A county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on religious grounds was held in contempt of court by a U.S. federal judge on Thursday and sent to jail.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, 49, was led away by U.S. marshals who confirmed she was under arrest.
“The court doesn’t do this lightly,” District Court Judge David Bunning said in ordering that she be taken into custody.
Bunning said his earlier injunction ordering Davis to issue marriage licenses applied to everyone and not just the four couples whose suit in July had accused Davis of not doing her job.
Before and during the hearing, about 200 demonstrators on both sides of the issue gathered outside the courthouse, some chanting slogans and many holding signs. As word of the ruling emerged, supporters of same-sex marriage erupted in cheers.
Davis’ deputies still face their own reckoning as Bunning assigned each of them attorneys and said their fate would be determined at a hearing later on Thursday. He warned they could face fines or jail.
Davis’ attorney objected, saying Davis had not given her deputies authority to issue marriage licenses.
The hearing in Ashland, Kentucky, lasted just over two hours. Crying at times, the soft-spoken Davis maintained that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman and she was unable to recognize same-sex marriages.
“Marriage is a union between one man and one woman,” she said under questioning by her attorney.
Davis thanked the judge before walking toward the marshals.
Also testifying was April Miller, who along with her partner Karen Jacobs had three times tried to get a marriage license from Davis’ office. They were one of four couples who sued Davis in July.
When asked why she had not simply gone to another county to get a license, Miller said she wanted it in the county in which she has lived for nine years. Miller, who said she voted for Davis in last year’s election for clerk, said she has been in a relationship with her partner for 11 years.
A U.S. marshal said he did not know to which detention facility Davis was being sent. Davis told Fox News earlier she was ready to go to jail for her beliefs.
“I’ve weighed the cost and I’m prepared to go to jail,” Davis told Fox in an interview published on Thursday. “This has never been a gay or lesbian issue for me. This is about upholding the Word of God.”
Apostolic Christian beliefs are rooted in a literal interpretation of the Bible.
Davis, who earns about $80,000 a year, according to state officials, is being legally represented at no cost by Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based Christian religious advocacy organization.
Some demonstrators outside the courthouse chanted slogans like “God is great” or “Do your job,” and many held signs or flags, like the rainbow flag—a symbol for gay rights.
Warren Howard of Ashland said he wants Davis to do her job or quit.
“Seems like every time something backwards happens, Kentucky’s on the sides of the backwardness,” he said. “And the thing about it is: It’s not true. Most of the people I speak to realize this shouldn’t have went on for as long as it has.”
More people came out in support of Davis. One man held a sign saying,
Theresa Craig from nearby Carter County, Kentucky, said the courts were a disgrace for not backing Davis.
“Ms. Kim Davis, she’s doing the right thing,” Craig said. “She’s just standing up for her God, which as Christians we need to do.”
Back in Morehead, Kentucky, phones at the clerk’s office rang busy and a sign on the door from Davis said the office was closed for the day as she and her staff appeared in Ashland for the hearing. The sign said the office would reopen on Friday.
(Additional reporting by Daniel Bases in New York, Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago and Emily Stephenson in Washington; Writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by Howard Goller)
9/3/2015 | Steve Bittenbender | Source: charismanews.com "Source: Uncompromising Christian Clerk Jailed for Refusing to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses"
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day”.
Such was the case when key Christian leaders got together at the beginning of July 2015 and in desperation called for 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting for a ‘Miracle for Marriage’ from 20 July to Sunday 9 August 2015.
The good news is that things happen when people pray!
Below are nine miracles that the Canberra Declaration Team believes came about because of answered prayers. We know that much blood, sweat, and tears were involved in everything surrounding these wonderful outcomes, but as St Augustine said, “Without God, I can’t. Without me, He won’t.” Soli deo Gloria! (To God be the glory!)
[1.0] On Monday 10 August over 3,000 bouquets of flowers landed on the lawns of Parliament House, Canberra, addressed to the Prime Minister, with thousands of Thank You’s. The miracle is that although correct protocols were not met, the message still got through to the PM and parliamentarians.
[2.0] A full page advert ran in The Australian on Monday 10 August which helped to influence a miracle vote in the Coalition Party Room. The miracle is the supply of God’s provision to the wonderful team at the Marriage Forum who sponsored the advert.
[3.0] The decisive and overwhelming majority vote in support of traditional marriage by the Coalition members in the marathon party room meeting. It started at 9AM and finished at 10.30PM (with some lengthy breaks throughout the day). The miracle is the massive margin of 33 votes, with 66 votes cast for retaining marriage as party policy to 33 against.
[4.0] Katy Faust from USA and Millie Fontana from Melbourne, who have both experienced as children the challenges associated with same-sex parenting, shared their personal stories with parliamentarians from 11-13 August. The miracle is the open door invitation by parliamentarians who wanted to hear the truth for themselves about the injustices that the redefinition of marriage inflicts on children. Millie’s story was quoted in the party room.
[5.0] On Wednesday 12 August, Katy Faust appeared on Lateline and her interview became one of the most popular videos in the history of Lateline.
The miracle is the eloquence of Katy Faust and the fact that Tony Jones and that the ABC, unashamed proponents of homosexual marriage, aired the interview.
