An enterprising chiropractor ought to be able to make a good living in New York these days, going church to church and offering his services. So many clergy in the Empire State have been vigorously patting themselves on the back over their recent success, lobbying for the same-sex “marriage” law, that many must be giving themselves a pain in the neck, for a change.
Some 734 clergy and lay leaders combined forces as part of New York’s “Pride in the Pulpit” initiative -- a conformist conglomeration of priests, rabbis, and mainline Protestants that many political analysts credit with bringing home the necessary swing votes to squeak out a 33-29 win in the legislature.
“They provided a kind of political and theological cover to the moderate and conservative state senators,” as The New York Timesexplains it. In the words of Princeton history professor Julian E. Zelizer, “Politicians draw on clergy to give themselves moral authority when taking on these kinds of social and cultural issues.”
What he means is, if a wolf is looking for sheep’s clothing, there’s no better place to get it than from a shepherd. As moral authorities go, clergy -- even in this jaded age -- rank pretty high. Higher, it turns out, than the God they’re jockeying to speak for.
God, from Whom not only all blessings but all moral authority flows, made His feelings on marriage pretty clear early on -- in the second chapter of Genesis, to be exact, where He says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” As late as the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, Revelation, He is still describing His own relationship to His church as that of a bridegroom to his bride (22:17).
He immediately follows that metaphor with verses (22:18-19) asserting the eternal dangers that await those who would edit the truth of Scripture to fit their own preferences. Clearly, the Almighty Himself sees marriage as a strictly man-woman proposition, and heaven help those who try to teach it as something else and then cite Him as their source.
His intransigence on this point is a source of endless gall to those whose determination to make God in their own image finds His mercy incompatible with His truth. “God is love,” they remind us, and since we’ve all long since agreed that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” God must surely be about letting us do whatever feels right, indulging whatever our glands and our culture dictate as the proper expression of sexual energy, endorsing our callous disregard for our health and our emotional sanity and what’s best for our children.
But, as the wise old man once said, “‘God is love’ does not mean ‘Love is God.’” God was here first, and He’s the one who came up with this whole idea of love in the first place. He, then, is the one who determines what love is. Our personal ideas of love -- however pleasing they may be to our own ever-burgeoning sensibilities of justice and equality -- don’t, won’t define His character. He will not reinvent Himself to accommodate our outrages, our high horses, and whatever sins we’ve collectively decided are fashionably in season.
Funny, that these same clergy haven’t converged (so far) around the conviction that adultery is now okay, and good for the soul. To my knowledge, none of them are on record advocating polygamy, or sex with children, or rape, or bestiality. And yet each of these, like homosexual behavior, hinges on the misuse of sex for selfish purposes. The idea that these are wrong, damaging, and anathema comes from the same chapters and verses of the Bible that denounce homosexual activity as depraved and self-destructive.
That may be a distinction many laymen are unaware of, but such ignorance cannot be ascribed to clergy, who are presumed to have a more than passing familiarity with the Bible as written. But then, judges are presumed to be more attuned to the Constitution than the rest of us, and the legal tides of the last few decades prove that ignorance is as dangerous in their realm as it is in the ranks of the would-be holy. I understand a lot of doctors smoke, too.
So, what to do when the shepherds who should know better are determined to ram their own politically correct morality down the sheep’s conscience?
Peter asked Jesus that question (Pharisees being as prevalent in Bible times as supra-biblical clerics today), and Jesus replied: “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
The ditches are likely to get crowded in New York, where one ordained cleric celebrated the success of her tireless and highly-publicized labors on behalf of same-sex unions by directing reporters to a passage familiar to many church-goers all over the country.
“What’s that in Micah 6:8?” she said. “‘Do justice. Love mercy.’”
True enough . . . but she might be surprised to learn that the verse urges one thing more.
“Walk humbly with your God.”
Alan Sears is a former federal prosecutor who held various posts in the departments of Justice and Interior during the Reagan administration. He is president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.
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