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I remember when same-sex marriage was not a remote possibility. What social change is next, do you think, in the sexual mores in American culture?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #58 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

The Respect for Marriage Act, codifying same-sex marriage as federal law, already bequeathed to us by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, has now passed the Senate and the House. 

President Joe Biden will sign it into law in our politicians’ mad rush to protect American culture from the evils of a perceived conservative backlash when the new Congress comes to power in the new year.

If this were not so serious it would in one sense be laughable. Canada, for example, approved same-sex marriage 10 years before it was made legal in the U.S. The Netherlands was first out of the progressive gate, legalizing same-sex marriage way back in 2001. Now, some 33 countries allow for legal same-sex marriage.  

Prominent among those countries that do not permit same-sex marriage are Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, the so-called “Stans” in Central Asia, Russia, and all countries in Africa except South Africa.

Some view acceptance of same sex marriage as a bold new step to a freer and more just society. But, despite Gallup now showing 71% in favor of same-sex marriage, 58% of those who attend church weekly are opposed.”

The so-called Respect for Marriage Act notably repeals the (1996) Defense of Marriage Act, which established a federal definition of marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

Thankfully, the Respect for Marriage Act as presently written, “under the religious freedoms amendment, nonprofit religious organizations — including churches, faith-based social agencies and religious educational institutions — would not be required to ‘provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage’.”

All this means there is going to be an ongoing free-for-all, or moral free fall, if you will, to push for more changes in what’s acceptable in public morality as understood historically by traditional Christian teaching and therefore also American culture.

This is happening now in Christian colleges. Those that oppose same-sex marriage could be in danger of losing their tax-exempt status.

A “movement is afoot to silence religious opponents of same-sex marriage. Just two days after the Court’s ruling (back in 2015), journalist Mark Oppenheimer took to the pages of Time to argue for the total abolition of tax-exempt status for religious institutions. The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, announced that it would no longer support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a federal statute designed to protect Americans against laws that ‘substantially burden’ the free exercise of religion, for fear that RFRA will be ‘used as a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people.’ 

In public education, we’re experiencing a tsunami of pressure to endorse all manner of sexual orientation and gender identity changes. Virtually every public school in the country, from kindergarten to graduate school, has now radically changed, or is at least backpedaling on, any policy that seems to reinforce traditional, binary understanding of human sexuality, all this in the name of freedom.

Polymorphous marriages, sexual relationships with children, freeing children and youth to experience sexual expression at ever younger ages, is already a common theme in materials propagated by Planned Parenthood and others of its ilk marketing to public schools.  

Age of consent laws, with California being the leader, are also changing. Recent Democrat political party platforms have included support for “medically accurate, LGBTQ+ inclusive, age-appropriate sex education.” 

I’ll let you imagine what this material entails.

“More than half the states mandate sex education in Kindergarten. State boards of education are also blessing such approaches.”

Sexualized childhood is the next frontier for the sexual revolution. It comes in the sheep’s clothing of pregnancy prevention and healthy lifestyles, but it is a wolf. It promises to disorder human sexual relations—and to undermine what remains of our marital and family ethic and subvert civilization itself.”  

Because the sexual revolution is about identity and the legitimation of sexual behavior associated with identity, it presents a serious challenge to religious freedom. Societies which have been reshaped by the sexual revolution will regard Christians who refuse to grant legitimacy to, say, homosexual behavior as those who are opposed to the common good…those Christians who hold firm on traditional sexual morality can expect their freedom of public exercise to be curtailed or even removed.”

Consider this example. Actor Candace Cameron Bure was recently asked by a reporter whether Great American Family, the new cable channel she joined after she left the Hallmark Channel this year, would feature same-sex couples as leads in holiday movies. Cameron Bure said no. “I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core,” she said. 

For this minimalist support of traditional marriage, in which she did not attack, demean, or otherwise disrespect gay people, she has been vilified by several other actors and of course by the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, which said Bure’s comments were “incredibly dangerous” and “perpetuated the idea that LGBTQ people don’t belong.”

This exchange illustrates how many advocates now believe gay people have the right to make movies or other public expressions of art or entertainment or sports or business featuring same-sex couples, but at the same time, these same-sex marriage advocates believe others who support traditional marriage should not be allowed to make movies or any other public expression featuring traditional marriage without gay inclusion. Despite the fact Bure said nothing negative about LGBTQ people or same-sex marriage, she is still being called a bigot, hateful, and intolerant.

This is the culture in which we now, one in which millions, especially under the age of 40, no longer believe in God, Christianity, traditional religious sexual morality, or in anything other than their self-defined interests.