[6.0] On Thursday 13 August, the Uluru Bark Petition, in support of marriage, was launched at Parliament House, Canberra by over 70 Indigenous elders and leaders, from all over Australia. The miracle is the unity and sacrifice that brought them together at short notice.
[7.0] On Friday 14 August, a tabloid size advert appeared in The Australian (page 4) advertising the full Uluru Bark Petition in both Pitjantjatjara and English to 492,000 influential Australians. The miracle is the supply of finance to create and run the advertisement.
[8.0] On Monday 17 August, ABC Media Watch exposed the incredible bias against supporters of marriage between a man and a woman by the Australian media elite.The miracle is that the truth was told on ABC TV. Thank God for the Marriage Alliance.
[9.0] On Monday 17 August the highly anti-family, pro-homosexual Q & A program, featured not one but two supporters of marriage between a man and a woman. Usually the odds are 5 to 1 against, but in this case the odds were only 4 to 2 against; Tony Jones also being an avid supporter of homosexual marriage. The miracle is that Brendan O’Neill, a Marxist atheist and Katy Faust bravely hit the ball right out of the ball park.
See the full show here.
The miracles continued this week with Brendan O’Neill‘s article in The Australian called the ‘Perfectly Normal are branded as Bigots’ and the brilliant article in the Courier Mail by Jane Fynes-Clinton, exposing the intolerance of those who want to redefine marriage.
The team at the Canberra Declaration are in awe of the combined effect of all these separate miracles to create one big ‘Miracle for Marriage’.
God has truly answered our prayers. To Him be all the glory.
We ask you to do two things:
- Give thanks to God and pray for the breakthrough to continue.
- Sign the Uluru Bark Petition in support of marriage between a man and a woman and tell all your friends to do the same. Together we can make a difference. Soli deo Gloria.
Yours for more Marriage Miracles
Warwick Marsh and Ben Pratt
- Thanks for your continued financial support.
- We cannot exist without it.
- Help us to continue to protect marriage.
- Please give NOW.
Good News Update 134, 22 August 2015 | Canberra Declaration | canberradeclaration.org.au | firstname.lastname@example.org | phone 02 4272 9100 or 0418 225 212
The entire case for embracing the homosexual lifestyle is built on lies, falsehoods and deception. I have now written three books on this topic, and in them I deal with these myths in great detail. In some 600 pages with around 1400 footnotes I carefully document, assess, and refute the various lies and myths put out by the militant homosexual lobby. I encourage you to get those volumes so that you have the full documentation on all this.
You will find all three here for example:
Here then are my top ten myths:
Homosexuals are born that way. There is no reliable research indicating a genetic basis of homosexuality. At best, there continues to be a debate about what is more influential: nature or nurture. The bulk of homosexuals who have gone for counselling have admitted to early childhood factors, such as an absent or aloof or abusive parent, and so on. And many homosexuals have now fully left the lifestyle, giving lie to the claim that one cannot change.
10% of the population is homosexual. No reputable study has ever come up with these figures. Instead, the numbers always range from 1 to 3 percent. It was sexual deviant Alfred Kinsey and the homosexual activists who invented the 10 percent figure. It is not based on science but ideology and activism.
Homosexuals just want to be free to privately do their thing. Yes many do. And if this were fully true, there would be no need to write this article. But many activists are seeking to ram their agenda down the throats of everyone else. They insist on publicly flaunting, promoting and celebrating their lifestyle, and they are using the heavy hand of the law to quash all opposition.
Homosexual marriage will not affect anyone else. As I carefully document in great detail in my books, everyone is impacted by homosexual marriage. The negative results are getting worse by the day. All over the West those who dare to resist the homosexual agenda or simply affirm heterosexual marriage are losing their jobs, being fined, and even thrown into prison.
There is no slippery slope. We are already seeing the slippery slope in action. Now that homosexual marriage is being accepted, all sorts of other groups are demanding that their forms of sexuality be recognised, applauded and legalised. This we have active and vocal groups calling for the complete recognition of things like polyamory, incest, bestiality, paedophilia, objectamory, and so on. And most of these groups are using the identical arguments used by the homosexual lobby.
Marriage is only about love. Marriage is not just about love between people. Love can exist outside of a marriage: a brother can love a sister, a son can love a father, a girl can love a cat. But marriage is a special kind of love: a life-long commitment, publicly acknowledged, with the possibility of procreation. Heterosexual married love is special, as it entails the possibility of rearing and raising the next generation.
Heterosexual marriage is a recent invention. The secular left seeks to tell you that the traditional married family is a creation of America in the 1950s. This is pure nonsense. All cultures throughout human history have had a recognisable form of male-female marriage. And the institution of marriage existed even before the state acknowledged or regulated it.
Children raised in homosexual households do just fine. This is not the finding of the social sciences. Countless studies have now shown that children raised outside of the male-female marriage unit suffer greatly in every area, from poor educational performance, likelihood to move into drugs and crime, higher suicide rates, and so on. Family structure does matter, and those children raised in homosexual households are now coming out and telling their very sad stories.
Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. Jesus spoke often about the original purposes for human sexuality as found in the opening chapters of Genesis. He affirmed and repeated these norms, and lashed out at other forms. And arguing from silence is poor form anyway: he also said nothing about rape or arson. Does that mean he approved of those things?
