Can Christians Support a War Against Islamic Terrorism?

I had hoped to spend the Christmas Season posting a wonderful hymn about the Incarnation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Although I will continue to do so, the recent Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have convinced me to deviate from this joyful thread.

terrorThe Islamic terrorist attack in San Bernardino on December 2 was both evil and horrific.  The husband and wife perpetrators cold-bloodily chose to systematically kill people whom the knew personally and who had shown them kindness.  They clearly intended to go on killing Americans until they were stopped by force.

prayerThe radical progressive ideologues who dominate our media and politics immediately jumped into action, mocking prayer, blaming the United States, pushing their political agenda and worrying the most about a possible (but seemingly never actually happening) backlash against Muslims.

If you are worshiping in a Mainline Protestant denomination, the loudest and most aggressive responding voices will likely be pushing a peculiar form of pacifism  that simultaneously excuses / justifies violence by Islamic terrorists (among others) while demanding that our society do nothing to defend itself.  Many Christians will be cowed into silence by these arguments because of the oft repeated falsehood that Jesus Christ is a pacifist.  This argument has power only because of a successful campaign that has turned “Jesus Christ” into nothing other than an avatar for radical progressive beliefs.

This blog has never been about commenting on current events while they are occurring.  Therefore, I will not spend this Christmas season generating commentary on the horrible events that are playing out in the world.  However, come the new year I will take up the issue of Christian pacifism at length.

Finishing the First Year

I’d like to introduce the two topics that will dominate the last quarter of The Reformed Sojourner blog’s first year.  If you’ve been keeping in touch, I’ve been focusing on the deep, consequential failure of our PC(USA) leadership, with occasional lighter fare, like excerpts from The Language of Suffering 😉

I don’t blame you if this seems a bit depressing.  However, it’s important to press on because we must attempt to understand the forces that are at work.  This is a necessary prerequisite to wise decisions, both as individuals and as churches.

This is also important because the consequences, which are well described by Joseph Bottum in An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, are so profound.

“We must begin by noting that the single most significant fact over the last few decades in America — the great explanatory event from which follows nearly everything in our social and political history — is the crumbling of the Mainline churches as central institutions in our national experience.  It is a collapse of numbers, certainly: a disappearance of parishioners astonishing in its speed.  Even more, however, it is a collapse of influence, the loss of religious institutions that had defined, supported, and challenged the nation for all of its previous history.”

In the overwhelming business of holding together our family, work and personal lives, there appears to be no room for the addition of anything else.  However, there are forces at work that, though they often fall off of our priority list, nevertheless are substantively contributing to our civilization’s decline.  One of those forces is the movement in Mainline denominations to “reinvent” Christianity as a “faith” that is aligned with today’s apparently dominant political and cultural forces.  This project requires both the subversion of our theology and the demoralization of our civilizational confidence.

And so, in this Fall I will report on two new areas:

  1. Gnosticism Reimagined? (beginning next Monday)
  2. Loving All Our Neighbors

The confidence and courage with which Christians throughout two millennia have challenged their culture is not due to their own sense of wisdom or power.  Rather, it is due to their complete confidence in God’s (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) providential engagement with this fallen world.  So, it is no accident that we find ourselves standing at this place in this time.  Rather, there is a holy and sovereign purpose at work; one that humbles itself by asking us to participate in faith, hope and love.

What’s to be Done? (Part 8)

Image-credit-H.Koppdelaney-via-Photopin-ccFighting Back

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

… fear not, for I am with you,
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)

The Means (5 of 5)

I’ve probably made it reasonably clear that those with whom contend are capable of doing fearful things to our good names and/or livelihoods.  However, were we to add up all the power, real and imagined, of our opponents, I would be flabbergasted were it to approach even 1% of that held by the Roman Empire when Jesus Christ said:

 I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Which brings me to the final point in our means to fight back against the tidal wave that approaches.

