Now that I’m an ex-Christian, sometimes it feels like the veil has come off, and I’m able to see things more clearly than before. One of those things is just when America became ex-Christian itself.
When I was a Christian, I used to think that America’s ex-Christian phase kicked off with Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 decision to legalize gay marriage throughout the U.S. That completed the “one-two punch” combo that started with 1973’s Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the U.S. In heaping Obergefell upon Roe, the United States firmly rejected both tenets contained in the Bible’s fundamental statement on the nature of humanity, Genesis 1:27 — “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Killing an innocent human being is killing the image of God, and abortion therefore murders the image of God — something America has taken to doing about 600,000 times a year, give or take. Plus, it’s impossible to claim that you’re loving your neighbor as yourself if you’re taking your most innocent neighbors of all and murdering them for being unwanted. So there goes one prong of Genesis 1:27.
Gay marriage takes care of the other prong — the Left, which by now largely dominates American culture, wants to erase male and female altogether (except for male-bashing, of course), and what better way to do that than to reduce the institution of marriage from a recognition of natural biology (i.e., that a man and a woman, and no other combination, can make children) to an affirmation of sexual desire? (Note also that although the Left loves to bring Jesus’ message of “inclusion and tolerance” into the mix — though he was anything *but* inclusive and tolerant of sin — it was Jesus himself who tied Genesis 1:27’s statement about the male/female duality of the human race to the Old Testament’s already-heterosexual-only definition of marriage in Genesis 2:24, so don’t go looking to Jesus for help on this one, Lefties.) So there goes the other prong of Genesis 1:27.
And with both prongs of Genesis 1:27 firmly denied in American law, America officially became an ex-Christian nation in 2015.
Or so I thought. But I’ve recently reconsidered, and now I believe the real change came over a decade earlier.
You see, more than a decade before gay marriage was legalized throughout the land, two men in Texas — John Geddes Lawrence, Jr., and Tyron Garner — were caught having sex and were convicted of a misdemeanor for that sex act under Texas law. Their case was appealed up to the Supreme Court, and in 2003’s Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court declared all anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional. The United States could no longer punish a same-sex couple for engaging in homosexual acts.
And that, combined with Roe, is when America ceased to be a Christian nation.
Indeed, the first same-sex marriages in the United States were performed just a year after Lawrence v. Texas was decided. The Massachusetts Supreme Court, assisted by the shameful inaction of the Massachusetts state legislature, apparently felt that what you can no longer punish you must therefore approve and give a favorable tax status. And the next ten years would serve to show how a crack in the dam will inevitably widen until the dam bursts.
But in truth it was Lawrence v. Texas’ outlawing of punishment for same-sex acts that gave it, and America, an anti-Christian stamp.
Most Christians today, of course — not wanting themselves or Christianity to be thought bigoted or anachronistic — will deny that homosexual acts should be punished. Even I, when I was a Christian, felt that keeping gay marriage off the books was all that a Christian attitude toward politics required.
But I see things more clearly now, especially in light of recent news: Two weeks ago, the nation of Iran executed a man for homosexual acts. Of course political figures and pundits both right and left excoriated Iran for this. But looking at the Jewish and Christian commentators in particular, I had to ask myself how Judeo-Christian their complaints were. Because I got the feeling that it wasn’t just the extremity of the punishment they were objecting to, but rather the fact that there was any punishment at all for homosexual acts.
If you’re a faithful Jew or Christian, you can’t call punishing homosexual acts “backwards”, “regressive”, “unenlightened”, etc., when that’s also the clear, biblical stance on how you are supposed to treat homosexual acts. The Old Testament is quite clear about that. Even the New Testament has not wavered from the Old Testament’s attitude toward such acts, although the New Testament limits the church to expelling sinning members. There is no death penalty that can be levied by the church, per John 8 — but you are supposed to kick out sinning members, and that expulsion is a punishment akin to being kicked out of heaven itself, according to Jesus. But no matter which Testament you believe takes primacy, the Bible says homosexual acts are a punishable offense — i.e., they constitute intolerable behavior not fit for your society.
If you don’t believe that — if you think it’s simply enough to withhold your approval — you’re not holding the biblical view. The biblical view is that this behavior should stop, and that your society should take action to stop it.
And when I look at conservative pundits, some of whom claim a Judeo-Christian persuasion, falling all over themselves to show how tolerant they are of homosexuality, I wonder if they realize just how anti-God they’re being. God has no tolerance for homosexual behavior. Therefore, neither should they, if these pundits truly love God.
Of course, you don’t have to believe that homosexual behavior must receive capital punishment, though that’s what the Old Testament prescribes (probably in the foreknowledge that if you give even an inch you inevitably give the whole game away and end up legalizing gay marriage, which is exactly what happened in modern times). You could argue that a misdemeanor and a fine is all that it merits — which is just what Texas law said, pre-Lawrence. At the very least, you should ensure your own synagogue or church excommunicates any LGs who won’t embrace celibacy and Bs who won’t stick to straight relationships (along with any Ts who refuse to “look down and be that”, while you’re at it), or find yourself a new faith community that will. But what you can’t do is take a “fuggedaboudit” attitude and be neutral toward homosexual behavior. Not if you want to be true to your faith.
I myself am out of the game, of course, being an ex-Christian. But I do retain great affection for the Bible, and for Judaism and Christianity, and I wonder if, with society’s — even religious society’s — growing acceptance of what the God of the Bible clearly declares intolerable, I’m seeing the demise of these great religions happening right before my eyes. Because if you go so far as to declare that what God said should be punished — at one time, punished finally — does not truly deserve punishment at all, but rather respect and approbation, then I can only conclude that you have in fact declared yourself anti-God, and that the faith you claim to hold is a sham. And if that’s where you’re at, you should really take the final step and cast off your faith altogether, rather than delude yourself into believing God accepts your compromise.
And if you do stay, then resolve to adopt the mindset of God and call evil what He calls evil. Even if there’s nothing that can be done about it, at least make it clear you believe something should be done about it. Even if all the world is against you. (Because at this point, it is.)
- “Gavel” – Chris Potter [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons