The Supreme Court's June 26th rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8 have drawn praise from supporters of LGBTQ rights, as well as condemnation from national and regional Religious Right groups. Charisma Magazine, the Christian website that brought us scintillating commentary on demon sex and smelly poltergeists, has gone ballistic over the ruling. Several Charisma commentators with reputations for bombastic columns have penned commentaries on the Supreme Court decisions. Predictably, these commentaries draw from the usual Religious Right rhetoric, claiming that the SCOTUS decisions will result in persecution of Christians, the end of marriage, and a new Christian cultural revolution.
First, in a commentary piece entitled "Supreme Court Decision a Call to Pray for Spiritual Awakeing", Assemblies of God general superintendent George O. Wood frowned upon the scorn heaped on homophobes. Ridiculously, he claimed that LGBTQ progress would herald marginalization and persecution of Christians. The idea that both LGBTQ persons and Christians can enjoy rights, or that someone can be both Christian and LGBTQ escaped him.
"You see this animus in Christians being labeled as haters, homophobes and bigots when the reverse is true. Humanitarian care and love for neighbor is a timeless value demonstrated daily by Christians. If the culture can dehumanize followers of Christ by attaching hateful labels to them, then it’s only a matter of time until Christians are first marginalized for their faith, deprived of their First Amendment rights and ultimately persecuted."The ever-dramatic Jennifer Leclair depicted the Supreme Court decision as a harbinger of the end times. In the bombastically-named column "Satan's End-Time Strategy to Outlaw Traditional Marriage in Full Swing", Leclair lamented that "the gay agenda has won a victory in the rapidly degenerating land of the free." She wondered aloud if governments will forbid marriage (!?) now that DOMA has been struck down. Calling the LGBTQ movement a "satanic agenda to end a godly institution", she painted same-sex marriage in ominous colors. "I believe the institution of traditional marriage will come under attack in parts of the earth as the deceptive gay marriage agenda continues to gain momentum," she wrote.
Leclair claims that America is seeing Romans 1 play out in real time, a possible reference to God's wrath against a sinful people (Romans 1:18-20), or more likely a reference to a passage condemning homosexual behavior (Romans 1:24-27). She decried apostasy and divergent Christian theologies as a symptom of the end times, a result of "deceiving spirits" that are leading Christians toward a "harlot church".
"We are in the latter times. We are in the end times even now. And many are indeed departing from the faith. Less than 1 percent of 18- to 23-year-olds have a biblical worldview, according to a recent Barna Group survey. Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, LifeWay Research reveals. And the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life reports that half of former Protestants who left the church said they turned away from their childhood faith because they stopped believing in its teachings—and about 40 percent said they did so because they do not believe in God.So-called "ex-gay" activist Janet Boynes penned a June 27th commentary entitled "God Is Still on the Throne", in which she too criticized the Supreme Court decision. Such rulings "remind us of man’s proclivity for making bad decisions that contradict God’s Word," she wrote, urging readers to press on and maintain faith in God.
We are in the latter times. We are in the end times even now. And some are indeed giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Look at the likes of Rob Bell, with his “no hell” theology; John Crowder, with his distorted hypergrace messages; and Carlton Pearson, with his universalistic “gospel of inclusion.” Then there’s the false justice movement that talks about Jesus while holding Bible studies, worship meetings and performing good works—but it’s a different Jesus at the center. These are just a few of the doctrines of demons circulating through the church today that are leading us toward the end-time harlot church."
"We are constantly bombarded with distortions and derision from the naysayers in the gay community, but in the end what they say really doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what God says. In the remnant church of the last days, His Word is the only thing that will sustain us ... Let me remind you there are many men and women who have been changed through the power of the Holy Spirit and have left the homosexual life. Many marriages and families have been restored. Even if you haven’t heard about them, they are out there. God will, in His time, bring their testimonies to light.In a June 27th column entitled "The Black-Robed Regiment, Then and Now: A Fresh Call to Revolution", Michael Brown expressed dismay that nine Supreme Court justices could have such "sweeping authority". In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision, Brown accused today's clergy of losing their "moral authority" and "leaving a gaping hole in the soul of the nation" for not engaging in activism with sufficient passion.
We know that homosexuality is dividing families, political parties and churches all over America. Nevertheless, God is still on His throne! If you have a family member or friend living a homosexual life, don’t despair. God saved you, didn’t He? What He did for you, He can and will do for them. Grab hold of His word: “You and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:14)."
Brown asked where one could find "the calls to take up the cross and follow Jesus, regardless of cost or consequences" among religious leaders. Lest he be accused of zealotry, Brown claimed that "[w]hat the world calls fanaticism and much of the church calls extremism, God calls normal." He called for a passionate revolution among Christians in the face of an evolving society.
"Where were our national Christian leaders when the Supreme Court removed organized, public prayer from our schools in 1962 or when the Court declared abortion on demand to be the law of the land in 1973? Why were there so few who took a solid stand?Brown has been up in arms over LGBTQ progress recently, so the sentiments in his June 27th commentary were nothing new. For instance, in a June 26th commentary entitled "The Battle Is for Your Child's Future", Michael Brown insisted that readers must say "enough is enough" to where society is going. He criticized the American Academy of Pediatricians for rejecting homophobia and promoting LGBTQ visibility, then fumed over the case of a six year-old transgender girl who can now use her school's girl restroom.
For the most part, when we have taken action, we have joined ourselves to a political party, only to find ourselves used for their purposes. Otherwise, we have either thought the social realm was not our responsibility; that Jesus was coming at any moment and so things will only get worse; or that the way to win a spiritual war is to become angry conservatives.
Surely we can do better than that. Surely we can—no, we must!—rise up into the revolutionary, Jesus-exalting, Word-based, Spirit-empowered calling that is on our lives, a calling that is on all believers but in particular on the leaders who must the lead the way.
Surely we cannot allow the moral standards of our society be determined by an unelected, unanointed black-robed regiment sitting in Washington, with all respect to their proper authority and with massive respect for the courageous voices among them.
It is time for the leaders to arise—to get alone with God, to get filled afresh with His Spirit, to get clear marching orders from heaven and to make a new commitment to be part of a Jesus-centered, moral, cultural and spiritual revolution."
We can expect much more of such rhetoric as our country evolves and as fundamentalist Christians are forced to confront secular society. Behind the rhetoric about demons, marriage, persecution, and revolution is fear -- fear of a world that is leaving less and less room for intolerance, ignorance, and fundamentalism.