Word from the Center: Friday, March 29, 2019
Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s topic/issue….
BE HONEST, IT’S NOT ABOUT FAIRNESS
One of the difficulties of my new work in Washington is to convince fellow Christians that taking a stance on God’s ordering of the world—whether it’s “thou shall not steal” (e.g., the right to private property), or “thou shall not murder” (e.g., the sanctity of life), and even the moral teachings of the Bible (which are in stark contrast to the sexual libertine movement of the culture today)— is a godly thing to do. We are naturally reticent because we too are broken and sinful compared to those laws, just like everyone else in the country (see Matthew 5:21-37). But this isn’t about saying that WE are better or that WE are fundamentally different than other human beings, whatever their persuasion. This is about defending the notion that there is a God in heaven who has created and ordered the world in which we all live. He is the one who establishes what is right and wrong. And, thankfully, He doesn’t just write that in the Bible. He has written those moral truths into the consciences of every human being, even into the fabric of the natural world itself (see Romans 2:14-15). To not proclaim the world’s ordering by its Creator is to shirk the responsibility of being a preserving voice for the sake of the culture and the church.
That’s why it is so demoralizing to read things like the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities’ support of the so-called “Fairness For All” legislation (For more information, see the article, “CCCU Deal Doesn’t Fair Well,” February 04, 2019). Such a law would equate all kinds of sexual behavior as if they were all the same. But, even worse, it would misuse constitutional protections by classifying such behaviors as civil rights, not just legally permissible behaviors. Immediately, there would be various behaviors that would be in stark contrast to the teachings of the Bible about chastity, as well as sex within the confines of the commitment of marriage, making biblical teaching to the contrary virtually illegal. It’s important for Christians to understand that this isn’t a proposal then for “Fairness.” This is a proposal to silence dissenting moral voices in our culture today through the coercive power of the state.
That’s a key reason that the LCRL is in Washington D.C. We are here to stand against such coercion, to fight for the right of the church to maintain its unique, biblical voice in the public square that is, by biblical definition, FOR ALL on God’s terms. We are not asking for the state to propagate our view by fiat. But we are arguing that the principle of “live and let live” be honored in our direction too. In the case of the “Fairness For All” legislation, exactly the opposite is intended. At this time in our culture, with virtually no restrictions concerning one’s personal sexual behaviors, this legislation would eventually force the church, as well as her schools and universities, to accept and even advocate for behaviors that the Scripture does not endorse or condone. It would also demand the violation of clear biblical teachings of the foundations, the direction, and the limitations of one’s sexual behavior that are meant for our own good, for the sake of love and true intimacy. Again, the Fairness Act is not about fairness at all. As the article states, “Fairness for all means the persecution of many.”  Christians need to understand that advocating for God’s ordering of the world by supporting the biblical view of the institution of marriage, or the fundamental moral teachings of the 10 Commandments are part of our job as citizens who are advocating for a fair, just, and humane society. For such a society to exist, there are moral directions, moral foundations, and even moral limitations that exist for the good of all. Dialogues about these differing points of view must be free, open, and uncoerced. In summary then, it should be noted that “Fairness For All” already exists. It’s called the First Amendment where our political speech and the free expression of our religious liberty are enshrined as fundamental rights for all. Bargaining them away in some euphemistically labeled “Fairness” bill will leave those fundamental liberties in tatters.