Sodom at the Capitol

This year a bill has been introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Mr. Koch for himself and 25 others to outlaw all discrimination against homosexual activities. This Bill (H.R. 2998), which may he cited as the “Civil Rights Amendments of 1977” would “prohibit discrimination on the basis of affectional or sexual preference and for other purposes,” explaining that these words mean “having or manifesting an emotional or physical attachment to another consenting person or persons of either gender, or having or manifesting a preference for such attachment.” The various sections of the bill amend existing laws so as to forbid any such discrimination in “public accommodations,” in “public facilities” in “public educations,” in “federally assisted opportunities,” in “equal employment opportunities,” in housing sale, rental financing, and brokerage services, and in “education programs receiving federal financial assistance.” (A late news item informs us that the federal government is already throwing public housing open to unmarried and homosexual couples living together.)

Implications – Consider some of the obvious implications of this far-reaching piece of legislation. It would evidently nullify all laws which still forbid or deter homosexual activity. If you owned a house or apartment it would appear to make it impossible for you to prevent a renter from turning it into a house of prostitution. If some teacher in a public school chose to live as a homosexual and to promote this way of living among his or her students it would forbid anyone to object or to intimate that such a life style was in any way inferior to that of a normal family.

God‘s Word and Its Rejection – If this bill passes it will give legal approval and protection among us to some of the worst vices that prevailed in the ancient pagan world. These vices were common place in the lives of the nations which surrounded Israel. The Lord in the laws which He gave prescribed the death penalty for all who engaged in such activities (Lev. 20:13) and explained that the prevalence of such vices among the Canaanites was the reason why He has destroyed them (Lev. 20:22, 23; 18:22–30). That vice in the city of Sodom is shown as the occasion for its destruction (Gen. 19). The Apostle Paul in the letter to the Romans (1:26, 27) directed attention to such perversions as part of the revelation of the “wrath of God. . . revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” who persisted in rejecting His revelation (vss. 18ff.). God “gave them up” (abandoned them) to such “vile affections” and unnatural vices when they “worshipped and served the creation rather than the Creator.”

Tn his letter to the Corinthians (I Cor. 6:9, 10) Paul warned that those who engage in such unrighteousness “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” These practices were common in the old Greek world, as Plato, for example, took them for granted; but under the influence of the gospel they came to he prohibited and penalized by law. What we are now seeing is that these God-given laws and moral standards, which under the influence of the gospel through the centuries came to be accepted as basic to our civilization, are being systematically rejected in our own and other countries. As the gospel and its influence arc driven out, the old paganism with its accompanying vices returns. We ought to observe that this new development, so generally considered “progressive” is not the same thing as the old paganism hut something worse. When God’s light is rejected, the responsibility is greater and the judgment will he worse than when that light was not yet seen. The Lord repeatedly said that “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment” than for those who heard his gospel and then rejected its light (Matt. 10:15; 1:23, 24).

A Predicted Development – The Lord warned that as the world plunges deeper into rejection of Him and His revelation in preparation for its final judgment we may expect to see just such developments as these. The multitude of allusions in the Bible to the moral degeneracy of Sodom and its resulting destruction call attention to this event as a preview of what is happening and will happen to the world (cf. II Pet. 2:6 and Jude 7, two of many such references).

Church Compromises – Even more ominous than the way these old vices are returning to public acceptance and promotion is the way much of the church and its related institutions instead of opposing and warning against these developments inclines to make allowances for and to accept them. Recall how our CRC Synod in 1973, while still condemning homosexual practice, in the report which it accepted questioned whether the harsh condemnations expressed in the Bible still apply in our time of better knowledge (Acts, 1973, pp. 619, 621). In the Winter Quarterly of the Christian Health Care Center (Wyckoff, N.J.) Dr. John Bostrom, one of the directors, writes on the subject of homosexuality, mentioning especially three attitudes in the church toward it, (1) Some regard it as “willful sinfulness against God.” (2) Others consider it as a “psychological state,” “not sinful,” but as a practice, sinful. (3) “A more recent view holds that neither the psychological state nor the homosexual act are wrong in themselves. Homosexuals like heterosexuals, are therefore asked to channel their sexual drives and make them part of a lasting and loving relationship with another person. It is well known that experiments with formal marriages have begun.” Perhaps even more significant is the doctors conclusion: “So much is unknown about homosexuality that it is not my purpose to sell a particular point of view as to its cause or treatment, nor what attitude, specifically, the Church should have toward it. Rather I would simply urge us all to avoid stereotypes and give persons with a homosexual bent the same loving concern that we give heterosexuals.”

Our Duty – We must indeed be sympathetic in dealing with all kinds of people, including criminals, but does this justify Christians and churches taking an attitude of neutrality to or even giving protection to what God has said are crimes deserving the death penalty which have brought His judgment upon other civilizations and which are bringing that judgment upon ours? Is it not time for Christians all over the country to take notice of what is happening and to urge our representatives in Congress to reject the protection to vice offered by this House Bill HR 2998? Let’s write letters to our congressmen urging them to oppose this bill because it is an attack on the God given standards of morality and decency upon which our society is based and upon the family as the basic institution of that society. To give protection to such vices as these must contribute to the downfall of our civilization, as it has to others before ours. If we as Christians do not speak up to oppose such vicious legislation as this we become partly responsible if it becomes lawJesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor . . . it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodded under foot of men” (Matt. 5:13).

Peter De Jong is pastor of the Christian Reformed Church of Dutton, Michigan.