On human rights ... and wrongs - Coeur d'Alene Press: My Turn

On human rights ... and wrongs

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Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 12:00 am

During this local political season, it is important that our communication with one another be characterized by a firm allegiance to honesty, integrity, and truth. As a local pastor, I decry sins of the tongue - slander, gossip, lies, outbursts of wrath, false accusations - all dishonor our Creator and defame others who are made in the image of God. It is my desire to speak the truth in love.

To that end I wish to address the misleading way in which the agenda of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered (LGBT) community has been linked by some, including mayoral candidate Steve Widmeyer and homosexual activist Tony Stewart, to the idea of human rights. We need to preserve the "human rights" of those in the LGBT community and not discriminate against them.

It is important that members of our community understand that this linking of the ordinance with human rights is false and destructive. First, it is false. The ordinance is not about the preservation of human rights but about the public sanctioning of immoral and destructive sexual behaviors. Our forefathers never taught that "human rights" include the "right" to do what is wrong. And this ordinance is not about the preservation of human rights but human wrongs. It is the equivalent of passing a law forbidding discrimination against thieves and adulterers - granting public protections to those who engage in particular immoral actions.

Second, it is destructive. It leaves human rights in the hands of human beings. The founders of our great nation were careful to maintain that our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were given to us by the Creator, not by any human agency, whether a vote of the people or a decision of the king. Governments are created to protect and preserve these rights; but the rights exist independent of any government. On this matter, Mr. Stewart is exactly right: every decision of the majority is subject to the moral law.

So where do we find the moral law? Clearly Mr. Stewart believes in it; he appeals to our "moral compass" to oppose discrimination against those in the LGBT community. So how does he identify what is moral or immoral? Shall we soon find him defending the "right" of citizens to practice polygamy, bestiality, incest, or pedophilia? Perhaps murder, rape, thievery? No doubt he opposes such things. But on what basis? Public opinion? Then he undermines his claim that these things exist independent of government decisions and leaves us in the hands of the people. The Creator? Then he needs to explain how we understand and know the mind of the Creator. And if we can only know the mind of God through individual human opinion then we're back to our first dilemma - we have to take a vote. Vox populi, vox dei: the voice of the people is the voice of God. And in that case whatever the people decide becomes "moral" - it becomes two wolves and a sheep trying to decide what to eat. It leaves us in the hands of the people.

Christianity resolves this dilemma by appealing to an objective moral standard that stands over and above every human society - Christian or non-Christian. We know what is good and right and honorable through the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Here God has revealed the moral law - it is summarized in the Ten Commandments and lived out in the life of Jesus Christ. And this law clearly identifies the LGBT lifestyles as perverse and destructive both individually and societally. This law leaves us not in the hands of human beings but in the hands of God. As historian Arnold J. Toynbee remarked, "Sooner or later, man has always had to decide whether he worships his own power or the power of God." There is no third option.

Contrary to Mr. Stewart's claim, love and discrimination always go hand in hand. It is the father who loves his daughter who teaches her to discriminate among suitors. It is the mother who loves her son who teaches him to discriminate and choose his friends carefully. It is Jesus who loves the poor who discriminated against the moneychangers and overthrew their tables (see Matthew 21:12-17).

And so we would urge the citizens of our community to use proper discrimination as you approach the polls. Always defend human rights while ardently opposing human wrongs. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).

Stuart Bryan is pastor of Trinity Church in Coeur d'Alene.

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  • Randy_Myers posted at 5:14 pm on Sat, Sep 28, 2013.

    Randy_Myers Posts: 136

    @fiepie...Excellent point!

  • Rogue Cop posted at 1:36 pm on Sat, Sep 28, 2013.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2371

    I'm admittedly not very spiritual but why is this pastor trying to "boost his rating" anymore than Tony Stewart? And Bryant certainly doesn't have the market cornered on "narrow minded dogma". It was Tony Stewart who accused two Mayoral candidates of abandoning their moral compass just because they didn't agree with a controversial ordinance that MANY believe was ill-advised and unnecessary.

    When you have a secular mouthpiece in the community trying to dictate the conscience of the populace, it invites a response from a cleric who might disagree. It's called balance. I wouldn't want to see either censored.

  • Miketeague posted at 10:11 am on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    Miketeague Posts: 2583

    And another bible thumper trying to boost his rating and most likely pay jumps on the band wagon of fiction over fact. Hopefully Mr. Bryan in your house of repression not everyone believes calling anyone that’s advocates for equal rights for all people a homosexual, after all Jesus demanded equal rights for all, of course he did hang around nothing but men and never married.
    Next, if you want to push your narrow minded version of religious dogma into government then pay taxes like everyone else.
    And last, this is obviously going to supprise you but christianty does not rule everyone or even most.

  • My Too Sense posted at 9:12 am on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    My Too Sense Posts: 39

    "... " fornicators, idolators, effeminate, abuses of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners"..."

    Ain't politicians grand?

  • fiepie posted at 6:44 am on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

    fiepie Posts: 3051

    With religion, i.e. Christianity, we find that " fornicators, idolators, effeminate, abuses of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners" are listed in 1 Corinthians as sin.
    In life we find that homosexuals can be fired, evicted from housing, etc. but that "fornicators", "drunkards"
    "covetous' and others do not recieve the same treatment.
    Many religious organizations preach out against homosexuals but not against fornicators, why?

    Since this ordinance was introduced people have decried it and feel it is their "right" not to have to do business with or have any dealings with...homosexuals...why?
    We gladly accept fornicators into our service at our establishment of religion but not homosexuals?
    We gladly have business dealings with fornicators...why?
    By preaching out how unGodly the practice of homosexuality is and yet recieving fornicators into our midst is very similar to the Jews bringing the adulterous woman before Jesus to have her stoned.
    Here we are attempting to have homosexuality stoned and like the Jews of old, they failed to bring the partner of the adulterous woman...we are failing to bring the partner of homosexuality...fornication..
    before the Lord.

    Yes...this ordinance is indeed needed. Not to enhance nor encourage homosexuality but to allow them the same freedoms we give fornicators whether in religion or under the guidance of the statutes of the United States., i.e. equal rights....

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