5. Overcome fear through trust in God

Yes, the atheists, pagans and post-christians appear to have occupied all the power-positions in our institutions — education, government, press, entertainment, courts and some mainline denominations, among others.  Yet, they must face the fact that there are tens of millions of Americans who continue to live lives of Christian faith.  Some of these Christians are living and working in the very institutions that appear to be long gone.

Compare this to the few thousands of Christians in the early first century living in a 50 million strong Roman world, with centuries of paganism behind their religion and the overwhelming power of the world’s greatest empire in effective opposition to this tiny, poor and new community.

And yet, in the space of four centuries the Roman Empire had accepted Christianity as its official religion.

ebbe758b02b239778d6e25a22262f8f6We are not today seeking to make Christianity the official religion of the Unites States.  However, we are insisting that our Christian faith is not beholden to any religious, political or social movement that demands our submission.

I don’t know what tomorrow brings.  But I do trust that God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is in control.  It’s not our place to know how, when or why God will prevail.  It is our place to live lives of faithfulness and trust in our Lord and Savior for however long we are granted to toil here on earth.  Let’s get on with doing that together, as the Body of Christ!

What’s to be Done? (Part 7)

buildingchristiancommunityboxLet love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.  Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:9-12)

Fighting Back

The Means (4 of 5)

Let’s be clear…all broad-based Christian churches will be riven with strife over the gay marriage issue.  For some, such as the Southern Baptists, the primary impetus will likely be from outside as radical progressives lay siege to their tax-exempt status.  For others, such as the PCUSA, the primary driving force will be from within.

I believe that in less than ten years time it will be extremely difficult for a PCUSA church to find a pastoral candidate who opposes gay marriage.  This will occur because almost no one who holds this position will bother to enter our seminaries.  For the few who do, the pressure to conform will be immense.  And, finally, even assuming that a few such brave souls graduate with their convictions intact, many Presbyteries will refuse to accept them into membership.

Also, within PCUSA local churches we can expect to find significant numbers of members who energetically and aggressively support gay marriage.  In most cases they will have the power of the Presbytery elite behind them.  In all cases they will have the power of the progressive political machine and cultural elite behind them.

Pastors who entered PCUSA ministry with convictions that oppose gay marriage will likely face growing opposition.  Sessions and Pastors will split over this issue, as will Pastoral and church staffs.

In this poisonous atmosphere, what could it mean to build a Christian community?  I can tell you what it will mean to the PCUSA elite.  It will mean that all should submit quietly to this false teaching and then go forward pretending that we are all together in “Christian” ministry.  However, community organized around falsehood will simply not work.

And yet, we are called by Christ to live out our faith within the context of a Christian community.  So, in spite of the associated difficulties we must:

 4. Find strength and wisdom in Christian community

The first essential point is that there are definite limits to the extent that the concept of a “Christian community” can be legitimately stretched.  This point is both first and essential because of the temptation to place our existing Christian community above every other consideration.  Yes, we should and must strive long and hard to maintain the Christian integrity of the Christian community in which we find ourselves.  However, that particular community is not our Lord and Savior.  No, Jesus Christ alone is our Lord and Savior, and, He is abundantly clear on this point.

“If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, RSV)

Of course, this statement uses hyperbole to drive home an essential point.  Jesus supports the family.  But, if even familial relationships compete with our discipleship to Jesus Christ, then He must be chosen with such certainty and clarity that it’s as if we “hated” our family member.  What is true in the family is also true in the church.  Here’s valuable commentary on this issue.

Normally, there is no conflict between loving Christ and our family members also. But sometimes a tug of war develops, where a family member puts pressure on us to back off from or even abandon our love for Christ. In those difficult situations, we do not love either Christ or the family member if we accede to the pressure. We do not love the family member, because if we bow to the pressure, we are saying that Christ is not worthy of being followed above all others, and we keep the family member from seriously considering the claims of Christ. We do not love Christ because we have put a sinful human being, who did not give himself for our sins, in a higher place than the spotless Lamb of God who freely offered Himself as the sacrifice for our sins.

