April 2007

There can be little doubt that over the last 15 years or so, the homosexual movement has been stunningly effective in getting much of its agenda put in place. Along with it, gay activists and those who sympathize with them have grasped leadership and decision-making roles in the entertainment industry, news media, academia and many corporate boardrooms.

That success, however, has not engendered a charitable attitude among the victors. Instead, in the U.S. and in other Western democracies, there is a growing hostility on the part of homosexual activists toward those who dare to disagree.

While many Christians merely yawn at warnings about the brash and intolerant nature of the homosexual movement, some are beginning to understand the alarming truth. As gay activists continue to play for keeps, religious freedoms are being trampled in a frightening preview of things to come.

Invited to leave
This gay triumphalism is nowhere more evident than in our nation’s public schools, where some Christians are being shown the door if they don’t like the new cultural realities favoring homosexuals.

Massachusetts provides one of the clearest examples. After that state legalized same-sex marriage in 2003, schools opened the floodgates to pro-gay instruction. Public school officials justified this by pointing out that, if homosexuals could get married, then homosexual relationships and gay sex were as valid as the heterosexual variety.

Lexington Public Schools have, in many ways, been ground zero in the battle between pro-gay school officials and irate parents who don’t want their children – some as young as kindergarten – being indoctrinated.

Paul Ash, superintendent of the Lexington school system, defended the pro-homosexual push. “The district was committed to a certain set of values that I agreed with, so my job was to support that. But I also deeply believe that this is a civil rights issue … ,” he told Bay Windows online, a homosexual news source in Massachusetts. “Are you really going to stand up when you’re under a lot of pressure [from angry parents] and say, this is what I believe, this is what we believe, and we are not going to be bullied by you?”

Many parents, however, didn’t want their kids indoctrinated in a view of homosexuality that differs from their own religious and moral beliefs. Parents, for example, opposed the inclusion in class of books like Who’s in a Family? which teaches preschoolers that homosexual “families” are the same as a mom and a dad; or King and King, a book for elementary school children in which a prince marries another prince instead of a princess.

So what of the rights of these parents? When asked that question by Bay Windows, Ash said defiantly, “When anybody’s been willing to listen to me I say, yes, you [parents] do have rights. You can choose not to send your child to a public school.”

One parent who decided to fight back was David Parker. He and his wife refused to take no for an answer from Lexington public school officials, and filed a federal lawsuit in defense of their parental rights.

According to Mass Resistance, a conservative group supporting the Parkers’ plight, at a court hearing to determine whether or not to dismiss the suit, an attorney for the school district made it quite clear that Ash’s view was the official one.

“Once I have elected to send my child to public school, my fundamental right does not allow me to direct what my child is exposed to in the public school,” the lawyer told U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf.

Whose values?
This uncompromising view toward the rights of Christian parents and others is already prevalent in Europe and Canada, where this attitude has become entrenched.

Those pushing the normalization of homosexuality have led the way in aggressively trying to banish Christian beliefs to the fringe. The prevailing view is that, when gay rights collide with religious rights, homosexuals should win.

One Canadian intellectual, for example, angered many Christians with her public insinuation that the beliefs and practices of religious bodies should become subservient to the greater good of multiculturalism.

In her essay “Whose Values Should Prevail?,” Janice Gross Stein, a political scientist and head of the University of Toronto’s Munk Center for International Affairs, made that case in the fall issue of the Literary Review of Canada.

Despite Canada’s past commitment to multiculturalism, she said, that commitment “is being tested by a resurgence of orthodoxy in Christianity, Islam and Judaism,” as well as growing poverty and “worries about ‘homegrown’ terrorism.”

While Stein recognized that “there is a conflict between equality rights, on the one hand, and the right to freedom of religion, on the other,” she said Canadians “need to ask hard questions about the balance between them.”

For example, she asked, “Does it matter that the Catholic Church, which has special entitlements given to it by the state and benefits from its charitable tax status, refuses to ordain women as priests?”

Apparently, for Stein, it does matter: “How can we in Canada, in the name of religious freedom, continue furtively and silently to sanction this kind of discrimination?”

Constitutional lawyer Peter Lauwers told Catholic Online that he was concerned about Stein’s sentiments, arguing that she is advocating a “brave new world in the future where we all think the same.”

And how would that “new world” be created? Lauwers said the state would undoubtedly have to use its power to “impose its views about religion” on the culture. In that case, he insisted, “[t]he state is no longer being neutral but coercing religious bodies.”

A ‘statutory duty’
In the U.S. gay activists and sympathizers have already been acting as if Stein’s theoretical discussion is a concrete reality. Last winter in Massachusetts, for example, Catholic Charities of Boston, which has specialized over the years in placing hard-to-adopt children with willing families, came under fire for its religious views.

Because the Catholic Church holds true to a Biblical view of homosexuality, Catholic Charities has always refused to place children with gay couples.

In light of the 2003 court ruling, however, the Massachusetts legislature passed a law requiring all adoption agencies to start placing children with homosexuals who are interested in adopting.

Catholic Charities requested a religious exemption to be added to the measure, since the church’s religious beliefs conflicted. Catholic officials merely asked that they be allowed to refer interested gay couples to nonreligious agencies when seeking to adopt

Legislators flatly refused, and Catholic Charities, after more than 100 years of service as an adoption agency, said it had no choice but to end its involvement in this area of ministry.

A similar conflict developed in Great Britain last fall, when Parliament passed similar legislation requiring all adoption agencies to place children with qualified gay couples.

Once again, the Catholic Church petitioned the government for a religious exemption, but was turned down by Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to LifeSite.net. “There is no place in our society for discrimination,” he said, adding that the Catholic Church had a “statutory duty” to make sure that gay couples could adopt through each of its seven agencies.

The bottom line? As in Massachusetts, Catholic adoption agencies will not be allowed to operate without submitting to the pro-homosexual law.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham complained that Parliament was “engaged in an intense and at times aggressive reshaping of our moral framework.” He also said that “those who are elected to fashion our laws are not elected to be our moral tutors.”

Lashing out
Meanwhile, in San Francisco last year city officials were going beyond merely being moral tutors. When Catholic Church officials in that city said its adoption agencies would not place children through its adoption agencies with homosexual couples, the board of supervisors fired off an official condemnation of the Catholic Church.

According to LifeSite.net, the board unanimously passed a resolution calling the church’s religious beliefs about homosexuality and adoption “hateful and discriminatory” and something that was “both insulting and callous.”

San Francisco officials also said the Catholic Church’s policy demonstrated “a level of insensitivity and ignorance which has seldom been encountered by the board of supervisors.”

Attorneys representing the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights filed a federal lawsuit against the city for violating the First Amendment. The premise of the suit: The U.S. Constitution has not only been understood as precluding government support for a particular religion, but also government hostility.

Attorneys from the Thomas More Law Center argued that the “anti-Catholic resolution sends a clear message to plaintiffs and others who are faithful adherents to the Catholic faith that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community. …”

Amazingly, U. S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel disagreed, stating that the Catholic Church had “provoked this debate” by issuing its doctrinal statement. As a result, she said, the board of supervisors had every right to refuse to “remain silent in the face of this provocation.”

Religious beliefs are a “provocation” that justifies governmental hostility? Christian doctrine is tossed aside and churches are forced to promote homosexuality if they want their ministries to remain open? Parents are told to allow their children to be indoctrinated about gay relationships or go elsewhere?

Lauwers is wrong. The “brave new world” advocated by Stein and others is not a future one – in some communities it’s already here. Believers who refuse to see the handwriting on the wall should refrain from complaining when that world comes crashing down in theirs.