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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Now we're "extremists"?

Jennifer Roberts, the mayor of Charlotte, stated in an interview last week that Charlotte's values have been hijacked by "extremists".  She made that comment in response to a question about legislation enacted by the North Carolina general assembly which now prohibits local municipalities from adopting legislation which will grant protected status to the LGBT community, including allowing individuals to choose whichever bathroom facility they identify as their gender rather than their birth gender.

Extremists!  Extremism is defined by Merriam-Webster as "belief in and support for ideas that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable."  Last year our own city council rejected a similar measure that this year's council approved.  I guess those who voted against it either time are extremists too.  Extremists hold views that aren't worth hearing.  They are dangerous to a society.  Extremists are attacked, vilified, condemned, and hated.  Some even believe they should be silenced.

How can anyone with open eyes, ears, and minds not see that this is exactly where our society is heading?  Politically correct speech is idealized and idolized by many.  Any who do not go along are demonized and ostracized.

Georgia's governor just vetoed a measure protecting religious groups from prosecution for following their conscience in not marrying gay couples.  His reasoning was swayed by a host of businesses and groups such as the NFL and NCAA threatening boycotts against Georgia if they enacted this sensible measure protecting religious liberty.  Imagine a same sex couple coming to our church who did not share our beliefs, demanding that we conduct a wedding ceremony for them or they will sue us. That's ludicrous!  But read the tea leaves; the United States is clearly marching in that direction.

In addition to same sex marriage we now have things like states paying for prisoners to have sex change operations--along with insurance companies providing that coverage as well.  We have Caitlyn Jenner being named the "woman of the year" by Glamour Magazine.  We have city councils decreeing that you can use whichever bathroom you feel that you should.  Turn on your TV and these alternative lifestyles are constantly being shoved down our throats as normal, and as societal progress to be celebrated.

Just a few years ago those advocating the broadening of the definition of marriage to include gay and lesbian couples, the acceptance of changing one's gender, and acknowledging bisexuality as a normal, moral lifestyle would have been identified as extreme in their views by the vast majority of Americans. These actions, now becoming everyday occurrences, seem nonsensical to those of us brought up with traditional, biblical values.  Even the pretense of being a Christian nation is quickly fading into the past.

There are those who will read my views and label me a "hater".  I don't hate anyone.  But the Christian ethic to love does not mean that we are commanded to accept all views and lifestyles as good.  The call to love is also a call to speak the truth.  Our society is sick.  We need the type of help that only God can give.  If Christians remain silent, if we allow the popular media to shame us into biting our tongues, if we allow the demigod of political correctness to bully us and marginalize us without a fight--then who will speak up?

These days harken back to the early days of Christianity when followers of Jesus were unapologetically counter-culture to the pagan Roman world in which they lived.  They were identified as having extreme views and lifestyles. There were many who would not cave in to the demands of their society and paid for their commitment to Christ with their lives.  Christians, let us speak up while we still can--and let's be careful to live out the values we proclaim!

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ."  --Ephesians 4:15


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