"Slow in coming."
This is how Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger, a Holocaust survivor and a professor at Syracuse University in New York, described the Christian Church�s response to the Nazi extermination of the Jews.
It seems it is ever so when the Church responds � rather, fails to respond � to encroaching evil.
I had a sinking feeling when I read the March 1, 2004 issue of The Oregonian Metro Section headline, "Pastors enter marriage debate." In it is described a group of four, well-known, Portland-area pastors who are described as "reluctantly" and "gingerly" stepping forward to oppose homosexual marriage.
I was utterly flabbergasted � though not surprised � to read that these high-profile evangelical leaders couldn't even bring themselves to condemn homosexual "civil unions" in their so-called stand for "principle." Frank Damazio, pastor at the 4,000 member City Bible [sic] Church even chirped that civil unions for sodomites seemed like "a very fair thing to do." The other pastors, James E. Martin of Mount Olivet Baptist Church, Ray Cotton of New Hope Community Church, and Dick Iverson, former City Bible Church pastor and current chairman of Ministers Fellowship International, could not form a consensus on it though.
Their solution? Well, they didn't know that either. Maybe an initiative. Maybe lobbying the Legislature. They hadn't decided. However, they assured everyone that it would be nothing like what the evil Lon Mabon did back in the day � nothing so "hurtful" (Cotton's word) as trying to stop the homosexuals from using the power and money of the State of Oregon to train public school children in sodomy. My prediction is that they will lapse into their former comfortable silence until the homosexual agenda makes it legal for the homosexuals to sodomize the pastors� sons before the congregation on Sunday morning.
They may support President George Quisling Bush's losing proposition for a constitutional amendment defining marriage. Naturally, this would be a futile exercise � especially considering that Bush also can't seem to resist letting the sodomites have civil unions.
This is not a stand on "principle." It will not save marriage itself, it will only save a dictionary definition for marriage � and that, only briefly.
Allow me to explain: Suppose the proposed amendment passes. In the first place, the definition would only apply to federal documents, not to the states. Next, civil unions � which would be precisely the same as marriage in the legal sense � would exist alongside the newly-defined marriage. Following that, the homosexuals would go to court wielding the dual clubs of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the U.S. Supreme Court long ago disposed of the notion that one could create "separate but equal" institutions that discriminate, and Lawrence v. Texas, in which the high court determined that one could not have sodomy laws applicable to homosexuals only. Between these cases, the distinction between marriage and civil unions will be dissolved.
In the article, Mount Olivet's Martin expresses concern that churches may face lawsuits if they refuse to wed homosexuals. I can almost guarantee they will � even if it is only for the purpose of draining the churches of money and of members sick of controversy.
The homosexuals � and all the forces of evil � will settle for nothing less than all the marbles. They don't want peaceful coexistence or tolerance. They want 100% victory and they will stop at nothing short of it.
The fact is that it is 25 years too late to begin trying to "save marriage."
If these pastors had started out in the mid-1970s with people like Jim Webber preaching at Portland's first "Gay Pride" parade and not "grown weary in well doing" (Galatians 6: 9), we may have stood a chance to stop what we face today. If these pastors had joined with the Media's-Most-Hated, Lon Mabon, in his efforts to stop the homosexual agenda back in the early 1990s � an agenda the pastors are only now recognizing � there would be hope today.
These and many others sounded a warning to the deaf ears of Church leaders (and, as a result, their congregations as well) that their silence and apathy in the face of this culture war kills. All the abominations were plain to see � abortion, homosexuality, and many more � but the Church was simply too busy within their four walls playing religion. The pastors failed in The Great Commission. They didn't go out and preach, and they didn't "teach the nations" to obey God.
When the City leaders were deciding on employee benefits for "same-sex partners," the pastors did not go to the council and blast these leaders for their abominations. They were simply too "nice" � or too afraid.
Suddenly, they want to fight. It reminds me of when the Israelites, in Numbers 14, balked over going in to take the promised land. They, at first, listened to the spies who gave the evil report about how hard the battle would be. However, they eventually changed their minds and decided to go in � but it was too late. The call of God was no more. They tried to enter the land in their own strength, but they got trounced by the Amalekites.
I recall back in the anti-war movement of the 1960s there was a popular poster which read, "Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?" The implication was that if nobody "came" or cooperated in being part of the war, it would simply not happen at all. I suspect that this head-in-the-sand approach was what Iverson, Damazio, Martin, Cotton, and all the rest had adopted.
The problem is that the original line from that poster came from a poem by Bertol Brecht written as a warning to the French prior to the Nazi invasion. The French had the same head-in-the-sand approach. They hoped being "nice" and quiet that the Nazis would leave them alone. Brecht wrote:
"Suppose they gave a war,
and nobody came?
The war has now come to the very doors of these evangelical leaders and they are in confusion. Unused to the rigors of the Christian call to openly and publicly declare the truth, they dissemble. They cannot even see clearly enough to oppose the abomination without still offering a limp-wristed compromise. I could almost hear the gales of laughter in the sodomite camp as they read the pitiful, obsequious simpering of these Church leaders.
Yes, the response is "slow in coming" � so slow that it is worthless.
The response is also "restrained in expression" � so restrained that it will make no difference.
The response is also "neat" � so respectable that no one will respect it.
These pastors have chosen to go to war long after God tried to get them to go. They are going to enter the battle with the weapons they have allowed to weaken through long disuse.
I suspect that they will be trounced by the Amalekites.
� 2004 Paul deParrie - All Rights Reserved
Paul deParrie is a 17-year veteran of anti-abortion street activism, a preacher, and a social critic. He is the author of "Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics" (Huntington House) available at NewsWithViews Online Store Front. deParrie may be reached at: email@example.com.
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"I was utterly flabbergasted � though not surprised � to read that these high-profile evangelical leaders couldn't even bring themselves to condemn homosexual "civil unions" in their so-called stand for "principle.""