Why 47% of younger evangelicals support gay marriage

Posted by    |    June 27th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Recent trends towards acceptance of same-sex marriage within the Church have been well-chronicled of late, with believers on both sides of the debate arguing their case in an attempt to sway those still somewhere in the middle. A new survey from the Pew Research Center found that one side appears to be growing, especially among the younger generations.

Roughly 47 percent of evangelicals born after 1964 now support same-sex marriage. Compared with the 26 percent of those born before 1964 who said the same, it’s clear that the future of the evangelical stance on this issue is trending towards acceptance. And as The Washington Post‘s Sarah Pulliam Bailey describes, there is a similar trend across Christian denominations. But why?

That younger Christians across the spectrum are more likely than older to support causes such as same-sex marriage should not come as a surprise. Generally speaking, younger generations have frequently been more willing to question existing thought and challenge previously held beliefs than their parents and grandparents. To some extent, it’s just part of being young and less established in one’s way of thinking. That alone, however, does not explain the growing generational gap, especially among evangelicals, on the issues of homosexuality and gay marriage.

In many ways, the present direction is simply a continuation of the trends that started in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. To be sure, there were Christians who opposed that movement then, just as there are those who oppose the legalization and acceptance of same-sex marriage today. Overall, however, it seems that the church did relatively little to effectively change the hearts and minds of young people. As that generation grew older and took over the leadership of churches and families today, acceptance of sex outside of marriage became more entrenched in the Christian culture.

Given that environment, the acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexual activity in general was simply the next logical step. Why, after all, should heterosexual sex outside of marriage be permissible but homosexual sex be forbidden when the Bible clearly condemns both, often in the same sentence (1 Corinthians 6:9–11)? If Scripture’s stance on the former is outdated or irrelevant, why would the same not be true of the latter?

The hypocrisy in condemning one but not the other removes much of the foundation upon which any biblical argument against the acceptance of same-sex marriage must be built. The larger culture, and even other believers, have little reason to listen when we tell them that Scripture’s view of homosexual activity is correct if we’re singling out that sin to the exclusion of others.

While it’s important to stand for the Lord’s view on homosexual activity, it’s equally important that we teach and obey the full counsel of Scripture regarding all sexual activity. People deserve to know God’s plan for their lives, but far too often that plan is obscured by the hypocrisy and failings of his people. Ultimately, whether people accept or reject God’s truth is up to them, but they deserve to see Christians living it out faithfully. The one who made us knows what is best for us, and his word provides guideposts to keep us safely on the road of his perfect will (Romans 12:2).

It’s often been said that we don’t break God’s rules—we break ourselves on them. Unfortunately, the loudest voices speaking out in condemnation of same-sex marriage sometimes come from those who stand broken and unrepaired by the other sins in their lives (Matthew 7:1–5). Are you among them?

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Daily Briefing: June 27, 2017

Posted by    |    June 27th, 2017 at 6:21 am

T O P   N E W S

Justices to Hear Case on Religious Objections to Same-Sex Marriage (NY Times)

“The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear an appeal from a Colorado baker with religious objections to same-sex marriage who had lost a discrimination case for refusing to create a cake to celebrate such a union. The case will be a major test of a clash between laws that ban businesses open to the public from discriminating based on sexual orientation and claims of religious freedom. Around the nation, businesses like bakeries, florists and photography studios have said, so far with little success, that forcing them to serve gay couples violates their constitutional rights.”

Nick Note: Would Jesus bake the cake? Should a Christian be able to “discriminate” in the name of religious liberty? Shouldn’t a Christian be able to exercise their religious beliefs in the public square? Are we losing our witness all for the sake of our rights? If I can be candid with you all, this situation pains me. A wedding is one of the most special moments in a person’s life. A wedding invitation serves as entrance into a sacred ceremony and joyous celebration, but also categorizes you as someone that the new couple finds special. And now, in this sacred and beautiful space, conflict enters.

The religious right claim that the baker is not discriminating against the gay couple, seeing that the bakers are willing to bake an ordinary cake for them just not willing to “lend their unique talents” to the wedding. In their understanding, by lending their talents they are endorsing the union. The religious left question when has any vendor thought they were endorsing a wedding by providing a service? They claim the religious right is discriminating, like someone saying they won’t bake a cake for an interracial marriage and then cloaking it in religious garb. They also claim the cake is a part of the reception not the ceremony, thereby absolving them of endorsing or supporting the union.

