Shepherds Who Follow The Flock
Earlier this year, the City of Texarkana, Arkansas, passed an ordinance, which prohibits the city’s discrimination against people based on the traditional protected classes (age, sex, race, etc…) as well as their sexual orientation, gender identity and genetic information. The ordinance does not only impact the City offices, it impacts private businesses as well as the City will not do business with any “vendors” that fail to follow the same standards.
The Ordinance was passed with little discussion and very little, if any, opposition. It also appears that the City’s Board of Directors was anxious to pass it as quickly as possible. They waived the statutory requirement that the ordinance be considered at three consecutive meetings, which would have caught the attention of people before the final vote. The Board member who made the motion to adopt the ordinance tried to make that motion several times before it was even procedurally appropriate. The City Attorney had to keep him on track or the ordinance would have been void for lack of following the proper procedure.
Based on my review of the news out of Texarkana, it is unclear if there was any attempt to educate the public about the ordinance prior to the meeting at which it was passed. This might explain the public response once the people of Texarkana realized that the Ordinance was poised to take effect. Shortly after the passage of the ordinance, a group of concerned citizens petitioned the City’s Board of Directors to require a city-wide election on the ordinance. The concerned citizens were able to accumulate more than enough signatures necessary to require the public vote.
For some reason, probably regret, Texarkana’s Mayor placed the already passed ordinance back on the agenda in order to “revisit” the ordinance at a City Board meeting in late March. The Mayor said she was not interested in repealing or reconsidering the Ordinance, she just wanted to hear what the public had to say. A number of people spoke on the issue, among them, Rick Ward-Harder, Senior Pastor at St. Michael the Archangel of the Progressive Episcopal Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Attendees who did not know him, probably thought he was a Catholic priest who was going to deliver a short sermon on the Church’s teachings on morality. But that is not what happened. Pastor Ward-Harder, actually launched into a vigorous defense of the LGBT lifestyle.
A lot of this blog is focused on what I consider to be the disordered beliefs of one man, Reverend Rick Ward-Harder. I think it is patently unfair to post a blog about an individual or a blog about a topic in which one individual’s words are analyzed, without first reaching out to the individual. So I called Rev. Ward-Harder to chat with him before I published this blog. I’ve done this with other blogs and I rarely receive a return phone call. Actually, I don’t think anyone has ever returned my call. But Rev. Ward-Harder did return my call. While I don’t agree with the theology, philosophy or reasoning in Rev. Ward-Harder’s address to the Texarkana Board of Directors, the simple fact is, he treated me with respect when he called. Our conversation was very worthwhile. I’ll comment more on the conversation as we go through this blog.
First, let’s look at his address to the Texarkana Board of Directors (which is the equivalent to a City Council): I try to emphasize my internal thoughts in italics (occasionally in boldface as well) to emphasize what I’m thinking in response to what Rev. Ward-Harder says. I also use italics to emphasize what you may be thinking as you read his quotes. I add my direct commentary in non-italicized font. Rev. Ward-Harder’s words are set out in quotes throughout the blog.
Near the beginning of his lecture (after a brief introduction and warm up), he informed the Board that:
“this is not a religious moral issue. This is a secular moral issue”.
Huh? A Christian who echoes the theology of atheists? Yes, atheists actually have a theology and that theology is their belief that morality exists without God. But apparently this isn’t what Rev. Ward-Harder was trying to say.
In our phone conversation, he told me that I had misunderstood his meaning when I viewed the video. He explained that he was talking about the opposition’s argument against the ordinance. Some or many of the people opposing the ordinance are telling Texarkanans that the ordinance will allow transgendered people into any restroom they wish to use and may make it easier for pedophiles to stalk and harm children. Rev. Ward-Harder was not saying that he himself was going to make a secular argument that supported the ordinance. He knew there were others there who were going to make secular arguments in support of the ordinance, so his role was to give the religious basis to support the ordinance.
Given this, it necessitated a major editing job on this blog. Lucky for everyone, it shortened it instead of lengthening it.
This may help explain why he goes on to say that the issue isn’t about restrooms and sexual predators.
“It is about a lack of understanding of humanity and the lack of the very compassion that Christ Himself taught”.
Hmm…. Humanity is a big word. I’m going to skip over that one for now because that is a blog on its own.