Love is all that matters. The Bible has a much different understanding of love than many have today. Biblical love is certainly not about lust, nor is it about getting whatever you crave. Biblical love is about willing the highest good for the other person. And it involves keeping God’s commandments. Jesus and others made it clear that to love God is to keep his Word, not break it or ignore it.
And here is the list from Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council in America:
by Peter Sprigg , CP Guest Contributor March 16, 2015 Original Source: christianpost.com "10 Myths About Redefining Marriage" (Peter Sprigg is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.)
10 MYTHS ABOUT REDEFINING MARRIAGE
-We would teach-wrongly-that procreation is no longer a uniquely important public interest.
-We would teach-wrongly-that children do not need a mother and a father.
-We would teach that adult desires, not the interests of society or the needs of children, should drive the definition of marriage.
Source: christianpost.com “10 myths about redefining marriage”
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on whether the U.S. Constitution includes a “right” to marry someone of the same sex, they – and the public – should be wary of falling for these myths.
Related: » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch
Published: 13.6.15 | Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch | Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day… | Original Source: billmuehlenberg.com "Top Twenty Myths Pushed by the Homosexual Activists"
Whenever you hear lefties talk about the need for open and honest debate, you can usually count on them to mean that only their point of view should be heard. It is all one-way traffic with these folks: they want to fill the airwaves and monopolise the media, and ban any dissenting viewpoints.
That is the left’s definition of free debate. And it happens all the time. The left is not interested in what the other side says or believes. What it wants is complete domination of the public arena, where differing views are squashed and censored.
This tells us all we need to know about the paucity of their arguments and the shallowness of their positions. If they are not able to allow genuine free exchange of ideas, then you know their ideology is bankrupt. But that is always how they operate: stifle dissent and shout down opposing opinions.
Consider just one brief example I came upon moments ago:
Stating an anti-transgender opinion is close to forbidden in today’s “news” pages and “news” rooms, especially after the Bruce Jenner fawning frenzy. Exhibit A? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist and associate editor Jennifer Graham wrote a column truthfully titled “Caitlyn Jenner is still a mister.” JimRomenesko.com notes Jay Brown of the so-called Human Rights Campaign demanded in a letter that she be fired for “hate speech, plain and simple”.
Yep, fire anybody who dares to take a non-PC and non-sodomite line on things. Forget about freedom of speech. Forget about differences of opinion. ‘You will believe my way or it’s the highway.’ Pure leftism in action – intellectual Stalinism in other words.
And this certainly happens all the time in the abortion debate as well. Just yesterday another classic example of this took place.
Consider how a pro-life group was treated when the leftist jackboots got wind of what they were doing:
Each month Grill’d restaurants give $500 to three local charities, encouraging patrons to decide which group gets more of the money by placing a bottle top in a jar.
More than 100 organisations apply each month in Queensland.
Criticism spilled onto social media, with many perplexed by the chain’s conservative approach.
Founder and managing director of Grill’d Simon Crowe apologised for Cherish Life being selected and said its ideals did not align with Grill’d.
“This time we didn’t apply the right vigour or discipline in deciding who gets in,” he told 612 ABC Brisbane. “Unfortunately it’s a mistake that we made at our end.”
Mr Crowe said although everyone had a right to an opinion on subjects such as abortion, Grill’d was pro-choice.
“We are very much about pro-choice,” he said. “We’ve removed the jar in question.“
“Everyone has a right to have their opinion, but in this instance our opinion is about pro-choice.”
So let me see if I have got this straight: this business is so pro-choice that it will not allow any other choices except their own. They think everyone has a right to their own opinion, but they must be silenced if it differs from Grill’d. Right, Got it. Makes perfect sense to me.
Gotta love that commitment to choice:
The article did allow a brief word from the group concerned:
Cherish Life state president Teresa Martin said the organisation wanted to use the money to give pins to students to promote education about gestation.
“There is nothing to do with a pro-life, pro-choice issue on the jar,” Ms Martin said.
“We believe women deserve real information and real choice so they can make a choice and not just be shepherded down one path.
“I feel like this is an orchestrated campaign by pro-abortion people.”
It sure was orchestrated by the pro-death crowd, and their leftist media mates. This is standard operating procedure from the secular left. Shut down and shout down any contrarian voices. That is their take on freedom of speech. For the left, free speech means, ‘I have a right to speak – you shut up.’
Now because this is a private business, I do not necessarily begrudge them the right to refuse certain causes. But the glaring hypocrisy on display here and the appalling double standards certainly does get my goat. When you have folks ranting on and on about choice, all the while denying others their choices, then you know you have the usual leftish hypocrisy in action.
But there would be thousands more such cases. This is just the normal way the left goes about its business. It is called the end of freedom, free speech and democracy. Just the way the left likes it.
