Twitter Restricts Pro-life Advertisements Again, Backtracks Amid Media Scrutiny

Twitter has again suspended a pro-life organization from running ads on its site only to then backpedal upon receiving questions from conservative media about their actions.

The Daily Caller reported Wednesday that they contacted Twitter after it became known that the social media giant had removed three ads from the pro-life group Human Coalition. Twitter placed the nonprofit organization’s advertising privileges “under review” because they had supposedly violated the company’s policy forbidding “inappropriate” content.

Twitter reportedly told Human Coalition that they would be notified by email upon completion of the review. Last Thursday Human Coalition received that email informing them they were suspended from running any advertisements on Twitter.

One of three ads that were moved contained messages explaining that abortion is not healthcare and intentionally killing another human being contradicts the Hippocratic oath. Another mentioned how abortion is the leading cause of death in the African-American community but almost never comes up in the national discourse about racism, and that 80 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics operate in racial minority neighborhoods.

The third removed ad mentioned that Planned Parenthood aborts more than 900 babies daily and argued that there is “no moral, social, cultural, or health reason” for the abortion giant to exist.

Earlier this week the Daily Caller contacted Twitter to inquire about the suspension and asked why Planned Parenthood was not banned from running ads while the Human Coalition was restricted.

Only two hours after the conservative news outlet made the request, Twitter contacted Human Coalition to tell them they had lifted the suspension and that their tweets were approved.

“Twitter claims to believe in ‘free expression’ and to think that ‘every voice has the power to impact the world.’ I believe Twitter does think that every voice has the power to change the world — and I believe that is exactly why they suppressed Human Coalition and others who proclaim the pro-life worldview,” Human Coalition spokesperson Lauren Enriquez said in a statement.

“The fact that Twitter ideologues actively suppress Human Coalition’s pro-life expressions betrays their fear of how we are changing the world. And we don’t plan to stop changing the world any time soon.”

Human Coalition is not the first pro-life group to have its content regarded as offensive and censored.

Pro-life investigative group Live Action and the pro-life political action committee the Susan B. Anthony List have both tangled with Twitter for the ability to run ads containing messages opposed to abortion and Planned Parenthood.

Likewise, as The Christian Post previously reported, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee currently vying to replace retiring Bob Corker in the U.S. Senate, faced similar issues in October. In her introductory campaign ad she highlighted her role in leading the Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood, speaking specifically how they “stopped the sale of baby body parts—thank God.”

When Twitter pulled the ad they insisted she remove the Planned Parenthood reference because it was “inflammatory,” but Blackburn refused and demanded an apology. Twitter ultimately relented and allowed the ad amid outcry.

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Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/twitter-restricts-pro-life-advertisements-again-backtracks-amid-media-scrutiny-222260/

College Student Banned From Religious Studies Class After Saying There Are Only 2 Genders

A student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania claims that he has been barred from a religious studies class he needs to graduate this May and asked to apologize after voicing his belief that there are only two biological genders.

Last week, IUP student Lake Ingle took to his Facebook page to let his disbelief be known. He is being punished, he wrote, by the university for his response after the professor of his class on “self, sin and salvation” showed a TED Talks video featuring transgender woman Paula Stone Williams.

Ingle detailed his “best and fairest” account of the incident that transpired after Dr. Alison Downie showed the video to the class on Feb. 28, in a now-deleted Facebook post.

“On Wednesday, February 28th, in one of my major-required courses, the instructor played a ‘Ted-Talk’ during which a transgender woman discussed her previous experiences of manhood as well as her current experiences of womanhood,” Ingle wrote. “During her speech, she gave accounts of things such as ‘mansplaining’, ‘male-privilege’, and ‘sexism’ and deemed them systemic. She also alluded to the REALITY of the gender wage gap, stating women ‘…work twice as hard for half as much.'”

After the video ended, Downie opened the floor for a discussion on “mansplaining,” male privilege, sexism and the gender wage gap and allowed only women to voice their thoughts first.

Ingle stated that after about 30 seconds of silence, he voiced his objection to the “use of one person’s anecdotal accounts of the previously mentioned experiences as fact.”

