Conservative Christians in Indiana tired of being the bad guys labeled as bigots and haters by LGBT advocates took a stand last week to set the record straight.
Those sticking to biblical beliefs when it comes to gender issues, such as same-sex “marriage” and adoption are arguing that they are the real targets of discrimination by progressives pushing for special protections and benefits for those practicing homosexual behavior, Religion News Service reports.
“There’s a certain degree to which people are going to be told, ‘You can have your religious beliefs and opinions … and you can practice them in your churches, synagogues and mosques, but in the public sphere, you’re going to have to deal with the greater diversity and recognize civil rights laws,’” expressed Arthur Farnsley, who serves as associate director at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Farnsley contended on Tuesday that issues regarding the homosexual behavior divide many Christians and that LGBT rights are undermining their religious freedom of expression guaranteed by the United States Constitution. He also noted that the government now has to decide where their rights as Christians end and the LGBT community’s rights begin.
Indianapolis Star Reporter Stephanie Wang says that Christians are being left out to dry while the LGBT community bulldozes their freedoms to assert their new code of morality on America.
“They are the ones being bullied, they insist. In a country where the cultural tide seems to be moving away from hard-and-fast biblical prohibitions, they feel the government is abandoning them,” Wang pointed out. “Once at the core of American politics, some evangelical Christians feel increasingly relegated to the fringe, betrayed by their own conservative lawmakers as their cultural dominance is usurped by a smaller group wielding the heft of the media and corporations. It is they, many argue, who are the army of freedom fighters in this debate.”
The Indiana journalist emphasized how LGBT advocates have successfully evolved their push for new rights into a civil rights issue. But most evangelical Christians, she notes, recognize the homosexual lifestyle as immoral, fearing that the expanded protections of the LGBT community to form “special rights” trumps a Christian’s right to voice his or her opposition toward unbiblical behavior.
Lovers of man, haters of sin
To draw a clear distinction between the right of Christians to express their sincerely held religious beliefs and what is acceptable expression in the public sphere, Indiana Pastors Alliance (IPA) Executive Director Rev. Ron Johnson, Jr., addressed the Indiana Statehouse last week to set the record straight.
“We’re not here today because we’re angry … [w]e’re not here because we hate people … [w]e’re actually here because we love Jesus,” Johnson proclaimed to a cheering audience that sung out hymns at the state capitol. “I don’t know any better place to exalt God than in the halls of government.”
Johnson asked how government can compel citizens to act in a way that contradicts their sincerely held beliefs based in the Bible, which clearly declares that marriage is only between one man and one woman. He shared that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage did nothing to alter his belief in the biblical definition of marriage, contending that he will never “buy into those concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
He went on to denounce the homosexual agenda’s branding or homosexual rights as a civil rights issue, contending that the LGBT community is not targeted for discrimination, pointing out that its members are not denied housing, employment or business services just because they are “gay” or lesbian. The Christian leader also expressed that those who are labeled or self-proclaimed as homosexual or transgender can change back to their natural sexual disposition, stressing that their “sexual orientation” is a choice — not a biological condition.
Expanding LGBT rights to diminish religous rights
Johnson also mentioned how states expanding civil rights laws have adversely affected Christians who make a living offering marriage services, noting how they are being fined, boycotted and even lose their jobs for not going against their biblically rooted consciences.
“We’re the ones who need a special protected-class status, because we’re the ones that are being attacked by everybody,” Johnson declared. “It’s humorous, the way this thing is being portrayed, because it doesn’t fit reality at all.”
The pastor from Indiana argued that he isn’t looking for special treatment or for laws that give him more protections than he’s already guaranteed by the Constitution.
“I’m not asking for special protected class status,” Johnson continued. “I’m asking to be left alone, for crying out loud.”
The pastor of Living Stones Church of Crown Point, Indiana, then let one of his congregants share that his identity is rooted in following the Word of God as Truth.
“The Truth is the Bible … If we have no right or wrong, what are we?” 29-year old Josh Boss asked after being introduced by his pastor, insisting that he’s against anything that is unbiblical. “But the state is trying to impose different truths. It’s not that we want to force our truth onto others … We want to be able to tell our truth to others without being chastised for it.”
Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville, Ind.) told an applauding crowd at the state capitol last week that he’s had enough of progressives promoting the LGBT agenda, trying to convince him of the falsehood that he cannot live lawfully out his faith outside the privacy of his own home.
“People say to me, ‘There’s a separation of church and state. Don’t you understand that?’” Tomes shared. “’No, I don’t!”
A number of pastors taking stage at the rally shared a common message with the crowd, “Government is not God … Government needs God. Government may not encroach on religion, but instead has a duty to protect it above all else.”