Teresa Martin adds this advice:
We encourage you all to send a letter of complaint expressing your dissatisfaction about the censorship of the situation to the OWNER of the chain as soon as possible:
Level 2, 4-10 Amsterdam Street
Richmond VIC 3121
or email him on: www.grilld.com.au/say-hi/
Related: » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch
Published: 12.6.15 | Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch | Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on issues of the day… | Original Source: billmuehlenberg.com “Leftist Debate: Only One Voice Allowed”
by Shane Idleman
Tony Campolo recently said this about gay-marriage, “(L)ike so many other Christians, I was deeply uncertain about what was right.” But the Bible is crystal clear on sexual sin, including homosexuality. Unfortunately, those who are sounding the alarm are often categorized as irrational, judgmental, bigoted and intolerant. But how can we warn if we won’t confront, correct if we won’t challenge and and contend if we won’t question? We must speak the truth in love.
My hope is that readers will read the entire article before drawing conclusions. I have nothing but compassion for those trapped in sexual sin. Those who strongly believe in the Bible and God’s will regarding sexual behavior also strongly believe in unconditional love and forgiveness. To say that authentic Christians hate or fear those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the Christian faith. To “confront in love” simply comes from a desire to honor God and to truly love and care for others. The ability to relate to people on their level, show genuine concern, and love them regardless of their lifestyle is the mark of true Christianity.
It’s no surprise that the church, and our nation, desperately need to hear “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” to awaken, convict and restore. It was not so long ago that we were concerned about “the fall of America.” America cannot fall because she has already fallen. We are now picking up the pieces of a broken nation reflected in our laws, our personal lives, our families and our children. America’s moral heartbeat has ceased because we cut off the source of life.
When people, groups, denominations or movements depart from absolute truth and thus quench and grieve the Spirit of God, they become mechanical in their approach to Christianity and lose the ability to guide.
The Word of God is not in their hearts “like a burning fire” (Jer. 20:9), but relative, powerless and debatable. This is what we see today.
Consider the following in light of Tony Campolo’s recent comments supporting gay-marriage:
1. The “moral” laws in the Old Testament such as killing, stealing, lying, adultery, sexual immorality and so on are all valid today.
Jesus referred often to the Old Testament, and said that He didn’t come to abolish it, but to fulfill it. Although many of the ceremonial and dietary laws of the Old Testament do not necessarily apply today, the moral laws do. They are as significant today as they have been throughout history. For example, Leviticus 20:13 states, “If a man lies with another man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” To suggest that this verse is invalid today is to advocate the dangerous practice of redefining or deleting what God has said. Not to mention other stories in the Old Testament that highlight the dangers of homosexuality and all sexual sin.
The consequences of wrong actions may have changed, but the moral implications remain the same. For instance, even though we no longer stone to death those who commit adultery, this does not mean that adultery is acceptable or any less dangerous. Adultery is wrong even though there aren’t legal consequences. The laws of a nation should reflect God’s Word, but they are never above it!
2. Jesus condemned “all” sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman.
He said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.” (Matt. 15:19-20). Jesus was implying that all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is harmful and immoral. The word “fornication” in the Greek is porneia; where the word “pornography” comes from. We cannot say, “But I was born this way.” I was born to lie, cheat, lust and deceive, but this doesn’t make it right. It makes me sinful and in need of a Savior.
3. An argument cannot be based solely on silence.
To suggest that Jesus approved of homosexuality simply because He did not use the term “homosexual,” is to imply that He approved of necrophilia, pedophilia, incest and bestiality. But of course, we know better.
4. Other passages in the New Testament are clear on this issue as well. Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 are good places to start.
In short, mankind did not see fit to acknowledge God, and they suppressed the truth; therefore, God gave them over to a depraved mind—to do those things which are not proper. Homosexual behavior, and sexual sin in general, is comparable with dishonoring the body and turning from God. John Piper said, “The sexual disordering of the human race is a judgment of God for exchanging Him for the creature.”
5. Jesus said that since the beginning of creation, God created them male and female in order that they would be joined together and become one flesh.
He adds, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9). Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s plan since creation. No matter how many laws are passed in favor of gay marriage, it will not change God’s mind. Man often rebels against God; this is nothing new.
Jesus would often speak out against sin, but His love and mercy also reached out to those who regretted and hated their condition. Forgiveness is a mark of genuine faith. We should have compassion for those who struggle with same-sex attraction because we all struggle with sin, but at the same time, we should not condone or excuse this type of sin any more than we condone or excuse any other sin.
I’m convinced that the majority of the churches in America are seeking to please the masses rather than convict. Judgment is never mentioned; repentance is rarely sought; and sin is often excused. We want to build a church rather than break a heart; be politically correct rather than biblically correct; coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict. This leaves people confused and deceived because we teach and live a form of Christianity void of repentance … void of truth.
As a final word of encouragement, if you’re hopeless, depressed and confused, look to the One who created you.
He has the answers. No matter what you have done, you have the ability to turn to Christ and start anew. It’s all about who you know: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
06/11/2015 | by Shane Idleman | Original Source: charismanews.com "5 Ways Tony Campolo and Others Miss the Bible Mark With New Views on Gay Christians"
A message to MP’s or Senators “Marriage Definition”
ACT TODAY: Can we encourage you to print it off, (see PDF below) and call in at your Federal MP or Senator’s office and drop it in to them as soon as possible. Just go unannounced to the office, and tell the receptionist that you would like to drop this document in for the MP to read. Make sure you leave your name and address and a contact phone number and email address so he can respond.
