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Topics: Cultural Engagement, Current Events, Marriage

Compelled to Compromise: Paying the Price of Citizenship for What You Believe, Part 2

August 29, 2013

Elaine Huguenin. Image courtesy Alliance Defending Freedom

By Greg Scott

Should Christians – can Christians – “compromise?”

In Tuesday’s post, “Compelled to Compromise,” I covered the troubling Aug. 22 New Mexico Supreme Court decision involving a young Christian photographer accused of “sexual orientation discrimination.” The unanimous ruling upheld the “discrimination” charge against Elaine Huguenin who declined to use her art to promote a false message about marriage.

Christians like Elaine, according to the concurring opinion, “now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” This means absolute submission to the state’s ideological dictates and the desertion of all conscience claims – even those explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution and especially those non-negotiable tenets of orthodox Christian faith and practice.

I illustrated in the earlier post that this case isn’t a one-off that Christians might ignore. It is part of a coerced conformity movement that has infected the elite institutions, including the highest levels of our government, and has Christians in its crosshairs.

Chai Feldblum, wrote: ” …we should not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT people …Protecting one group’s identity liberty may, at times, require that we burden others’ belief liberty…it is essential that we not privilege moral beliefs that are religiously based over other sincerely held, core, moral beliefs.”

This is not some cloistered academic, but a good-standing member of the ruling class.  Feldblum is an appointee on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal body “responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee.”

So, Christians must decide – writing on the wall as it is – how we will respond when presented with such choices as Elaine had before her.

There are several possible paths.

Abandon Faith

One option is to throw in with mammon. A pinch of incense, or “compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others,” whatever price Caesar demands, as long as our 401k gets fatter and our lattes stay skinny. If it makes us happy, choosing the “creature [comforts] rather than the Creator” is OK. Let the culture and the state tell us “how we should then live” and we will live well.

As one giga-church pastor proclaims: “…face the reality of the world we live in and adjust your sails. Culture is like the wind. You can’t stop it. You shouldn’t spit in it. But, if like a good sailor you will adjust your sails, you can harness the winds of culture to take your audience where they need to go. If people are more interested in being happy, then play to that. Jesus did.”

[The Apostle Paul used the sailing metaphor to make quite a different point that the quoted pastor would do well to heed.]

And what makes Americans happier and more stress-free than financial security and approval from the cool people? All you have to do is “compromise, if only a little” and none of that will be threatened.

Abandon the Public Square

Christians can just withdraw. Since most would never really withdraw, it would look more like a sort of suburban monasticism. But it would be a statement to say “to Hades with it all,” right?

We wouldn’t openly violate our faith to stay in business or just because the state says so, but we would never put ourselves in a position where that would even be necessary.  We won’t advocate for righteousness in our laws and our leaders. We may not even vote. We tell our kids to stop inviting classmates to church-sponsored events because the principal called and said it’s a “violation of the separation between church and state.” We believe that Christians should “stop being so political” by talking about abortion and homosexuality, and dig a well in Tanzania.

We will have our jobs and our businesses and our hobbies and our vacations, but are careful to never create friction between our faith and our social or professional interactions. We’ll have our faith, but never “impose it” on anyone else.

Of course, I am not seriously suggesting that either of the above options is acceptable. I will argue that the only option is to abandon fear.

The attack on God’s created order, manifest in the momentum toward compulsory exaltation of sexual confusion and the deliberate destruction of marriage, is a direct assault on the Christian faith and the Christians who profess it.

Our sovereign Lord has placed us in the here and now. And He hasn’t put us here to be silent while He is defamed. Rather, we are here so He is proclaimed.

What we do in our day in the face of the danger before us has serious Gospel implications. I will flesh all that out in my next post, in which I recommend Jon and Elaine Huguenin as a model of Christian response to the peril of our day.


Greg Scott is Senior Director of Media Relations at Alliance Defending Freedom in Scottsdale, Ariz. He previously served 10 years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps, most recently as a Public Affairs Officer at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.





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