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How Christians Should Respond when Gay Rights Trump Religious Freedom

Recently, my BreakPoint colleague Eric Metaxas told you about how the city of Lynn, Massachusetts, no longer will allow student teachers from Gordon College to teach or mentor inner city students.


Why? Because Gordon’s president dared to sign a letter to the President requesting that religious institutions be exempt from federal gay rights laws.


The city’s outrageous and shortsighted action brings more harm to its inner city students, who are now without mentors, than it does Gordon College.


But the same cannot be said about the latest challenge the college is facing in fallout from the letter.


In late September, the higher education committee of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the body that accredits Gordon, met to consider whether Gordon’s inclusion of homosexual acts as a “forbidden practice” ran afoul of the Association’s standards for accreditation. Note that the Gordon statement requires all students to adhere to sexual behavior standards. There’s no singling out of same-sex attracted folks, nor are there any prohibitions against admitting students with same-sex attraction. The stance has to do with sexual behavior, which falls in line with two millennia of Christian teaching.


The Association gave Gordon one year to submit a report about its policies that would satisfy the Association that the school was not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation (which it isn’t). But if Gordon loses accreditation over this issue, the implications for the school and its students and other religiously-affiliated colleges will be profound.


There are many things that could be said about this blatant infringement on religious freedom, but I’ll limit myself to two.


The first is what Rod Dreher of the American Conservative calls “The Law of Merited Impossibility.” It’s Dreher’s way of summing the way elites and other opinion-makers “frame the discourse about the clash between religious liberty and gay civil rights.”


Essentially, the “Law of Merited Impossibility” means: “It’s a complete absurdity to believe that Christians will suffer a single thing from the expansion of gay rights, and boy, do they deserve what they’re going to get.”

For at least a decade people like Dreher, columnist Terry Mattingly, and of course, the late Chuck Colson warned that the expansion of gay rights posed a threat to religious liberty. The response has nearly always been to dismiss these concerns as fear-mongering.


Yet, when their predictions come to pass, the same elites and opinion makers defend the infringement as striking a blow against “bigotry.” In other words, “you guys had it coming.”


The second thing is the maxim of the late Richard John Neuhaus: “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.” Neuhaus understood that discrediting Christian ideas about, well, everything, but especially sexual morality, wasn’t a prelude to genuine “tolerance” and “pluralism,” but the imposition of a new “orthodoxy.”


As Neuhaus warned, the “new liberal orthodoxy” is “hard and nasty.” It “claims to speak for the future and is therefore the bearer of imperatives that brook no opposition.” It doesn’t matter that this opposition, whether it’s Gordon College or the Little Sisters of the Poor, actually does good.


Jesus warned that we would face times when people would seek to silence us, believing that they were doing their god a service. In much of the world, that god is called “Allah.” Here, in the U.S., that god is called “tolerance.” And folks, we are witnessing more and more every day the god of tolerance is a very jealous god indeed.


So, what do we do? We must continue to speak truth and do good—and not just from the top of culture. As Chuck Colson loved to say, we must do it over the backyard fence and around the grill. All of us must, and that’s what the second half of my new book with Sean McDowell on same-sex marriage is all about. Come to to pick it up.


BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at where you can read and search answers to common questions.

John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

Publication date: October 8, 2014

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