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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 3

The second question we must raise: does freedom from racial restrictions in marriage apply reasonably to freedom from gender distinctions in marriage? In other words, does interracial marriage set a solid precedent for ‘gay marriage’?

Not at all. Throughout the history of civilization, marriage was and is fundamentally about one man pledged to one woman, for the purpose of bearing and raising children. Ethnicity has never figured into the equation at a foundational level. Discrimination of interracial couples is thus rooted in injustice, in fallen human tradition, and was deservedly overturned by a just Court.

President–elect Obama knows well the power of that justice. As the child of a white woman and African man, he would have been born illegitimately without the foresight of the CA Court. (CA overturned the ban on interracial marriage in 1948, but that ban did not become national law until 1967.) That means that the most powerful man in the USA has a strong sensitivity to marital justice and discrimination.

That is all the more reason for Obama and all citizens to be clear on what the issues are. Obama currently is not. Although he claims to be against ‘gay marriage’ per se, he equally opposed Prop.8 on the grounds that it was ‘discriminatory.’ And he is surrounded by those who have bought into the myth of gays as a targeted minority.

We live in a culture that is vulnerable to the rhetoric of activists who insist that ‘marriage equality’ applies to the false ‘ethnos’ of homosexuality. In their distorted but compelling line of reasoning, this view presumes that homosexuals deserve the same rights as any minority including marital rights, and invokes the struggle of blacks seeking to marry interracially as a legal pathway to ‘gay marriage’ justice.

Bad reasoning. ‘Gay marriage’, unlike interracial marriage, fundamentally violates what marriage is. Remove the component of gender distinction in marriage, and it ceases to be marriage. It ceases to produce new life. It violates what all people know to be true about the design of the universe. There exists a profound historic and creative logic to traditional marriage that ‘gay marriage’ undermines.

Marriage is male and female. Ethnically diversity does not disrupt marriage in the least; gender sameness disqualifies it. Marriage is defined by gender polarity. It should not be tinkered with. For the good of all, especially for the children created by it.

The relentless drive of beautiful, misdirected people has brought us to the brink of undermining the most basic and formative institution on earth.

We must continue to fight. Prop.8 was one victory in what will ultimately become a battle to the National Supreme Court. We must seek to pray and inform all within our realm of influence as to what the real issues are. ‘Fearing God, we persuade men…” (2Cor 5:11)
I urge you:
1. Pray for Obama, that he would make just and true distinctions between the issues at hand.
2. Pray for the Prop.8 team as they prepare for the CA Supreme Court hearings in March. They will be able to represent the case for Prop.8, as opposed to the District Attorney, Jerry Brown, who fought against Prop.8 with all his might. Pray that the Courts will uphold the will of the people by supporting marriage in CA.
3. Pray for us at Desert Stream that we will continue to do our part to equip the church to provide clear and merciful choices for those with same-sex attraction, while fighting the growing injustices in our land. These concern a wrong view of homosexuality and ‘marital equality.’
We have won a battle; we have not won the war. Pray for perseverance, truth, mercy.

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The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 2

First we must answer the question: can homosexuality be compared to ethnicity?

Not well, according to the Latinos and African-Americans in CA who rallied to pass Prop.8, in contrast to their Anglo counterparts. Race is a biological birthright; it is immutable, unchangeable, and from a biblical viewpoint, to be celebrated as God reconciles every tribe and tongue to Himself, his/her own ethnos, and to one another.

Homosexuality is altogether different; it cannot be compared to ethnicity in its origins, its various expressions, its malleability, and the moral decisions one makes in light of those tendencies.

Homosexuality is complex in its origins. While it is absolutely wrong to declare homosexuality inborn, one must acquiesce to a web of factors that influence same-sex attraction, including biologically determined personality traits, family-of-origin factors, and the cultural and social variables around him/her.

And this is where we find such diversity among ‘homosexuals.’ It is difficult today to separate those with longstanding tendencies from those experimenting with homosexuality, like teenagers, or the likes of a Lindsay Lohan or an Anne Heche.

The growing cultural acceptance of homosexuality means that more will choose to experiment in this way; it also highlights how huge a variable that moral choice is for the same-sex attracted.

Many like myself choose to undergo a process of change to a heterosexual identity, others opt to be celibate ‘homosexuals’, others adopt that lifestyle, while still others cycle into homosexuality for a while then opt out.