It seems to me that to be consistent and without blame in the community (1 Peter 2:12), bakers that take this stand should stop “lending their talents” to weddings where there was an unbiblical divorce (Matthew 5:31-32), a believer is marrying an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14), or any other gathering where a Christian participates in activities congruent with a former manner of life(Ephesians 4:17-24). I am not insinuating this should be enforced by government regulation, but the church has a role to play (1 Peter 5:1-2). Homosexuality has split churches, but far more churches have split over adultery, divorce, and divisiveness. Homosexuality is an issue, but it is not the only issue.

CBO: 22 million more uninsured under Senate health bill (Politico)

“The Senate Republican health care bill would leave 22 million more Americans uninsured over a decade, according to a Congressional Budget Office projection that could complicate the party’s push to hold a vote on the plan this week.
“The estimated coverage losses are just slightly less than for the House-passed version of the Obamacare repeal bill, which concern Republican moderates who have pushed Senate leaders to craft a more generous bill.
“The Senate legislation also would cut the federal deficit by $321 billion over 10 years, driven by deep cuts to Medicaid and skimpier aid for people purchasing private coverage. Those savings far exceed the $119 billion target set by the House bill, meeting a key requirement for Republicans hoping to pass the Senate bill through a fast-track budget process needing just 51 votes.”

Nick Note: Here are five findings of the CBO on the Senate health care plan. Conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro, commenting on the CBO numbers, believes that Republicans lose no matter what with Trumpcare. He argues that Republicans have accepted the Democrats “baseline premise that the government’s role is to provide health insurance – Republicans lose no matter what happens next.” This is similar to what Yuval Levin argues – though in less of a firebrand manner. “After seven years of saying they want to repeal and replace Obamacare, congressional Republicans have been forced to confront the fact that many of them actually don’t quite want to do that. As more time passes since the beginning of implementation three and a half years ago, and more people’s lives become intertwined with the program for good and bad, the case for addressing Obamacare’s immense deficiencies by repeal weakens as a practical matter in favor of a case for taking them on by alteration.” And then there is David Brooks piece this morning: “Because Republicans have no governing vision, they can’t really replace the Obama vision with some alternative. They just accept the basic structure of Obamacare and cut it back some.” All argue to a certain degree that the only win would have been a repeal in order to allow the free markets to rectify perceived wrongs. They may consider this a loss but President Trump and Trinity Lutheran had big wins in the Supreme Court yesterday. According to the NY Times: “The Supreme Court cleared the way for President Trump to prohibit the entry of some people into the United States from countries he deems dangerous, but the justices imposed strict limits on Mr. Trump’s travel ban while they examine the scope of presidential power over the border. The court said the ban could not be imposed on anyone who had “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Examples of a bona fide relationship include: “a foreign national who wishes to live with or visit a family member, a student who has been admitted by a university, or a worker with an offer of employment from a U.S. business.” And finally, in a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Missouri was wrong to exclude a Christian school from a program that granted non-profits with rubber surfacing for their playgrounds. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, writing for the majority, said unjustified government discrimination against churches and other religious institutions is “odious” and “unconstitutional.” Ironically, Justice Sotomayor, in the dissenting opinion, noted how this weakens the country’s longstanding commitment to separation of church and state. This wall of separation was originally coined by Roger Williams in 1644 and popularized by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptist in 1802. The wall was originally intended to keep the “wilderness of the state” out of the “garden of the church,” not the other way around. Just as Chief Justice Roberts called the discrimination odious, Christians have been admonished to be a fragrant aroma in the wilderness of the state (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). The state should be kept out of the church, but church members should permeate the state with the fragrant aroma of Christ as they work with excellence for the good of their city.

U.S. to Say China Among Worst on Human Trafficking (Bloomberg)

“China’s downgrade is to be announced Tuesday at the State Department when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveils the annual Trafficking in Persons Report to Congress, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to comment publicly ahead of the announcement and demanded anonymity. China will be listed under “Tier 3,” the ranking system’s lowest category, which applies to countries failing to meet minimum standards to prevent human trafficking or making significant improvement efforts. Other countries that have recently been on that list include Sudan, Iran and Haiti.

