Will the Supreme Court's irreligious decision to redefine marriage affect pastors and churches? For those of us concerned that our government may one day force us to act against our strong, decided moral judgments, one helpful resource is: "Protecting Your Ministry From Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Lawsuits" (thank you Lora and Grady).
This is a major resource, well put-together, that may prove helpful in these eroding times. (It's free to download.)
From the booklet, p. 1 - "SOGIs [Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity ordinances] have been invoked to attempt to force Christian photographers, bakers, and florists to participate in same-sex ceremonies, in violation of their religious beliefs about sexuality and marriage. They have been used to attempt to force a Christian printer to create advertisements celebrating a "gay pride" festival. SOGIs have been used to attempt to force Christian owners of wedding venues to host same-sex ceremonies, and Christian adoption agencies to choose between placing babies in motherless or fatherless same-sex homes or go out of business... [In this booklet] you will find examples of what other Christians around the country are facing; how your church, school, or ministry may be vulnerable to similar threats; and what you can do to secure crucial legal protections to help enable you to weather the fast-approaching legal storms."
Some of my friends have responded back to me wondering if my response is more fear-based and protectionist. Yes and no. My thoughts are:
- There are rational fears, to which we should respond if possible.
- Some of us (like myself) have followed this discussion for 40 years. So I doubt that my response to the Supreme Court decision to redefine the word 'marriage' is reactive. Responsive, yes. Reactive, no. Concerned, yes.
- Churches may be vulnerable to similar threats. Therefore I and others see it as wisdom to anticipate what we see as rational, threatening possibilities to our religious freedoms. Wisdom looks ahead. This wisdom (while not perfect) is grounded in heaps of socio-cultural studies and observations over a period of many years (for me, beginning in 1975).
" Without soul freedom we have no other liberties. The church cannot outsource our convictions to the state. This resource wisely helps equip churches on how to remain faithful to our mission in a culture that often disagrees with our message."
Russell D. Moore, President
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission