By Erwin Lutzer – We are witnesses to a social revolution, which if successful, will have ongoing repercussions for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. As we shall see, there is reason to believe that this revolution to remake the family has the potential to destroy the very concept of marriage along with freedom of religion. If we do not act now, it might be too late.
When four justices in a Massachusetts courtroom ruled, with what some have called an astonishing act of self-righteousness, that it was unconstitutional to bar homosexuals from marriage, they set in motion a series of dominoes that no one – not even the gays themselves – could have predicted. In courtrooms throughout different parts of the country, judges flaunted the law and “married” jubilant homosexuals. Repeatedly, the media interviewed those who insisted that the “weddings” were constitutional, other laws not withstanding.
World magazine reported that at a mass same-sex wedding reception held on Feb. 22 in San Francisco, lesbian Laura Bauer celebrated, “This is a great thing for us.” Ms. Bauer, who married her homosexual partner of eight years and attended a reception with her 5-year-old daughter, continued, “With everyone talking about family, now we can give our daughter a family, and no one should take that away from us.”1
The article goes on to say that in New York, lesbian Beth Niernberg lives with two male homosexual lovers and together they co-parent three boys. Ms. Niernberg stays home and takes care of the boys, while the men, both psychiatrists, go off to work. The boys are each biologically related to Ms. Niernberg and to one of their dads. The trio’s agreement includes the proviso that when Ms. Niernberg finds a suitable female partner, the trio will become a quartet.
World says we are entering the new America where same-sex parents with children from divorce adoption, or artificial insemination are cared for by two same-sex parent s, or a multiple of other adult s. As Lynn Vincent wrote, “public officials are stretching the definition of marriage beyond the historical bonds of blood, adoption and matrimony.”2
This is no time for self-righteous finger pointing. As I hope to show, we all share responsibility for what many properly regard as a frightful social experiment taking
place before our eyes. We must respond to this crisis, but how we respond is of utmost importance.
Within a matter of months, the same-sex debate brought a loose coalition of organizations and churches together to voice opposition. Christianity Today reported, “There is a new sense of unity – and urgency – among defenders of marriage. Across Massachusetts, evangelicals and Catholics have organized rallies and meetings.” The article went on to say that a rally in the Boston Commons drew 2,000 to 3,000 people in bitter cold temperatures. “I have never seen anything that has energized and provoked our grass roots like this issue, including Roe v. Wade,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.3 In fact, there are many reports that African American churches are taking the lead in opposing same-sex marriages.
Fuller Theological Seminary President, Richard Mouw speaks for many when he says, “It is not only inappropriate, but it is dangerously sinful to describe a relationship between two persons of the same gender as marriage. . . and the state simply ought not to legislate that kind of arrangement and build that kind of arrangement into our system of social life.”4 The support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as a committed relationship between one man and one woman has growing momentum. But that might not prevent the courts from acting on their own to legislate same-sex marriages by judicial fiat.
The Cultural Climate
The story of how approximately 2% of the population has been able to impose its agenda on America and marginalize all opposition, is one that can only be summarized in the paragraphs that follows.Back in the sixties, sexual love, which was at one time regarded as a privilege was turned into a “right.” The consensus that sex belonged only within marriage shifted and the result was a climate of immorality that contributed to the breakup of marriages. Of course promiscuity has always been with us, but before then there was a social understanding that although sex outside of marriage happened, it should not be so. The adage “Good girls don’t” may not always have been followed, but at least the expectation was that “they didn’t.” And “good boys” were not supposed to either.
With the onslaught of pornography, the playboy philosophy steadily shifted the center of gravity from martial faithfulness to personal enjoyment. Thus, if your mate no longer fulfilled your needs, you should have the “right” to find someone who will. To quote Lynn Vincent in World, “Cohabitation began shedding its stigma, leading to a revolving door family structure that often left children fatherless and economically deprived.”5
With divorce available for convenience sake, the word family began to take on new meanings. Now it was common for the mother to raise the children alone or possibly with a new husband, or at least a new lover. Meanwhile the husband and father went on to pursue his own relationships which he deemed were “best” for him. Children raised without their father’s love and protection, became vulnerable to sexual experimentation and abuse.
Thus the notion of a family with a father, mother and children, all living under the same roof became somewhat of a relic of another era. Our associate pastor here at the Moody Church reminded us of this when he told about a stroll his family took in Lincoln Park, just north of the church. As he and his wife and four children walked along the sidewalk, one elderly lady, sitting on a park bench next to her friend, said, “Look! A family!” No doubt she hadn’t seen “a family” for a long while!