“I also took this opportunity to point out the official view of biologists who claim there are only two biological genders, as well as data from entities such as The Economist on the gender wage gap and how the claims made in the video were far from the empirically supported evidence,” Ingle wrote. “I then objected to the instructor’s, as well as the Religious Studies Dept.’s misuse of intellectual power, of which I have become familiar over the past few semesters.”

“It was at this point others in the class entered the discussion,” he added. “Class proceeded normally, thereon.”

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(PHOTO: LAKE INGLE)Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academic Integrity Referral Form and Documented Agreement

According to Ingle, he met with the instructor the next morning to discuss class project he is working on. During that meeting, Ingle wrote that he was presented with an “Academic Integrity Referral Form and Documented Agreement.”

The form alleges that Ingle had a “disrespectful objection to the professor’s class discussion structure.” It also accused the student of talking out of turn and of having “angry outbursts in response to being required to listen to a trans speaker discuss the reality of white male privilege and sexism.”

Additionally, Ingle was accused of making “disrespectful references to the validity of trans identity and experience.”

The form also called for him to issue an apology in front of the class on March 8 for each of the “disrespectful behaviors” described by the professor. The form states that after giving his apology, Ingle would have had to “listen in silence” as students in the class share how they felt during Lake’s “disruptive outbursts.”

Ingle denied the professor’s claims in his Facebook post.

“Though the documents attached present a narrative of disrespect, disruption, anger, and intolerance — I can assure you that nothing is further from the truth,” Ingle said.

The Christian Post reached out to IUP for clarification about Ingle’s alleged “angry outbursts.” However, a university spokesperson told CP that no comment could be provided because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as it pertains to student education records.

Ingle wrote in his post that he received a second document that lists further details of the violation.

“After these documents were handed to me, I read them carefully several times. I asked for one line to be revised and was answered with ‘no’ and was told it was the instructor’s job to recount what took place, not mine,” he wrote. “I then commented on the total misuse of intellectual power in a university setting, at which point I was asked to leave.”

The next morning on March 2, Ingle received a letter from Provost Timothy Moreland telling him that he is barred from attending the class and barred from speaking with Downie until the charges against him have been adjudicated.

“[T]he wording in the documents below is not only exaggerated, but more than one line is entirely untruthful and is done so purposefully to discredit my views and paint me as intolerant and ignorant,” Ingle said. “THE FACTS ARE: I did not object to the views of the speaker (Paula Stone). Rather, I objected to its misuse as hard evidence to support the ‘reality’ of phenomena that are not only a matter of opinion, but also empirically unsupported (wage gap statistics).”

“It is my belief that the instructor’s decision to file these sanctions is an attempt to bully me into redacting my views, making it a matter of free speech,” he continued. “I will be battling the university, as well as my instructor, to ensure I am not permanently removed from the class, which would mean my inability to graduate as scheduled this May.”

Ingle is subject to a hearing before the school’s Academic Integrity Board. The ruling from the hearing will be announced on March 19.

In another Facebook post, Ingle explained that he was advised to remove the initial Facebook post detailing the situation with the school after he received legal counsel.

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/college-student-banned-religious-studies-class-only-2-genders-221135/

 

Residents Banned From Holding Bible Study, Praying in Condo’s Common Area

A Florida woman filed a federal complaint after her homeowners association barred her from continuing to host a Bible study in the common room of her own condominium complex.

Last week, attorneys representing residents at the Cambridge House Condominiums in Port Charlotte, Florida, sent a Fair Housing Act complaint letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The complaint explains that Donna Dunbar, a Seventh-day Adventist lay minister who runs a nationally recognized soup kitchen with her husband, held a small women’s Bible study in the social room of the Cambridge House complex for two hours on Monday mornings for nearly a year.

The group consisted of less than 10 friends, some of which are not Cambridge residents, and is too big to fit into Dunbar’s small condo.

About three months after a the Bible study began, Dunbar was told by the then-treasurer for the Cambridge House Board of Directors that the group would have to acquire insurance for the meeting.

No other groups that use the common areas are required to acquire insurance for their meetings, according to First Liberty Institute, a legal group that represents Dunbar. But after disputing the need for insurance, Dunbar went ahead and complied with the demands so that the weekly Bible study could continue.

However, the Cambridge House board of directors passed a resolution on Feb. 6 that states: “Prayers and other religious services, observations, or meetings of any nature shall not occur … in or upon any of the common elements.”