I’d prefer to talk about one specific human (who is also God), that Rev. Ward-Harder mentions: Jesus Christ. But I don’t think we are talking about the same Jesus. The Jesus I know is the Jesus introduced to us in the Bible. I think he is trying to introduce a different Jesus, a very secularized, or even a domesticated Jesus. To the LGBT activist, the real Jesus Christ is of no interest. They prefer the nice, tolerant and affirming Jesus portrayed in Godspell.
Rev. Ward-Harder continues:
“Religious morality was used to support slavery, prohibition, to oppose women’s suffrage, to inflict Jewish persecution, to oppose interracial marriage and ultimately civil rights.”
I can see where a person could mistake the historical excuses as Christian based support. After all, there were many people who engaged in these things who considered themselves Christians. However, an individual can self-identify in any way they wish. For instance, simply saying that you are a doctor does not mean that you are actually a doctor. There are certain minimum standards you must meet before you can honestly claim to be a doctor, such as education, training, licensing, certification, etc…
Being a Christian requires even more stringent minimum standards. First, you must love and honor God above all else. You must strive to follow the commands of God which are set forth in Scripture. The greatest of these commandments is to love God (as previously noted) but Jesus gives us a new commandment in the New Testament and that is to love your neighbor as yourself. As you can see, this would prohibit slavery, subjugation of women, persecution of others and the violation of another person’s human dignity. After all, we are all created in the image and likeness of the Trinity. Because of this we must respect each other’s dignity equally. We must treat others as we would want them to treat us.
Christianity taught equality and dignity long before the great Thomas Jefferson sat down to pen a new nation into existence with these immortal words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Certain people are trying to redefine “equality” these days. Some people want to say equality means that there is no difference or that it means nobody can possess more of something than another person. But this isn’t what Christianity has taught and it wasn’t what Jefferson meant.
Equality does not mean sameness in appearance, possession or license. In Christianity it means that we must respect our neighbor’s unique and irreplaceable human dignity. Sometimes this not only allows us to treat them a little different, it can actually mandate it. We have an obligation to treat the sick differently than the healthy. We have an obligation to treat children differently than mature adults, etc…
And with regard to the equality noted by Thomas Jefferson, equality means that we cannot arbitrarily impose limitations on opportunities or freedoms. Jefferson certainly agreed that the people have every right to impose reasonable limitations on people in order to protect and foster the common good.
So as you can see, both the Christian and American concept of equality recognizes that there are times when unequal treatment is not only acceptable, it is necessary and good.
People certainly did try to use Christianity as a basis to treat others in disrespectful, dishonorable and deplorable ways, but they were incorrect. Christianity does not allow it. They were actually using a distorted version of religion to suit their own desires. We see a lot of this still today… on both sides.
Rev. Ward-Harder continues:
“If one is going to use Scripture as a defense to oppose homosexuality, then I certainly hope that they follow the biblical directives that states that if you are going to follow one part of the law, you have to follow all of the law. This means that they can’t eat at Red Lobster anymore. They can’t wear mixed materials. Unfortunately all the women are going to be male dominated, and are going to have to be silent and are going to be subjected to those around them. They also have the approval to sell their children. Do you see the Irony here?”
Boy do I!
Unfortunately, I don’t think Rev. Ward-Harder sees the irony himself. The Irony is that Christians do not use Jewish customs and ceremonial laws to propose that objective morality is also subject to change. Christians are able to distinguish between Mosaic law and the New Covenant instituted by Jesus Christ. In much of St. Paul’s letters and epistles, he helps draw the distinction between the Mosaic law and Christianity. Much of it centers on circumcision which is not required in Christianity because we have baptism.
So I can wear my cotton/polyester blend shirt and still call myself a good Christian?
Yes. The clothes do not make the man.
Christ said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” (Mt 5:17) Throughout the Gospels, Christ demonstrates exactly what this means, both in his public ministry as well as his passion, death and resurrection. What I mean is that he observed and upheld the moral laws, often making them even more demanding (see Mt 5 regarding adultery, hatred, etc…), while eliminating the customs and ceremonies that applied only to the Jewish tradition. For example, Christ regularly disregarded the custom of resting on the Sabbath. He also disregarded the ritual purifications in order to be considered “clean”. He ate and drank with sinners and he treated Samaritans and gentiles with kindness, mercy and respect. Oh, and don’t forget that circumcision thing… Christ instituted baptism.
