Bible. Why then is it so difficult to apply the same principle to same-sex marriage? The Bible clearly forbids the church from marrying a same-sex couple. But the church doesn’t have a monopoly on civil marriage. So what makes you convinced that the Bible unambiguously teaches that the state shouldn’t grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples?

    Also, I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a libertarian approach to religious ethics. Libertarian ethics is essentially a harm-based ethic, meaning the state should only seek to punish conduct that directly harms others without their consent. In this context, “others” refers to persons and business entities. No consideration is given to the indirect effects of such conduct on the general social order. Religious ethics is different. In orthodox Christianity, for example, we believe that all sin harms God, even if it harms no one else.

    Before the 1960s, the state probably did tend to punish a certain amount of conduct that was perceived to cause indirect harm on the community as a whole. But in a more mobile, rootless society, such an ethic is bound to fall away. For example, none of my colleagues at work grew up in the metro area where we all work and live. We all came from somewhere else, and we probably won’t live here in another 5-10 years. In such a society, libertarian ethics seems to work a lot better.

  15. sdb
    Posted April 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Bobby,I think you are confused. I don’t think the church should weigh in on political questions (including the legalization of SSM). However, a pastor who comes across a text about sexual purity shouldn’t refrain from stating that folks with SSA should remain celibate (gay marriage is a no-no). Still not sure what gravity has to do with this.

    “So what makes you convinced that the Bible unambiguously teaches that the state shouldn’t grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples?”

    I’m not at all sure of this. I think we’ve undergone quite a revolution in our understanding of marriage the past 50yrs, and it hasn’t all been good – for kids, the fabric of society, or for the folks in the relationships (of course not every development has been bad). It’s been a wild ride, and we still don’t understand all the consequences of our decisions. We gone from a society that punished homosexual behavior, to one that saw it as a mental defect, to one that now sees it as a positive good. That’s quite a shift. I’m not sure gay marriage is a good idea – it confirms a particular view of marriage that may indeed weaken it considerably which could be a bad thing for a lot of people. Or maybe Rauch is right and it will create space to increase the stigma associated with promiscuity. I dunno… no one does. My instinct is to go slow, but I think people of good will can disagree.

    “Also, I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a libertarian approach to religious ethics. Libertarian ethics is essentially a harm-based ethic, meaning the state should only seek to punish conduct that directly harms others without their consent. In this context, “others” refers to persons and business entities. No consideration is given to the indirect effects of such conduct on the general social order.”

    A libertarian approach to religious ethics would be that one can worship (or not) however they please unless it is harming someone. We don’t go quite that far in the US, but there is still a pretty high bar before the state can interfere with religious practice – there has to be a law of general applicability that advances a compelling government interest. So a law banning weed still applies to Rastafarians even if smoking pot is part of their religion and it doesn’t hurt anyone.

    My question is to folks like Joe Carter (and I think Richard Smith on this thread), why is it OK for a Christian to take a libertarian stance as it applies to religious ethics (I don’t think they want people who practice false religion or teach their kids to practice a false religion penalized by the state), but it is sinful (Joe Carter’s word not mine) for a Christian to advocate a libertarian approach to sexual ethics. So far, I’ve gotten nothing.

    “In such a society, libertarian ethics seems to work a lot better.”
    Tell that to Michael Vick.

  16. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 27, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    In orthodox Christianity, for example, we believe that all sin harms God

    ¿Really?

  17. Bobby
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for clarifying.

    I’m not so sure that we disagree. Yes, I expect a faithful Christian pastor to preach to his congregation that homosexual acts are sinful. In my opinion, Scripture is pretty clear on this point. But that same pastor has no business preaching to his congregation about what the state should do regarding those same sins (e.g., whether and how to criminally punish those sins). The Bible’s statements on governance and statecraft are pretty general and offer no specific guidance on how to deal with specific issues.

    I also now see what you’re saying about religious libertarianism. I agree that Carter’s and Richard’s position suffers from certain intellectual inconsistencies. They believe that people should be free to adopt whatever bizarre religious practices they choose, so long as such practices don’t harm others without their consent. But they want to carve out sexual practices, and have the state take an active and aggressive role in punishing sexual practices that are inconsistent with Christian beliefs, even when those practices don’t harm others without their consent.