Following the resolution’s passing, Dunbar was also sent a letter that explained that the new resolution “prohibits Bible Study meetings in the Social Room.”

Dunbar’s complaint alleges that a sign was even placed on top of the organ in the community room saying that “ANY AND ALL CHRISTIAN MUSIC IS BANNED!”

“The Cambridge House Resolution, both in text and in application, is discriminatory and violates the Fair Housing Act because it prohibits Mrs. Dunbar and other Christian residents from accessing common condominium areas for any religious activity, while allowing other residents to use those same facilities for similar non-secular purposes,” the complaint states. “In effect, the Resolution manifests profound hostility to Christians, and indeed all religious residents and discriminates against any resident who wishes to express their faith beyond the walls of their private residence.”

The complaint explains that the resolution does not ban groups from meeting in the common rooms to discuss a secular book, a secular movie or sing secular songs but prohibits Dunbar’s group from doing those activities simply because it is Christian in nature.

“The Cambridge House Resolution is so broad that it even prohibits residents from unobtrusively praying silently — before a meal or otherwise — in one of the condominium common areas,” the complaint argues.

Moreover, the resolution requires that all religious items in common areas be removed — including a statue of St. Francis of Assisi that was donated by a resident in memory of their loved one.

“We want to be there for those in this building, as well as those on the outside,” Dunbar told Fox4. “Just be there for them, support them. It’s like a support group.”

The complaint asks HUD to investigate the claims and take appropriate action if it deems the Cambridge House violated the Fair Housing Act by barring religious activities from the common areas.

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex and disability when they are renting, buying or securing finances for a home.

“The unequal treatment of citizens in the community simply out of hostility to religion violates federal law and the First Amendment,” Lea Patterson, judicial fellow at First Liberty, said in a statement. “We are confident that Secretary Ben Carson and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will resolve this issue quickly.”

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/residents-banned-from-holding-bible-study-praying-in-condos-common-area-221120/?utm_source=newsletter

Atheist Group Objects to Class Creation of Cross Memorials as Part of City’s Remembrance of Fallen Veterans

The nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist organization has expressed objection to the creation of cross memorials at a Georgia high school as part of a city effort to remember fallen soldiers.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter earlier this year to the attorney for Catoosa County Public Schools to assert that the crosses, made at Ringgold High School, were unconstitutional.

“We write to request assurances that, in the future, Mr. Elliott nor any other district employee will include religious messages in student assignments, allow school-sponsored religious activities, or otherwise promote or endorse religion in their official capacities,” it read.

The organization also took issue with another school in the district, as it had learned that Heritage High School’s leadership class had partnered with a Christian missions organization to build a school for the poor in Nicaragua. The district’s director of students services had recommended the group Nicamerican Missions after Principal Ronnie Bradford suggested the class partner with a school in the third world.

FFRF’s correspondence has just now come to light.

“It is laudable for the district to encourage students to become active, charitable, and involved in their community by volunteering and donating, but the school cannot use that goal as an avenue to support a religious organization with a religious mission,” the letter read in part.

“Partnering with any one of the numerous secular charities doing important work throughout the world would serve HHS’s purpose without running the risk of the district sending a message of religious endorsement,” FFRF asserted. According to the Times Free Press, students raised $20,000 last December from area businesses in just two days, and a student-faculty basketball game was also held in February as a fundraiser for the effort.

In regard to the crosses, which were made by construction classes at Ringgold High School for the biannual Festival of Flags event, FFRF requested that the district direct teacher Tim Elliott to discontinue the project with his students.

The crosses, which bear the names of fallen soldiers, are placed in the ground throughout the city for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. American flags fly atop each small memorial.

“Public school teachers may not assign students to create religious symbols,” the letter from the Church-State separation group read. “… This assignment violates the principle that ‘the preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and choice committed to the private sphere.’ It also sends a message that the government only cares about the deaths of Christian soldiers, not other non-Christian and non-religious soldiers.”

Catoosa County Public Schools has just now responded to the controversy, explaining in a recent press release that while the district attorney is researching the matter, officials are supportive of the projects at issue.

“Catoosa County Public Schools supports students’ participating in service activities,” said Superintendent Denia Reese. “The flag holders that the RHS construction class built to support honoring our veterans, and the money that our HHS students raised to build a school for underprivileged children, are examples of our students working to serve others.”