But when it came to morality, he called everyone to the mat. He called people to repentance, he instructed them to “sin no more”, to be perfect as our Father is perfect and he clarified questions on anger, adultery, marriage, divorce, etc…, calling all to a much more challenging adherence to the objective moral law.
I truly wonder what Rev. Ward-Harder thinks about Christ’s call to repentance.
So why do Christians still adhere to objective moral truths and disregard many of the Levitical laws prescribed by God through Moses?
First, eating shellfish, wearing clothing made with more than one fabric and many of the other “laws” set forth in Mosaic law, were ceremonial laws and customs specific to the Jewish people. Others were cultural practices in order to deal with local issues faced by Moses and his people. This is clarified in Hebrews 7:11 – 12 “Now if perfection had been attainable through the levitical priesthood—for the people received the law under this priesthood—what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising according to the order of Melchizedek, rather than one according to the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.” In other words, Jesus did not come to fulfill the preferred method for planting crops, he came to saves us from sin and death.
But slavery and selling the children of slaves is certainly a moral matter, right?
True. And Rev. Ward-Harder challenges us to think more deeply because he used these examples. But these are quite different from the customs and traditions of the people in the time of Moses. Even at the time of Christ slavery was an issue. But our understanding of slavery is quite different than the type of slavery that existed in the Israelite Nation. As Americans, we are very aware of the immoral, brutal and racially-based slavery that nearly destroyed our young country and still haunts us today. The American version of slavery treated (and still treats through sex-trafficking) humans as though they are animals or objects. But in the Israelite Nation, the word slave did not include inhuman treatment and mistreatment. In fact, the Mosaic law required all “slaves” to be freed on a regular basis by all Jewish people. In reality, slavery within the Jewish people was either identical or extremely similar to indentured servitude in Western culture as recent as the 20th century. The Church has always condemned the type of slavery that was in use in the 17th, 18th, and 19th century.
If all this is not a clear enough explanation as to why Christians can eat pork and shellfish, look at Mark 7: 18-23, in which Christ teaches that it is things such as fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly, which defile humans. I’d like to point out that each of these are objectively and irrefutably immoral.
Rev. Ward-Harder is simply preaching the Godspell Jesus, not the real Jesus. The irony is that this message is coming from a clergyman.
“We ignore those things that are considered archaic…”
Objective morality, like objective truth, is not archaic and it can only be ignored after a very rigorous effort to become numb to reality. A couple of examples: Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of a lie, not even young children. And if you think right and wrong are relative and subjective, you should observe a preschool class who is lining up for an afternoon treat. If one child cuts in line, every child behind him or her will object loudly and maybe even aggressively. There is objective morality and truth in the world and we don’t need secular laws to tell us what they are. Certain things are written on our hearts in addition to being explained in Scripture.
“When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.” Romans 2:14-16
Rev. Ward-Harder tells us we are ignoring those things we consider archaic while he is telling us to ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ, because Godspell Jesus considers them archaic.
“… however something we don’t understand we demonize and consider to be worthy of subjecting people to hate and discrimination.”
I think that such rhetoric labels Christians as hateful and worthy of suffering nothing less than discrimination. I’ll get into more on this in a bit, but keep this in mind as you work through this.
Another thing Rev. Ward-Harder disregards is that men who engage in sexual behavior with men (men who have sex with men or MSM) are engaging in extremely risky and unhealthy behavior. According to sources like the Centers for Disease Control, Men who have sex with men are much more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections, such as HPV, syphilis, HIV as well as rectal cancer (See the CDC’s information on STD Facts – Syphilis & MSM). I don’t think anyone should use a position of authority and influence to encourage behavior that can lead to pain, suffering and untimely death. I brought this up in our phone conversation and Rev. Ward-Harder disagreed with me. It is an issue I’d like to discuss further someday soon. Meanwhile, back to his address to the Board:
“It is sad that a clergy member has to drive from two hours away to speak on my brother and sisters’ behalf because of the fear and the intimidation that they experience.”
In my opinion, it actually speaks to the orthodoxy of the clergy in and around Texarkana. May the religious leaders of Texarkana remain steadfast in their adherence to the Word of God. I am hopeful that they are giving a clear Gospel message from the pulpit as well. They need to realize that silence on this issue is consent to the LGBT agenda.
“They [homosexuals] have to hide their very self.”
