By Dr. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
October 17, 2014
In its October 13th editorial, the Raleigh News and Observer argued that since same-sex marriage is now legal in the state, North Carolinians should move past the debate. “Now, we hope the debate will subside,” the paper wrote.
Although same-sex marriage supporters certainly want the issue to go away, that’s not likely to ever happen. For many, the opposition to same-sex marriage is deeply rooted in their religious convictions. Gay activists and others that affirm the lifestyle understand this, and, therefore, are determined to either humiliate or legislate people of faith that object into silence.
We already see this with the ascension of gay marriage in the Tar Heel state, when it’s still only in its infancy.
In an October 6th editorial, the Charlotte Observer essentially mocked those who believe there is any rational reason to prevent same-sex marriage. The editorial quoted the Family Research Council’s president, Tony Perkins, who said the judicially led effort to force same-sex marriage on the country would have negative consequences for our republic. “Not only as it relates to natural marriage but also undermining the rule of and respect for law.”
To which the Charlotte Observer replied with sophomoric ridicule:
“All that’s missing is Bill Murray in the movie ‘Ghostbusters’ predicting ‘a disaster of biblical proportions…human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!”
Sunday, October 12th, I received an urgent email via my iPhone from a Southern Baptist Director of Missions (DOM) in our state. He said two men in his Baptist Association were magistrates, one a pastor and the other a chairman of deacons. As magistrates, they were required to perform marriages, but because of their faith neither felt they could perform a same-sex ceremony. “What should they do?” was the insistent request from the DOM. I suspected this was likely the start of a rough week for some conscientious believers.
I was right.
By Tuesday I was learning about a magistrate in Pasquotank County, Gary Littleton, who was citing religious beliefs for his refusal to officiate a same-sex marriage of a male couple. Although another magistrate performed the marriage the next day, Littleton could face disciplinary action for obeying his conscience and exercising his First Amendment rights.
Later in the week, the Burlington Times reported a magistrate in Alamance County was saying he couldn’t perform gay nuptials, even if it cost him his job. Apparently, he wasn’t the only person in that office with this sentiment. The paper also noted that nearly half of the people in the Register of Deeds office were “uncomfortable filling out and accepting marriage licenses for same-sex couples.” Hugh Webster, Alamance County’s Register of Deeds was willing to do it when others in his office objected on moral grounds.
On Thursday, news surfaced that Rockingham County magistrate; John Kallam Jr. resigned because of a conflict between marrying gay couples and his faith. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Kallam’s resignation letter to Chief District Court Judge Fred Wilkins stated:
“When I took my oath of office, I understood that I would be required to perform weddings and have done so throughout my tenure. I did not, however, take that oath with any understanding that I would be required to marry same-sex couples. It is my personal belief and a position of my Christian faith that doing so would desecrate a holy institution established by God himself.”
How has Equality NC, the state’s largest gay rights organization responded? Chris Sgro, their executive director asserted:
“While we respect a person’s religious freedom and views, same-sex couples seeking non-religious ceremonies in tax-payer funded state buildings by state officials who receive salaries from our tax dollars should not be put in the position to be refused by anyone working for the state of North Carolina. We pledge to work diligently with local, state, and federal officials to assure that all state employees, including those in North Carolina’s 100 counties, are upholding the laws of our state.”
Never mind that conservative Christians are tax-payers too. In other words, Sgro is saying those who morally object to their way of life should recognize same-sex marriage is now affirmed and sanctioned in law. The LGBT community recognizes you possess a faith, but it is irrelevant, comply or be gone. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
In a recent edition of the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s Family Policy Facts, Alysse ElHage succinctly summarizes Equality NC’s insensitive, calloused, and even hypocritical position. She writes:
“Equality NC’s lack of tolerance for religious liberty is telling since some groups have used religious freedom to argue in favor of same-sex marriage. In a federal lawsuit in the Western District of North Carolina, a group of pro-homosexual religious leaders argued that the state’s marriage laws violated their religious beliefs by not allowing them to solemnize same-sex marriages. Now that same-sex marriage has been forced upon North Carolina by the courts, homosexual activists are unwilling to allow basic religious freedoms to the citizens of this state, including local officials, who believe that marriage is only between one man and one woman.”
What we are witnessing is just the beginning of clashes between religious liberty and same-sex marriage in the Tar Heel state. I can think of numerous other ways there will likely be collisions in the near future, such as where federal funds or accreditation are connected to Christian secondary and post-secondary schools.
If you want to know the true countenance of homosexual activism, you only need to look into the face of lesbian Mayor Annise Parker of Houston. Parker recently retaliated against pastors in that city by issuing a city order that they turn over all their sermon texts related to LGBT issues. What was their crime? The pastors had previously opposed a Houston LGBT ordinance.
The Raleigh News and Observer’s call for an end to the debate on homosexual unions is exceedingly naïve, grossly uninformed, and disingenuous. One can only wonder why the paper wasn’t willing to let the debate end when North Carolina’s marriage protection amendment became law with over 60% of the vote.
Nevertheless, the debate will, unquestionably, go on. In fact, it will escalate. Religious liberty and matters of conscience are now seriously at stake. No, I don’t think the debate will subside anytime soon.