“The system’s attorney is thoroughly researching the allegations from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and when he has completed this research he will respond to them explaining how our students can continue to participate in these service activities,” she explained.

In his 1823 book “Letters to a Young Man Commencing His Education,” Noah Webster, also known as the father of American education, wrote, “Let it then be the first study of your early years, to learn in what consists real worth or dignity of character. To ascertain this important point, consider the character and the attributes of the Supreme Being. As God is the only perfect being in the universe, His character, consisting of all that is good and great, must be the model of all human excellence, and His laws must of course be the only rules of conduct by which His rational creatures can reach any portion of like excellence.”

Courtesy of http://christiannews.net/2017/12/09/atheist-group-objects-to-class-creation-of-cross-memorials-as-part-of-citys-remembrance-of-fallen-veterans/

United States Accepting Only 28 Christians vs. 5,435 Muslim Refugees, Despite ISIS’ Unstoppable Genocide

assyrian-christians

The United States government is processing an unbelievably low number of Christian refugees despite the ongoing genocide at the hands of the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria, the American Center for Law and Justice reports.

The conservative law group cited numbers from the Refugee Processing Center, noting that while the U.S. has processed 11,086 Muslims from Iraq since the beginning of 2015, only 433 Christians have been added to that number. And in Syria, there have been 5,435 Muslims welcomed and only 28 Christians.

They argued, however, that religion should definitely be a consideration when granting refugee status, given that IS targets Christians and other religious minorities in the region.

The law group said Secretary of State John Kerry admitted in March that IS kills Christians because of their religion.

“So, we know that ISIS targets Christians in Iraq and Syria because they are Christians. Christians are being slaughtered, tortured, raped and displaced because they are Christian. We also know that under U.S. and international refugee law, religion is a criterion for granting refugee status,” the ACLJ added, warning that unless serious action is taken to protect minorities, they will be wiped out at the hands of IS.

Reports from last year, such as the Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing Systems, have also suggested that the U.S. is taking in very few Christians as part of its refugee program.

The November 2015 report stated that Christian refugees made up only 1.6 percent of total arrivals in 2015, while Muslims made up 97.8 percent of the total.

For comparison, close to 10 percent of the Syrian population is Christian, and at the time more than 700,000 Syrian Christians had been displaced and driven out of their homes because of IS.

The ACLJ has spoken out against IS’ genocide of minorities on a number of occasions, but back in May said that recognizing the genocide, both on the part of the U.S. and the U.N., is an important step toward addressing the crisis.

The organizaton is calling on the international community to take “swift and decisive action,” saying that June’s United Nations Human Rights Council session will have to decide on measures to put an end to the ongoing genocide.

“As the time for the HRC’s meeting is rapidly approaching, it is important that the United States and Secretary Kerry act quickly and decisively in advancing at the United Nations the cause of those Christians targeted by ISIS. We are optimistic that they will do so,” the law group wrote.

One Nation Under Allah? – Attempts to Hide the Truth Will Not Stand

islamIslamic indoctrination is happening in public schools all across America.

Over the past few months, we have updated you on some of the Islamic indoctrination happening in Tennessee and Georgia. However, these are not isolated events – it’s a nation-wide epidemic that has been brewing for a while.

For the last several years, parents from across the country have contacted the ACLJ—from California to Maine—concerned about the teaching of Islam in their local schools. It seems that many schools may be going well beyond simply teaching about a religion. From disparate treatment of religions, to distortion of truth, the teaching of Islam seems entrenched with problems.

Students in Tennessee and Georgia were told to recite the Five Pillars of Islam—the Islamic conversion creed—while not learning about Christianity or Judaism. Some schools in Georgia reportedly went as far as to tell students that Allah is the same Godworshipped by Christians. And at least one Tennessee middle school—where Islam was covered for over three weeks—students were told to write “Allah is the only God,” while the lesson on Christianity was skipped in its entirety. This far surpasses education on the history of world religions. This is indoctrination.

