A Baltimore Victory! And a Victory for Religious Freedom Too

Posted on October 19, 2016 in Life, Sexuality, Theology by

stephanie-rawlings-blakeFederal judge makes a common sense ruling in allowing pro-life pregnancy centers to only advocate life.

It’s almost too absurd to consider. And yet, it’s a reality in our upside down social landscape. Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the City Council sought to force pro-life pregnancy centers to advocate abortion. Mayor Blake an the City Council apparently are so committed to abortion in Baltimore that they are willing to force people fundamentally opposed to it to not only support it, but to help advertise it.

A recent article reports:

“Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the City Council had moved to force the pro-life centers to post signs discouraging women from using their services and pointing them to abortion sellers…The ordinance is similar to laws now on the books in California and Illinois where Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are working to protect crisis pregnancy centers from government overreach.”

This shows the desperation of the abortion movement as they lose ground to people that increasingly see the humanity of the unborn and want to see them protected. The last few years have seen more pro-life laws enacted on the state level than in any other time in our nation’s history. Since the Obama administration has done everything it can to protect Planned Parenthood and force abortion on the American people, states have taken the issue into their own hands and defended the unborn.

That doesn’t stop the attempt of local politicians to force people to support and fund abortion despite their religious convictions and personal opposition. An attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom said:

“No government or pro-abortion group has the right to invade the privacy of national pro-life organizations to grind an ideological axe…The court’s decision in this case will provide persuasive precedent to defend free speech there and in other states. This is an important First Amendment victory.”

Important indeed.

It’s important because it is getting more difficult to adhere to traditional, orthodox beliefs in our culture. Increasingly, we are being told that there is no room for our beliefs and that we must change to fit the culture. While some try to claim that theology is evolving and will catch up to the culture, we continue to stand on the traditional beliefs the church has espoused for more than 2000 years. Doing so however, comes at a greater cost with each passing year.

For example, InterVarsity, one of the nation’s largest evangelical campus ministries, announced that it will InterVarsityrequire all staff to support and affirm it’s theological position on human sexuality and marriage. The biblical position simply says that marriage is to be between one man and one woman and that homosexual behavior is sin.

This is not a surprising view, it’s the traditional Christian, evangelical view. It’s the view espoused by scripture and taught for the last two millennia. What is surprising is the reaction this news had brought out.

One blogger, responding to the accusation that this decision by InterVarsity is mean-spirited writes:

“This is what Evangelicals believe and those working for Evangelical organizations are, not surprisingly, expected to align with mainstream evangelical beliefs…It’s not only appropriate for IntervarsityUSA to acknowledge their beliefs—and make their beliefs part of their employment policies—it’s crucial. Belief-driven organizations must hire people who share their views on core issues—that’s just common sense and simple fidelity to their central beliefs.”

Evangelical Christians have held these views for centuries. The difference is not that our views on the subjects of marriage and sexuality are changing, but that the culture is changing requiring clear communication regarding our views. Anyone surprised by adherence to the traditional biblical views on marriage and sexuality has simply not paid attention. Any outrage over these views directed toward InterVarsity or any other organization is misplaced as they are merely aligning with the biblical position.

But more importantly is the surprise on the part of some that InterVarsity would dare require staff to adhere to its position on marriage and sexuality. Truly we live in an age when the idea of compartmentalizing one’s beliefs is becoming normal. The push to keep religious beliefs inside the walls of the church while conforming to the standards of the culture in public is becoming commonplace. It’s a “normal” that Christians need to resist.

Our liberal media is trying to create a narrative that says Christians have not been united in our understanding of the biblical marriage and sexuality. This is not only dishonest journalism it’s patently false. For hundreds of years Christians have understood exactly what the Bible teaches regarding these critical issues. In fact, Christians have been so united and had such clear understanding that there was no need to teach extensively, write or lecture on the issues. They were central, core issues that were agreed upon and understood.

But as some try to change the historical, traditional biblical views on marriage and sexuality, clear, intentional communication regarding the Bible’s teaching is absolutely necessary. Statements of faith that include these issues are critical for churches and religious non-profits. Decisive action like that taken by InterVarsity is wise, and a good example.

Whether it’s a pro-life organization refusing to advocate abortion, or a religious organization requiring staff and members to adhere to a particular doctrinal position, living by our religious convictions is getting tougher. Christians need to not only know what they believe, but resolve to live by those convictions. We must remember that, ultimately, our Judge is Jesus, not man. His approval is far more valuable than any culture or government.

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