These Americans see nothing wrong with sexual expression in virtually any form as long as the people involved “consent”—which as noted earlier is a wide-open concept.

So, if same-sex marriage is here to stay, and other immoral sexual permissiveness is already in the pipeline, likely next on the hit parade of social acceptance, how should Christians respond?

  • Remember that the sexually charged culture in America today is not that different from what Paul faced in Corinth or what the Early Church experienced in Rome and subsequent civilizations. As they let their light shine, so we must also amid darkness.
  • Avoid rejecting or otherwise conveying to people who participate in sexually immoral practices that they are unacceptable, or worse, unloved. It is possible to maintain commitment to biblical teaching and doctrinal integrity, thus rejecting immoral practices, yet showing compassion. It’s called “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).
  • Assure your own life is characterized by righteousness, which is a witness of God's truth and redemption.
  • Fix your thoughts on Jesus (Heb. 3:1) as Paul did in his day in the great immoral city of Corinth (1 Cor 2:4-5).
  • Dig deep into the Word, learn not just the Scripture but theology, know what’s happening in the world but know the Word better, apply it to everyday life, and live in hope.

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

Have you seen rainbow flags in windows, on lawns, or on bumper stickers, especially during June?  It’s Pride Month, which raises some interesting questions for Christians. 

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #28 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

It’s June, so we’re seeing rainbow flags everywhere we look, and Gay Pride events including parades in large cities are scheduled throughout the country.

The rainbow flag was created by Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco activist, and the flag was first flown as a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride at the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day.

Initially, Pride Month began as Gay Pride Day, held on the last Sunday in June. 

As the number of events proliferated the recognitions morphed into Pride Month. In 1999, President Bill Clinton declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month

In 2012, then President Barack Obama changed his lifelong position and said he believed same-sex couples should be able to marry. In 2015, the United States Supreme Court, ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. Also in 2015, Bruce Jenner, 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medalist, said, “Call me, Caitlyn,” and went public on the cover of “Vanity Fair,” with his transition to declaring himself a woman. 

With these unprecedented events, the sexual revolution launched in the 60s captured American culture, same-sex issues became de rigueur and almost boring old news, and transgenderism became the next frontier advancing sexual liberation.

Pride Month is now gone culturally mainstream. Professional sports teams and corporations trumpet their support of all things LGBTQ+ seemingly without regard for the fact there is another moral point of view.

The reasons are easy to identify:

  1. Embraced the morally relativistic paradigm of our day.
  2. Want to virtue signal that they are on board, in part to avoid litigation.
  3. Believe their support of Pride Month helps them sell their product.

LGBTQ+ individuals are now visible in every subsection of society, including religion. 

In my lifetime, homosexuality has become a point of divisiveness in the Church. The turning point for the debate gets back to something called hermeneutics, how one interprets the Bible. Many individuals no longer acknowledge the authority or divine character of the Bible, so they do not look to it for moral direction.

Others believe God’s Word may be found in the Bible but do not believe the Bible is trustworthy in all its propositions. This perspective leads them to conclude that verses referencing homosexuality are culturally dated and thus not morally applicable in today’s more sophisticated environment. In this approach, experience trumps revelation.

Finally, Christians who adopt a different hermeneutic, those who believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word, therefore also believe that the Bible’s propositions are as morally applicable now as the day they were written. This is my view.

If you believe the Bible is God’s moral will for all times, countries, and cultures, then you’ll embrace these beliefs about human sexuality:

  1. God defines one’s sex, biologically, at birth as either male or a female (Gen. 1:27); consequently, gender is not fluid.
  2. Sexuality is a gift of God that is often perverted to sinful ends (Gen. 2:24; 1 Thess. 4:3-8), 
  3. Sexual expression is a moral choice (1 Cor. 6:18-20),
  4. Godly or moral sexual expression is assigned to the boundaries and bonds of monogamous heterosexual marriage (1 Cor. 7:2-5). 
  5. Sexual immorality, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is sin and therefore indistinguishable morally in the eyes of God (Heb. 13:4).

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

By the way, it’s a good reminder to note that far more Christians, as well as the public, struggle with heterosexual immorality than homosexual immorality.  

If we could count noses, heterosexual immorality—adultery, affairs—would be the bigger sin in the Christian Church. So, focusing upon homosexuality as worse than heterosexual immorality is socially naïve and morally indefensible.

