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FIRST-PERSON: The church & the homosexuality debate

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–The wave of contempt for God’s Word that rolled across Europe in the first three years of this century is now crashing against our northern border. Following the lead of liberal Sweden’s Riksdag parliament, the Canadian House of Commons approved a bill April 29 that eventually could subdue orthodox, biblical preaching on the sin of homosexuality.

Members of parliament who oppose the bill, such as John McKay, have referred to the legislation as a “chill bill.” Proponents of the bill suggest that a “notwithstanding” clause still protects sermons and other religious rhetoric.

Canada, however, has a history of bowing to the will of the homosexual agenda.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission once fined a Christian $4,500 when he placed an advertisement that condemned homosexuality in a Canadian newspaper. The advertisement, which gave the references to Romans 1:26, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 and 1 Corinthians 6:9, had “offended” three homosexual men. The actual verses were not even quoted.

When a schoolteacher in British Columbia argued in letters to a newspaper that homosexuality was not innate behavior, he was suspended by his school district for one month without pay. The high court in British Columbia recently ruled that his suspension was valid.

Derek Rogusky, vice president of family policy for Focus on the Family Canada, said that the courts of Canada generally favor the rights of homosexuals over the rights of conservative religious people when the two worldviews collide.

“We’ve seen through the courts that when religious freedom comes up against gay rights, that in fact religious freedom tends to be more often the loser,” Rogusky said on CBC Newsworld.

The clash of opinions over homosexuality is a driving force behind European policy making. In June 2002, Sweden legalized same-sex adoption. Not long after, the Swedes began allowing 21 of its embassies to “marry” same-sex couples. Sweden also passed a law that criminalizes some biblical exposition on homosexuality –- those that condemn it as a sinful practice.

The Swedish government has dragged the Lutheran Church of Sweden along like a dumb ox. In fact, the church at its 2004 synod will formulate a common liturgy for blessing homosexual unions. Bo Larsson, who directs the offices of Archbishop K.G. Hammar, said that the church “officially” accepts same-sex relations within the church.

“And many of us are not only glad and proud of it, but we want to talk about it,” Larsson said, according to Ecumenical News International. “Jesus and the Gospel stand for everybody’s right to equality and freedom from oppression.”

Canada, of course, takes its lead from Europe.

But sadly, one of the groups fighting hardest to gain acceptance for same-sex “marriages” to the north is the United Church of Canada, the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the country. The denomination announced April 23 that it would “intervene” in a Canadian Supreme Court hearing on same-sex “marriage” in order to champion the rights of same-sex partners.

According to the UCC, an organization with Methodist roots, “Christian morality and religious principles require that same-sex couples have access to the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples.” They believe they can assist the government in the debate against more conservative groups that might not have, let’s say, a “proper” understanding of the Bible and the person and work of Christ.

The UCC has published congregational study guides on how to accept homosexuals for membership and “ordered ministry.” Affirm United, an organization established as a UCC program in the 1990s, issues guidelines for writing statements that support open homosexual membership in congregations. One church’s statement of affirmation said that it was open to people of every “sexual identity” as a sign “that Christ’s community is one of acceptance and love for all people in the same radically inclusive way that Jesus showed us.”

The state of Massachusetts recognizes same-sex “marriages.” Perhaps the tide has crossed our borders. I would say that the church at large in America is safe on high ground, but with the current controversy in the Methodist and Episcopal churches, it seems as if we are battling a veritable tsunami.

You can expect that if the homosexual agenda wins the legislative battle over marriage at the federal level, that its advocates will spare no expense to see that the church falls in line with government policy. It worked in Sweden for them. It worked in Canada.

It will work here, too, if we cease to preach that homosexuality is a sin that can be cleansed by the blood of Christ. If, in the name of “inclusiveness,” we accept the homosexual agenda’s Jesus, a Jesus that doesn’t require men and women to exchange their filthy rags for spotless white robes, then we will be guilty of throwing concrete life preservers to those who are drowning. Worst of all, we would be preaching a Jesus who died for nothing.

We, as a church, must intervene in our nation’s crisis. If the Canadian Parliament will listen to their nation’s largest Protestant denomination, perhaps ours will listen to Southern Baptists. The denomination may be America’s last best hope to obstruct the homosexual agenda at the federal level.

    About the Author

  • Gregory Tomlin