ACT TODAY: Write a Letter to Australian MP’s or Senators re: Proposed Marriage Definition vs. Traditional definition of marriage HOW TO WRITE
Original Source: Open Email from Peter Abetz (Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly) 13 June 2015
Letter Argument Ideas
Rights of the Children
Same-Sex Marriage dismisses any possible impact on children where the State deliberately intervenes and forces children to be raised either without their mother or father.
There are different and complementary attributes that a mother and father bring when parenting children.
The United Nation on Rights of the Child states in article 9 “Children should not be separated from their parents unless it is for their own good. For example, if a parent is mistreating or neglecting a child. Children whose parents have separated have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might harm the child.”
The convention also states that “Children also have the right to know their parents and, as far as possible, to be cared for by them.”
Tradition of Marriage always being between a man and woman
Marriage has always been the relationship between a man and a woman. Even in ancient Greece or Rome where homosexuality existed the term marriage was reserved for relationships between a man and a woman.
Marriage is unique as it recognises the important of marriage between a man and woman that provides opportunities for the raising of children.
Many people have argued that any bill to change the definition of marriage would include clauses to give religious exemptions. Jurisdictions such as the United States of America and Canada have shown that even with these clauses in place businesses, schools etc are forced to teach that same-sex marriage is the same as heterosexual marriage and that fines can apply for conscientious objections.
Do not Change Legislation for only a few
This debate is not about the right for homosexuals to have relationships with one another. It is about changing the definition of marriage to cater for only a small percentage of the population. We should not change something as significant as marriage for just a few.
No to a conscience vote for the coalition (this is the most important point when writing to coalition members – not relevant to Labor)
The Liberal Party has always held a position to support the family unit. Something as significant as the institution of marriage is something that a political party should have a position on and in the case of the Liberal Party, continue to support the traditional family unit.
I will be looking at how things progress in the future and hope that you support traditional marriage both individually, and that there is no conscience vote. If a motion comes to the party room, it is very important that you vote against the conscience vote! This is the way to uphold the party policy on marriage. This was the policy that the coalition took to the last election and it must be maintained.
- Lots of emails are good and phone calls are good. Please go ahead with them. Hand written letters are the most powerful. Please write several hand written letters and encourage friends to write as well.
- A good idea is to invite a group of friends over and have everyone write three short letters each, thus multiplying your efforts.
- It is critical that coalition MPs on the above list receive as many hand written letters as possible in the second week of June (8 to 12). These letters must urge them to oppose a conscience vote.
- If you are a member of the relevant party it is a good idea to mention this on your letters.
- If your local member is not on the above lists, it is a good idea to write to them as well.
This is but the start of action on this front. An organisaton is being created ensure that the definition of marriage remains as it is. In order to be up to date please register your interest at email@example.com. With questions contact Christian Ellis on 0416 012 503.
Than you for being involved on such an important issue!
Coalition Members Contact List
(2015 Australian Government)
|Alexander, John||Lib||NSW||Bennelong||(02) 9869 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Brandis, George||Lib||QLD||QLD||(07) 3862 email@example.com|
|Briggs, Jamie||Lib||SA||Mayo||(08) 8398 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Griggs, Natasha||Lib||NT||Solomon||(08) 8928 email@example.com|
|Hawke, Alex||Lib||NSW||Mitchell||(02) 9899 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Hockey, Joe||Lib||NSW||North Sydney||(02) 9929 email@example.com|
|Howarth, Luke||Lib||QLD||Petrie||(07) 3284 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Hunt, Greg||Lib||VIC||Flinders||(03) 5979 email@example.com|
|Hutchinson, Eric||Lib||TAS||Lyons||(03) 6398 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ley, Sussan||Lib||NSW||Farrer||(02) 6021 email@example.com|
|Pasin, Tony||Lib||SA||Barker||(08) 8531 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Pitt, Keith||Lib||QLD||Hinkler||0417 771 email@example.com|
|Porter, Christian||Lib||WA||Pearce||(08) 9294 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Price, Melissa||Lib||WA||Durack||(08) 9964 email@example.com|
|Ruddock, Philip||Lib||NSW||Berowra||(02) 9980 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Scullion, Nigel||Lib||NT||NT||(08) 8948 email@example.com|
|Smith, Tony||Lib||VIC||Casey||(03) 9727 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Stone, Sharman||Lib||VIC||Murray||(03) 5821 email@example.com|
|Sudmalis, Ann||Lib||NSW||Gilmore||(02) 4423 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Taylor, Angus||Lib||NSW||Hume||(02) 4822 email@example.com|
|Wicks, Lucy||Lib||NSW||Robertson||(02) 4322 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Hogan, Kevin||Nat||NSW||Page||(02) 6622 email@example.com|
|McKenzie, Bridget||Nat||VIC||VIC||(03) 5441 firstname.lastname@example.org|
Coalition Members Contact List
(2015 Australian Government)
|Name||Party||State||address 1||address 2||suburb||State||Postcode|
