OKWU's Piper: Personhood is more than proclivities

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As many conservatives attempted to explain to their libertarian-leaning friends, the push for "gay marriage" was never about liberty; it's about coercion -- forcing Americans, under penalty of law, to treat same-sex pseudogamy as the equivalent of natural marriage.

Five black-robed tyrants have imposed their religious views of human sexuality on the nation, but the implications of their ukase are only beginning to be worked out. Individuals and institutions who hold to the natural, scientific understanding of human sexuality and the family, the understanding that was universal among civilized societies for thousands of years, and who seek to continue to give special honor and consideration to natural marriage, will find themselves under attack by the agents of the Sexual Revolution, who will seek to use the power of the State to compel dissenters to conform to their totalitarian worldview.

Think that paragraph is over-the-top? Let me remind you of the answer Donald Verrilli, Solicitor General in the Obama Administration, gave to a question from Justice Samuel Alito:

Justice Samuel Alito asked Verrilli whether a religious school that believed marriage was the union of husband and wife would lose their non-profit tax status.

The solicitor general answered: "It's certainly going to be an issue. I don't deny that. I don't deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue."

Already it would appear that some Christian colleges are caving to the pressure. But I'm happy to report that that isn't the case up US 75 in Bartlesville.

Last weekend, Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, posted an insightful and forthright statement on the matter:

I was just asked by my senator to provide a statement on OKWU's position of providing married housing for "married LGBTQ students."

Here's what I said:

At Oklahoma Wesleyan the issue of married housing is irrelevant.

All OKWU students, regardless of where they live, sign a contract as a condition of their enrollment to live in full compliance with all OKWU behavioral codes and expectations. All students, thereby, agree to abstain from any unbiblical sexual behavior which would clearly include sodomy and any other homosexual acts. A "LGBTQ couple who marries" would be, by definition, out of compliance with their signed behavioral agreement and would, therefore, be in breach of contract and subject to the corresponding consequences as outlined in the Student Handbook.

I would like to add that OKWU does not and will not accept the government's premise of one's sexual inclinations somehow equalling one's sexual identity. There are many things a human being may be inclined to do that he/she should choose not to do. We are created in God's image and, thus, have volitional free will and corresponding moral culpability. Men and women are much more than the sum total of what they are inclined to do. One's personhood is much, much more than one's proclivities. Moral discussions and dictates (sexual and otherwise) have always assumed we can and should rise above our instincts and appetites. At OKWU we refuse labels like "LGBTQ" and consider them to be an ontological insult to the very understanding of what it means to be human.

Pay attention to that last paragraph. The stormtroopers of the Sexual Revolution insist that one's sexual appetites constitute the core of one's being. Dr. Piper expresses the understanding that was once common to all civilized societies. Appetites can be indulged or restrained, as an act of the will. Appetites can and should be cultivated, trained toward the good. His last sentence gets to the heart of the issue: This dispute is about the very nature of being, and its implications go far beyond this specific issue.

Note, too, his phrase "the government's premise." The Supreme Court has made a radical, unscientific notion of human nature the official doctrine of the United States. Adherents of that false doctrine have shown themselves to be very zealous and inclined toward using all power at their disposal to suppress the truth. We need to pray for and stand with courageous leaders like Dr. Piper who will speak and act on the truth despite the pressure to surrender.

MORE: Also during oral arguments in the Obergefell case, Chief Justice John Roberts asked Solicitor General Verrilli specifically about the issue of married student housing. Al Mohler reported and commented on the exchange:

The second exchange was between Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Solicitor General Verrilli, also arguing for same-sex marriage. The Chief Justice asked: "Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same-sex couples?"

The Solicitor General did not say no. Instead, he said that the federal government, at present, does not have a law banning discrimination in such matters on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As for the states, "that is going to depend on how the States work out the balance between their civil rights laws, whether they decide there's going to be civil rights enforcement of discrimination based on sexual orientation or not, and how they decide what kinds of accommodations they are going to allow under State law." He went on to say that "different states could strike different balances."

Make no mistake. The Solicitor General of the United States just announced that the rights of a religious school to operate on the basis of its own religious faith will survive only as an "accommodation" on a state by state basis, and only until the federal government passes its own legislation, with whatever "accommodation" might be included in that law. Note also that the President he represented in court has called for the very legislation Verrilli said does not exist ... for now.

Verrilli's answer puts the nation's religious institutions, including Christian colleges, schools, and seminaries, on notice. The Chief Justice asked the unavoidable question when he asked specifically about campus housing. If a school cannot define its housing policies on the basis of its religious beliefs, then it is denied the ability to operate on the basis of those beliefs. The "big three" issues for religious schools are the freedoms to maintain admission, hiring, and student services on the basis of religious conviction. By asking about student housing, the Chief Justice asked one of the most practical questions involved in student services. The same principles would apply to the admission of students and the hiring of faculty. All three are now directly threatened. The Solicitor General admitted that these liberties will be "accommodated" or not depending on how states define their laws. And the laws of the states would lose relevance the moment the federal government adopts its own law.

While that answer may give some hope that institutions would be protected in conservative states and by a Republican-majority Congress prepared to block such legislation, we've seen here in Tulsa how faux conservatives like Dewey Bartlett Jr and G. T. Bynum and openly liberal Republicans like Blake Ewing are quite willing to impose such laws on their conservative constituents, and how quick alleged conservatives like Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson were to cave to pressure from big businesses to drop religious liberty protections. Even if such legislation is blocked, you can expect that someone would file a federal suit claiming unjust discrimination and citing Obergefell as a precedent.

In that same column, Mohler describes warnings first sounded ten years ago about the conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty by Marc Stern, then of the American Jewish Congress, and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley:

Back in 2005, long before the movement to legalize same-sex marriage had gained cultural momentum, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty held a forum on the question of gay marriage and religious freedom. The forum included major legal theorists on both sides of the marriage issue. What united most of the legal experts was the consensus that same-sex marriage would present a clear and present danger to the rights of those who would oppose gay marriage on religious grounds.

Marc D. Stern, then representing the American Jewish Congress, put the matter directly:

"The legalization of same-sex marriage would represent the triumph of an egalitarian-based ethic over a faith-based one, and not just legally. The remaining question is whether champions of tolerance are prepared to tolerate proponents of a different ethical vision. I think the answer will be no."

That was a prophetic statement, as we can now see. Stern continued:

"Within certain defined areas, opponents of gay rights will be unaffected by an embrace of same-sex marriage. But in others, the impact will be substantial. I am not optimistic that, under current law, much can be done to ameliorate the impact on religious dissenters."....

The crippling effects of a loss of tax-exempt status was acknowledged at the Becket Fund event by Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University Law School. "The debate over same-sex marriage," he explained, "has become for the twenty-first century what the abortion debate was for the twentieth century: a single, defining issue that divides the country in a zero-sum political battle."

Consider his words:

"Many organizations attract members with their commitment to certain fundamental matters of faith or morals, including a rejection of same-sex marriage or homosexuality. It is rather artificial to tell such groups that they can condemn homosexuality as long as they are willing to hire homosexuals as a part of that mission. It is equally disingenuous to suggest that denial of such things as tax exemption does not constitute a content-based punishment for religious views."

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 23, 2015 12:24 AM.

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