    A couple of weeks ago, The American Conservative ran an article entitled “Gay Marriage Derangement Syndrome” that made a similar observation. Frankly, I couldn’t care less what the late 20-something guy next to me does in his bedroom at night, as long as I can’t hear it through the walls. And the same goes for the gay couple three doors down and across the hall. There’s a lot to be said for minding one’s own business.

  18. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Bobby, it’s not about private conduct–that’s a settled issue since Lawrence v. Texas in 2003. No, it’s about forcing public acknowledgement that all sexualities are created equal–which they’re not.

    Further, it means taking over the schools and inculcating our children that having 2 mommies [or eventually 6 mommies] is just as good or better than having one daddy and one mommy.

    There’s a lot more going on here than what people do in private when the lights go out. Gay marriage is a completely public issue.

  19. Richard Smith
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Bobby: Frankly, I couldn’t care less what the late 20-something guy next to me does in his bedroom at night, as long as I can’t hear it through the walls. And the same goes for the gay couple three doors down and across the hall. There’s a lot to be said for minding one’s own business.

    TVD: Further, it means taking over the schools and inculcating our children that having 2 mommies [or eventually 6 mommies] is just as good or better than having one daddy and one mommy.

    There’s a lot more going on here than what people do in private when the lights go out. Gay marriage is a completely public issue.

    RS: Bobby, you might want to think deeply about what TVD posted here. Let us remember what happens when something like our Federal Government says something is legal and then tries to push it on the rest of us. It must be taught in a positive way at school and on television. You must not say that it is wrong even in the church or risk the weight of the government coming down on you. This is not a simple privacy issue in the slightest. There are real consequences for all.

    Taking this one step more, but very related, there is now a push for gender rights. My gender is what I feel like I am on one particular day, so who are you to tell me not to go into a certain bathroom just because it says it is for male or female? Do very many men really want to send their young daughters into bathrooms with biological males in there? No, there are consequences to your views. If we are what we are according to our “urges”, then when our urges change we can say that is the way we are as well. Or some would even argue that my gender is simply my choice. The gender battle is here and is getting bigger and more pervasive by the moment. I can assure you that this will also have a big influence on all the public. This is not just what people do in private.

  20. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    RS: Or some would even argue that my gender is simply my choice.

    It’s impossible to even come up with a decent reductio ad absurdum anymore.

    http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/04/officials_fight_taxpayer_funded_sex_change_ruling

  21. Richard Smith
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    TVD: It’s impossible to even come up with a decent reductio ad absurdum anymore.

    RS: It is interesting (appalling) how what we once thought was absurd is now reality and pushing to be normal. Even our logic is being stretched by our morality.

  22. Bobby
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    TVD:

    Yes, but when Richard and his cohorts bandy about accusing gay people of being like pedophiles, it only lends further credence to arguments that schools need to make efforts to counteract such misinformation.

    In my view, the Religious Right has largely fought the battle against gay rights by delivering one below-the-belt punch after another. I think that we’d be in a much different place today had social conservatives not fought such a dirty fight. Now that the cultural winds have changed, I sense that a lot of casual bystanders are ready to see a bit of wrath sit down on social conservatives as punishment for their misdeeds. And frankly, I don’t feel sorry for them, although I suspect that some of these efforts will be constitutionally objectionable.

  23. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Bobby, I agree that the Religious Right has made poor and inaccurate arguments. However, the pro-gay agenda has told just as many lies under the guise of “science.” And I’ll further admit–if you followed my recent adventures over at BaylyWorld–that the poor arguments and overheated rhetoric on the right has helped let the left get away with it.

    Here’s what we know, and more importantly, what we don’t know about homosexuality [hardly anything]:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/01/same-sex-science

  24. Bobby
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    TVD,

    Agreed. There’s been a fair bit of misinformation tossed out by both sides. But in our society, efforts to limit personal liberty will receive greater scrutiny, as they should.

  25. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    But in our society, efforts to limit personal liberty will receive greater scrutiny, as they should.

    I reject the premise, but accepting the premise is why social conservatives have been losing the rhetorical war.

    Lawrence v. Texas, the striking down of sodomy laws as unconstitutional, was successfully framed as a question of individual liberty. Arguable, but not invalid.

    However redefining marriage–establishing a new institution of gay marriage–claiming the ratification 100+ years ago of the 14th Amendment created gay marriage in principle–this isn’t a question of liberty as much as using the strong arm of the law to remake society and its mores.

