Sunday, March 29, 2015

Recognizing the Contradictions: Same Sex Marriage and the First Amendment

There is an almost entire other article added to this one that deals with Apple CEO Tim Cook's editorial at the Washington Post.  Don't miss it.

Maybe I shouldn't, but I marvel at what I see happening around Indiana's recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which essentially says that

a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person's right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person's exercise of religion is: (1) essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and (2) the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides that a person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a state or local government action may assert the burden as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the judicial proceeding.

If you read that, you'll see there is nothing in it about same-gender marriage (I'll be using the term gender for the sake of those with internet filters).  We're reminded by its supporters that it is virtually the same law passed on a federal level, signed by Bill Clinton in 1993.  Almost anyone knows why it is being passed, which is why there is such a reaction across the country, obviously pushed by what is known as the political arm of the LGBT lobby.

Legal Contradiction

The law was passed in accordance with the language of the first part of the first amendment to the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

The government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion, the free exercise clause.  And here's the question:  Is a Christian baker required to bake a cake for a same gender marriage? Everyone knows that this is the essence of what this Indiana law is about and why it was passed.

The magnitude of the reaction dismays.   Parades.  Marches.  CEOs of companies vowing to cut off business with the whole state.  Threat of Indiana losing major, revenue raising sporting events.  Big named celebrities tweeting in opposition, several of them foul language.  Because of the timing with the NCAA tournament, it has showed up on sports talk and I heard a sports reporter call the legislation and the people, "ignorant."  Do you hear any support from similar companies or action for religious freedom?   I haven't read anything.  I watched the Indiana governor, Pence, on RCP duel with George Stephanopoulos on This Week.   Stephanopolous, former Clinton press secretary, had one goal in mind, and that was to goad an answer to this question:

So when you say tolerance is a two way street, does that mean that Christians who want to refuse service or people of any other faith who want to refuse service to gays and lesbians, that it's now legal in the state of Indiana?

Of course, that question purposefully glosses over the issue, which is a kind of propaganda.  It's not about refusing service, but whether Christians should make a cake or provide the flowers for a wedding.  A wedding.  It's not about not serving a particular people, but participation in a sacred ceremony or rite.  Everyone.  Knows.  That.  The law would give the right to a Christian bakery not to bake that cake.

Those attempting to bully Indiana ask if they will get service there when they visit.  They know they'll be served.  There is no widespread lack of serving them in the United States.  They know that.

A legal question surrounds a contradiction that occurs between various rights:  one, ownership of private property, i.e., your own business, two, freedom of religion, and, three, the equal protection of the fourteenth amendment.  No contradiction exists in God's law.  All the rights we receive from God operate in harmony.  The contradiction arises on the application of the fourteenth amendment, which violates private property rights and freedom of religion.  The fourteenth amendment was designed around the rights of freed slaves after the Civil War, but has adapted to same-gender situations. Should a private citizen with his own business be compelled by the government to sell a product or produce a service?  The application of the fourteenth amendment was also the biggest controversy of civil rights legislation, but that is complicated even further now.

Why would Indiana pass the law, especially right now?

When I was growing up, stores sold these replica NFL uniforms that could be worn as a costume.  I haven't seen them for awhile -- probably too many lawsuits because of injuries.  They were replicas.   They were not the real NFL or even football uniform.  Most people recognized it wasn't a real uniform.

We're going to hear soon the U. S. Supreme Court decision on same-gender mirage, what I've read Douglas Wilson label it.  The state can call it a marriage.  Same-gender couples can call it a marriage. That doesn't mean it is a marriage.  It isn't.  I'm not calling it one.  It's just the replica NFL uniform, not a real marriage.

Even if you believe it is a mirage, if you have to do the flower arrangements for one of these ceremonies, they're making you call it a marriage.   You lose your religious freedom.  I don't think its a real marriage, even if they say it is.  The law should allow your religious freedom when the Supreme Court decision finds a way to read same gender marriage into the Constitution.

