Recently, there were broadly-worded subpoenas sent to area churches that demanded a plethora of communications and yes, sermons and speeches that have anything to do with a myriad of "political" issues.
Even after the refiling of the subpoenas and removal of sermons, the subpoenas are still incredibly broad and give the distinct impression of government heavy-handedness.
With respect, these are not political issues at hand. Simply because they are discussed by politicians, who were previously just private citizens, does not make them "political" issues. Congress has been using its time to discuss the Redskins football name. Does that make football a political issue?
These are issues that are found in the Bible, specifically laying out the gospel position about what is right and what is wrong. That book precedes our politics, and even this country, by far more than a millennium. Those are not political issues, those are issues addressed specifically by the Bible, long ago, that now-political people are trying to adopt.
Further, rights are mentioned in the subpoena and the HERO ordinance, but let's look at those rights. In the Constitution, which is specifically referenced in HERO, does it grant rights to people, or does it protect rights that already existed?
It is the latter, and if we refer back to the Declaration of Independence, those rights that are protected in the Constitution, are endowed to us by our Creator. The very rights referred to in the subpoena and in HERO are inherently not political. The only political involvement is that politicians address them.
But if we are to address those issues, there are some things that need to be understood. Far before the HERO act, far before Columbus even set sail, these issues were set in stone in the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the Bible. Though you choose to select only one of the oppositions (gay marriage/homosexuality) to a perversion of marriage and the gospel view of sex, it is only a fraction of the truth.
Christians are opposed to gay marriage, yes, but we are also opposed to heterosexual adultery, heterosexual sex before marriage and heterosexual pornography to name a few. These, in the gospel view, are all perversions of both marriage and sex, and we would be equally opposed to any of them were we forced to comply with your views and principles.
The resulting subpoenas only involve the opposition to gay marriage because it is the only piece you are turning into a political issue.
The other important truth that needs to be said is that we are opposed to actions, not people.
This truth is one of the most twisted and misunderstood things in society today. The action, just like any sin, is what we oppose and speak up about. The person behind the action is who we pray for and who we are commanded, in that same gospel, to love and reach with compassion. Too often the world and politically motivated society claims that we are simply motivated by hate.
But if we hated those people, wouldn't it stand to reason that we would want them to commit those sins? That we would want them to continue their lifestyle, especially if we believe that their lifestyle results in hell? If we hated someone so very much, then of course we would to continue to let them walk their path without any intervention. It would serve our hate so nicely!
But we don't.
We pray for them. We pray for you and we speak up because in our strongly and long-held belief, it is damaging to continue these things. We want good, not only for our congregations and other churches, but for everyone, and so we oppose that which is destructive and sinful in our beliefs because we love those who are caught in it.
Being a Christian is not about being good and pointing the finger at others who aren't, it is about recognizing that we cannot be good, we need forgiveness and must reach out to those who need it as well.
It is about the greatly humbling truth that in our flesh, we will never be perfect and will always fall very short of that mark.
It is about the incredibly gracious truth that knowing our imperfection, a perfect God was sent to earth in the flesh to absorb and absolve our uncountable sins upon himself and to suffer the wrath of the wrongdoings that he had no part in committing.
It is about the pressing command and urge to tell others who are still in line for that very wrath that there is another way! There is another path that will free you from the bondage of your sin, that will save you from the impossible pursuit of perfection that will lead you to your eternal death along the path of good intentions.
Without the view of sin, there is no need for forgiveness. If there is no need for forgiveness, then the person will remain along that path until it is too late. Far from hate, it is because of compassion and love for fellow brothers and sisters that we speak up and take a stand on these gospel issues that are now deemed political only because politicians have declared them so.
Aside from the religious aspect, it is the rigidly utopian view of society, imposed by government, that troubles me most. It is the idea that through legislation and official edicts, always backed up by threats of force or punishment, we can make sure that everyone likes and agrees with everything and everyone. This is an impossible utopia as long as a modicum of freedom is present.
Freedom and uniformity are enemies. Diversity and compliance are at odds. Conflict and disagreement are the very byproducts of freedom and diversity. Diversity includes not only a group of people with different physical attributes, but with different beliefs and principles and priorities and ideas. What a wonderful thing!
But if we truly allow a free diversity to flourish, then there will be opposing ideas and conflicting beliefs. That's OK!
If you have a free society that says it's OK to be diverse, you are allowed to believe what you want to believe; you are allowed to live as you determine most right. We live and let live.
It is only when one group imposes its belief system upon another that animosity is created. That free, diverse and wonderfully complex society is ruined through forced compliance to a set of principles and priorities that those in power have. It is the antithesis, the enemy of diversity and true freedom when this utopian fantasy becomes codified in law and subpoenas.
I, for one, will continue to follow my God and his commandments to not only stand against sin, but pray for those who are shackled to it. I will pray for you and encourage others to do the same. I will stand firm for a freely diverse society that values individuality and differences rather than conformity and compliance by force. I invite you to stand with me, not in agreement with my beliefs, but in support of this ideal.
A Christian in Houston
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