Back in 2009, my BreakPoint colleague John Stonestreet was “in the room” so to speak as Chuck Colson was developing the Manhattan Declaration to defend the sanctity of life, marriage, and religious freedom. John once told me how he totally “got” why Christians had to stand up for marriage at the time. But in 2009, he wasn’t certain we needed a declaration to defend religious freedom—what was the connection between marriage and religious freedom?
Well, as John will now tell you, Chuck was right. Chuck foresaw a time when Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality would make us targets in the public square—and that our right to live out those beliefs would come under fire.
But what no one, including Chuck, could see back then was how quickly we’d find ourselves in a world in which the observable biological realities that make us male or female would be denounced and denied—in academia, in the culture, and even in the law. That pure emotion (as Princeton’s Robert George has said) would replace biological facts. That people would be forced by government to comply with these kinds of personal beliefs and lifestyle choices.
And that’s exactly where we are. The best example of this is so-called SOGI laws, that is, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity laws. As John mentioned on BreakPoint last week, SOGI laws create new protected classes of people based on inclination and behavior, not race, sex, or creed. These laws threaten not only religious freedom, but freedom of speech and freedom of association—especially for Christian institutions and individuals.
This is why John and I and more than 50 Christian leaders have signed a document to “Preserve Americans’ Constitutional Freedoms from Government Coercion.” And it’s why I’m inviting every BreakPoint listener to sign the document as well: Please, simply go to ColsonCenter.org/freedom.
As the document states, “creative professionals, wedding chapels, non-profit organizations, ministries serving the needy, adoption agencies, businesses… religious colleges, and even churches have faced threats and legal action under such laws for declining to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies; for maintaining policies consistent with their guiding principles, and for seeking to protect privacy by ensuring persons of the opposite sex do not share showers, locker rooms, restrooms, and other intimate facilities.”
Now, as John mentioned last week, some Christians are seeking a middle ground, to carve out exceptions to SOGI laws for churches and religious organizations such as universities. But this approach hangs the Christian baker, florist, or photographer out to dry—not to mention Christian lawyers, doctors, counsellors, and professionals of all stripes.
As Christians we believe there is no distinction between a secular and sacred vocation—that all work done to the glory of God is sacred. How can we then carve out protections for so-called “religious” organizations, yet leave out everyone else?
There’s another problem with this approach: it assumes the good graces of the champions of sexual identity rights—that they’ll embrace compromise now and in the future. And that, my friends, is alas, wishful thinking. Already we’ve seen legislators try to label churches as “places of public accommodation” (and therefore not protected from SOGI laws) if they have pot-luck dinners; we’ve seen them try to distinguish between Christians colleges that train people specifically for ministry as opposed to those Christian colleges that train people to be accountants or English teachers.
So friends, it is time to take a stand. I’m asking you to help “Preserve Americans’ Constitutional Freedoms from Government Coercion.” Please, come and sign the statement at ColsonCenter.org/freedom.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Publication date: December 19, 2016