    That’s why I touch on in the other thread that successfully equating “gay” and “Negro” was the structural eureka! By accepting the premise that one’s conduct/urges is the equivalent of being the abolished practice of using race as a noun [Negro], the argument, especially for the dishonest or weak-minded seems quite reasonable.

    http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.2058/article_detail.asp#4-4-2013

    You would think that, since marriage was not designed to accommodate homosexuality and never has done so through millennia of Western history, the burden of proof would fall on the innovators. It does not. You would think that, since the main justifications of traditional marriage through the years have involved children, and since gays cannot produce children, recasting the demand as one for “marriage equality” would ring hollow. It does not. Gay marriage is advancing on the basis of something other than the expected rational arguments.

  26. todd
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    “In my view, the Religious Right has largely fought the battle against gay rights by delivering one below-the-belt punch after another. I think that we’d be in a much different place today had social conservatives not fought such a dirty fight. Now that the cultural winds have changed, I sense that a lot of casual bystanders are ready to see a bit of wrath sit down on social conservatives as punishment for their misdeeds. And frankly, I don’t feel sorry for them, although I suspect that some of these efforts will be constitutionally objectionable.”

    Bobby,

    I read a book recently where the author takes this view. I wish I could remember the author or title, but he is a professor at Liberty University, and he basically takes a 2K position and is critical of Falwell. Anyway he argues that in the 70′s most homosexuals either wanted to be left alone, or they wanted social acceptance, but they stayed out of the political arena. Then the AIDS epidemic hit, and most gays had at least one close friend die. The response from the Christian right was to speak of God’s judgment on gays; the homosexuals saw little compassion from evangelicals for their suffering. (Of course southern conservatives never equated the regular destructive floods and hurricanes in the south to God’s anger against them, so their reading of providence was very selective and convenient.)

    Thus the author suggested the response to AIDS from the evangelicals awoke a sleeping tiger, and they were mad; fighting mad. Then through the eighties the evangelicals fought against every attempt for gay civil rights with a ferocity they had not seen against other groups they disagreed with. For example, though evangelicals seemed indifferent to drugs, adultery, abuse, etc… in the U.S. military, when gays asked for the right to fight for our country evangelicals starting speaking of the end of the military as we know it. Then when they only wanted civil same sex unions, not asking for marriage, evangelicals went full force against that, so in response to what they read as selective hatred and discrimination, they decided to go for it all – full-fledged, in your face, marriage.

    His thesis is that evangelicals have themselves to blame for igniting a group of people who only forty years ago just wanted to be left alone. I think it is an interesting thesis, and I suspect with a more careful, compassionate response to these matters that we eventually would have gotten to gay marriage as an issue, but many years from now.

  27. Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Rev. Bordow, I cannot at all agree that homosexuals before the rise of the Christian conservative movement wanted mostly to be left alone.

    Think of the Stonewall Rebellion. Think of the gay pride parades. Think of the self-designation as “queer” or “rainbow people.” Think of groups like ACT-UP. Cries of “we’re out, we’re proud, deal with it” have been part-and-parcel of the gay rights movement pretty much since day one. These are not the marks of a movement whose leaders want to fit into existing society, and it should be noted that such activities are most common not in the Bible Belt, but rather in places like Greenwich Village and San Francisco which for generations before the rise of the gay rights movement have had rather low percentages of evangelical Christians.

    I readily grant that homosexuals are all over the map when it comes to temperament, culture, and even politics. To cite an extreme example, a graduate of one of the rural high schools in my county now works in Branson, is a secular Tea Party conservative, and wrote a fiery attack on Christian conservative dominance of the Republican Party. However, note that even in his case, he’s trying to remake the Republican Party as a secular conservative party which is libertarian and has no place for Christian conservatives.

    Certainly there are some homosexuals who once just wanted to be left alone and have become radicalized by the Christian Right. The leadership of the “gay rights” movement, however, has been radical right from the start. It’s the agenda set by that leadership with which we have to deal, and those leaders wouldn’t be leaders if they didn’t have a lot of people following them.

  28. todd
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Darrel,

    Yes, that’s what the author meant by some wanting social acceptance. Those who marched or flaunted back then did not have a specific political agenda as much as just making a statement about their existence, and those who flaunted and marched were a small minority and didn’t represent the majority, who simply wanted to live their lives. But that has all changed, and the charge that evangelicals are mainly to blame for this change is an interesting thesis that cannot be too easily dismissed.

