I have been away in the US, but I did see that Downing Street said it remains determined to press ahead with same-sex marriage.
Should the worst happen and marriage is redefined it will have been an astonishing victory for the gay lobby — a whole reversal of a nation’s moral outlook in less than half a century is historically quite unprecedented (except perhaps in Nazi Germany). Of course this has been made possible because public opinion is malleable under the vast influence of the secular media dominated by the liberal agenda. Such is its influence that, testifying at the Leverson Inquiry, ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke of making a decision to manage the media rather than confront it, presumably because he knew he could not win. (This power of the media actually calls into question the whole workings of democracy.)
Back in 1989, a book entitled After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s was published.* The book became the authoritative public relations manual for homosexual pressure groups. Authors Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen argued that homosexuals had to change their image. They needed to portray themselves as victims of society. ‘The purpose of victim imagery is to make straights feel uncomfortable’, they explained. They advised becoming mainstream. Cocky mustachioed leather-men and drag queens could not be the public face of the movement. Attractive young people, middle-aged articulate women and smiling senior citizens would be far more likely to generate sympathy. Churches, with commitment to biblical morality, were to be portrayed as the oppressors.
While evangelicals are married to truth and reason, this movement became wedded to manipulating public opinion.
If the government does force through its redefinition of marriage, there are four things we need to be alive to.
1. Churches need to have clear statements in their trust deeds of their commitment to a biblical view of marriage. Without this they will be extremely vulnerable to legal challenge.
2. We need to support and pray especially for those who have come out of homosexual lifestyle to Christ. Many of these folk are living contradictions of the claim that ‘sexual orientation’ is fixed. Therefore they will be on the frontline of the battle.
3. Churches committed to biblical marriage should prepare to have their charitable status rescinded. No more gift aid (3 John v.7). This may not happen soon if marriage is redefined, but it will happen.
4. Pastors need to teach their people about how to handle with grace being looked down on more than ever before. I heard of John Stott reflecting that as a young man at Cambridge when people said, ‘O he’s a Christian’, they meant he was a ‘goody-two-shoes’. But now to be called a Christian means that you are viewed as a morally deficient person because you have not swallowed the gay agenda.
What to do? First, we must preach the gospel. The game is not over. While in the US I heard of a church in Hollywood where hundreds of gay folk have turned to Christ. Second — this is tongue in cheek — let’s do what the gay community can’t do — have lots of children and raise them with godly values. I have been taken aback by the large size of families of US seminary students! Perhaps that’s a way of ensuring more Christian voices in the public debate in coming years.
John Benton – Editor
* My information comes from the book Desire and Deceit by Al Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville. Multnomah Press, 2008.
The Christian Institute has a free resource on redefining marriage which the editor has reviewed