Ofttimes, it is the nuance of our message that’s important, disagreeing with a moral choice while loving and reaching out to a person. Christ most famously did this in his interaction with the Samaritan Woman at the well (Jn. 4:4-30). He did not condone or endorse her checkered moral history, but he did not reject her either. In fact, he simply spoke the truth with love. 

Pride Month is not a time for Christian condemnation or condescension. It’s a time for Christian communication of God’s message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

Think about these practical ways to live our Christian worldview during Pride Month:

  1. Christians should never be the ones creating environments in which people want to or must hide in closets. 
  1. Teaching biblical doctrines of sin, or specifically not condoning same-sex relationships, is not necessarily homophobia, insensitive, or intolerant. Such teaching could be presented in unloving, condemning ways but need not be. God defines sin but always offers love, forgiveness, redemption, and hope. 
  1. There is no biblical or logical justification for bigotry, hatred, gay bashing, bullying, or violence toward LGBTQ+ individuals. Such acts are expressions of fear, not love nor faith. 
  1. Christians should support LGBTQ+ people in their basic civil liberties and civil rights as Americans.
  1. Christians should recognize that no sin, other than the ultimate and final rejection of Christ, is an unpardonable sin or an unalterable condition. In my view, LGBTQ+ persons are not defined by their sexual orientation or behavior. The Spirit of God always offers and can enable another Way.
  1. Christians should understand that speaking the truth, which we must do in love, does not necessarily mean this truth will be well received or that we will be appreciated for our faith and our values. But how can we be loving if we do not speak?
  1. Christians can and should be openly friendly toward LGBTQ+ persons. Remember, “They won’t care what you know until they know that you care.” It’s simply “love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

“Sophisticated ignorance” is a phrase I use to describe how highly educated intellectuals can be “ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

The American Medical Association recommending sex be removed from birth certificates is an example.

This is another major American professional health organization that has succumbed to the demanding moral superiority of gender ideology. This is about politics, not about medicine or health or science or patient well-being.

The AMA is afraid of being singled out, bullied online, or canceled, so it goes with the cultural flow rather than the hard evidence of biology, this at the risk of the human beings medical professionals are supposed to represent.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Transgenderism has taken American culture by storm and is almost at a point of no turning back. 

Long before Bruce “Call me Caitlyn” Jenner became the poster person for transgender lifestyle, the movement was pushing forward in education, entertainment, media, and of all things, sports. 

Indeed, author Abigail Shrier, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (2020) notes that “Today transgenderism marches under the banner of civil rights, the promise to breach the next cultural frontier, to shatter one more basis of human division.” And “Virtually everything that transgender activists hope to achieve in the broader culture has already been achieved on the college campus…The universities revile privilege and facilitate emancipation from it, too.”

I have not written about LGB concerns since 2010. At the time, I remember saying to my wife that, this is it, I don’t want to delve into this topic and I’ve said what I believe and think I need to say. Fast forward to 2021, and now it’s LGBTQ++ with transgenderism riding a cultural movement demanding acceptance in the form of You must change your moral views or be silenced, You must change your educational institution or corporate policies or be bullied as “anti-trans,” and the Church and Christian faith, as well as freedom of speech and religion, cannot be cited as reasons one may oppose transgender morality.

So I felt compelled to write again.  This piece, “Transgenderism’s Cultural Juggerrnaut,” discusses transgenderism as a condition and as a movement. It’s not about sex. It’s about identity that rejects Christian doctrines, and it’s about power.

Christians need to know how to respond, to speak the truth in love, for only truth sets people free.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

“When did sexual orientation become a fixed truth but sexual difference merely a psychological choice, changeable at the beckon of the surgeon’s knife?”

It’s a good question, logical, objective, rational, common sense, and therefore in what passes for public discourse today, rejected as ipso facto discriminatory and hateful.

Meanwhile, American culture is caught up in battles over what constitutes an appropriate “inclusive” or “non-offensive” gender identity vocabulary.

This list evolves almost daily, but if you don’t keep up and misuse a term, you could find yourself in trouble at your job or bullied online.

One LGBTQ website states

     “Never refer to a person as “it” or “he-she”. These are offensive slurs used against trans and gender non-conforming individuals.”

     “You can’t always know what someone’s pronouns are by looking at them. Asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity. 

     When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (often all of the above).

     It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else’s gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive.”

Examples of gender identity vocabulary include, they/them/theirs instead of he or she, ze/hir/hir/hirself or zie or xe or zir/zirself, transgender kids, endless genders, homosuperiority, gender assigned at birth, Birthing person, chest-feeding, nursing fathers, gender-expansive youth, gender-confirmation surgery rather than sex change surgery, person with a cervix, people with a penis, male-appearing genitalia, people who menstruate, transphobe, anti-trans, cisheteropatriarchy, anti-indigeneity, just to name a few.