  29. Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Todd – Thus the author suggested the response to AIDS from the evangelicals awoke a sleeping tiger

    DTM – Think of groups like ACT-UP

    ACT-UP doesn’t rebut Todd’s point because they were post-AIDS. “AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACT_UP

    Yeah, I know DTM, now you’ll say I’m in favor of slavery and ACT-UP.

  30. mikelmann
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    DTM, political activism is not something one tinkers in, like doing crossword puzzles. It changes the participant as it powerfully seduces its devotees into employing manipulation, empty rhetoric and actual or borderline slander as a means to political victory. So there will be a mirror-like reflection as strident gay rights activists and strident social conservatives clash on their respective sides.

    Meanwhile outside the intensely political realm there will be people on both sides both minding their own business and trying to engage in more substantive discussion.

    PS. And folks that have become politicized tend to take their political habits into other realms, like discussions of 2k.

  31. sdb
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    “There’s a lot to be said for minding one’s own business.”

    I seem to recall Paul saying something about that… “aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” and along the same lines “…insofar as it depends on you, live at peace with all men…”

  32. Posted April 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    sdb – I seem to recall Paul saying something about that… “aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” and along the same lines “…insofar as it depends on you, live at peace with all men…”

    But what about rattling the liberals’ cages and taking back every square inch?

  33. sdb
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    “But what about rattling the liberals’ cages and taking back every square inch?”

    Oh yeah, I forgot about that verse. Was it in Hezekiah 3 or 3 Peter 2? Maybe it is in the apocrypha….

    By the way, what is the record for the number of comments on a post? I don’t think I’ve seen it top 500 before… We only have a dozen comments to go!

  34. Bobby
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    I just got home from work. I’ll see if I can help it get to 500.

    Anyway, I concur with Todd’s comment above. I’m old enough to remember a time when people just didn’t make that big of a deal about someone being gay.

    I grew up in a fairly conservative, fairly religious mid-sized Midwestern town. One of our neighbors was a single man who was in his 40s at the time. We all understood him to be gay, although he wasn’t the type to march in a gay pride parade. In fact, he was a two-term Republican state senator, a former city councilman, and head of the social studies department at the high school. Then, when the AIDS crisis hit, the tables were turned. Politically oriented evangelicals tried unsuccessfully to unseat him in a primary, and then supported a corrupt liberal Democrat in the general election. The whisper campaign around town was absolutely vicious. The same folks then tried and tried to get him fired from his teaching job, which he had held for nearly 20 years. A couple of years later he moved away. The injustice perpetrated against this man by the evangelicals in town was outrageous.

    But it didn’t stop there. I swam in high school (and still swim about 10 miles a week). In the summer, we’d have swim practice in the morning, and then hang out at the pool all afternoon. I just kept wearing the same suit, and never thought a thing about it. Then, the same religious zealots decided that we could no longer wear competition swimwear outside of swim practice because they viewed speedo-wearing as “partaking of aspects of the gay lifestyle.” Really? We were 16-year-old boys living in the rural Midwest; we had no idea what the gay lifestyle even was.

    This set of a 30-year period during which gay people became Public Enemy #1 to evangelical America. And evangelicals have continued to make utter fools of themselves on this issue again and again and again, as they carried out one malicious and vindictive campaign after another.

    So, in a sense, I hear you. I think there’s a good case to be made that evangelicals made the mainstream gay rights movement as we know it today. Until about 1985, average gay folks were quietly going about their business, serving their communities, and being all-around good citizens. Then the pogroms began. Evangelicals have blamed gay people from everything from AIDS to the 9/11 attacks.

    Now that the cultural winds have changed on this issue, a lot of people are going to believe that it’s time to take the playground bully (evangelicals) behind the woodshed and dole out some recompense. And while evangelicals will deem their coming suffering to be a kind of persecution, most people will simply see it as delayed justice.

  35. Posted April 29, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Bobby – Then, the same religious zealots decided that we could no longer wear competition swimwear outside of swim practice because they viewed speedo-wearing as “partaking of aspects of the gay lifestyle.”

    Don’t tell these folks some of our own Reformed Seminary Professors go to the Opera or all heck will break loose!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b0p9mTJOJI

    Next time Alan comes around remind me to ask him if he’s ever seen Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo”.

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