I’m posting this article because I think it is relevant to the discussion in the previous post. After this I’ll probably cool it with posts about homosexuality simply because I’m not raising some kind of banner against homosexuality because I’m on some kind of crusade. But I do think this is a pressing and important issue facing our culture, but especially the church.

A recent story by NPR reveals that many gay rights advocates want more than acceptance in mainstream America. Many are waging war against any religious establishment that openly espouses that homosexuality is a sin.

Armed with those legal protections, same-sex couples are beginning to challenge policies of religious organizations that exclude them, claiming that a religious group’s view that homosexual marriage is a sin cannot be used to violate their right to equal treatment. Now parochial schools, “parachurch” organizations such as Catholic Charities and businesses that refuse to serve gay couples are being sued — and so far, the religious groups are losing. Here are a few cases: Armed with those legal protections, same-sex couples are beginning to challenge policies of religious organizations that exclude them, claiming that a religious group’s view that homosexual marriage is a sin cannot be used to violate their right to equal treatment. Now parochial schools, “parachurch” organizations such as Catholic Charities and businesses that refuse to serve gay couples are being sued — and so far, the religious groups are losing. Here are a few cases:

Adoption services: Catholic Charities in Massachusetts refused to place children with same-sex couples as required by Massachusetts law. After a legislative struggle — during which the Senate president said he could not support a bill “condoning discrimination” — Catholic Charities pulled out of the adoption business in 2006.

Medical services: A Christian gynecologist at North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group in Vista, Calif., refused to give his patient in vitro fertilization treatment because she is in a lesbian relationship, and he claimed that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. (The doctor referred the patient to his partner, who agreed to do the treatment.) The woman sued under the state’s civil rights act. The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in May 2008, and legal experts believe that the woman’s right to medical treatment will trump the doctor’s religious beliefs. One justice suggested that the doctors take up a different line of business.

Wedding services: A same sex couple in Albuquerque asked a photographer, Elaine Huguenin, to shoot their commitment ceremony. The photographer declined, saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from sanctioning same-sex unions. The couple sued, and the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found the photographer guilty of discrimination. It ordered her to pay the lesbian couple’s legal fees ($6,600). The photographer is appealing.

Wedding facilities: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of New Jersey, a Methodist organization, refused to rent its boardwalk pavilion to a lesbian couple for their civil union ceremony. The couple filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. The division ruled that the boardwalk property was open for public use, therefore the Methodist group could not discriminate against gay couples using it. In the interim, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection revoked a portion of the association’s tax benefits. The case is ongoing.

Youth groups: The city of Berkeley, Calif., requested that the Sea Scouts (affiliated with the Boy Scouts) formally agree to not discriminate against gay men in exchange for free use of berths in the city’s marina. The Sea Scouts sued, claiming this violated their beliefs and First Amendment right to the freedom to associate with other like-minded people. In 2006, the California Supreme Court ruled against the youth group. In San Diego, the Boy Scouts lost access to the city-owned aquatic center for the same reason. While these cases do not directly involve same-sex unions, they presage future conflicts about whether religiously oriented or parachurch organizations may prohibit, for example, gay couples from teaching at summer camp. In June 2008, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asked the California Supreme Court to review the Boy Scouts’ leases. Meanwhile, the mayor’s office in Philadelphia revoked the Boy Scouts’ $1-a-year lease for a city building.

These examples certainly do not likely represent the aim and agenda of every homosexual seeking the same kind of privileges and acceptance that heterosexuals enjoy in the US, but they do reveal that there is a sinister ambition driving much of what is happening among gay and lesbian rights advocates. I find it ironic that within a community that would champion diversity, even prize it is a esteemed character trait, this same community would militantly attack religious groups, organizations and individuals who, for the sake of conscience and conviction, refuse to participate in actions that would in any way seem to validate or affirm a lifestyle they consider sinful. How can you argue for the right to embrace any lifestyle choice one deems appropriate as long as it does not infringe upon the rights and preferences of others, while at the same time seeking to undermine that same privilege among those with whom you disagree?  When you look at the hard evidence, the documented agenda of the gay and lesbian community appears to be a full-on war against conservative religous groups. This is cause for serious concern. The ramifications of these pending court rulings could have a profound effect on the liberties of the church in the near future.

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