|Alexander, John||Lib||NSW||Federal Member for Bennelong||PO Box 872||Epping||NSW||2121|
|Brandis, George||Lib||QLD||Senator of QLD||PO Box 143||Albion||QLD||4010|
|Briggs, Jamie||Lib||SA||Federal Member for Mayo||PO Box 1601||Mount Barker||SA||5251|
|Griggs, Natasha||Lib||NT||Federal Member for Solomon||PO Box 43300||Casuarina||NT||811|
|Hawke, Alex||Lib||NSW||Federal Member for Mitchell||PO Box 1173||Castle Hill||NSW||2154|
|Hockey, Joe||Lib||NSW||Federal Member for North Sydney||PO Box 1107||North Sydney||NSW||2059|
|Howarth, Luke||Lib||QLD||40 Hornibrook Esplanade||Clontarf Beach||QLD||4019|
|Hunt, Greg||Lib||VIC||Federal Member for Flinders||PO Box 274||Hastings||VIC||3915|
|Hutchinson, Eric||Lib||TAS||Federal Member for Lyons||PO Box 50||Perth||TAS||7300|
|Ley, Sussan||Lib||NSW||Federal Member for Farrer||PO Box 672||Albury||NSW||2640|
|Pasin, Tony||Lib||SA||Shop 17, Murray Bridge Market Place||South Terrace||Murray Bridge||SA||5253|
|Pitt, Keith||Lib||QLD||Federal Member for Hinkler||PO Box 535||Bundaberg West||QLD||4670|
|Porter, Christian||Lib||WA||Federal Member for Pearce||PO Box 1005||Midland||WA||6936|
|Price, Melissa||Lib||WA||Federal Member for Durack||2B/209 Foreshore Drive||Geraldton||WA||6530|
|Ruddock, Philip||Lib||NSW||Federal Member for Berowra||PO Box 743||Pennant Hills||NSW||1715|
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Original Source: Open Email from Peter Abetz (Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly) 13 June 2015
Open Letter from Catch the Fire Ministries
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:26:38
Dear Family and friends,
Please urgently click on the link below, scroll down and vote NO, that you do not think the legalisation of same sex marriage is inevitable. We have until Saturday to show the media how bible believing Christians feel about this matter.
Your vote really counts.
Thanks very much and may God bless you.
Love in Christ
Catch the Fire Ministries
30 Star Crescent
Ph 9703 1620
Fax 8786 3062
Author : Vines, Matthew.
Tittle: God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships,
Publisher: Convergent Books (April 22, 2014)
Author: Wilson, Ken.
Tittle: A Letter to My Congregation.
Publisher:David Crumm Media, LLC (February 5, 2014)
By Tim Keller
The relationship of homosexuality to Christianity is one of the main topics of discussion in our culture today. In the fall of last year I wrote a review of books by Wesley Hill and Sam Allberry that take the historic Christian view, in Hill’s words: “that homosexuality was not God’s original creative intention for humanity … and therefore that homosexual practice goes against God’s express will for all human beings, especially those who trust in Christ.”
There are a number of other books that take the opposite view, namely that the Bible either allows for or supports same sex relationships. Over the last year or so I (and other pastors at Redeemer) have been regularly asked for responses to their arguments. The two most read volumes taking this position seem to be those by Matthew Vines and Ken Wilson. The review of these two books will be longer than usual because the topic is so contested today and, while I disagree with the authors’ theses, a too-brief review can’t avoid appearing cursory and dismissive. Hence the length.
I see six basic arguments that these books and others like them make.
1: Knowing gay people personally.
Vines and Wilson relate stories of people who were sure that the Bible condemned homosexuality. However, they were brought to a change of mind through getting to know gay people personally. It is certainly important for Christians who are not gay to hear the hearts and stories of people who are attracted to the same sex.
And when I see people discarding their older beliefs that homosexuality is sinful after engaging with loving, wise, gay people, I’m inclined to agree that those earlier views were likely defective. In fact, they must have been essentially a form of bigotry. They could not have been based on theological or ethical principles, or on an understanding of historical biblical teaching. They must have been grounded instead on a stereotype of gay people as worse sinners than others (which is itself a shallow theology of sin.) So I say good riddance to bigotry. However, the reality of bigotry cannot itself prove that the Bible never forbids homosexuality. We have to look to the text to determine that.
2: Consulting historical scholarship.
Vines and Wilson claim that scholarly research into the historical background show that biblical authors were not forbidding all same sex relationships, but only exploitative ones — pederasty, prostitution, and rape. Their argument is that Paul and other biblical writers had no concept of an innate homosexual orientation, that they only knew of exploitative homosexual practices, and therefore they had no concept of mutual, loving, same-sex relationships.
These arguments were first asserted in the 1980s by John Boswell and Robin Scroggs. Vines, Wilson and others are essentially repopularizing them. However, they do not seem to be aware that the great preponderance of the best historical scholarship since the 1980s — by the full spectrum of secular, liberal and conservative researchers — has rejected that assertion. Here are two examples.
Bernadette Brooten and William Loader have presented strong evidence that homosexual orientation was known in antiquity. Aristophanes’ speech in Plato’s Symposium, for example, tells a story about how Zeus split the original human beings in half, creating both heterosexual and homosexual humans, each of which were seeking to be reunited to their “lost halves” — heterosexuals seeking the opposite sex and homosexuals the same sex. Whether Aristophanes believed this myth literally is not the point. It was an explanation of a phenomenon the ancients could definitely see — that some people are inherently attracted to the same sex rather than the opposite sex.
