A Self-inflicted TKO

The Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao’s popularity with the LGBT community is on the ropes after a couple of posts he made. He first tweeted gay people “are worse than animals.” And later published Leviticus 20:13 in a post on Instagram that calls for the sentence of death for those who engage in homosexuality.

In his rush to scripturally support his position, Pacquiao has introduce some confusion as to what certain passages mean. Some say that his Instagram post is calling for gays to be executed. I do not think that is what he meant, but he knocked himself out on a technicality.

It is not my job to defend Manny, but in the interest of clarifying what the Scriptures teach I will try to dispel any misunderstanding stemming from the statements made and the Scriptures quoted.

Man is created in the image of God. That image is marred by the sin nature we inherited from our first parents. This means man is capable of a nobility of spirit and action that surpasses the animals, and yet, possesses a nature so flawed he is capable of a baser depravity than animals. Animals cannot be holy or sinful; man can be both, and subsequently better than or worse than animals depending on the situation.

Israel prayed to be delivered from Egyptian bondage and God answered by sending Moses and delivering His people through ten supernatural plagues. When Pharaoh finally released Israel he changed his mind and pursued them to the Red Sea where God again supernaturally saved them. God did not set Israel free from slavery to Pharaoh so they could do as they please, but purchased them out of Egyptian servitude so they could serve Him (Exodus 8:1).

In the theocracy of ancient Israel immoral sins were also crimes. A homosexual act was punishable by death, but so were adultery and other immoral acts (Leviticus 20:10-16). Adultery was considered a perversion of the sex act and just as abominable as homosexuality (Leviticus 18:20-30).

God had purchased Israel and expected them to “be holy, for I am holy,” (Leviticus 11:44). The death penalty for immorality showed how serious God was for His people to live holy and to deter immorality, and failing that, to eliminate it. Israel was chosen to be an example of holiness to neighboring nations. There is no indication in the Scriptures that God intended or expected this penal code to be exported from the historical-cultural period in which it was made the law of the land.

To criminalize homosexuality and punish it with death would be hypocritical unless adultery and other immoral acts were treated the same, and that would probably decimate the current cultural population.

Nevertheless, the legal sanctioning of same-sex unions undermines the institution of marriage unable to fulfill the simple command to our first parents to “be fruitful and multiply,” Genesis 1:28. Same-sex unions can contribute nothing to the next generation of our nation’s greatest resource, our human resource.

The Amendment Process

The United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges ruled same-sex marriages are constitutional. This decision opened the floodgates to those seeking special protections from supposed discrimination. Since then there have been a host of attempts, with some successes, to pass state or local laws protecting the rights of lesbians, homosexuals, transgender people, etc., from discrimination.

Whenever this happens it has never been enacted by a vote of the electorate. Typically, a legislative body or judicial decree imposes such ordinances. The HERO ordinance in Houston is a case in point.

Houston’s lesbian mayor Annise Parker led the city council to adopt the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. It allowed transgender women, men who believe they are women, to use the women’s restroom if they wanted to. When several local pastors demanded the ordinance be put to a referendum of registered voters, Mayor Parker challenged their demand in court. The LGBT community knows they have a better chance in a court of appeal than the court of public opinion.

The Texas Supreme Court ordered Houston to put the issue on the ballot and it was resoundingly defeated. In fact, though LGBT activists claim statistically most Americans approve of their lifestyles, there has not been an instance to my knowledge of any popular vote for special protections for those in the LGBT community.

When and where they have been able, those who begged for tolerance for their views have exercised extreme intolerance of those who disagree with their immorality. Suing those who would not bake them a cake, or demanding others to issue them a marriage license, and more.

Some state legislatures have adopted laws to protect their constituents from being forced to violate their conscience in conflicting matters of faith. But these may prove to be stopgap measures if challenged constitutionally.

Whenever the Supreme Court abuses its discretion it does not necessarily have the last say. The people can lobby congress to invoke the amendment process under Article V. If two-thirds of each house of Congress vote to amend the constitution, such amendment must be submitted to the state legislatures and becomes law when three-fourths of the states, 38, ratify it.

If an amendment worded, “Marriage in the United States of America will be defined as between one natural man and one natural woman, and no other marriage will be recognized legally,” will void Obergefell v. Hodges, and make marriage of one man to one woman the law of the land.

Irish statesman Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The psalmist put it this way, “Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked,” Proverbs 25:26.

With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative, the future of marriage is further imperiled by a Court made more liberal under a successful Obama nomination. A well-worded marriage amendment is needed now more than ever. Our course is clear.

