Evangelicals Swing Both Ways on Social Issues
By: Michael R. Shannon
A significant proportion of the US population feels marginalized and suffers from perceived widespread disrespect. Their desires are discounted and in some instances actively discouraged by state, federal and local government. Families are either split or prevented from coming together, which results in children who are denied the benefits of a two–parent family. Circumstances beyond the control of these individuals have put them in the shadows, outside the mainstream of American society and at the mercy of an often cruel and heartless public.
And that’s why Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Public Policy Center have both come out in support of homosexual marriage. As Daly said in an interview with Christianity Today, “What are the solutions to help get these families together, get them in a lawful state, one that can be recognized, and then move forward? I think that is a healthy situation for the country. Let’s get behind this, not play politics with it left or right and not fearmonger with it. These are people that need dignity. Even though in some cases they’ve broken the law, there’s always that heartfelt story out there where you just tear up looking at what they’re facing now. We need to do what’s humane.”
No wait. That’s the quote Daly used in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. As of the time this post was written Focus and the Southern Baptists still oppose homosexual marriage. But can someone point out to me why their reasoning on illegal aliens doesn’t apply to homosexuals, too? Both groups have been in an unlawful relationship for a number of years and they want to either escape worldly consequences in one case and Biblical responsibility in the other.
I know the Bible says welcome the stranger and not welcome the sodomite, but when you base your theology on feelings instead of Truth, there is no difference in the two situations. A plain reading of the Bible shows marriage is one man to one woman and homosexuality is prohibited — occasionally by fire and brimstone. And strangers are to be welcomed as individuals by individuals, but nowhere does it say stealth invasions in violation of the law are to be encouraged. In fact, I would challenge anyone to show me where in the Bible a law breaker or sinner is rewarded for his or her transgression?
Or for that matter, where people are encouraged to emulate a class of law breakers in the future?
The situation is simply not there. Illegals aren’t mentioned by name in either testament, but if we can’t apply observations or analogous situations from the Bible to modern life, then the book is dead and useless.
Look at how similar both situations are. Both population groups feel put upon. Homosexuals and illegals want to come out of the shadows and gain the stamp of approval from government and society at large: A marriage license in one case and documentos de ciudadanía in the other.
If Daly and my own Southern Baptist governing body are to be consistent, then they have to either support both or oppose both.
Prior to the Supreme Court decision that branded people like me who oppose the perversion of God’s institution of marriage as hate–filled bigots, Daly and Focus helped to produce an e–book that contained five questions and answers about same sex marriage that outlined their opposition. The irony is the same questions and answers apply to illegal aliens, but they support legalizing them.
Here are the questions and answers with the marriage–related in regular text and the illegal–related in boldface.
1. Why does marriage matter to the government? Why do borders matter to the government?
Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage ensures the well-being of children…Government recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for having and raising children. Borders protect citizens from the incursions of lawbreakers great and small and it makes sure the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship go to people who have earned it. Defending the borders is one of the principle responsibilities of government.
2. What are the consequences of redefining marriage? What are the consequences of redefining citizenship?
Redefining marriage would hurt children. Decades of social science-including very recent and robust studies-show that children do better when raised by a married mom and dad.
Redefining marriage would further separate marriage from the needs of children. It would deny as a matter of policy the ideal that a child needs a mom and a dad. Redefining citizenship would hurt the rule of law. Separating citizenship from the responsibility to obey the law only encourages future disrespect for the law and future illegal immigration. Ideally law–abiding individuals make better citizens.
3. Why do you want to interfere with love? Why can’t we just live and let live? Why do you want to interfere with ambition?
Marriage laws don’t ban anything; they define marriage. Immigration law doesn’t ban ambition, it only defines where one is allowed to be ambitious.
4. Isn’t denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry the same as a ban on interracial marriage? Aren’t immigration law supporters just using the law as an excuse for bigotry?
No. Racism kept the races apart, and that is a bad thing. Marriage unites the two sexes, and that is a good thing. Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. No. Immigration law is color–blind, but it cannot be geography–blind. The fact that most illegal border crossers come from countries adjacent to the US does not make the enforcement of the law biased, no more than spraying for mosquitoes means you oppose flying.
5. Why doesn’t government just get out of the marriage business altogether? Why doesn’t government get out of the employment verification business altogether?
Marriage is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life…A study by the left-leaning Brookings Institution found that, between 1970 and 1996, $229 billion in welfare expenditures could be attributed to social problems related to the breakdown of marriage. A good job is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life. Illegal immigrants are exploited by employers and compete unfairly with low–income workers. Americans would be happy to do the work now taken by illegals if the pay rates were not distorted and artificially depressed by law–breakers. Employers who circumvent the market and rig the system against the people who need the jobs the most, create unemployment which increases stress on families and marriages.
There is no intellectual consistency in Daly’s or the SBC’s position on illegal immigration and homosexual marriage. Daly contends, “When you look at it, the immigration issue is not just a legal issue. We respect what needs to be done there and hopefully we can strengthen laws, enforce laws and do all the things that we need to do in that way, because it’s important for a country to establish its borders and maintain its borders. But when you look at the family impact now and the stories we’ve received over the past year or two, it’s pretty tragic what’s occurring.”
Illegal immigration breaks at least three of the Ten Commandments. Illegals often steal the identity of citizens to get papers. They lie about their status in the country. And the motivation that brought them here in the first place was coveting a lifestyle they didn’t have.
And what’s occurring is all self–induced. Would Daly advocate keeping a drug addict supplied with heroin so he won’t feel compelled to steal and possibly break up his family if he’s sent to jail? How about telling a wife to put up with infidelity if it keeps the family together and the children aren’t upset?
Daly and the SBC are busy undermining their credibility and authority. It’s a shame. I expected better.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.