In its origins, and in its diverse expressions that hinge upon one’s moral decision-making, homosexuality differs from ethnicity.

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The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 1

As soon as the results were tallied in favor of Proposition 8—the ban on same-sex marriage in California—a backlash erupted that continues to this day. Those of us who supported 8 had little time to celebrate.

Throngs of gay activists protested in CA’s largest cities. They accused Prop.8 supporters of perpetrating hate (‘H-8’) crimes upon gays. A week later, the protest spread to cities throughout the nation.

Activists picketed churches and disrupted services. Some who financially backed Prop.8 (the records are public) were harassed, including the director of a major theater company in CA who lost his job. It seems those most intent on tolerance fail to extend it!

While Ron Prentice, head of the campaign for Prop.8, declared that the citizens of CA had by a majority vote ‘enshrined the importance of marriage in the state constitution’, the editors of the NY Times bemoaned how the passage of Prop.8 ‘enshrined bigotry in the constitution of CA.’

In that spirit, four hours after Prop.8 opponents ceded victory to the gay marriage ban, three high-profile legal groups filed petitions requesting that the State Supreme Court invalidate the measure.

On what grounds? Proponents of gay marriage are claiming once more that gays are a targeted minority, being subject to the prejudices of the majority. They claim that the civil rights of an oppressed people-group are at risk. Now that Prop.8 made ‘gay marriage’ unconstitutional, activists are claiming with new fury that their constitutional rights have been violated.

So in March of 2009, the State Supreme Court will hear yet again another round of appeals as to why their decision last May to legalize ‘gay marriage’ should trump Prop.8.

(Keep in mind that last May the Court cancelled out a ‘heterosexual marriage’ amendment that voters rallied for in 2000. Prop. 8 was a response to that cancellation; it went further than the initial amendment and made ‘gay marriage’ unconstitutional.)

We are witnessing a value clash of huge proportions. On one hand are those who uphold traditional marriage as a common good: the union of one man for one woman, validated by the state to help ensure fidelity and permanence for the sake of children. On the other hand are those whose commitment ‘to justice for all’ now include homosexuals as a minority who should be given whatever rights and privileges that the state grants any ethnic group.

Proponents of ‘gay marriage’ cite racial justice as the single strongest precedent for their views. When the Chief Justice of the CA Supreme Court was making his case for ‘gay marriage’, he quoted three times from a 1948 court decision (Perez vs. Sharp) where the CA Supreme Court struck down a state ban on interracial marriage.

“The essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice,” Chief Justice George said, quoting Perez while siding with arguments for same-sex marriage that were consciously rooted in the struggle for equal rights for blacks.

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Humbled by Victory

After a sleepless night, I can say with joy and relief: ‘gay marriage’ is no longer in CA.The people arose and went to the polls. They took back marriage from the Supreme Court and rightly defined it as one man pledged to one woman. For the sake of kids. For the good of all.

By a slim 4-point margin, the citizens of CA turned San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and an activist court on its ear. Now marriage as heterosexual is written in stone into the CA state constitution.

Thank you for your prayers. God roused His people to honor and defend what He loves.

The righteous in CA—both Christians and God-fearers—acted. And persevered. They endured vandalism—Prop. 8 signs and bumper-stickers were torn down throughout the campaign, political trickery—CA’s Attorney General deliberately worded Prop. 8 in a confusing and negative manner, and shame—opponents of Prop. 8 ridiculed those who honor marriage as racist, intolerant and hateful.

The good endured. The true image of God in humanity is honored. God is honored. “Just as there is a momentum to evil, so there is a momentum to repentance…”

And He is to be praised for hearing our prayers. I have cried out for this victory along with you since the Supreme Court decision last May. Yesterday, anxious in prayer, the Lord reminded me of this Word He gave me through my friend and associate Dean:

“Do not be anxious or discouraged because of this vast army. The battle is not yours, but Mine. Take up your positions, stand firm, and you will see the deliverance that I have given you. Do not fear or be discouraged, for I am with you.” (2Chron. 20: 16, 17)

He delivered CA from delusion, and the judgment it invites. He will have mercy! The people have acted justly and honored God’s image.

This is only the beginning. CA’s honoring of marriage must signal a further awakening of the church everywhere to arise in Christ, the true image, and live out what she preaches.

