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Now that the state of California has also legalized marriages between people from the same sex, I wonder how we should relate to this matter. What should the church do when such a couple requests to be blessed in our church. Think about the reaction of human rights movements if we would say no. What will you do if you're invited to a same sex wedding.

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amen wild, my thoughts exactly. It seems very problematic for one to go there in a mission field context. It seems to me there would need to be a clear mandate from God.
"Satan has his agents everywhere, and the sad thing is, they don't even know it!" Stephen Billiter 10-25-09
The Power of Change
Gay Rights and the Limits of Religious Liberty
BY: Lawrence Swaim

The experience of the Religious Right is a cautionary one. Successful in putting together a coalition with enormous electoral clout for over three decades, they were mainly unsuccessful in changing American life. In addition to adopting a hectoring tone that embarrassed many evangelical Christians, they were wrong about what the United States Constitution means in modern America. They often used religious liberty arguments incorrectly to promote their conservative social ideas, while at the same time trying to use the state to impose those ideas on people who didn’t agree with them. Many of these same mistakes are in danger of being replicated in the controversy over gay parenthood and same-sex marriage.

The most egregious mistake made by the Religious Right was a dependence on state power to promote their religion, while ignoring the religious rights of others. Let us consider, as a point of departure, a modern example of religious coercion. An Army general orders a Jewish soldier to attend an evangelical Christian worship service—and this is not a suggestion, but comes as a direct order. It is also posted on a company bulletin board, and mentions that attendance is compulsory. Is the general simply engaging in free speech and the free exercise of his religion, as some commentators like James Dobson would have it? Not at all—it is actually a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to use the command structure of the military to interfere with somebody else’s free exercise of religion. (It would be equally unconstitutional, of course, if an atheist officer ordered an evangelical soldier not to attend an evangelical worship service.) But this necessary balancing off of rights is something the Religious Right seems never to have quite understood.

Or take the following case: a conservative evangelical posts a sign at his workplace with verses from Leviticus critical of homosexuals, positioned in such a way that everyone in the workplace can see them. A group of gay and lesbian employees asks the supervisor to take the sign down. The supervisor refuses, and the homosexual employees file a lawsuit. The gay workers prevail, because the judge rules that the only reason for displaying those particular verses was to single out co-workers on the basis of sexual orientation, and to some extent expose them to ridicule and humiliation. The right of the believer to display his Bible verses was trumped by the right of other employees to be free of a hostile work environment.

Another case, however, resulted in a victory for an evangelical employee. In this situation, a man was asked to sign a form by his employer agreeing to be tolerant of gays and lesbians. The objective, the employer said, was to ensure civility in the workplace. Furthermore, the employer made it clear that the employee’s future employment was dependent on signing what might be called a “tolerance agreement.” But the Christian evangelical employee refused to sign. He had no problem getting along with his gay and lesbian co-workers, he said, and he specifically agreed with his employer on the importance of civility in the workplace. He just didn’t want to sign a document that seemed to embrace a worldview he couldn’t agree with.

The court ruled in his favor, and it’s not hard to see why. The document could be interpreted as having the power of a contract, and the management was asking the employee to codify private beliefs that were none of their business. Furthermore, the employee couldn’t be sure how the company would interpret such a signed document or contract in the future. In any case, the employer had already achieved compliance from the employee, so in the absence of further problems no signed document was needed.

What makes these two seemingly disparate cases interesting is that while they both involve social advocacy, they also involved religious liberty. The first case is an example of freedom from religion (Bible verses used selectively to single out gay co-workers), whereas the second involved freedom for religion (in which management was prohibited from imposing a contract that contradicted the religious beliefs of its employee).

The principles involved in these cases reverberate in different guises throughout any discussion of gay rights. At the center of the controversy is the role of the state, and the way modern democracy works. There is a general consensus that pluralism doesn’t work without civility, and a grudging admission that yes, organized religion has at times singled out unpopular minorities. At the same time, there is also a growing consensus that laws or regulations against hate speech—like the heavy-handed “tolerance agreement” the employer wanted his worker to sign in the example above—don’t work. The culture wars have been a hard school for both evangelicals and secularists.

But since they see themselves as the embodiment of American virtue, some in the Religious Right have not always considered the rights of others, nor have they automatically engaged in dialogue. They have often turned to the courts with the expectation that they could institu­tionalize their religious beliefs. A good many Americans did not want that, and the Religious Right failed to fully realize their valid underlying concerns. Interestingly, the movement to limit abortion has now been taken up by secular women who promote sex education, new birth control methods, and secular moral arguments for responsible sexuality.