Is this really true? At the very same televised Board meeting at which the good Reverend speaks, there were numerous speakers who also felt perfectly comfortable speaking about their homosexual lifestyle in front of the packed audience and while being videotaped. “Coming out” is in vogue right now. Jenner, Lady Gaga, Jason Collins, Greg Louganis, Justin Fashanu and many other high profile athletes and celebrities appear more than happy to announce their sexual preferences on any form of media they can. ESPN even feels it is necessary to lecture sports fans on how to appropriately address people in the LGBT lifestyle. Of course, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is always near, encouraging this new form of public confession and celebration, so they can encourage everyone else to “come out” as well. I suspect the HRC was behind much of the testimony in Texarkana. I suspect the HRC was instrumental in finding a Christian pastor who would drive any number of hours to address the Texarkana Board. Rev. Ward-Harder can clarify all that though.
But when a high profile “out” person decides to walk away from the LGBT lifestyle, the HRC and other LGBT advocates are extremely vindictive. Just ask Rosaria Butterfield who walked away from the LGBT and now speaks and writes about living as a chaste Christian. When she speaks at venues across the country, she is likely to be confronted by student protests which are likely also backed by the HRC. What about others such as Michael Glatze, Charlene Cothran, Sara Winter a.k.a Sara Fernanda Giromin, Greg Quinlan… who have walked away from high level involvement in LGBT activism? Each of them face aggressive criticism, alienation and other efforts by LGBT activists in order to try and defame, shame and demoralize them. It must be extremely difficult to walk away from everything and everyone you know, especially when you are assured that everyone you once knew, will not only turn away from you, they will condemn you.
We see the HRC’s hand in state level legislation with regularity. They call for boycots and walkouts if a state legislature passes a conscience clause. It is an all or nothing strategy that typically starts with laws such as the Texarkana ordinance. If they can point to one community who has passed an LGBT-friendly ordinance, they can use it to pressure others to do the same. And if they can shame one Governor into a veto of a conscience protection statute, they can do it to the rest of the Governor’s too. All they need to do is get a large corporation to say they will move their headquarters. Money talks. But I digress…
There is no doubt that people with same-sex attraction suffer significant assaults to their dignity as a human person, but it isn’t due to Christianity. The offense is due to many factors. And while one of those may be a distorted understanding of Christianity, it can also be due to zealous LGBT activists who have their hopes set on a goal without stopping to consider the damage they are doing to human lives as they strive to achieve that goal.
“They live in fear that their parents are going to be treated differently because someone might know that they are lesbian or gay.”
This is a claim that I have not heard before. Whenever I listen to LGBT advocates, they always say the fear is the solely focused on the person who is in the lifestyle. They have always said that it is the person who is gay who fears for their own safety and livelihood.
I wonder if this is a new twist (by the HRC) to combat the actual negative consequences when a person decides to “come out” to his or her parent or parents. When a child “comes out” to the parent, the parent’s thoughts are on the dangerous and immoral homosexual lifestyle. They see a very unhealthy and unhappy future for their child and this is a devastating thought for any parent. On the other side of the situation is the child, who has already made the decision. He or she yearns to have the parent tolerate, accept or affirm the decision.
As the parent focuses on the behavior, the child often draws the conclusion that they are being rejected in total. As you can see that it is a terrible situation for everyone.
The LGBT advocate has difficulty admitting that the child’s expectations are not all that reasonable under the circumstances. An LGBT advocate will completely reject the idea that the child’s expectations are unfair, disrespectful and intolerant of his or her parent’s beliefs, values and standards. Now the LGBT activist wants you to see the child’s demand as being in the best interest of the parent? “We are in this together”, the child says. “Don’t worry about me. I am ready for martyrdom. I fear that you, my innocent, beloved parent, will suffer for this decision we are making too. Oh the sacrifices I must make for my parents…”.
If this is the HRC’s new spin on the argument, it is nothing but manipulation.
In reality, a parent has no right to be concerned about their own image and reputation over that of the best interests of their own child. Any parent that reacts with such selfish concerns may tell us a lot more about the cause of their child’s sexual identity than anything else.
Then he returns to a more familiar rhetoric:
“Think of the very harm that you are doing if you oppose this measure. Think about the message of love and acceptance or the message of hate and intolerance that you are offering to a young person who may very well be contemplating suicide right this moment due to the horrific lies and fearmongering that the opposition continues to pander to the media and from the pulpit.”