Worldview Contradiction

The premodern world, which includes the founding fathers, operated on the assumption of design, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.  Premoderns enforced moral absolutes based upon that assumption.  You accept the marriage definition of God and nature.

Enter modernism.  The world is a machine and truth arises from human reason.  Values and aesthetics did not submit to the new criteria of truth, so they became meaningless.

Enter postmodernism, and values are personal and subjective, while facts are scientific and objective. Everyone can choose his own morality, so marriage can be redefined to accommodate that choice.

If you can't choose to reject same-gender marriage, then it has become a moral absolute.  Its advocates  have no tolerance for anything but acceptance.  They contradict their own postmodern worldview.  Same-gender marriage has become a moral absolute in their world of moral relativity. Its advocates contradict their own worldview, which indicates that their belief in same-gender marriage is religious to them.  They are treating it with the dogmatism of a religious edict, as if it were a premodern moral absolute.

It's like Governor Pence said.  Toleration goes both ways and so does discrimination.  If moral values arise from individual choice, either choice must be tolerated.


Tim Cook, the most recent CEO of Apple, the biggest and richest company in the world, has bullied religious folk, Christians, and Bible believers with his recent actions over the Indiana religious freedom law, one of which is an opinion piece in the Washington Post (owned by CEO, Jeff Bezos), entitled, "Pro-discrimination ‘religious freedom’ laws are dangerous."  He among others calls the rejection of same-gender marriage, "discrimination."  Based on even the most recent use of the word, "discrimination," this is again propaganda coming from the Apple head, a type of lie intended to shut-up those who deny same-gender marriage.

According to the oldest understanding of discrimination, the word is good.  If you are discriminating person, it means that you are thoughtful and not easily manipulated, but that's not what people think it means anymore.  If someone had used the word very recently, I would have thought it was a form of prejudice to discriminate.  For instance, you presupposed a negative opinion of a person before ever meeting him or knowing him, because of his race, for instance.  Not until even more recently did that apply to folks in same-gender relationships, because most still believed that people were born with their skin color, but they weren't born with proclivity for same-gender relationships -- the latter was personal choice, not genetics or instinct or natural.  That latter also has still never been proven by science.  So you couldn't be prejudice against them, because they belong to a category you reject outright as a Christian as sin.  You haven't prejudged them because you know what they are doing by their own choice.  However, if you are a Christian businessman, you still serve them because you don't think it's wrong to do so.  If they come to your restaurant, they get to eat, if they come to your store, they can buy things, and if they need some plumbing and you're a plumber, you can do their work.  That would still mean that you haven't discriminated.

Tim Cook might not be the first, but the word discrimination is taking on a new meaning in a very selective way for those like Tim Cook.  You can read that in his article.  Activity is being labeled discrimination that had not been so before.

I want to pick my way through his article to explain what I'm charging.  The first is the last line of his second paragraph:

individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.

I'm not going to rehash this, because I dealt with it in my article above.  This is not a refusal to serve, but a refusal to participate in a ceremony by baking a cake for it.  I've heard good arguments as a comparison, that is, requiring a Jewish baker to bake for a neo-Nazi event.  I know people don't like the comparison, but it is helpful.

The next one comes in the third paragraph:

Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ marriage ban later this year.

This is an easy one to understand.  Texas law says marriage is between a man and a woman.  Texas doesn't want its officials to disobey the law, so they're getting serious.  A good comparison would be what happened in California when the state passed an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage, and the San Francisco mayor defied it without consequence.  This lawlessness seems typical today from liberal politicians.  Some of the Texas clerks might dislike the law, but they still are authorized to enforce it with penalty.  Cook might be good at making electronics, but he isn't good at basic comprehension of civics.  Or he is good and he's just lying.

Here's his worst line, the first of the fourth paragraph:

These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear.

