Saturday, June 7, 2008

Colorado Bill Potentially Bans the Circulation of the Bible

As reported by John Ingold of The Denver Post, Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado signed into law a bill which expands the "prohibition of sexual-orientation based discrimination". This bill (Senate Bill 200) was sponsored by Senator Jennifer Veiga. The supporters of the bill claim that its purposes are: 1) to insure that trans-gender people and homosexuals have equal access to housing, family planning services (???), and "20 other public spheres" and 2) in the words of Bruce DeBoskey, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League (by the way, what do the rights of the Jewish people have to do with transgender issues?), "...another important step in making Colorado safe and inclusive and welcoming to all those who live here."

This all sounds very inclusive and nice, but as always, there is a slightly hidden agenda here. Consider what the bill actually says, not just the spin that the pundits put on it:

"SECTION 8. 24-34-701. Publishing of discriminative matter forbidden.
No person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent, or employee of any place of public accommodation... shall publish, issue, circulate, send, distribute, give away, or display in any way, manner, or shape or by any means or method, except as provided in this section, any communication, paper, poster, folder, manuscript, book, pamphlet, writing, print, letter, notice, or advertisement of any kind, nature, or description THAT is intended or calculated to discriminate or actually discriminates against... SEXUAL ORIENTATION, marital status... in the matter of furnishing or neglecting or refusing to furnish to them or any one of them any lodging, housing, schooling, or tuition or any accommodation, right [marriage], privilege [adoption], advantage, or convenience... on account of... SEXUAL ORIENTATION, marital status... [which] is unwelcome or objectionable or not acceptable, desired, or solicited."

In other words, if you own or work in a place of "public accommodation" in the State of Colorado (Kolorado?) and you either publish or distribute a copy of the Bible (which contains verses which call homosexuality a sin), you will be punishable by law. The same could be said for any book or tract which suggests that homosexuality is a sin. If the socialist State of Kolorado is going to be consistent, this means that the sale of Bibles in all book stores (Christian or secular) will be banned.

I guess no one who has supported this bill, including the Governor of the State, has enough sense to realize that this law is patently unconstitutional. Unless Kolorado secedes from the Union and becomes their own country, they have no right to make a law which infringes on the practice of religion. In one fell swoop the lawmakers in Kolorado have managed to do what no one has EVER done in the history of this nation: ban the Bible.

Now, as a bookseller, I know what I would do if I lived in Kolorado. I would get a small open shop and sell Bibles. I would find every book I could get on homosexuality, how it is NOT hereditary (which is [gasp] what science actually shows), how it is a sin, and I would print out Romans 1 on a poster (so I'm displaying the truth, in the words of the bill) and DARE the Kolorado KGB to come and do something about it. There is no way that this law can stand up under the scrutiny of serious legal challenges. It's so silly it's laughable.

Why? Consider what our nation's Constitution; the First Amendment, actually says:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Hmmm. Interesting. "Prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What is a law prohibiting the distribution and display of the Bible but a law which "prohibits the free exercise" of Christianity?

As an evangelist, I can't help but wonder what this sort of thing means for those of us who use our Freedom of Speech to spread the Gospel in this nation. I live in Texas; granted, it's the false convert capital of the world, but at least there's a pretension towards Christianity and it's not likely that our state will ever follow Kolorado's example. However, it's far more likely that our nation's lawmakers will ignore the Constitution and do whatever seems right in their own eyes and we'll have this kind of stuff imposed on us from the stuffed shirts in D.C.

I'll borrow a cliche from the printing world: the only ones who have the Freedom of Speech are those who use it. If you're not using it as a Christian, you may as well live in Communist China, Soviet Russia, or Saudi Arabia. You have imposed on yourself a law which we don't actually have (yet) by your silence. If we as believers do not use our Freedom of Speech, we will lose it. Wake up!

This is a call to professing believers who are content to let their "little light shine" by being nice to people to stop playing silly games and start sharing the Gospel while it is still legal. If you take the Gospel out of the public forum by your silence and your rationalizing that it's not "effective" or "relevant" or it's "offensive", then make no mistake, you are guilty by association when our freedoms are taken away to spread the Gospel in public forums. What will you do when they take that freedom away? Will magic "courage dust" fall out of the sky and give you what you need then to stand up for Christ? How can you expect it at that time when you don't do it now?

Listen, ministry in 90% of the world and in most of Church History is not nice and neat and does not fit into tidy little boxes that look pretty. It is not polite. It is gritty, dirty business. It is blood, sweat and tears. True Christianity knows no other kind of ministry. We claim spiritual lineage to the Apostles and Prophets but don't want to live their lives. We'll gladly believe their doctrine so long as we don't have to follow their examples. Where does this nonsense come from?

It's time that men be men and leave the girly stuff to women. Rob Bell would have me be "relational" in my witnessing. Here's a newsflash Rob: I'm a guy. I'm not interested in exploring my feminine side. I know it's been fun for you, but that's your issue. Guys aren't "relational". They are men. We kill things and conquer. We're aggressive, not passive. If you want to be relational, put your skirt on and invite your neighbors over for tea and crumpets. While the churches have bought into that lie, men stay in the background (if they attend at all). I'm not interested in limp-wristed evangelism which makes me wear lipstick and high heels. The Apostles were men's men. They were dirty, sweaty, bloody, stinky men. They told the religious leaders where the bear did his business in the buckwheat and they faced threats boldly. They weren't a bunch of timid school-girls.

That is the kind of presence the church needs to have. We need to stand up and DARE them to silence us. If you've missed it, that's exactly what the pagans have been doing in this country for the last 40 years. In the meantime, the church has been taught by its "experts" that we need to be relational and we're within one generation of becoming post-Christian as a nation. The pagans smell blood. And we sleep while they come in through the window. God help us all.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Wow, I can't believe it ..Last days!!!