Pastor's Corner

Homosexuality and religious liberty

by Daniel Ausbun

Last week, New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that two Christian photographers violated the state's Human Rights Act by refusing to photograph a same-sex "commitment ceremony."

Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, owners of Elane Photography, were asked in 2006 by Vanessa Willock to photograph her same-sex "commitment ceremony" in the town of Taos. The Huguenins, citing their Christian belief that marriage should be only between a man and woman, declined the request along with a subsequent request by Willock's partner.

Willock found another photographer at a lower price but filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, accusing Elane Photography of discrimination based on her sexual orientation. The Huguenins were found guilty and ordered to pay a $6,637.94 fine.

"The Huguenins today can no more turn away customers on the basis of their sexual orientation – photographing a same-sex marriage ceremony – than they could refuse to photograph African-Americans or Muslims," New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson wrote.

The message sent by Justice Bosson is clear: religious conviction is a private matter. You can believe what you want, but you must keep your deeply held convictions to yourself if you participate in society.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said, "Anyone who still doubts that the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage will represent a seismic shift in the culture at large needs only to look to New Mexico to see that nothing less than religious liberty is now under threat – and in a big way.”

Russell Moore, president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said the Aug. 22 ruling "demonstrates, once again, that where we are headed is the state-established religion of sexual liberation, with the law used to steamroll every conscience in the way."

This decision may bring to Americans' attention the serious threat to religious liberty posed by overbearing government agencies when it comes to redefining marriage.

Christians need to stop and understand what is occurring. This ruling exposes two major shifts for America.

First, religious liberty is at risk. The First Amendment allows the free practice of religious beliefs. If photographers can’t take wedding pictures because of their religious beliefs, and the state Supreme Court fines them for refusing to take pictures, this represents a loss of religious freedom.

Second, homosexuality is being advanced through the courts.

The moment of truth is coming for every Christian, every church, every business and every politician concerning where they stand on homosexuality. Christians who hold to the biblical position that homosexuality is sinful (Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27) will unfortunately suffer consequences in our culture. The Bible contains no less than 15 direct references to homosexuality, and every single one of them is negative.

There has not been one single, definitive, scientific study that has established that homosexuality is innate.

When the moment of truth arrives, the choice will be whether to stand firm against the current of popular culture or float along downstream like a dead fish. If we set our minds on the things of the flesh, which are hostile to God, we’ve exchanged God's Word for our experience.

How must Christians respond?

First, we can’t remain silent. If Christian’s don’t share God’s Word, who else will?

Second, Jesus told His followers they would be hated because of Him (Luke 21:17). Following Christ is costly.

Third, God forgives all sin. God loves homosexuals and desires them to repent and trust in Christ for their salvation. Sins shouldn't be acceptable just because they are the sins of the majority. Christians must declare war on every sexual sin – adultery, promiscuity, pornography and masturbation – in order to show the world sexual purity and godly marriage.

Living as a Christ follower is going to be harder, not easier, in the coming days.



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