Almost 7,000 Tennessee citizens have contacted us expressing their opposition to this egregious practice. It is our goal to make sure that any unconstitutional actions by the school districts, pertaining to Islamic indoctrination, cease. To this end, we sent open record requests to every school district in Tennessee—on behalf of over 160,000 individuals—to uncover the truth about what students are learning.  Although, several school district attorneys have tried to stall compliance based on the “citizenship” of the ACLJ, the State of Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel has already specifically addressed that matter (in a letter dated September 23, 2015) and has made clear that the requested documents must be made accessible to our requesting attorney, who is a Tennessee citizen, stating:

“Because a corporation does not have the ability to provide a government issued photo identification with an address on it, it is the opinion of this office that for purposes of the Act, the term ‘citizen’ does not include corporations. However, it is also the opinion of this office that when an individual who is making a request on behalf of a corporation is able to produce government issued photo identification that includes a Tennessee address, any record that is responsive to the request and is not confidential is required to be made accessible to the requestor.”(emphasis added)

The opinion from the Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel only serves to underscore what we have known all along – our open records requests are valid, and the school districts are required to produce all records that are responsive to our requests.  We are following up with any school districts that have erroneously denied our open records request.  In the end, these flawed stonewalling tactics will not stand to hide the truth.

Of course, not all school districts in Tennessee followed the stall tactic, and we are currently receiving and working with many districts pertaining to the requested records.

But it’s not just Tennessee where we are involved.  In April, we reported that at least one high school in Wisconsin was apparently forcing students to “pretend you are a Muslim.” We sent a letter to the school—on behalf of thousands of concerned citizens and parents—explaining that forcing students to adopt a particular religious viewpoint violates the Establishment Clause. Now, we have heard from over 205,000 people across the nation, and are currently looking into curriculum concerns in Georgia where we have heard from almost 6,000 citizens and California where we have heard from over 22,000 citizens.

The ACLJ is continuing to fight to end the unconstitutional teaching of Islam in public schools. We are taking on clients and preparing important demand letters to send to these schools and are weighing our legal options to stop this outrage.

Incredibly, as Islam continues to be taught in schools around the nation, students are being denied the right to establish Bible Clubs on campus, bring their Bibles to school, and speak about Christianity. Simply put, schools may not promote Islam while silencing Christianity.

The ACLJ is working tirelessly to protect students’ right across America. Please stand with us as we fight to bring the Constitution back into public schools.

Courtesy of http://aclj.org/religious-liberty/one-nation-under-allah–attempts-to-hide-the-truth-will-not-stand

Sign ACLJ Petition:

Stop Islamic Indoctrination in School

 

How Wide the Divide: Sexuality at the Forefront, Culture at the Crossroads

RZIM_ravi_zacharias_apologetics_how_great_the_divide_supreme_court_decision

A century ago these times were imagined and they are now here. How do we live as Christians in such times?

My mother-in-law is ninety-five years old. She has lived through several wars and numerous other cataclysmic events in her life. Nothing has her more perplexed, shocked, and almost emotionally stunned as the culture wars that have been waged and have changed our world. I see her sitting in church when I am visiting her, obviously wondering why all of her past memories have been lost in the present format of worship. She is not at home either in the world or in her church and eagerly awaits the day when she can be in the City of God, her eternal home. ‎ ‎

What has changed? How did we get here? As Nietzsche would say, “Is there any up or down left? Who gave us a sponge to wipe away the horizon? Will lanterns have to be lit in the morning hours? What sacred games will we need to invent?” Yes, a century ago these times were imagined and they are now here. While the secular world has invented its secular games, many churches have invented their own “sacred” games.

The most daunting question for us today is how do we live as Christians in such times? The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States sent tremors around the globe and I have received scores of messages asking whether we, at RZIM, are going to say anything in response. What more is there to say? The spectrum of views that were immediately expressed said all there was to say. When the law passed, the first thought that came to my mind was Chesterton’s prophetic comment more than half a century ago: “For under the smooth legal surface of our society there are already moving very lawless things. We are always near the breaking-point when we care only for what is legal and nothing for what is lawful. Unless we have a moral principle about such delicate matters as marriage and murder, the whole world will become a welter of exceptions with no rules. There will be so many hard cases that everything will go soft.”