This is one of the central points of the LGBT propaganda campaign. But is it really the natural and sole consequence if a legislative body declines to pass LGBT-friendly legislation?
The LGBT activists such as the HRC want you to believe that it is nothing short of hate and intolerance to suggest that the homosexual lifestyle is anything less than honorable and beneficial. They want you to believe that the last barrier to your child’s health and happiness is universal acceptance of their lifestyle. They want you to believe that if you oppose any aspect of the LGBT lifestyle, you are a hateful and intolerant bigot and you are causing innocent young people to commit suicide.
As a matter of fact, they want you to believe that teen suicide has been a serious problem for years because of the stigma and shame that our Christian culture has cast upon same-sex attraction up to this point. Studies and statistics do not support this claim, but that isn’t going to stop LGBT activists from throwing it out there.
Facts don’t seem to matter to LGBT activists. Strangely, after speaking with Rev. Ward-Harder, I believe facts do matter to him. Is he using this argument because someone provided it to him or because he has heard it so often he simply accepts it? This is one very serious problem with progressives. They are not open to dialogue because they reject information that is not supportive of the way they want to believe. It appears Rev. Ward-Harder is open to dialogue, but when he uses dubious arguments to support the LGBT lifestyle, one has to wonder if he’s soon to join the rest of the LGBT advocates in the LGBT echo chamber. Maybe Rev. Ward-Harder can clarify.
Many LGBT activists know that few people will call them out on their inaccuracies, especially if there are a large number of inaccuracies. They are not out to prove the reliability of a statistic or a claim, the intent is to simply cause doubt and apprehension in those who disagree with the LGBT activists. One of the best ways to do this is to take a little bit of truth and wrap it in a large amount of horrible consequences. The factual part of Rev. Ward-Harder’s allegation is that teen suicide is a serious and very sad problem in our culture. We are then led to the unsupported conclusion that many young homosexuals are committing suicide because they don’t have laws that protect their lifestyle choice. And he takes it to the final step: A young person may be out there at this very moment, ready to kill himself or herself unless this legislative body passes laws to affirm the LGBT lifestyle. In essence, he is asking: Which of you on this Board would like to pull the trigger on that gun?
But instead of taking his word for it, I wonder if a lot of teens are committing suicide because they don’t feel accepted, affirmed or safe with regard to their sexual preferences. Therefore, I checked some independent sources on the question and found that the experts do not agree. According to several sources, such as the Boston Children’s Hospital, same-sex attraction is not the primary cause. In fact about 90% of teen suicides are due to mental illness. Other sources such as the Youth Suicide Prevention Program honestly admit that experts do not know why many teens commit suicide.
So should we use this unsubstantiated claim in our basis for passing laws or should we pass laws and make decisions based on the best facts that are actually available to us? With regard to teens and same-sex attraction and gender identity, the fact that stands out most is that about 80% of teens who experience gender dysphoria, are able to overcome the feelings with appropriate help from parents and counselors. Eight out of ten of such youths mature into heterosexual adults who are comfortable with their biological bodies. Due to controversy over the appropriate approach to therapy for teens who deal with unwanted same-sex attraction, there appears to be a lack of studies that currently tell us whether there is an accepted treatment which helps teens overcome unwanted same-sex attraction. When the people who fund and publish research do not want inconvenient results to become public, they have a way of making studies and research projects languish.
The HRC certainly does not want any proof that anyone can overcome their same-sex attraction. If people started talking about overcoming desires to engage in homosexual behavior, it would be very bad for the income stream of LGBT advocacy groups.
Another of the HRC’s favorite arguments is that you have to embrace the LGBT lifestyle if you don’t want to get left behind:
“The City of Texarkana needs to join Little Rock, Fayetteville, Hot Springs and Eureka Springs as being a leader on the right side of history.”
Now for the connection to the title of this blog. There are too many people in this country who think it is leadership when we follow the culture. In Rev. Ward-Harder’s presentation, he tells Texarkana they are a leader if they follow the other Arkansas Cities who are passing LGBT-friendly legislation.
Is a pastor a leader if he is following the culture? Are our elected officials and judges leaders if they follow the culture? Can you name one American hero who is considered a hero because he or she followed popular opinion?