Is Cook saying he holds religious freedom dear?  I don't think so.  I think it's just a very poorly written statement that needed editing.  That's how the sentence reads, but I'm sure it wasn't what he meant.  The bill didn't pretend to defend same-gender relationships.  It wasn't pretending anything.  I believe that Cook meant that the bills pretend to defend religious freedom in order to rationalize injustice, but it isn't what he wrote.  You don't have to be a very good writer to lead Apple, I guess. I'm quite sure that those who authored the bills were not pretending to protect religious freedom. Cook makes it all the more evident why the law was necessary to write and pass.

His next line is bad too.

They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.

Wow.  How do you think the founding fathers would have treated same-gender relationships, even the deists?  "Unnatural" would have been the least of their labels.  When Jefferson wrote that people were created equal, he wasn't saying that all behavior is equal.  Should we assume that God created same-gender relationships?  No one believed that then.  And the fourteenth amendment didn't come until much later, written by those who were not founding fathers, and not even its authors contemplated same-gender relationships.  Not even Brown versus Board of Education foresaw same-gender relationships.  These big lies that Cook tells have become fashionable in modern debate.  Just say whatever whopper you want, the bigger it is, the more convincing, because of the sheer audacity.

If we're going to talk about equality, we should talk about something that is in the Constitution, that is, the free exercise of religion.  That is an actual right that the founding fathers believed in.  Cook would like that taken away.  He would like business owners forced by the government to participate in a same-gender ceremony.  This is taking away an actual right to support the arbitrary choice of someone else.  This does not advance civil rights, but diminishes them, as I argued above.  Abortion does something similar, maybe the same.  It gives the woman a right of "privacy," a questionable right at least, by taking away the right of the child to live, the most fundamental of all rights.

I could spend a lot more time with Cook's article.  You can read it yourself.  It's bad.  If anyone is pretending, it's Cook.  Later he writes that he was baptized as a child in a Baptist church.  Does anyone really think that Cook believes the Bible?  He says that religion shouldn't be used to discriminate.  Jesus said no man comes to the Father, but by Him.  He said that narrow is the road that leads to life eternal and few there be that find it.   Cook likely knows this and is pretending that Baptists teach something totally different than what he heard as a kid growing up.

His opposition to religious freedom, and the way that he attempts to bully those who wish to practice it, gives me pause concerning Apple products.  Could we as Americans apply some pressure by not purchasing from Apple?  That is a way to push back.  Could you join me by saying, "Goodbye Apple"?  I don't think I even want to look at one of their products anymore.


Michael G. Reeder said...

Amen!!! Good article, Bro. Brandenburg. I, too, tire of all the "discrimination" nonsense regarding this issue.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

In relation to your statement:

How do you think the founding fathers would have treated same-gender relationships, even the deists? "Unnatural" would have been the least of their labels.

We actually know how the states that ratified the Constitution felt about sodomy. In every single one of the states someone found guilty of this abomination would be executed. See here:

for a study on American anti-sodomy laws.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Pastor Reeder,

Thanks for the comment, and for dropping by.


I included your link in the article, so it would be easier for others. Thanks.

Jeff Voegtlin said...


Thanks for another helpful article. All the furor goaded me into actually publishing an article myself. There may be holes in it, but I had to get the idea off my chest. Here's the link: If you have time, I'd appreciate your thoughts about it.

John Mark IB said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

I hope you're doing great, thanks as always for your excellent articles and perspective, I stumbled across this article and thought you might enjoy it,
although I think the site or writers might be Catholic Abe I'm definitely not into catholicism by any means, it isn't a bad article the writer's not too bad? Oh well thanks again for allowing me to post on your great site, May The LORD bless you and yours with many, many more years of healthy and fruitful service, with love joy and peace always in Jesus name amen, have a blessed day and week.

John Mark IB said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

I hope you're doing great, thanks as always for your excellent articles and perspective, I stumbled across this article and thought you might enjoy it,
although I think the site or writers might be Catholic Abe I'm definitely not into catholicism by any means, it isn't a bad article the writer's not too bad? Oh well thanks again for allowing me to post on your great site, May The LORD bless you and yours with many, many more years of healthy and fruitful service, with love joy and peace always in Jesus name amen, have a blessed day and week.