Meanwhile tolerance became our national icon. This word which at one time meant that people should be free to believe whatever they wish now meant that they could do whatever they wished and it was improper to judge their conduct. Tolerance now meant that we must affirm virtually all behavior no matter how immoral, unnatural and bizarre. With these streams flowing into our national culture, much of America was ready for same-sex marriages.
The Strategy That Worked
In 1973, homosexual activists persuaded The American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from it s list of psychiatric illnesses and reclassify it as normal behavior. This change was made, not because of scientific data, but because radicals planned a systematic effort to disrupt the annual meetings of the APA. Three years earlier, activists grabbed the microphone in an APA meeting and said, “Psychiatry is the enemy incarnate. Psychiatry has waged a relentless war of extermination against us. You may take this as a declaration of war against you. . . were rejecting you all as our owners.”6 One prominent psychiatrist said it was the first time in psychiatric history that a scientific society ignored scientific evidence and yielded to the demands of a militant group.7
Through this action, the radical gay movement let it be known that its agenda would proceed (1) regardless of research, science and dialogue and (2) that intimidation would be one of its weapons to achieve its agenda, no matter what. Consider the game plan put forward by two homosexual activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen and publicized in a 1987 article titled, “The Overhauling of Straight America” and a 1989 book titled, After The Ball. A summary of their strategy is given in the excellent book, The Homosexual Agenda by Alan Sears and Craig Osten. Here are some of the details of how they planned to change the attitude of America about homosexuality.
First, they say, homosexuals should talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as of ten as possible. They write, “…almost all behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it at close quarters and among your acquaintances.”8 Certainly we would agree that the media has cooperated with this strategy. Sitcoms, movies, and documentaries are calculated to make the practice of homosexuality seem normal. With this barrage of media hype, we either are forced to accept their behavior as normal, or we become sick of it and withdraw from the cultural debate.
Thus the radical homosexuals with their savvy cooperation with a willing media keep pushing on society as much as it will tolerate. Yes, history has shown that it is true that “almost all behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it at close quarters and among your acquaintances.”
Second, the homosexual authors write, “Portray gays as victims, not aggressive challengers,” a strategy designed to play to most Americans’ desire for fairness, and a willingness to stand up for those who are oppressed. So the homosexual community has intentionally portrayed themselves as a victimized class in need of special protections. To continue in their words, “A media campaign that casts gays as society’s victims and encourages straights to be their protectors must make it easier for those who respond to assert that and explain their new perspectives.”9 The media has obliged; in fact it is not too strong to say that promoting the gay agenda is high on the list of priorities for the news and entertainment media.
When the homosexual Matthew Shepherd was murdered, the homosexuals turned his brutal murder into an opportunity to blame his death on all those who oppose the gay agenda. Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family received much of the brunt of the targeted media campaign. Deborah Mathis, writing in the Orlando Sentinel, wrote,
The opponents of homosexual behavior prefer not to acknowledge their own bigotry. Hence, the disguise – or self-delusion – of noble purpose. . . .Did the anti-homosexual crowd help kill Mathew Shepherd? Not per se. But it poisoned the air, which poisoned the minds which connived to attract, deceive and destroy a young man who deserved, in the least, to be left alone. They share in the complicity.10
She went on to liken conservative Christians to Adolph Hitler, who exterminated six million Jews. So there you have it: A homosexual was murdered and it is the fault of all those who are not in step with the homosexual agenda. No matter that Matthew Shepherd was killed by irreligious drunken thugs. The media gave the gay community wide and continuous support, propagating the myth that Christians who speak out against the homosexual agenda were to blame for the murder.
Third, they say that it is important to make the gays look good and their victims look bad. This is done by convincing the public that many famous people in history were gay, and, of course, gays must consistently be portrayed favorably in the media. The authors write, “We intend to make the anti-gays look so nasty that average Americans will want to disassociate themselves from such types.”11
Perhaps I should pause here to say that, sadly, some anti-gays do look nasty. The media frequently gives attention to one man, who on occasion, attends gay events carrying his sign, “God hates Fags.” Whatever his motivation, he has given gays the opportunity to paint all of us who oppose their agenda with the same brush. Conservative churches are often portrayed as hateful, homophobic and nasty. The caricature works.
Fourth, the authors suggest a plan that has become wildly successful: to solicit money from corporations to promote homosexuality and neutralize all opposition to the lifestyle. For example, the Ford Foundation has provided grants to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund which lobbies for same sex marriage.12 This Lambda Legal Defense Fund also claims to have received cooperate support from IBM and United Airlines.