I also note that he uses the popular LGBT tagline, “right side of history”. Doesn’t everyone want to be a winner? You bet, but I’ll stick with truth instead of trying to gamble on the whims of a culture. The LGBT advocates can keep using that phrase and gambling on whether or not they are right, but it all seems quite presumptuous. Of course, presumptions are fine when you don’t care about reality or facts. All that matters is the goal.
He then says:
“It is time to coexist and welcome everyone to the table for business purposes.”
Tell that to Baronelle Stutzman and Melissa and Aaron Klein. You are only welcome to the table for business purposes if you affirm and support the LGBT lifestyle. If you don’t, you are only welcome to pay fines, lose your business and be placed in a rehabilitation program by government officials such as Brad Arvakian. In other words, you don’t have to agree with the LGBT lifestyle… unless you want to have a house in which to live and food for your children to eat. I’m not sure how Rev. Ward-Harder defines coexist, but it seems that the LGBT activists define it similarly to Joseph Stalin.
And this is where I get back to the concern that an ordinance like this can lead to transgendered people using any restroom they wish. Is this a reasonable concern? While the Texarkana ordinance is not nearly as aggressive as most sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination laws (SOGI laws), it could pave the way for such a law in Arkansas and even in its present form, it could cause an employer to enact a policy it would not enact but for this ordinance.
The ordinance does not explicitly require businesses to accommodate transgendered employees with regard to restrooms. However, if a business contracts with Texarkana for any reason and that business does not accommodate a transgendered employee, the business could lose the City’s contract if the employee wishes to make an issue out of it. It isn’t just restrooms either, it could be many other things within the parameters of the employer-employee relationship, such as healthcare coverage, speech and expression, attire, etc…
For this reason, I say the issue is not solely about restrooms and sexual predators, but it does not exclude such possibilities either. This is why conscience clauses are so necessary when ordinances and laws like this come up for legislation or public vote.
“A vote of nonsupport is a clear statement on your part that you believe that it is acceptable to discriminate and to embrace bigotry. There is no explanation for a nonsupportive vote.”
Another popular tactic of the LGBT activist: If you don’t support our lifestyle choice you are a bigot who gets your kicks by unfairly discriminating against innocent people who simply want to be happy. He may claim there is no explanation for a vote against the LGBT-friendly law, but actually, he’s already giving you the explanation the HRC offers: You are a callous bigot.
But this isn’t an either/or option. There are abundant reasons to vote against this ordinance and all the other ordinances that elevate sexual orientation and gender identity to preferential status. In my opinion, the health and welfare of the individuals who may choose to engage in the LGBT lifestyle is one of the most important.
“This chamber, on Martin Luther King day, January 18, took a historic step when you made the motion, the ordinance and passed it. You allowed and showed a warm and receptive Texarkana. One that says that all lives matter. Do not be badgered in the backsliding as the opposition would have you to be. The Episcopal Church, the Methodist Church, the Christian Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and so many more have the rights, work and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.”
He butters them up and tells them that everyone is on their side. Everyone who counts anyway… Everyone except the bigots who want to badger them into backsliding.
“Don’t let the far ultra right-wing use their manipulative tactics and fear to sway you.”
That’s right Texarkana… the people who disagree with the LGBT lifestyle are way out there on the right. They are wackos who scheme all sorts of ways to manipulate you and scare you into falling on the wrong side of history. You don’t want to be one of them do you? I mean, we can all coexist… except for those crazy people clear out there on the ultra right-wing…
“I speak out against those who use lies, defamation, fear, intimidation, mistruths and the many, many, deceptive tactics to promote hate and evil among innocent citizens.”
Actually both extremes are using these tactics aren’t they? The people in the middle would much prefer to talk about reality. Unfortunately, the LGBT activists consider reality to be too unpleasant. Therefore they label it as hate speech and bigotry in order to make you shrink away from such topics.
“Christ said judge not, lest ye be judged, for as you judge so shall you be judged.”
Godspell Jesus stops there too. But the real Jesus continues: “… first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Aha! So fraternal correction is a Christian virtue! This is why the real Jesus says things like: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24) Christ is really telling us to tend to our own faults so we can help our neighbor.
If one believes Scripture, we also believe the verses that tell us it is hard to see the truth when we are involved in sinful behavior and selfish motives (Jn 12:37-43; 2 Cor 4:3-4; Mt 15:14; Mt 23; 1 Jn 2:10; etc…)
Rev. Ward-Harder goes for the story of the adulteress, which the HRC considers the heat-seeking missile of all LGBT religious arguments:
“He also said that him without sin may cast the first stone.”