That means cherishing that image in one another, and making every effort to restore that image in its broken members.

That means taking the mercy of Jesus out beyond her walls to those bound by same-sex attraction. We have already given gays what they need: the clear witness of God’s intent for humanity in marriage. Now let’s love them into the Kingdom.

And we need to empower the nations who sooner than later will face the same decision that CA did concerning the true definition of marriage.

We must mobilize now to help them before sneaky courts or legislatures subject its citizens to ‘gay marriage.’

CA has spoken loudly to the world: Let the people decide how marriage will be defined. Thank God for democracy! By His grace, and though the power of truth tempered and channeled in prayer, let the people who honor God honor marriage everywhere.

Bless you dear friends for standing with us throughout these forty days. Together, we have honored marriage for the good of all.

“Delight yourself in the lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Him; trust in Him, and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” (PS 37:4-6)

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The True Image

During these forty days, I had the privilege of battling for Proposition 8 in several churches in CA, including my home church, St. Gregory’s Episcopal of Long Beach. Seated before the altar, I observed with new eyes the 40-foot representation of Jesus emerging in stained glass above the cross. His image, composed of thousands of pieces of exquisitely colored glass, blazed like fire as the sun shone through it.

Alone in that church, I encountered the living Christ.His tenderness matched His power. “His robe reached down to his feet, with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white as wool, his eyes like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace…His face was like the sun shining in all of its brilliance.”

“He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.”

(Rev. 1:13-16; 19:13)

It filled me with gratitude and awe. There I prayed, a cracked yet receptive bearer of that very image, now subject to Him in His stern splendor. Though I was once subject to gods that drove and derided me, greedy idols who wanted my blood, He won me through His blood so I could participate in the marvel of His design.

I prayed for that design. I asked that its glorious expression in marriage—one man for woman, committed to fidelity and permanence—would shine in this land as powerfully as the stained glass before me. I prayed that we would represent Him well in the land.

I prayed for my bride Annette, that Christ would strengthen me afresh that day to love her well. I considered her beauty and humility, her virtue, and my affections blazed in harmony with the glowing image before me.

I thanked God for the couples who have represented that image beautifully to me: my parents, Mike and Diane Nobrega, Kenn and Joannie Gulliksen, Christopher and Dorothy Greco, Morgan and Karen Davis, Bruce and Jan Babad, Dean and Chrystal Greer, Lloyd and Brenda Rindels, and others whose marital commitments have endured and surpassed any brokenness they have encountered along the way.

I need them; I need that witness of man for woman and woman for man. Our land needs that witness. Fatherless children need that witness. Those under the sway of sensual, greedy idols need that witness. The state does well to uphold that truth by insisting marriage retain its original meaning: man for woman, woman for man, pledged to permanence and fidelity. For the sake of their children. For the good of all.

I prayed that God would wake up the saints in CA to honor marriage by refusing its redefinition. Honor Marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

And I prayed: ‘Rouse us in this hour. Raise up a people who stand for righteousness in the land, who take seriously how You have chosen to manifest Yourself on earth, a people who honor marriage for the good of all.

Awaken the saints to stand for marriage and so restrain wickedness and judgment in the land. Through the passage of Proposition 8, show mercy and not judgment, O God.’

As I beheld the Risen Christ towering over me and yet lovingly beckoning to me in the church, I was reminded of the greater love story being played out in our midst: that of the Bridegroom King preparing for Himself a Bride. In a day when 7-year-olds in public schools are subject to tales of the marriage of two gay kings, we need to be reminded of this true love story–the divine drama of which human marriage is but a foretaste

“The Bible begins in Genesis with the marriage of the first man and woman, and ends in Revelation with another marriage, the marriage of Christ and His Church. The whole story of salvation is contained between the love initiated by the bridegroom and the response of the bride.” (Christopher West)

I prayed again: ‘Prepare a people for Yourself, O God. May we live what we advocate for the land. May Your mighty love empower us to love. Manifest who You are in how we love and honor one another. May we mirror with increasing clarity the greater love story You have designed for the whole of creation. As we love more nearly in harmony with You, the true image, make us ready for Your return. Prepare us for Yourself.’

“Hallelujah! For the Lord God Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!

For the wedding of the Lamb has come,

and the bride has made herself ready.

Find linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints)

Rev. 19:6-8

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