In the book, After The Ball, Kirk and Madsen speak about the skillful use of propaganda that must be used to “overhaul straight America.” They write that homosexuals must always be portrayed in positive light, and then they add, “It makes no difference that the ads [portraying homosexuals as icons of normality] are lies, not to us. . . nor to bigots.”13
Eric Pollard, the founder of ACT-UP (a militant homosexual group) writes that lying was a p art of the strategy of the homosexual activists, referencing Adolf Hitler as a model to follow. He writes, “By clever and persevering use of propaganda, even heaven can be represented as hell to the people, and conversely, the most wretched life as paradise.”14
The strategy has worked. We cannot list here all of the advances of the gay agenda, except to say that virtually everything they have wanted has come to pass. In the years since then, sex education in the schools has promoted homosexuality. In 2001, the National Educational Association adopted resolutions to promote the full scale indoctrination of children to accept and affirm homosexual behavior. When word leaked out of their intentions, they “tabled” the motion which means that they will quietly implement it without official member approval.15 No dissenting views are allowed; parents are silenced and children are encouraged to experiment with various forms of sexual behavior.
Laws against discrimination in the workplace are now upheld and the word tolerance now means that one must endorse gay behavior. Even the Boy Scouts have been marginalized because (1) they have resisted having homosexuals as leaders and (2) they have retained the word God in their pledge. Never mind that most parents do not want homosexuals to be teaching and leading their boys; never mind that the word God is still in the pledge of allegiance. With cynical disdain, the radical arm of the homosexual movement has done all they can to shut down all funding for the Scouts that have played such a positive role in the lives of many boys and men.
Many of us have watched with great concern at the gains of the gay movement. But now we can no longer simply watch. With the possibility that the definition of marriage will include same-sex marriages, we must ask: what can we do at this late hour? And if we cannot change the present, what are we doing to change the future? The kind of society we have for our children and grandchildren is at stake.
Our Attitude in the Battle
First and foremost, we must aim at redemption, not rancor. We must lower our voices in this debate, speaking with respect and dignity. No matter how strongly we oppose the homosexual agenda, we are first of all called to be Christians who have the privilege of representing Christ to all the communities of the world, regardless of class, color, nationality or “gender orientation.”
Second, we must have the same compassion for the gay community that we should have for all who share this hurting planet. We must never speak of homosexuality as if it is the one sin worthy of the eternal flames. Yes, the Bible does condemn homosexuality, but it also condemns a host of other sins that are ramp ant in the best of our churches. If we can only shout at homosexuals across a chasm, be assured we will hear only the echo of our own voice.
We have all known families with gay children, whether sons or daughters. I recall one man who was quick to denounce homosexuality, and then discovered to his everlasting chagrin that his own son was gay. Rather than repenting of his self-righteous attitude, this father, in what he deemed to be a grand show of consistency, disinherited his son, telling him he was no longer welcome at home. Of course the father was right in disagreeing with his sons lifestyle, but quite wrong in his response to his own flesh and blood. We should not be surprised that his son flaunted his “gayness” and became a leader in the homosexual movement.
I am under no illusions that the radical gay community will listen to what we have to say. For reasons, some of which may be of our own making, they have turned a deaf ear to the church. But, I also believe that there are thousands of other gays who are still listening, waiting to hear from the church a word of understanding, direction and hope.
Third, we must educate those within the church who oppose same-sex marriage, but struggle with the question of how that opposition is best expressed. The task at hand is to help us understand the basis for our convictions and what should be done with what we believe. As is often said, it is not enough to condemn the darkness, but to shine a light of hope on our disintegrating culture.
Let us pray that God will give us grace and wisdom for the struggle that lies ahead.
Erwin Lutzer (LL.D., D.D.) is senior pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, Illinois. This article is adapted from the Introduction to his recent book The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage (Chicago: Moody, 2004). Used by permission.
1 Lynn Vincent, “Remaking the American Family” World (March 6, 2004): 18.
3 Tony Carnes, “Amending Marriage,” Christianity Today (April 2004): 90-92.
4 As quoted in Rob Moll, “Civil Unions: Would a Marriage by any Other Name Be the Same?,” Christianity Today Online (March 8, 2004).
5 Lynn Vincent, “Remaking the American Family,” 18.
6 Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), 33.
7 Psychiatric Annals (April, 1976).
8 Alan Sears and Craig Osten, The Homosexual Agenda—exposing the principle threat to religious freedom today (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2003), 18. I encourage you to read this well-documented book that deals with a wide scope of gay agenda issues.
9 Ibid., 22.
10 Ibid., 21,22.
11 Ibid., 23.
12 Ibid., 8, footnote.
13 Ibid., 26,27.
14 Ibid., 26
15 Ibid., 48.