This is a favorite among the LGBT advocates, but it shouldn’t be. There must have been some nationwide training session in which someone used John 8:1-9 in a seemingly convincing argument that Jesus is an LGBT activist. Can someone please correct the people who try to quote this passage with such an intent? Jesus did not pat the adulteress on the head and tell her to keep up the “good work”. He actually told her to “go and sin no more”. That’s right. Jesus told her to repent. He loved the sinner and called her to leave the sin. John 8:10-11 must not exist in “progressive” Bibles.
By this point Rev. Ward-Harder has used nearly every label possible to paint the opposition as evil. He’s called them bigots, demonizers, haters, discriminators, intimidators, fearmongers, intolerant, badgerers, ultra right-wingers, manipulators, defamors, liars, promoters of evil, archaic and finally, the most vile label an LGBT activist can dream up: judgmental.
But the Mayor starting to interrupt him, so he closed:
“The opposition here tonight are the Pharisees and Sadducees of today. Professing superiority, high knowledge and Biblical law.”
Add “hypocrites” to the long line of labels used to demonize anyone who disagrees with the LGBT activist’s version of justice.
“Remember Jesus rebuked them and offered a welcome to the very people that they relegated to the sidelines and back corners.”
To point out another flaw in LGBT Christian theology: Christ never condoned or affirmed any sinful behavior. He always calls everyone to repentance. One gets the impression that a progressive minister wouldn’t dream of suggesting that a person repent from something that seemingly gives the person pleasure. First, in order to call a person to repentance, you must take note of potentially sinful behavior. To a progressive minister, that would be “judging” another and would be considered highly offensive and therefore, unacceptable. The HRC could never affiliate with a minister who preached repentance from something Christianity calls “sins of the flesh”.
He ends with a question:
“What would Jesus do?”
First we need to know if this is the Godspell Jesus of LGBT activists or if this is the Messiah, Son of God, King of Kings, Jesus of the Bible. The HRC tells us that “Godspell Jesus” would march in the Gay Pride parades and tell everyone to do whatever they feel like doing. Godspell Jesus only feels uncomfortable and offended when the unforgivable sin of unfairness and hurt feelings enters into the world. “Godspell Jesus” doesn’t preach repentance except for repentance from intolerance and insensitive remarks.
But as we all know, Godspell Jesus is fiction. There is no inspired or historical book which tells us about Godspell Jesus prior to the sexual revolution because he never existed. The true Jesus is discussed at length from Genesis to Revelation in the Bible as well as many other non-biblical historical writings. And where Godspell Jesus may change a community or a culture, the real Jesus changed the world (which is reasonable since he also created it).
Earlier I said that Rev. Ward-Harder labels Christians as hateful and worthy of suffering nothing less than discrimination. Here is what I mean: Christians who try to follow Jesus Christ cannot support or even accept immoral behavior. We are called to stand for truth, especially when the failure to do so could lead another person to sin. We have two souls to consider: Our own in addition to our neighbor’s.
Therefore, anyone who strives to live life as a Christian cannot also be complicit in honoring, supporting, celebrating or participating in the LGBT lifestyle. Can a Christian grocery store clerk sell groceries to a homosexual? Certainly. Actually we have an obligation to do so. Can a Christian doctor refuse to render necessary medical care to a person who identifies as transgendered? Certainly not. Rendering medical care is part of respecting the dignity of the person. But can a Christian t-shirt designer decline to design a t-shirt for the local gay pride parade? We must protect his or her right to decline the business in this situation. To force a person to do something like this is to force them to violate their conscience. Right now, the Christian in this situation runs the risk of losing his or her business, losing everything they own and losing the right to earn a living. This is unacceptable in the United States of America.
Conscience protection does not give the Christian the right to unfairly discriminate. Such a law simply looks at each individual case and weighs the person religious beliefs against the compelling interest of the government. A person’s distaste for or discomfort with, serving people who participate in the LGBT lifestyle will never prevail in such a test. But such a law gives the Christian an opportunity to explain why he or she cannot participate in the LGBT lifestyle in when the circumstances show more than simply working with someone in the LGBT community.
If you are interested, you can watch most of his talk here.