Homosexual groups are celebrating in Europe this week as once more they have triumphed in a court of law over believing Christians. The European Court of Human Rights upheld decisions of British courts that had decided homosexual rights trump the rights of Christians whose faith teaches them homosexuality is wrong.
To be sure, the results of a handful of cases before the court were ever so slightly mixed. The single victory was limited. A woman is now allowed to wear her cross necklace to her job at British Airways, though another woman in a linked case lost her right to wear the same necklace to her hospital job.
The other cases, however, were substantial and far-reaching and make it plain that with impunity Christians will be hobbled in the outward expression of their faith and continue to be driven from their jobs.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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The decisions were reached by the European Court of Human Rights, which is the court that oversees human rights issues in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, which reviewed cases already decided in British courts.
The truly troubling cases involved two British subjects who objected to working within the regime of homosexual marriage in the UK. Lillian Ladele spent 16 years as a marriage registrar. By all account she had an exemplary record. When the British government mandated homosexual marriage, she asked to be exempt from registering such couples.
The second case dealt with Gary McFarlane who worked as a counselor for a large national counseling service. He was fired from his job for “gross misconduct” after a training course during which he told superiors that providing homosexual couples with “psycho-sexual therapy” would violate his “conscience” and his “deeply held religious beliefs.” He was fired simply for voicing his concerns.
In both cases the British courts held that marriage between one man and one woman were not core Christian beliefs and therefore not protected. The European Court upheld this dim view.
Homosexual groups are jubilant that freedom of religion has taken a beating by the court. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association “welcomed this decision and especially the Court’s recognition that preventing sexual orientation discrimination is an important and legitimate purpose that justifies restrictions on freedom of religion.
Some conservative pundits have suggested that the debate over homosexual marriage—and all that comes with it—is over and that what we should focus our attention building certain fire walls that allow religious folk to practice their religion.
If someone in Europe cannot express his reservations about homosexual marriage without losing his job, and if another person’s religious objection to registering homosexuals for marriage cannot be accommodated, then it seems, at least in Europe, that the firewall has been breached.
These European decisions clearly demonstrate that the firewall will not hold if marriage itself crumbles. Europe largely allows for homosexual marriage. Has that slaked the thirst of the homosexuals? No, they want it all. They want Christians prostrate before them and before the law.
Here is a similar example from the US just a few days ago.
An Evangelical Pastor was disinvited from delivering the Invocation at the President’s Inauguration next week. His crime was that once long ago he said the homosexual “movement is not a benevolent movement. It is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and mood of the day, to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle as it relates to marriage.” Other than saying the movement is “not benevolent”, this remark could easily be the mission statement of the Human Rights Campaign. In this context, though, it was a firing offense.
Janice Crouse wrote an op-ed about this in the Washington Times. “The Obama administration has thrown down a gauntlet, declaring that anyone who espouses historic, biblical Christian teaching will be prohibited from participation in events in the public square,” wrote Crouse. “As Christians, we cannot back down from our religious freedoms, nor can we betray our faith by watering down scripturally based Gospel.”
Wayne Beeson of something called Truth Wins Out, a group that persecutes those who believe homosexual behavior can change, went on the attack. “No one is taking away her right to hold backward beliefs or speak out against what she regards as sin. However, Crouse and other evangelicals routinely confuse freedom with having free rein to insult and demonize others without suffering consequences.”
But then Beeson goes on to say, “Crouse can either find a new way to interpret her Bible or people will increasingly interpret her offensive views as unfit for polite company.”
There is little doubt that the Wayne Beeson’s of the world would love to silence Janice Crouse like they are silencing those in Europe. In Europe they are farther down that road than here. Over there they can now use courts to uphold unjust firings.
Over here they can only go after those who work in government or those who work for private companies that can be bullied into discriminating against those who hold nothing more and nothing less than the ancient teachings of Christianity.
This madness one day shall pass. Who knows when? Certainly no time soon. In those happier and saner days, people will marvel at how this ever happened. How did the tiniest of minorities—no more than 2% of the population—get in a position to silence the beliefs and punish the practices of hundreds of millions?
What we know is this. No matter how many Christians they persecute and prosecute, no matter how much society tolerates or even celebrates their sexual proclivities, no matter how many Gay-Straight Alliances are foisted upon our public schools, none of that will still in them the nagging feeling that what they do in bed is unnatural, and their attraction to their own sex is morally wrong. That nagging voice will never go entirely away.