In the years that I have been defending marriage I have heard assurances from gay activists and others that if the definition of marriage is changed religious conservatives, and in particular evangelicals, don’t need to worry about religious liberty. I’ve always felt like that assertion was a bunch of bunk. I’ve pointed out, for instance, religious liberty in Canada has been degraded when the definition of marriage has changed. Not only that anywhere where gay rights have been advanced religious liberty is in decline.
I’m not surprised and actually would be surprised in our current client if Christians did not receive any persecution. Jesus promises that we’ll endure persecution, (John 15:18-21). That is actually an ongoing theme in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul warned that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (2 Timothy 3:12, ESV). Frankly I’d be concerned if we were not experiencing this.
Does this mean we don’t stand up for religious liberty? No while we live in a constitutional republic standing up to protect our inalienable rights is part of being a citizen. That said we need to recognize we have an uphill climb, and it is one that can only be done through revival, prayer and evangelism.
Politics won’t solve the problem, it never could. Impacting culture is a matter of changing hearts and minds and that is something no piece of legislation or any court ruling can accomplish.
But Jesus calls us the “salt of the world,” (Matthew 5:13) and part of that role is one of preserving culture as salt would act to preserve meat from decay. So stand we must and in the meantime expect resistance whenever we hold forth a biblical worldview like what we’ve seen just in the last few days:
- The Iowa Senate failed to confirm Robert Cramer to the Iowa Board of Regents on a 27-23 vote because of his stance defending marriage which is informed by his religious beliefs.
If we looked further into the past we could cite more examples. Those who claim that advancing gay rights and changing the definition of marriage won’t erode religious liberty are just being disingenuous or are just naïve.