That breaking point is here.   ‎

After hours of pondering and praying, I would like to say something to my fellow believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Naturally, some who disagree with my views will probably be reading this as well so I have to expand the justification a bit. I am keenly aware that on this subject winning the approval of all is not only impossible but if done, would be at the risk of substance. I shall try to walk through this minefield.‎

As Christians, we often look outside of ourselves and wonder why the world is so different from us. We seldom pause and ask how the Church of today has become so different from what it was and so indifferent to the world around us. Liberalism is not just a political term. What has happened in our world was foreseen a few decades ago. Changes were underway then and we were taken by a storm from within. Culture at large moved unabashedly towards the mockery of the Christian worldview; Eastern religions were spared that, either because of the cowardice of the Western critic or simply to not be seen as attacking another ethnic group. But the Church is really where the titanic shifts in the culture started. As the liberal church swung to the extreme of religion without absolutes, the evangelical church flirted with emotionalism without intellect, while some of the mass distributors of spirituality peddled a cosmetic version of truth that was hollow and hairstyles became more important than what was going on in the head itself.

Of course, there are exceptions to these generalities. Some of the most thriving churches today are those that have a deep allegiance to the gospel message. I am honored to often be in their midst and I have hope because of them. But for now, let me just talk about how wide is the divide between secular society and the Church, and why it is. ‎ ‎

There are three starting points that separate the historic Christian view from those who called for the legalizing of gay marriage that is now the law of the land, albeit by one vote.

One, we come from two different definitions of what it means to be human. For the Christian, life is in the soul. The body is the temporal home. George MacDonald said it well: “You do not ‘have’ a soul; you ‘are’ a soul, and ‘have’ a body.” For the one living with a secular worldview there is no such thing as the soul. To be sure, that is not true of all in that disposition. I know many who would not deny the essential spirituality of human life and will admit to a deep struggle between their attractions and their cautions. Strangely, there has also arisen a strained view that seeks to justify the marital bond between any two consenting adults as biblically permissible. I shall not wander into an apologetic countering that. But there are those within their own ranks who seriously challenge such distortion. Fine theologians have argued and demonstrated the cracks in their foundations.‎ ‎

For the most part, in secular terms NOW is all we have and NOW is the moment to enjoy whatever one pleases. A soul-less existence makes the body the sole means of fulfillment. When one starts that way, sexuality is a thing to be restricted only by parameters that are materially referenced. As the songwriter said, “In the dark it is easy to pretend that the truth is what it ought to be.” Touch becomes defined by feel and taste, nothing more than that. “I feel I enjoy it so please stay out of my way.”

‎The contrast here between the Christian worldview and the secular is a big one. For the Christian, not only is life in the soul, but the body, in Jesus’s words, is the temple of God. That is the highest locus of communion between a human being and God. For the one who recognizes no such thing as the sacred, the body is the playing field of life and pleasure sets the rules. This is a significant difference as a starting point.

Two, the Christian believes in absolutes. For the secular person, moral relativism is the only absolute. No one ever really says what something is relative to, but the implication here is that there is no boundary for behavior. Even the economic destruction of those with whom they disagree can become the water-boarding and the slow kill of the secular armory. For the relativist, no decision is determined by a transcendent definition of life, and where there are no absolutes, there had dare not be any prohibition by anyone else. The banner of the atheistic society in England during Christmas two years ago said it all: “There probably is no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Relativism is the open door to fun, absolutes the closed door that destroys fun. That is the way it is seen.

Three, the defender of sexual freedom sees a parallel between what is seen as anti-gay prejudice today and racial prejudice as it was practiced at its lowest point decades ago. Here, a word game has entered the vocabulary. Relativist convictions are supposedly prejudice-free, while absolute convictions are branded as phobias. Any stigma can lick a good dogma, it is said. With that verbal deconstruction of a worldview, all questioning of sexual freedom is castigated as a phobia. Quite amazing that atheists are not called “theophobes” or that those against Christians are not called “christophobes.” Pejoratively, the counter positions have been appended with phobias till we may have a whole new polyphobic dictionary.

