Let me be clear right off. I refuse to fight over this issue. My stance is what it is. It is not bigotted, nor is it “intolerant” or “fearful” of those who prefer a different sexual lifestyle. I do not hate the homosexual or any part of that community. I simply disagree with their lifestyle choice. Since when is it wrong to disagree with people? There are a lot of things in life that I disagree with and yet I am not considered bigotted for my disagreement. For one, I disagree with the lifestyle and the politics of Donald Trump, and yet I am not labelled a “bigot” or a “politi-phobe“. I simply have the right to express my disagreement with his lifestyle, position and politics. It is the same with many other issues such as divorce. I do not like or agree with divorce for simply any old reason at all. And yet I am not categorized as a “divorce-a-phobe“. Can I not hold to that opinion? Can I not own a viewpoint that is based upon my own personal convictions? Or must it be dictated to me by special interest groups that happen to have political clout and sports and rock star status? I doubt that Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams will come to my aid when my beliefs, choices and convictions are attacked.
I think everyone knew that this would be contentious. Everyone in their right mind knew that the lobbyists of the GLBTQ community will not rest until they have quietted anyone and everyone who opposes them. While at the same time there are those who are militantly opposed to the legislation and are looking for a confrontation on the issue.
Currently, there are a number of states down in the U.S. who have legislated protection for religious groups to practice their faith without being forced to compromise their civil rights, personal faith and convictions. To me this makes perfect sense. Even with the writing of this blog I know I will be castigated as a”homophobe” or a “bigot” and an “intolerant” Christian pastor. But please know that nothing could be further from the truth. I ask simply for respectful dialogue and clear and respectful thinking on these issues.
I, as a Christian, simply adhere to a different authority, the authority of the God of the Bible. I choose to obey Him as He has directed my beliefs that are found in the Bible, as countless millions have done throughout the history of the world. And yet, today, there are those who say, that I should not be allowed to do this, or to even have the freedom to do that. Well who, then, is being intolerant?
So, as a Baptist pastor, and one who is given the responsibility, opportunity and privelige to perform marriage ceremonies in the province of Ontario…I take each marriage ceremony very seriously. And so, as a matter of personal conviction, I cannot in good conscience formalize and bless a relationship that God has clearly forbidden. But the real issue at hand is…why are religious people or the the church considered to be the intolerant ones of the rights of gay people…but it is not considered intolerant of the Gay and Lesbian (GLBQT) community to disagree with the position of the Church?
I honestly do not see any other way to pave over this issue and bring a harmonious resolution. In almost every community there are churches who do provide those same services to the GLBTQ community that they are seeking. Why then are those of us who choose not to marry these individuals considered to be intolerant? Why is there a target of accusation on our backs? As nations, Canada and the United States were both founded upon the right to religious freedom…however that is expressed. This means that the Mormon has every right as the Baptist as the Unitarian and as the Jehovah Witness to practice their faith driven lifestyle as much as the Gay and Lesbian individual have the freedom to practice their chosen lifestyle. The GLBTQ individual does not agree with what I believe…and yet I do not accuse them of bigotry toward me and my commnity of faith. And at the same time, I do not agree with what they believe…hence we have the beauty of religious freedom… the freedom to choose according to our own conscience.
The Biblical church will always have their belief system based upon the Bible which is their ultimate authority. You take that belief system away and you are subjugating their freedom to practice according to their conscience. What kind of a world will be the result? The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms should protect those who choose to follow their authority of their faith. Be it the Bible, the Koran or any other standard of authority. It is not intolerant, it is not racist or bigotted. It should be loving and yet disagreeing. In a civilized society there is nothing wrong with that.
This my dear friends is where I stand.