"For to you it was granted on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Phil. 1:29).
Defense of God's design for natural marriage—along with the God-given, constitutional freedom of conscience to decline participation in and, thereby, endorsement of, its unnatural and sin-based counterfeit, so-called "gay marriage"—is now among America's premier civil-rights struggles. I know from whence I speak, as 10 years ago I was fired from a major fortune 100 company for writing, on my own time and on my home computer, an op-ed acknowledging the requisite binary male-female nature of authentic marriage and human sexuality.
Rather than rolling over and accepting this injustice, I sued in federal court. God used that situation not only to bless me and my family with a significant monetary settlement, but to place me on the front lines in the fast-escalating war against religious liberty. I share this not to boast, but rather to encourage you—to illustrate God's marvelous faithfulness in my own life.
As Christians, we are called to stand our ground in love against all wickedness. We do so not because we are righteous—we are not—but because of Christ's righteousness in us. As Christ followers, we are to follow Christ. We are to stand for His truths. When we do, and while we may face persecution, He will ultimately honor our faithfulness for His own glory and purpose.
It's getting ugly out there, and it will only get worse. The cases are piling up. We've now seen dozens of bakers, photographers, florists, inn keepers, magistrates, county clerks and other people involved in various vocations surrounding marriage suffer persecution for merely declining to become complicit in sin. Christians are being financially ruined and even facing jail time for refusing to lend their time, talents, gifts and abilities to sanction unnatural marriage rituals.
Let us be abundantly clear. Same-sex "marriage" is evil. It is sin. All good things come from God the Father, and all wickedness comes from the father of lies. If God designed biblical marriage and natural human sexuality, and He did, then we are left no doubt as to who designed its counterfeit—as to who fabricated counter-biblical "gay marriage" and otherwise perverted God's perfect purposes for human sexuality.
As faithful Christians we cannot, indeed we must not, endorse or participate in that which God calls evil. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil" (see Is. 5:20). We must reject sin.
There have been a number of good and well-intentioned folks who, rather than participating in these pagan "gay marriage" rituals, have either resigned employment or, if business owners, closed their doors altogether. While this is admirable, I submit that, if and when you, dear Christian, are placed in a situation that compels you to choose between obedience to God's just laws or man's unjust laws, that you not only refuse to obey the unjust laws, but refuse to quit.
Stand your ground.
I suggest that when any Christian business owner, magistrate or county clerk is told that he must participate in a sinful "gay marriage" ceremony, that he not only refuse to do so, but that he refuse to step down. Do not resign your post. Force the government to overtly persecute you—to take punitive action against you for your righteous stand. Even if you face chains.
Pray for courage, and God will provide it.
The Apostle Paul set the example when, while chained to a wall in a Roman prison, he wrote the following to the church in Philippi: "But I want you to know, brothers, that the things which happened to me have resulted in advancing the gospel, so that my imprisonments in Christ have become known throughout the entire palace guard and to all the rest. And a great many of the brothers in the Lord, having become confident because of my incarcerations, have dared to speak the word without fear" (Phil. 1:12-14).
Not only did Paul supernaturally face anti-Christian persecution without fear. He faced it with great joy.
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached. And in this I rejoice.
Indeed, I will rejoice. For I know that through your prayer and the support of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, this will result in my deliverance. Accordingly, it is my earnest expectation and my hope that I shall be ashamed in nothing, but that with all boldness as always, so now also, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death. For to me, to continue living is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:18-21).
After several magistrates in North Carolina recently stepped down rather than being forced to preside over same-sex "marriage" rituals, Mat Staver, chairman and founder of Liberty Counsel, one of America's fastest-growing civil-rights law firms, pledged the following: "I appreciate the conviction of these magistrates, but rather than resign they should remain at their post. Liberty Counsel will represent them, but once they resign there is not much we can do to help."
Staver noted that in 2004, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unconstitutionally imposed same-sex "marriage" on the Commonwealth, Catholic Charities ceased its adoption ministry because it refused to place children in same-sex households.
"The commitment to Church teachings and conscience is commendable," said Staver, "but Catholic Charities should not have voluntarily ceased its adoption ministry. If the government wants to impose an intolerant agenda on people of faith and trample their religious convictions, then let it happen in public for all to see. I cannot believe the American people will long tolerate this intolerant agenda."
"Where would the civil-rights movement be if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. voluntarily went home when he faced opposition?" asked Staver. "Where would we be today if Rosa Parks had voluntarily moved to the back of the bus? The quest for religious freedom was the reason American was born. We cannot voluntarily give up this unalienable right," he said.
As Paul concluded, "Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ ... Do not be frightened by your adversaries. This is a sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and this from God. For to you it was granted on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Phil. 1:27-29).
When standing for truth, be not ashamed. Be of great courage and great cheer no matter what trials you may face.
And be blessed for the opportunity.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of barbwire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter:@jmattbarber).
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