The news about the court case in New Mexico is probably not new to your ears. Just in case you do not know what went happened a photography company, Elane Photography, has been mandated, yep forced, by the New Mexico Supreme Court to abandon their deepest religious convictions to accommodate a same-sex union. This is odd considering that New Mexico has not legalized same-sex “marriage”. Aside from that odd note, it is entirely discouraging and encouraging all at the same time.
All Christians should be troubled by this. The common refrain from homosexual advocates was consistently that the homosexual agenda would not impinge upon the rights, beliefs, or actions of Christians who believe what the Scriptures teach. I heard again and again that the same-sex debate was morally neutral, it went something like this, “What is it to you if two men want to get married, they are not hurting anyone.” Well, now they have. And I am sure this is not the last, nor the least, of this type of persecution to come to the church’s door. I am not one to say ,”told you so,” but…
Not only is the gay agenda pursuing the normalization of what God calls unnatural, but they also want mandated universal celebration. Herein lies a problem, how can Christians celebrate what God calls an abomination? Listen to these words from Justice Bosson, “At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others,” and again “But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people.” First, dishonoring God is not “a little compromise.” Second, there was no compromise in this court decision. Third, if the Huguenins are required to “leave space for other Americans who believe something different” what about supporters of the gay agenda? Shouldn’t there be room for Christians in their “all inclusive view,” or are they just as “intolerant” as they claim Bible-believing Christians to be? I smell a double standard that is being ignored.
Again, Justice Bosson writes, “In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.” Well, churches, where is our citizenship? The answer, of course, is that our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there we await our Savior (Philippians 3:20). This means that the ethical conduct we commit our lives to is one that is in accord with the Kingdom we claim, namely the Kingdom of Christ. There is no room for compromise when it comes the ethics of the Kingdom of God. If this new form of American citizenship is what will shape the churches, maybe the church needs to take a step back and examine its relationship with the state ( I am not advocating willfully removing your status as an American citizen…yet). What will come upon the church in the next ten years? Just having the American flag in our sanctuaries will not protect us from this Hamfisted Jackboot (thanks Pastor Douglas for the new term).
I said that this story was discouraging, and encouraging. Why is it encouraging? Well, it is so because we were promised such persecution, John 15:20, ” Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” Again, the Word tells us in 2 Timothy 3:12 “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” These are not the only places in Scripture that promise suffering, but they will suffice. The encouraging aspect rests in knowing that this does not surprise God. In fact, it is necessary for His children (Philippians 1:27-30). The promises of persecution are not the end of the promise, however.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Amen and amen.
If you want to read more about this from individuals much smarter than me, read these two articles, “The Hamfisted Jackboot” and “‘It is the Price of Citizenship’?–An Elegy for Religious Liberty in America” and “America’s Good Servant, But God’s First?“