Contra Vines, et al, the ancients also knew about mutual, non-exploitative same sex relationships. In Romans 1, Paul describes homosexuality as men burning with passion “for one another” (verse 27). That is mutuality. Such a term could not represent rape, nor prostitution, nor pederasty (man/boy relationships). Paul could have used terms in Romans 1 that specifically designated those practices, but he did not. He categorically condemns all sexual relations between people of the same sex, both men and women. Paul knew about mutual same-sex relationships, and the ancients knew of homosexual orientation. Nonetheless “Nothing indicates that Paul is exempting some same-sex intercourse as acceptable.” (Loader, Making Sense of Sex, p.137).
I urge readers to familiarize themselves with this research. A good place to start is the Kindle book by William Loader Sexuality in the New Testament (2010) or his much largerThe New Testament on Sexuality (2012). Loader is the most prominent expert on ancient and biblical views of sexuality, having written five large and two small volumes in his lifetime. It is worth noting that Loader himself does not personally see anything wrong with homosexual relationships; he just — rightly and definitively — proves that you can’t get the Bible itself to give them any support.
3: Re-categorizing same sex relations.
A third line of reasoning in these volumes and others like them involves recategorization. In the past, homosexuality was categorized by all Christian churches and theology as sin. However, many argue that homosexuality should be put in the same category as slavery and segregation. Vines writes, for example, that the Bible supported slavery and that most Christians used to believe that some form of slavery was condoned by the Bible, but we have now come to see that all slavery is wrong. Therefore, just as Christians interpreted the Bible to support segregation and slavery until times changed, so Christians should change their interpretations about homosexuality as history moves forward.
But historians such as Mark Noll (America’s God, 2005 and The Civil War as a Theological Crisis, 2006) have shown the 19th century position some people took that the Bible condoned race-based chattel slavery was highly controversial and never a consensus. Most Protestants in Canada and Britain (and many in the northern U.S. states) condemned it as being wholly against the Scripture. Rodney Stark (For the Glory of God, 2003) points out that the Catholic church also came out early against the African slave trade. David L. Chappell in his history of the Civil Rights Movement (A Stone of Hope, 2003) went further. He proves that even before the Supreme Court decisions of the mid-50s, almost no one was promoting the slender and forced biblical justifications for racial superiority and segregation. Even otherwise racist theologians and ministers could not find a basis for white supremacy in the Bible.
So we see the analogy between the church’s view of slavery and its view of homosexuality breaks down. Up until very recently, all Christian churches and theologians unanimously read the Bible as condemning homosexuality. By contrast, there was never any consensus or even a majority of churches that thought slavery and segregation were supported by the Bible. David Chappell shows that even within the segregationist South, efforts to support racial separation from the Bible collapsed within a few years. Does anyone really think that within a few years from now there will be no one willing to defend the traditional view of sexuality from biblical texts? The answer is surely no. This negates the claim that the number, strength, and clarity of those biblical texts supposedly supporting slavery and those texts condemning homosexuality are equal, and equally open to changed interpretations.
Wilson puts forward a different form of the recategorization argument when he says the issue of same-sex relations in the church is like issues of divorce and remarriage, Christian participation in war, or the use of in vitro fertilization. We can extend that list to include matters such as women’s roles in ministry and society, as well as views of baptism, charismatic gifts, and so on. These are “issues where good Christians differ.” We may believe that another Christian with a different view of divorce is seriously wrong, but we don’t say this means his or her view undermines orthodox Christian faith. Wilson, Vines, and many others argue that same-sex relations must now be put into this category. Since we see that there are sincere Christians who disagree over this, it is said, we should “agree to disagree” on this.
However history shows that same-sex relations do not belong in this category, either. Around each of the other items on Wilson’s list there are long-standing and historical divisions within the church. There have always been substantial parts of the church that came to different positions on these issues. But until very, very recently, there had been complete unanimity about homosexuality in the church across all centuries, cultures, and even across major divisions of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions. So homosexuality is categorically different. One has to ask, then, why is it the case that literally no church, theologian, or Christian thinker or movement ever thought that any kind of same sex relationships was allowable until now?
One answer to the question is an ironic one. During the Civil War, British Presbyterian biblical scholars told their southern American colleagues who supported slavery that they were reading the Scriptural texts through cultural blinders. They wanted to find evidence for their views in the Bible and voila — they found it. If no Christian reading the Bible — across diverse cultures and times — ever previously discovered support for same-sex relationships in the Bible until today, it is hard not to wonder if many now have new cultural spectacles on, having a strong predisposition to find in these texts evidence for the views they already hold.
What are those cultural spectacles? The reason that homosexual relationships make so much more sense to people today than in previous times is because they have absorbed late modern western culture’s narratives about the human life. Our society presses its members to believe “you have to be yourself,” that sexual desires are crucial to personal identity, that any curbing of strong sexual desires leads to psychological damage, and that individuals should be free to live as they alone see fit.
These narratives have been well analyzed by scholars such as Robert Bellah and Charles Taylor. They are beliefs about the nature of reality that are not self-evident to most societies and they carry no more empirical proof than any other religious beliefs. They are also filled with inconsistencies and problems. Both Vines and Wilson largely assume these cultural narratives. It is these faith assumptions about identity and freedom that make the straightforward reading of the biblical texts seem so wrong to them. They are the underlying reason for their views, but they are never identified or discussed.