But that is the lesser problem. I contend that equating race with sexuality is actually a false premise and an unfortunate analogy.‎ In the matter of race it simply doesn’t matter how I feel about it; my ethnicity transcends my preferences or inclinations. In the Hindi language there is a mildly mocking expression to describe one who acts different to his or her essence in race: “Desi murghi pardesi chal” … “this is a local bird with a foreign walk.” As was recently established, a person may feel like one race, associate primarily with that race and think like that race, but that doesn’t change who she really is. Why is this analogy unfortunate? Because it moves the debate from what is right to what are one’s rights. Ironically, the political party now most aligned with arguing for rights was once the same party that argued against the emancipation of slaves because of the slave-owners’ “rights.” In that case, those rights were overruled by what was right. Interesting that a new word wasn’t coined then to describe those who made moral arguments against the slave-owners’ rights as “slaveophobes.” Thankfully, essential human worth and moral reason trumped existential and pragmatic preferences and by God’s grace, what was right was deemed to be right and the slave was freed.

There are absolutes. To the Christian, every person is made in the image of God and is loved by God. He sent his Son for the whole world, not just for those of a particular race or sexual proclivity. Sex is a sacred trust with deliberate boundaries. It is at once one of the greatest gifts and one of the greatest struggles. The 5000-year-old struggle in the Middle East has its roots in polygamy when two half-brothers shared a father but not the same mother.

‎The violation of race is a violation of the sacred and for the Christian, the violation of sex is seen the same way. The secularist does not see the latter as a violation where there is consent, but this is simply not so for the Christian. Desacralization is an emptying of essential purpose and meaning and leads to the loss of essential purpose in life itself. This is why it is vacuous to say that if two people love each other they may express it in any way they choose. Love is not defined in a way that is self-referencing. It ultimately hangs on the peg of God’s love and how He defines love.‎ ‎

But here a caution is critical. All violation of the sacred, not just sex, is ultimately in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. That is the Christian view. That is why the good news is that God’s gift of salvation and redemption is offered to all. That is why what is right has to win the day over what we may see as rights. As hard as this may seem to some, it is the only hope to avoid the misuse of reason for other attractions. Can we not, on the same argument presently used—adult consent—someday justify a multitude of proclivities? Even more, what is to keep Sharia Law from being brought into the culture to respect the rights of a particular group only to have it one day used by extremists to overrule our present laws? After all, extremists have ways of dictating for all. Isn’t that what we witness time and again? This is not a slippery slope. This is an irrational, runaway train driven in the name of rights and tendentious reasoning. It can happen. I suspect it will happen. The cultural plausibility can shift. Not everything that is fatal is immediate.‎

With these three chasms, the heart sinks and exclaims, how wide is the divide‎!

This, then, brings me as a follower of Jesus Christ to the three most important bridges between all of us, regardless of our views on this issue. The gay community rightly cries out for identity and intimacy. These are, after all, the longings of the mind and heart of every human being, regardless of our position on this issue. This is where the gospel enters as the only way to bring us together.‎ Indeed, the first bridge of the gospel is that my identity is found in Jesus Christ because of whom I must tame my passions. My identity dictates my behavior. Before I committed my life to Jesus Christ, my identity within my culture was dictated by the status of my family: who my father was, how I did in school, what my grades were, how much money I had access to. All these were and are systemically woven into my culture. I had no choice. This is how I was viewed. Take a look at the matrimonial section in India’s newspaper today. Color, caste, education, wealth, beauty all are repeatedly mentioned as parents seek what they consider the best partners for their children. It’s so clearly discriminatory. When my sister married a Hindu convert to Jesus Christ, the challenge for his parents was huge. But amazingly, their understanding of what Jesus Christ had done for their son changed everything. This is the only bridge I know of that can change the human heart.

It is because of this relationship that we change our behavior from what attracts us to what we act upon. This connection is crucial. If I know what it is to be a man, I know how sexual attraction works. Over time you learn that giving in simply does not bring lasting happiness or purpose. It is only in the keeping of the body as the temple that the sacred is upheld and the grace of God brings conviction and restraint. The Bible says we are not to place our offerings on every altar. One psychologist describes indulgence as “short term fleeting relationships with long term bitter disappointments.” This is true of all behavior and of all sexual expression that runs afoul of God’s design. He has built this law into the human fabric. Deep inside we know this. Temporal allurements are ultimately unfulfilling without a spiritual bonding and binding. It is the eternal that must guide the temporal. ‎ ‎

The second bridge the gospel brings is intimacy. We all long for touch. This is true even in the most senior years of one’s life. I have talked to people working in homes for the aged and they have remarked on how much the elderly miss a physical touch and embrace. This is how we are made. Carrying that concept into sexuality, consummation is the all-embracing act of intimacy. Being as consummate as it is it demands exclusivity, otherwise it is rendered profane and common place. Experience tells us this repeatedly. Cultures that totally desacralize sexuality are non-existent. Even the polygamous guard the numbers. Even the unclad have boundaries. There are laws that govern against rapacious acts.