The second essential point is that, for those of us orthodox Christians still in the PCUSA, the primary reason to stay in this community is as visible opponents to its current direction.  This is operative at both the personal and church levels.  Thus, we need to make sure that the arguments in favor of continued fidelity to God’s Word as taught by our historic Confessions are developed and clearly delivered.

We must engage those with whom we disagree in open debate, not in anger, but rather with firmness of purpose.  We must do so at every level of church organization.  We must do so out of our love for the Person and Purpose of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; out of a non-sentimentalized, non-culturally-corrupted understanding of Christian love.  That understanding is there to be rediscovered in the gospels, epistles, prophets, poems, histories and wisdom from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, if only we, as a Christian community, will find the courage to look and learn.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  (1 John 1:5-10)

What’s to be Done? (Part 6)

silencing-dissentFighting Back

I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

The Means (3 of 5)

A primary cause of radical progressive success is their often unopposed claim to own the “moral high ground.”  They base this claim primarily on the assertion that they are looking out for the weak and oppressed in society.  Their motives are presumed to be always pure, while anyone who opposes their policies must be doing so out of hatred and greed.

In Taking Stock at the 100th Post I pointed out numerous reasons to doubt the presumption of moral superiority in our PCUSA elite.  In What’s to be Done? (Part 1) I included a partial list of what progressive radicals have been doing to destroy those who dare to disagree with their “party line” on same sex marriage.  I believe that there are many public policy examples where this presumed moral superiority also rings false.

I’d here like to focus on another area that isn’t as commonly discussed.  That is, if we grant that radical progressives have achieved a position of presumed moral superiority, what have they done with it?

What they have done from this perch of “moral superiority” is to hurl abuse at anyone that sits “below” them.  In most cases it’s just run-of-the-mill intimidation intended to get the offender to shut up. In other cases, it’s intention is to destroy the social standing or livelihood of the victim.  And, in some cases it’s intended to utterly destroy the person in every sense of the word…socially, emotionally, financially and spiritually.

That last category is generally reserved for the least human among us, for example, a female politician who opposes abortion and embraces Christianity, or, a black man who believes in a conservative political philosophy.  In both cases we have human beings who are utterly dehumanized and, if possible, destroyed because (I can’t believe that this phrase is needed in a supposedly enlightened culture) they have rejected the way women or black people “should” think.  In other words, these people in positions of “moral superiority” use their status to engage in the most vile, crude forms of sexism, misogyny and racism that one can imagine.

Which leads me to point 3.

3. Don’t cede the “moral high ground”

Don’t cede it to them primarily because to do so is to uphold a lie.  The radical progressives are not morally superior in any way.  What they are is empowered by their status and relationships to destroy with impunity anyone who dares to effectively oppose them.  That is, they maintain their position by being willing and able to inflict cruelty and pain on anyone who dares to say the obvious.

Also, don’t cede it to them because doing so destroys your ability to ever win the argument on the merits.  The tragic fact is that “debate” in our culture has almost nothing to do with the merits and almost everything to do with who establishes that they own the “moral high ground.”  Once that is established, nothing else, including behavior that clearly demonstrates moral inferiority, matters.

It’s a losing strategy to claim ownership of the “moral high ground” for yourself.  The only possibility for progress is to call into question the presumption of the radical progressive’s moral superiority.  Doing so will open you up to the worst type of abuse.  However, it may also create an opening for the actual merits of the debate to come into view.  For, if the “moral high ground” isn’t ceded, then other means, for example, the merits of the case, may need to be examined.  Finally, by ceding this position you become a participant in a destructive lie.

Not everyone is in a position to, or has the ability to take radical progressives on directly.  In those cases my recommendation is non-participation, as explained by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn in Live not by Lies.

 Aleksandr-SolzhenitsynAnd the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.

