Watching President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday was another reminder of the way in which any criticism of homosexuality or homosexuals has become completely taboo in the United States in recent years. Even voicing opposition to so-called homosexual marriage, which a great number of Americans still oppose (and which Obama himself did not openly support until public opinion allowed his position to “evolve”), can result in the loss of one’s job due to fear of a backlash from the aggressive homosexual lobby. Transgendering, which is the worst form of homosexuality, is now also presented as a civil right that cannot be spoken against—even though the Bible calls people who are merely cross-dressing “an abomination unto Jehovah” (Deut 22:5).
Homosexuals, like most others who are politically liberal, do not believe in freedom of conscience. They want to compel everyone to profess to hold the same basic beliefs that they do, whatever those may be at the moment. It is not enough for homosexuals merely to gain legal tolerance, which they already have. They want to force everyone in the world to approve of homosexuality, or maybe even to become homosexual. They want to jail people who lift up their voices against their perverse acts.
The classification of speech against homosexuals as “hate speech” is a big problem for Christians, because the Bible clearly calls homosexuality a sin. In fact, Romans 1:24-27 teaches that homosexuality is qualitatively different from other sins, because those who commit homosexual acts are actually behaving contrary to human nature, even in its fallen state. Homosexuals are acting contrary to their natural desires. Homosexuality is therefore the mark of those whom God has handed over to their sin for their own degradation. It follows from this that homosexuality always carries a whole set of other sins with it, as described in Romans 1:28-32.
The Old Testament is just as strong in its condemnation of homosexuality, prescribing the death penalty for acts of sodomy in Leviticus 20:13. Of course, this command was given in the context of a legal system for Old Testament Israel which is no longer in force. The New Testament does not prescribe a legal system, and homosexuals who converted to Christianity and repented of their sins were integrated into New Testament churches (1 Cor 6:9-11). Vigilante justice is not to be practiced by Christians (Rom 12:19). But if a modern-day government imposed capital punishment for homosexual acts—as some countries do—this could hardly be considered unjust since it is the same punishment that God called for when He wrote ancient Israel’s legal code. But what would happen to a public figure in America who called for the death penalty for homosexuals?
On the other side of the coin, I believe that the day is coming when homosexuals and other unbelievers will demand the death penalty for non-violent Christians who condemn them (cf. Rev 18:20, 24). Perhaps there will someday be public spectacles similar to those in ancient Rome, in which Christians are publicly murdered in front of a raucous crowd. American sports and entertainment are continually becoming more violent, with an emphasis on reality shows rather than mere acting. It is also possible that Christians will someday be sold as slaves to support a wealthy, privileged class of citizens (cf. Rev 13:16; 18:13).
In theory, pastors and lay Christians in America can still speak out against homosexuality, though in certain cases they could be prosecuted by the Justice Department for a civil rights violation. In practice, those who speak against homosexuality may lose their jobs and careers. This greatly increases pressure on Christians not to speak up, since it is obviously very difficult to survive without a job. In colleges and universities, students who voice opposition to homosexuality can expect to have a very difficult time passing classes and graduating. The popular ebook distributing service Smashwords will not list a book that “advocates hateful, discriminatory or racist views,” though it will publish any kind of pornography that is legal. In the future, it is possible that banks and credit card companies could refuse to do business with opponents of homosexuality, which in today’s society would make it nearly impossible to conduct any financial transactions whatsoever (a precursor, perhaps, to what is described in Revelation 13:17).
But homosexuality is not the only issue for which free speech is threatened. Some other troubling threats to freedom of speech will be described in my next post. A brief note of encouragement, though: God is still sovereign, and He will vindicate His people and prevail over all sin and sinners. The ultimate victory of God over the world is certain to come, and it will come soon.
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Thanks for another great and important post. I agree with your point and have always advocated that although the penal sanctions commanded by God in the Old Covenant are not obligatory in the New Covenant era, they certainly are still just and proper if a civil authority decided to institute them. The issuance of capital punishment by any government for crimes designated by God as worthy of death is ethical and permissible. The flagrant practice and acceptance of sodomy in our country and in the other parts of the world is morally sickening. Thanks again for this important call to understand and speak out for the truth. The church of Christ truly needs to hear this message.