The biblical description of marriage is for one man and one woman in sacred commitment. So profound is this union that the relationship of God to the Church bears that comparison. He is the bridegroom; the Church is the bride.

Is this so abstract that it doesn’t come down to where we are in our individual yearning for intimacy? Not in the least. According to the gospel, God offers us his indwelling presence where spirit touches spirit and the deepest, truest intimacy results. I am fully aware that to one who has never tasted intimacy with God this seems absurd. But it is here that I think we as Christians need to awaken to the unpleasant reality that we have not taught and proclaimed God’s Word faithfully and demonstrated true holiness.

How can my mind be transformed so that intellectually I understand perspectives and counter-perspectives? How do I so embrace God’s truth that it transforms my heart and my inclinations, or at least gives me the ability to control my inclinations? I have a colleague who confessed to having same sex-attractions. He went on to say that on a given day he thought and thought about the Christian message and finally and wholeheartedly surrendered himself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In his words, he “sensed a presence of being overcome from the top of my head to the soles of my feet…I have tasted a glimpse of heaven; why would I stoop to what is below?” Are there days of struggle for him? Is there a certainty of his new affections in Christ? “Yes,” he says to both questions. I have a huge respect for him and his sacrifice.

For the Christian, the question is this: How do I so walk with God that ALL my affections are brought under Jesus’s Lordship, whether my inclinations be same-sex or opposite sex or any other struggle? How may I love those with whom I disagree on these serious matters? The bridges will always be the identity and intimacy offered in the heart commitment to the Savior, first lived out then lovingly taught. ‎ ‎

Also, for the Christian we must remember that we cannot make this realm the eternal order. Our earthly cities are not what eternity alone will bring. Augustine’s two most memorable masterpieces are his Confessions and his City of God. As he lay dying in his home city, barbarians were already scaling the walls of Rome. Even as many churches were being destroyed, the main ones he had planted withstood the carnage. Incredibly, even though his mortal frame was breaking down, people continued coming to him so that he could pray for them. That is a glorious picture. His body was meeting its end. But his soul was not. He had confessed his need for his Savior and he looked to a city whose builder and maker was God. All earthly cities will at some time crumble and fall, as will our mortal bodies. Our eternal place of abiding is in God’s presence, no longer merely in a counter culture but in a place prepared for us. Augustine’s life enfleshed all those truths.‎ ‎

The third and final bridge of the gospel is that of community: the love of God working through us as a Church where worship brings together all our inclinations, surrendered to God’s sacred call for all of us. That is worked out in love and grace. Our worship will have to have theological integrity, not just in form but in substance; worship that is not just moments of exhilaration but is co-extensive with life itself and sermons that are not merely heard but are also seen. The outreach of love will then be embodied and not be mere talk. The Church must not be a fortress guarded by a constabulary but a home where the Father ever awaits the return of each of us who is in the far country. ‎ ‎

For those who follow Jesus Christ, our message to the world must be clear. God transforms the heart and mind and we become his children and his ambassadors. Let us so live that we will never be accused of hate or indifference. But let us also know that compromising the truth is a serious blunder and ends up celebrating that which is not in the will of our Father. This is a painful tension for a believer. To be seen as rejecting a belief or a behavior is not the same as rejecting the person. But God helps us to carry that burden.

By contrast, when Truth is lived out in love and grace, it will always make the faith attractive and even the one who opposes us will recognize the fearful symmetry of a conviction for the sacred that will swim against the tide and a commitment to the person that will find a bridge of hope. We must so live the gospel that men and women will call upon God’s name and make this body his home until we reach our Eternal City bought with the precious sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His body was broken for us so that ours might be mended for Him. ‎ ‎

Ravi Zacharias‎

http://rzim.org/global-blog/how-wide-the-divide-sexuality-at-the-forefront-culture-at-the-crossroads‎