This opens a breach in the imaginary encirclement caused by our inaction. It is the easiest thing to do for us, but the most devastating for the lies. Because when people renounce lies it simply cuts short their existence. Like an infection, they can exist only in a living organism.

We do not exhort ourselves. We have not sufficiently matured to march into the squares and shout the truth out loud or to express aloud what we think. It’s not necessary.

It’s dangerous. But let us refuse to say that which we do not think.

My God’s blessing, strength and protection be with you.

What’s to be Done? (Part 5)

Fighting Back

… for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

(2 Timothy 1:7)

courage_graphic_jakobsdiary-550x440The Means (2 of 5)

Most of us of a certain age can recall our mother’s admonition, “If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all.”  This advice remains valid in most cases today.  However, there is a tactic too often used in recent years to leverage that advice to illegitimately obtain success in a debate.  The tactic is to put your opponent in a position where they have to either respond to intimidating accusations or remain silent.  In many cases, rather than “dignifying” false accusations with a response, the person under assault chooses to remain silent.

That’s a problem in today’s culture.  It’s a problem because, for too many individuals in our society, silence in the face of accusation is interpreted as implicit agreement with and submission to the assault.  That is, the victim relies on an assumption of fair play and common morality that simply no longer exists in a large segment of the population.  Thus, to remain silent under these conditions is too often a losing strategy.

Do I appear to be a bit over the top on this?  It turns out that fair-minded members of the progressive left are also noting the same problem, for example, Kirsten Powers’ new book The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech.

Lifelong liberal Kirsten Powers blasts the Left’s forced march towards conformity in an exposé of the illiberal war on free speech. No longer champions of tolerance and free speech, the “illiberal Left” now viciously attacks and silences anyone with alternative points of view.  Powers asks, “What ever happened to free speech in America?”

All of which leads to my second point on fighting back.

2. Silence in the face of intimidation is interpreted as submission, so speak up

Over the past 20 years or so I have witnessed increasingly frequent verbal assault as a means of debate, even among members of the PCUSA.  I have been personally accused of terrible things for supporting orthodox Christian norms.  I have seen whole communities being accused of “hatred” for the actions of one troubled individual, or for an event of completely unknown origin.

Early on I too refused to dignify this behavior with a response.  However, as the individuals and groups that utilize this tactic became more virulent, I had to reconsider my response.  Clearly, were this behavior counterproductive they would have reduced as opposed to increased its use.

I have decided that it’s imperative to speak up in defense of yourself and others in the face of this cruel, cynical tactic.  My preferred  response is to point out in no uncertain terms the nature of those who choose to use such tactics.  That is, I refuse to respond directly to the accusation, but rather point out the cruelty and intellectual bankruptcy of this line of argument.  However, there are times when the accusation itself must be directly addressed.

What I have found is that, when met with this type of opposition the accusers most often retreat.  They retreat because the accusation is often literally all that they have.  Once it’s clear that, if the argument is going to proceed at all, it will be done so on the merits, their enthusiasm lessens considerably.

Certainly there are cases where the discussion does continue on the merits.  And, sometimes a good point is made that requires reflection, and sometimes adjustments to my thinking and conclusions.  This is, after all, the goal of constructive dialogue between people with differing views.  It’s just a shame that the preliminary engagement is too often laced with such destructive behavior.

We Christians shouldn’t be looking for a fight.  However, when someone brings a fight to us, one in which they seek to win through intimidation, we must learn how to fight back.  Otherwise, too many observers will conclude that we are silent due to a guilty conscience, or, that we simply don’t care enough about the issue to make a stand.  And, the perpetrators of this tactic will continue to be encouraged by its apparent success.

Let’s listen anew to the Larger Catechism’s commentary on the Ninth Commandment, which discusses our responsibility not simply to avoid untruth, but also to not enable falsehood by our silence:

“The sins forbidden in the Ninth Commandment are … concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others …” [7.255]

To God be all the glory!