So, it is offensive to refer to someone in a manner that reflects biological reality. 

In New York City people can be fined up to quarter million dollars for “misgendering” someone by using pronouns other than the ones they prefer. In Oct 2017, the Governor of California signed law that would send healthcare workers to jail for failing to use a person’s chosen pronouns.

Gender identity activists know that to win the battle for vocabulary is to win the war. If they can claim “inclusiveness,” victimhood, discrimination, or some other perceived oppression, they can leverage their views to accomplish their goals. 

“The Left wins because it seizes language...I have noticed, news anchors now talk about ‘gender assigned at birth,’ as if that’s something different from one’s biological sex. There may be 57 genders, but there are only two biological sexes. 

Don’t surrender the language. Reclaim the language. It’s the first step to recovering our civilization.”

“The war on pronouns, an assault upon the language by which we recognize a world in common, follows of necessity. What we are dealing with is nothing less than a war on reality itself. And everyone has just been pressed into service.”

If media, politicians, celebrities, academia, and corporations buy-in, and begin using the words gender identity activists invent, the battle is more than half-over. Indeed, it may already be lost. 

The persons who define the words determine the outcome of the debate.

Consider for example, the fact that states reviewing or that have enacted laws preserving fair competition and protecting girls and women in sports are now regularly called “anti-trans” in media reports. Not “pro-girls” or “pro-women” but “anti-trans.” Similar battles are occurring on university campuses and in public education at all levels where school personnel are being forced to use the pronouns selected by students who self-proclaim as any number of sexual identities.

     “In actuality, it is disrespectful to both you and the transgender person to use the anti-science pronoun. It demeans your knowledge of reality and perpetuates lies harmful to you and the transgender person, as well as to the rest of society…

     One should not have to abandon one’s morals and sanity to appease gender activists, those who have been brainwashed by such ideology, and those struggling with gender dysphoria. Being manipulated into telling what you know to be a lie is not good for anyone…

     It is harmful to perpetuate false gender theories. The person using a false pronoun violates the truth and obfuscates our culture’s understanding of biology. Since truth and goodness are intertwined, bowing to transgender ideology threatens both…

     Manipulating words erodes our language and therefore thinking. Graham Hillard, an English professor at Trevecca Nazarene University, made this argument in National Review a few years ago. ‘What is at stake, however, is the irreplaceable right to say of one thing, ‘true,’ and of another, ‘false’ — to define the basic realities from which our politics proceed,’ Hillard wrote. ‘A man is a man. A woman is a woman. Let us not pretend otherwise.’”

Capitulating on common sense, rational, science-based vocabulary only yields confusion, chaos, anxiety, and personal and social emptiness. 

Inclusive pronouns” do not show God’s love; they betray the God of Truth and Love.

Christians must always love their neighbors as themselves. We must always speak the truth only in love, but we must speak the truth. 

To use gender identity vocabulary may seem like a conciliatory act, a matter of respect for the other individual, but this is a false positive. Actually, we are only perpetuating lies and division, the very tools Satan wants us to use to destroy our witness.

There are innumerable ways to demonstrate love and compassion. Lying is not one of them.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

During my time as a university president, a group called Soulforce began showing up uninvited on Christian college and university campuses. Bankrolled by wealthy advocates, Soulforce was comprised of gay and lesbian young people along with others who supported their cause.

Responses to Soulforce varied, but on our campus where they forced their way into classrooms and chapel, we simply said, “No thank you.” We did not verbally malign them to their face or in press coverage and did not criticize other institutions that engaged the group.

The university experienced overwhelming support for its response, but of course I also received letters from people who disagreed, which almost every time tracked not to theology but love for a friend or family member who had declared themselves gay or lesbian. People changed their views about the morality of homosexuality in part because a friend or family member came out.

I felt for the students, who I thought were being used by big donor gay and lesbian advocates, and I felt for the family members who loved their youth, did not understand their LGB choice, and who often changed their moral views based on that love. Sadly, this approach is a moral, intellectual, social, practical and personal dead-end.

Today people are changing their understanding of their gender, which is to say they believe gender is fluid, malleable, mutable, that they can change their identity to a new gender category that does not align with their biological birth sex. They now believe they become a gender of their own choosing, notwithstanding the witness of their eyes and their heart.

Gender Fluidity and Divine Design is my recent attempt to make sense of the gender confusion flooding our airwaves and online feeds, and more importantly, to do so based upon a Christian worldview. 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.