Discrimination is not always bad

Words are fascinating. I ask you to bear with me for a moment as I write about words, what they mean and how they are used. This is important, as we shall see.

Let’s take the word discriminate. The word means to distinguish between differences of things and based on those differences to have a preference. For instance, my favorite color is blue. My preference for blue is readily apparent in my choice of apparel. I am very discriminating when it comes to the color of clothing that I buy and wear. This type of discrimination is neutral, neither good nor bad.

Promiscuous means to be indiscriminate. The exact opposite of discriminate. Because I am married, I am not promiscuous. I am very discriminating when it comes to whom I have sex with. My wife thinks this kind of discrimination is good, and I agree.

It took the Civil Rights Movement in this country to awaken our nation’s conscience to the fact that discrimination based on racial prejudice is bad, immoral. Sadly, we are still learning that lesson today. So in this sense discrimination is bad.

This brings us to the case of Christian Ortega. Ortega began attending Biola University, a private Christian university in Southern California, in 2010. In 2014, Ortega took a position at another place and suspended his educational pursuits for a semester. During this time away from Biola, Ortega came out as gay on social media.

When Ortega tried to reapply as a student, his reapplication met a snag. Evidently, he hid his homosexuality when he first came to Biola, and now his very public acknowledgement of his homosexuality is in direct conflict with the university’s clearly worded doctrinal statement. It reads, “Biblical marriage consists only of a faithful, heterosexual union between one genetic male and one genetic female, and biblical marriage is the only legitimate and acceptable context for a sexual relationship.”

Despite the fact that he deceived Biola of his homosexuality when he first began his studies, he feels he is being treated unfairly because he is not being allowed to resume his education there. He thinks his deceit should be ignored and rewarded with reinstatement.

One protester said, “Freedom of religion is not freedom to discriminate.” That is untrue. Freedom of religion gives one the right to discriminate as to which god he worships and what practices or behavior are righteous and sinful. Freedom of religion inherently means the right to pursue one’s beliefs and practices without being forced to follow another’s beliefs and practices.

“Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below, there is no other,” Deuteronomy 4:39. Either freedom of religion is the right to discriminate which god one worships and which god’s commandments one follows, or it is no freedom at all.

Biola University is not forcing its heterosexuality on Ortega, and he should not be allowed to force his homosexuality on Biola.

A Perspective of Politics

I am an avowed Biblicist. By that I mean, I believe the Bible is the word of God and as such is a wholly reliable and authoritative guide to what we as Christians should believe and how we should live. My worldview is seen through a biblical lens.

My understanding of the Scriptures is based on the plain meaning of the text when understood in its grammatical-historical context. Some passages are clear in their meaning while others are less so, but we understand those less clear passages in the light of those that are clearer.

Like the reformer, Martin Luther, my conscience is captive to the word of God. Ergo, I write from conviction and not constraint to another’s opinion. My convictions are influenced and informed by biblical scholars who offer well-reasoned commentary from the Scriptures, but are ultimately formed by the Scriptures themselves.

I am not claiming my understanding of the Bible is perfect nor my commentary based on that understanding, but I can only write based on what I believe to be true, not what others think. Like anyone I appreciate encouragement, and I am not fond of criticism, but I must write without regard to praise or ridicule if I am to be true to what I think the Word of God teaches.

Chief among my concerns in American politics is their reflection of how far we as a nation have drifted from our Judeo-Christian moorings, and that believers seem ever closer to bartering their kingdom birthright away for a mess of political pottage.

I am not saying we should ignore the ballot box, I am saying we should not let it become a substitute for the greater influence we have in our prayer closet.

Alan K. Simpson, former Senator from Wyoming, once said, “If you have integrity; nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity; nothing else matters.” Integrity is one of those issues that concern me. It is one of the attributes I look for in a candidate.

If one brags about having numerous marital affairs, but has never asked forgiveness because he says he doesn’t need it, and claims to be a Christian that person is, in my estimation, not in possession of the sorely needed integrity it takes to lead this nation. I am concerned for my nation and who leads it, but I am not desperate.

“Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice for man comes from the Lord,” Proverbs 29:26. Ultimately, what is just, politically or otherwise, is in the hands of God, because those who rule cannot always be trusted to do what they say they will do, or what is right.

For these reasons my perspective of politics is focused on the issues and principles, not the candidates or personalities. As a matter of principle I do not make endorsements of political candidates. That ground is too unstable.