What’s to be Done? (Part 4)

trustinlord
Fighting Back

The Means (1 of 5)

1. Trust in the Lord

Let’s be clear-minded.  Those against whom we are proposing to contend hold all the positions of power.  They dominate the justice system, government bureaucracy, the press, the universities and schools, the entertainment industry, most Mainline denominations and many other groups as well.  And, they have clearly shown that they will use this power to destroy anyone who is both vulnerable and in opposition to their view of marriage.

Thus, to participate in the defense of religious freedom in order to ensure Jesus Christ’s definition of marriage is upheld in our Christian churches, organizations and individual consciences is to expose yourself to cruel and often effective assault.  Just to be clear, here is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on the purpose for and definition of marriage.

He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”  (Matthew 19:4-6)

This is not about your moral superiority to others, nor about hatred against others.  No, this is about obedience to Him who has given His all to save us from the consequences of our sin and to lead us into new life.  If your opposition is motivated by anything other that that, then, please, find something else to do.

But, if you do wish to proceed under these terms, then be of good cheer!

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  (Matthew 6:25)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23, RSV)

The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.

Hark, glad songs of victory
     in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
     the right hand of the Lord is exalted,
    the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” (Psalm 118:14-16)

May these words from Endings and Beginnings stand behind all that we think, say and do.

For God does not depend on numbers of adherents or the power of human will to achieve His ends. He calls us to be faithful wherever we are, not because we must prevail, but rather because we so love and trust our Lord and Savior that we simply must testify to His Gospel.

Praise be to God!

What’s to be Done? (Part 3)

Chess-board-strategyFighting Back

The Situation

The CNN poll cited in Part 2 is indeed a bit depressing.  However, there’s no reason for despair.  For starters, I suspect that many points from that 59% approval are due to the successful campaigns of intimidation that the radical progressives have conducted against people or institutions who dare to publicly object.

Even granting this “majority” approval, what percentage of American citizens are in favor of the suspension of religious liberty in order to support gay marriage?  My guess that 15-20% would be a generous estimate.

There’s also that fact that the threat to religious freedom would affect Christians, Jews, Muslims and many other faiths.  Within Christianity, Catholics and Protestants would find common cause.  Even within denominations that have already succumbed to gay marriage, many parishioners remain who are in opposition.  With regard to the PCUSA, I believe that this excerpt from An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America by Joseph Bottum still describes many members.

Presbyterians, for example, now typically feel that they have more in common with serious, believing Catholics and Evangelicals — with serious, believing Jews, for that matter — than they do vertically, with the unserious, unorthodox members of their own denomination.

Finally, we have the intellectual laziness and blazing hypocrisy of a movement that has won so much for so long, based on false moral superiority and cruel intimidation, in our favor.  The fact is that progressive radicals live in a hermetically sealed bubble of presumption that remains intact primarily due to the reluctance of those who know better to push back.

There are so many excellent examples of this appalling isolation, but my current favorite is a New York Times editor’s (Dean Baquet) explanation (Washington Examiner) for why they regularly publish works of art that are offensive to Christians but not those that offend Muslims.  With regard to not publishing the offensive Charlie Hebdo artwork, even though it had led to a reprisal massacre, he sanctimoniously said:

“[L]et’s not forget the Muslim family in Brooklyn who read us and is offended by any depiction of what he sees as his prophet,” Baquet explained in a statement to Politico. “I don’t give a damn about the head of [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] but I do care about that family and it is arrogant to ignore them.”

This statement was part of a defense for publishing Niki Johnson’s “Eggs Benedict,” a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI (Milwaukee Art Museum) fashioned entirely out of condoms.  After explaining that, due to the subjective judgements associated with these decisions some level of offense can’t avoid being given, he let the real truth slip out.

“And finally, the very different reactions bears this out,” he added. “Hundreds of thousands of people protested worldwide, for instance, after the Danish cartoons were published some years ago. While some people might genuinely dislike this Milwaukee work, there doesn’t seem to be any comparable level of outrage.