Of course the religious scruples of the individual should be protected, and that is precisely the job of agencies that protect religious liberty. If you are asked to do an artificial insemination, perform a same-sex marriage, issue a marriage license to a gay couple, sell prescription birth control pills, or assist with an abortion, and you have religious scruples that prevent you from doing so, that is an authentic religious liberty issue. It is the responsibility of all people in our society that cherish religious liberty to protect you from being forced to violate your religious scruples, and there should be no legal or occupational retaliation. And I believe you will prevail, because there’s ample case law to protect you.

In states where there is no same-sex marriage, you can also campaign for or against it, depending on your position. But can you successfully petition the courts to stop same-sex marriages in those states that permit such marriages? The reason, again, has to do with the balancing of rights. While your individual rights usually trump everything else (the state cannot compel you to do something against your religion), the courts and legislatures may decide that the US Constitution guarantees rights to other people that have not been considered before. This is likely to happen where same-sex marriage is concerned. You cannot take away these new rights, in those states where they have come, but you can protect your own. And in states that do not have same-sex marriage, you can advocate against it, if you do not like it. But that is not religious liberty. That is social advocacy.

This might be a good time for churches to consider how they approach social advocacy. It is at best a half truth, that marriage between a man and a woman is “under attack” by gays. Straight marriage is in trouble more because of the narcissism, materialism, and infidelities of straight people. Here’s another way to express this problem: of all the sins of our time, including torture, unnecessary war, and corporate exploitation, why should Christians concentrate on same-sex marriage as being especially deserving of condemnation? It is no less morally important if we also address these very real challenges.

Homophobia, of course, is not the disapproval of sexual acts between consenting adults, but an irrational and disproportionate hatred of those people who engage in them. Feelings about homosexuality are deeply intertwined with social attitudes. Anybody who knows anything about bullying knows that a large proportion of it is gay-baiting, but when confronted by evidence of violence against gays, some evangelicals denounce it as secular propaganda.

The social interests of Christianity, whether conservative or progressive, should be primarily based on arguments that are compelling enough to change society one person at a time. Although it may deal with the same issues, religious liberty is different, because it usually comes into play on an emergency basis to protect the individual or a minority, and is often a matter of legal precedent that must be considered against the claims of competing interests. To what extent is the core debate about same-sex marriage and artificial insemination a religious liberty issue? Not much, I’d say. Opposition to them is social advocacy, not to be confused with religious liberty, until it involves protection of individuals asked to do something that is unacceptable because of their religion.

It is sometimes difficult for those who live in sheltered religious communities and denominations to accept this, but religious, political and social pluralism works so well because it is larger, both demographically and ideologically, than they are—and therefore requires a degree of dialogue and negotiation that they’d never need in a less diverse society. To the Religious Right, the need for dialogue with people who weren’t exactly like them was confused with signs of social decline. But the need for dialogue can lead directly to the process of communication of ideas to others known as witnessing for one’s faith. Dialogue with people who are different from us is actually a democratic dynamo that drives much-needed social, political, and theological growth. As such we should welcome it.

Lawrence Swaim writes from Napa, California.
Awesome! Totally!
Sounds like you object to a true statement? (N him)

2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Thanks Michael. Sometimes I wonder how stupid can people get. What is embarrasing is that these people are Christians. Worse yet ... they are SDAs. (shiver shiver)

Of all people ... WE should have love for sinners for WE are one of them.
Amen N Him. Well said.
Be blessed by the SDA church! How can one bless what God has condemned? We care about how God would react, not man.. If I were invited to a same sex wedding, I would say, Oh, I won't make it And if they ask why, I would say I can't support what I don't believe in.

A followerer of Christ does not support what God disaproves of. People go to weddings to support and celebrate with the couple (s), because they think, like the couple (s), the relationship is a good idea and hope it will last forever.
The times is getting in later to the final separation between state and the church!you did not ask this,but I would be agree ,if after marriage they should have not sex!
Our church need get out from ecumenism and we never will respect any law different from the GOD will! its better go to jail!
same sex marriage is an abomination b4 God........tell anyone u knw that if God wanted it he wud hav made anoda man for adam n not is an abomination b4 God
wow, i didn't read all the post, but i read a good amount. I think as Christians we are trying to justify the wrong doing of this world so that we don't hurt the feelings of others. Homosexuality IS an abomination. Whether the person acts on it or not.
"For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world." 1 John2 :16,
When someone lust in their heart they are sinning. Homosexual or not. When we think it, we sin ( cursing, immoral thoughts, hatred,..the list goes on).
We must be careful on our compromising as Christians. We should NOT compromise at all.
God says to be in the world but not of the world. As Christians we should be a peculiar people and being set apart from the world. And if that means we parish for God's sake. Then we parish.

We need to remember that who we are trying to please. It is not man but God.
I pray that God keeps us under his wings that we follow his every word.

Be blessed my Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

We must also remember that the the person is not the abomination, the sin is. So we must love them as we love God and ourselves.
lol shinny one, that's a no no, you will never find a gay in the sda church. someone who is gay cannot be an sda


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