4: Revising biblical authority.
Vines and Wilson claim that they continue to hold to a high view of biblical authority, and that they believe the Bible is completely true, but that they don’t think it teaches all same-sex relations are wrong. Vines argues that while the Levitical code forbids homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22) it also forbids eating shellfish (Leviticus 11:9-12). Yet, he says, Christians no longer regard eating shellfish as wrong — so why can’t we change our minds on homosexuality? Here Vines is rejecting the New Testament understanding that the ceremonial laws of Moses around the sacrificial system and ritual purity were fulfilled in Christ and no longer binding, but that the moral law of the Old Testament is still in force. Hebrews 10:16, for example, tells us that the Holy Spirit writes “God’s laws” on Christians’ hearts (so they are obviously still in force), even though that same book of the Bible tells us that some of those Mosaic laws — the ceremonial — are no longer in binding on us. This view has been accepted by all branches of the church since New Testament times.
When Vines refuses to accept this ancient distinction between the ceremonial and moral law, he is doing much more than simply giving us an alternative interpretation of the Old Testament — he is radically revising what biblical authority means. When he says “Christians no longer regard eating shellfish as wrong,” and then applies this to homosexuality (though assuming that Leviticus 19:18 — the Golden Rule — is still in force), he is assuming that it is Christians themselves, not the Bible, who have the right to decide which parts of the Bible are essentially now out of date. That decisively shifts the ultimate authority to define right and wrong onto the individual Christian and away from the biblical text.
The traditional view is this: Yes, there are things in the Bible that Christians no longer have to follow but, if the Scripture is our final authority, it is only the Bible itself that can tell us what those things are. The prohibitions against homosexuality are re-stated in the New Testament (Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Timothy 1) but Jesus himself (Mark 7), as well as the rest of the New Testament, tells us that the clean laws and ceremonial code is no longer in force.
Vines asserts that he maintains a belief in biblical authority, but with arguments like this one he is actually undermining it. This represents a massive shift in historic Christian theology and life.
5: Being on the wrong side of history.
More explicit in Wilson’s volume than Vines’ is the common argument that history is moving toward greater freedom and equality for individuals, and so refusing to accept same-sex relationships is a futile attempt to stop inevitable historical development. Wilson says that the “complex forces” of history showed Christians that they were wrong about slavery and something like that is happening now with homosexuality.
Charles Taylor, however, explains how this idea of inevitable historical progress developed out of the Enlightenment optimism about human nature and reason. It is another place where these writers seem to uncritically adopt background understandings that are foreign to the Bible. If we believe in the Bible’s authority, then shifts in public opinion should not matter. The Christian faith will always be offensive to every culture at some points.
And besides, if you read Eric Kaufmann’s Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? (2010) and follow the latest demographic research, you will know that the world is not inevitably becoming more secular. The percentage of the world’s population that are non-religious, and that put emphasis on individuals determining their own moral values, is shrinking. The more conservative religious faiths are growing very fast. No one studying these trends believes that history is moving in the direction of more secular societies.
6: Missing the biblical vision.
The saddest thing for me as a reader was how, in books on the Bible and sex, Vines and Wilson concentrated almost wholly on the biblical negatives, the prohibitions against homosexual practice, instead of giving sustained attention to the high, (yes) glorious Scriptural vision of sexuality. Both authors rightly say that the Bible calls for mutual loving relationships in marriage, but it points to far more than that.
In Genesis 1 you see pairs of different but complementary things made to work together: heaven and earth, sea and land, even God and humanity. It is part of the brilliance of God’s creation that diverse, unlike things are made to unite and create dynamic wholes which generate more and more life and beauty through their relationships. As N.T. Wright points out, the creation and uniting of male and female at the end of Genesis 2 is the climax of all this.
That means that male and female have unique, non-interchangeable glories — they each see and do things that the other cannot. Sex was created by God to be a way to mingle these strengths and glories within a life-long covenant of marriage. Marriage is the most intense (though not the only) place where this reunion of male and female takes place in human life. Male and female reshape, learn from, and work together.
Therefore, in one of the great ironies of late modern times, when we celebrate diversity in so many other cultural sectors, we have truncated the ultimate unity-in-diversity: inter-gendered marriage.
Without understanding this vision, the sexual prohibitions in the Bible make no sense. Homosexuality does not honor the need for this rich diversity of perspective and gendered humanity in sexual relationships. Same-sex relationships not only cannot provide this for each spouse, they can’t provide children with a deep connection to each half of humanity through a parent of each gender.
This review has been too brief to give these authors the credit they are due for maintaining a respectful and gracious tone throughout. We live in a time in which civility and love in these discussions is fast going away, and I am thankful the authors are not part of the angry, caustic flow. In this regard they are being good examples, but because I think their main points are wrong, I have had to concentrate on them as I have in this review. I hope I have done so with equal civility.
Vines, Matthew, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships, Convergent Books, 2014
Wilson, Ken, A Letter to My Congregation, David Crum Media, 2014.
June 2015 | by Tim Keller | Original Source: redeemer.com "The Bible and same sex relationships: A review article"