There you have it.  Because Christianity simply doesn’t produce people who will violently respond to offensive and blasphemous depictions of their faith, the Times’ standard should vary accordingly!

The fact that Christians don’t respond with violence to objectionable depictions should be celebrated.  The reasons for and implications of this tolerance should be explored.  They would unavoidably find the Person and purpose of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ should they do so.

But, I contend that there must be a limit to this tolerance.  While violence and cruelty is never a proper Christian response to such a debate in a civil society, that doesn’t mean that there is never call for a stout defense of our right to religious freedom.

How do you imagine that these self defined moral paragons would respond if millions of Christians (along with members of other faiths) peacefully mobilized to defend their rights under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment?  I don’t think that they would approve.  However, they would finally be forced to pubically defend positions that many fair-minded citizens would find objectionable.

What’s to be Done? (Part 2)

Fighting Back

The Goal

all-things-possibleThe first crucial step when entering a struggle is to define your goal.  The CNN poll linked to in the previous post says that almost 59% of Americans agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.  This result may or may not be sustained over time.  However, at this critical point in time, it means that the citizenry isn’t interested in opposing this ruling.

Over the next decade tens of thousands of gay couples in all 50 states will marry under the protection of this ruling.  To one extent or another, changes to existing laws will be made in all 50 states to accommodate the existence of these same gender marriages.  The toothpaste thus will not be reinserted into the tube.  Gay marriage is here to stay in America.  I thus contend that attempting to reverse this situation would be a waste of our limited resources.

The next big battle will likely be over religious freedom.  That is, the Supreme Court has created a brand new constitutional “right” to gay marriage using the 14th Amendment

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

that is in conflict with our 226 year old right to religious freedom, specifically declared in the 1st Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Thus there is now the real possibility of a direct and sustained assault against the religious freedom of those who object to gay marriage on religious grounds.  That is where we must make our stand.  Therefore, a proposed statement of our goal follows.

Ensure that the religious conscience is not denied space to operate in our society in general, but particularly on the issue of gay marriage.  In particular:

  1. Religious individuals and institutions must have the right to continue teaching and acting on the definition of marriage (among other doctrines, norms and institutions) that originates from their sacred texts.  For example:
    • A college or university run by a religious institution can limit married housing to couples that  meet their traditional definition of marriage
    • An adoption service run by a religious institution can limit the placement of children to couples that  meet their traditional definition of marriage
  2. Individuals and institutions must not be forced by the state to participate in events that conflict with their religious beliefs.  For example:
    • A shop owner or service provider cannot be compelled to participate in a gay wedding through their products or services if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs
    • A church, person or organization cannot be compelled to allow use of their property for a gay wedding if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs
  3. Individuals and institutions must be protected from discrimination by the state due to the teaching and acting on of their religious beliefs.  For example:
    • The tax-exempt status of a church or organization cannot be denied by the state because they adhere to the traditional definition of marriage in their teaching and policies
    • The right to freedom of speech cannot be denied to individuals or institutions due to conflict with secular laws and policies, including those associated with gay marriage

Note that this goal is not intended to prevent same gender couples from marrying and living out their lives together.  All of the particulars and examples in the previous list have to do with the right of individuals and institutions to practice their religious beliefs free from state compulsion and discrimination.  The intended end-state is one in which gay couples have the right to marry, but that religious individuals and institutions have the right to decline participation in or endorsement of this secular institution.

If the right to marry is all that the gay rights movement is after, then there should be no problem.  They have won that right, and, it has a virtually zero chance of being overturned.  If, as many fear, the end goal is the destruction of traditional religion by forcing it into submission to whatever the state decrees, then there will be a major problem.

If we lose our religious freedom, we will have lost the core, founding purpose for the United States of America.  Religious individuals and institutions may soon have to decide if they are going to stand and fight or surrender.