April 27, 2010
Last December, the D.C. City Council legalized same-sex "marriage." It insisted that all city contractors honor this redefinition of marriage. The Council refused to make exceptions for faith-based ministries like Catholic Charities, which provides many services to the poor.
The Archdiocese of Washington, to its everlasting credit, announced that it would walk away from its foster care program rather that place children with same-sex couples. It also announced that, rather than offer spousal health benefits to same-sex couples, it would no longer provide spousal benefits at all to future employees.
Spokeswoman Mary Ann Walsh said that providing health benefits to same-sex couples would be tantamount to "recognizing same-sex ‘marriage' as legitimate"—something the church can't do.
The Catholic Church has been down this road before. A few years ago in Boston, Catholic Charities was forced out of the adoption business because it refused to place children with same-sex couples. And it's a road faithful Protestants are traveling as well—as a Methodist camp found out in New Jersey, when it lost its tax exemption for refusing to allow a same-sex couple to be married there.
Why is this going on? Because the sexual revolution of the 1960s has transformed not only our culture, but the political landscape and our laws as well.
My colleague, historian Glenn Sunshine, explains why in a great article you can find at ColsonCenter.org. The sexual revolution, he writes, was an outgrowth of the teachings of Sigmund Freud, who believed that mankind's problems were the result of repressing sexual desires. So our redemption, Freud said, could be found in sexual liberation.
Sunshine writes, "The implication of his theory was clear...to enable people to live happy, fulfilled lives, society needed to drop restraints on sexual activity."
And that is exactly what our culture has been doing for five decades. Sunshine notes that since happiness is "fundamentally about sexual expression, the freedom to express whatever you think of as your sexual identity [has become] our most essential human right."
This is why the Supreme Court has in recent decades struck down laws against sodomy and contraception, and upheld abortion laws. The Court follows the culture. That is why it has not only been upholding the right to sexual expression; it has done its best to eliminate any kind of challenges to that expression.
We recently had an ominous sign of where this kind of thinking leads. Chai Feldblum, commissioner on the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said that, when homosexual rights crash up against religious beliefs, she has "a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win." This despite the fact that the First Amendment explicitly guarantees religious liberty!
Clearly, the great danger to the church is that the right to sexual expression is now considered foremost. All other freedoms are trampled beneath it.
As I say in my Two Minute Warning video this week, which you can also find at ColsonCenter.org, we Christians are not free to retreat from the culture—to stick to our church potlucks and ignore everything going on outside the church doors. No, we can't.
If we do not engage the culture and make a stand for our first freedom—freedom of religion—we may one day find those church doors being nailed shut.
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.