I do not relish the cultural conflagration that we are facing right now over LGBT rights. I have been writing about this for over a decade now, and I am astonished how quickly and radically things have changed in such a short period of time. But it’s not merely that popular opinion has shifted in favor of gay marriage and transgender identities. It’s that popular opinion has become openly contemptuous of those of us who still believe what the Bible teaches about sexuality and gender.
At the beginning of the 2010’s before the tide had turned, there were warnings about what was coming. Two in particular come to mind—one from Rod Dreher and the other from Robert George. In those days, gay marriage advocates would often say things like, “How does gay marriage hurt your marriage?” On the surface, the proponents of gay marriage proposed a “live and let live” arrangement: “Give us gay marriage, you have your view of marriage, and we’ll all co-exist.”
In 2013, Dreher began warning of the law of merited impossibility when it comes to gay marriage. He warned that the “live and let live” thing was a fiction. Gay marriage proponents were actually advancing a law of merited impossibility, which says, “No one is going to mistreat or persecute you Christians for your views on marriage. Stop being paranoid. But when we do mistreat and persecute you, you are going to deserve it.” The assurances of peaceful coexistence were a ruse from the start.
Likewise, back in 2012, Robert George also warned about the consequences of the legalization of gay marriage. He wrote this:
The fundamental error made by some supporters of conjugal marriage was and is, I believe, to imagine that a grand bargain could be struck with their opponents: “We will accept the legal redefinition of marriage; you will respect our right to act on our consciences without penalty, discrimination, or civil disabilities of any type. Same-sex partners will get marriage licenses, but no one will be forced for any reason to recognize those marriages or suffer discrimination or disabilities for declining to recognize them.” There was never any hope of such a bargain being accepted. Perhaps parts of such a bargain would be accepted by liberal forces temporarily for strategic or tactical reasons, as part of the political project of getting marriage redefined; but guarantees of religious liberty and non-discrimination for people who cannot in conscience accept same-sex marriage could then be eroded and eventually removed. After all, “full equality” requires that no quarter be given to the “bigots” who want to engage in “discrimination” (people with a “separate but equal” mindset) in the name of their retrograde religious beliefs…
There is, in my opinion, no chance—no chance—of persuading champions of sexual liberation (and it should be clear by now that this is the cause they serve), that they should respect, or permit the law to respect, the conscience rights of those with whom they disagree. Look at it from their point of view: Why should we permit “full equality” to be trumped by bigotry? Why should we respect religions and religious institutions that are “incubators of homophobia”? Bigotry, religiously based or not, must be smashed and eradicated. The law should certainly not give it recognition or lend it any standing or dignity.
Dreher and George have both turned out to be prophetic. We Christians find ourselves in a time when our beliefs are openly reviled in the public square. Indeed we are reviled.
Perhaps you have read about the story here in Louisville about the High School student who was recently expelled from a Christian School after a photo of her appeared on social media in which she was posing with a rainbow cake. The Louisville Courier-Journal and The Washington Post both reported on it last week, and the story went viral.
The narrative set by the national media was that these Christian rubes running the school are so narrow-minded and bigoted that even a cake that happens to be colorful evokes unbridled bigotry and hatred. The only problem with this narrative is that it isn’t true. It wasn’t even close to being true. As Rod Dreher has reported here and here, the actual story is that the student in question was expelled after a long train of violations of the school’s code of conduct, which the student had signed and agreed to. Among other things, the student was openly and persistently identifying as a practicing bisexual.
What struck me about this whole imbroglio is not that majority opinion holds the school’s code of conduct in contempt. No surprise there. What struck me is how willingly national media outlets like The Washington Post distorted the story. The Post and others accepted the distortions being peddled by the student’s family. They didn’t even question it. Indeed, they have issued no corrections.
Remember Robert George’s words: “full equality” requires that no quarter be given to the “bigots” who want to engage in “discrimination.” Getting the story right before the eyes of the nation would be giving quarter to the bigots, and we can’t have that. So now we have another Covington Catholic situation on our hands, in which the media manufactures an offense to stir up the public against a Christian school and what they believe. It’s sick.
This is not the first time this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last. And that means that all of us need to be prepared for this kind of mass disinformation to happen to the churches and ministries we care about. It’s coming, and we need to be ready.