The American public believes that twenty-three percent of Americans are gay or lesbian, according to Gallup. In fact, only 3.8 percent of the adult population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Why would the public be so wrong with regard to the size of the LGBT population? Our perception has been shaped by a decades-long strategy to normalize and then legalize same-sex relations and the LGBT agenda. Today it's hard to find a movie or television show in which a homosexual couple does not appear or the LGBT agenda is not lauded.
Now that this movement has been both normalized and legalized, we're in the third phase: criminalizing opposition.
In Sweden, pastors can be fined for preaching sermons or even citing biblical texts deemed to be "anti-gay." A Christian preacher in the U.K. was recently fined for delivering "homophobic" sermons. Recent legislation in Canada forbids statements deemed to incite "abhorrence" of gay people, even if the speaker states demonstrable facts. Commentators noted that this legislation will stifle "strict religious conservatives" and deny them "the same free-speech rights enjoyed by secular Canadians."
Now Canadian authorities are preparing legislation that would make anti-transgender "hate propaganda" punishable by up to two years in prison. The ban would include any public speech or communication that "promotes hatred" on the basis of "gender identity" or "gender expression."
Could such criminalization come to the U.S.?
The mayor of Houston, Texas, made headlines in 2014 when her office demanded that area pastors turn over all sermons dealing with homosexuality or gender identity. She backed down after her actions provoked a national public uproar.
Last year, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued a legal enforcement guideline. It states that "failing to use an individual's preferred name or pronoun" is a violation of the law. Businesses must call transgender employees or customers by preferred newly created pronouns such as "ze/hir" and must use whatever gender pronoun the person chooses. Violations are punishable by fines up to $250,000.
I do not know if such efforts to criminalize "anti-gay" or "anti-transgender" speech will escalate in this country. I do know that pastors and all Christians should treat others with respect, even (and especially) when we disagree with their actions.
But I also know that speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) often comes at a price. Today it may be backlash against biblical truth on marriage and gender. Tomorrow it may be prosecution on behalf of polygamy or euthanasia.
It has always been true that "the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). The battle against truth and falsehood is ultimately a spiritual conflict.
So stand for biblical truth with biblical grace and pray that the Spirit who inspired God's word will use your words to change human hearts. Richard Baxter: "Lord, whatever you want, wherever you want it, and whenever you want it, that's what I want."
Is that what you want?
Publication date: May 24, 2016
Do you want to live a life in whole-hearted pursuit of loving God and others?
Read today's First15 at www.first15.org.