Nick Note: 3,388,400 people live in modern slavery in China. Nearly 46 million people worldwide are living in modern slavery. This is an increase of twenty-eight percent from the last survey back in 2014 (for more, read my article). As those who have been set free, we should seek to set others free – through our words and actions (Luke 4:18). The slavery problem is large and solutions can at times be complex and intricate. But there are people and organizations that are effectively working to end this pernicious problem such as Traffick 911. Consider supporting their great work.

Three journalists leaving CNN after retracted article (CNN)

“Three CNN journalists, including the executive editor in charge of a new investigative unit, have resigned after the publication of a Russia-related article that was retracted. “In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” a spokesman said Monday evening. An internal investigation by CNN management found that some standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published, people briefed on the results of the investigation said.”

Nick Note: Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). When CNN discovered the truth, actions were taken, people lost their jobs, and they apologized. Is this evidence of fake news or character and integrity – taking responsibility for your actions? “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy (Proverbs 28:13).”

C U L T U R A L   N E W S

Study: Millennials’ spending eats up their savings (USA Today)

“A new study says that the average Millennial eats out five times a week, and between Starbucks runs and bar tabs, it’s making it harder for them to develop a savings habit.
“A study conducted by Bankrate.com says that Millennials are falling victim to common financial vices, like spending money on eating out. And it’s not their fault, since the growing popularity of online ordering service like Postmates, Uber Eats and Grubhub, make ordering food and avoiding supermarkets easier than ever.
“Bankrate says its data shows that 29% of Millennials say they buy coffee at least three times per week, 51% go to a bar at least once a week and 54% eat out at least three times a week or more — and the costs add up.”

Nick Note: I must confess I am finishing up the Daily Briefing this morning from a Starbucks. Nevertheless, 72 percent of “young millennials (18-24)” have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. 31 percent have $0. Concerning “older millennials (25-34),” 67 percent have less than $1,000, 33 percent have nothing, and 15 percent have over $10,000. The average older millennial has $21,000 in student loan debt. But the numbers are not all bleak – the percentage of Americans under 35 who hold credit card debt has fallen to its lowest level since 1989. This might be a result of taking out loans from the First Parental Bank. The interest rates are great and the loan forgiveness program is astounding. 34 percent of millennials live with (and to a certain degree are financially dependent upon) their parents. In the Scriptures, regardless of your age, we have all been admonished to steward wisely and prudently (Matthew 25:14-30, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, Luke 16:11).

The Secret to Relationship Success May Be Bunny Photos (WSJ)

“In a study published online in the journal “Psychological Science,” researchers at Florida State University, the University of Tennessee and the University of Minnesota found that people who viewed pictures of their spouse interspersed with photos of baby animals, beaches or sunsets, saw a significant boost in their relationship satisfaction.
“Social psychologists call this evaluative conditioning. It’s what happens when our mind learns to associate an object or person with a feeling—good or bad—that we had when we were previously around that object or person. Have you ever gotten sick after eating something and forever hated that food? Do you have a song that reminds you of your first love? You’ve experienced it.”

Nick Note: Play that Funky Music? As long as it is not Tim McGraw. Similar to Taylor Swift, it brings back memories. The mind is a powerful thing – hence the insistence upon renewal of it (Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:22-23). In the Scriptures, we are highly encouraged to take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). What does that look like? Paul offered this: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).”

Who Pays on the First Date? No One Knows Anymore, and It’s Really Awkward (WSJ)

“The popularity of the dating app and others like it means single people are going on more first dates than ever. Many women say they have stopped doing the reach because they are not only more likely to end up splitting the bill, but also more liable to cover all of it. Now when the check arrives, both people often brace themselves for a gunfighter’s staredown.
“The rules aren’t complicated, according to etiquette experts. “If you invite, you pay,” said Diane Gottsman, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life.” “But the reality is that the other person may not know the rules or realize it’s a date.”

Nick Note: Beyoncé advised men that if they like it, they should put a ring on it. I would add that they should also pick up the check. Call me old fashioned but similar to The Four Tops, when I am going out with a potential Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch, I can’t help myself. I should want to pick up the check, creating a safe and fun environment where I can get to know her. (1 Timothy 5:2, Proverbs 11:24-25)

N E W S   Y O U   C A N   U S E

Kid laughing at ostrich is pure joy

Nick Note: Watch it here. The child’s joy comes from the playfulness of the ostrich. Consider this: just as the ostrich desires to play with the child, our God desires to commune with us. When we draw close to him, he draws closer to us. And in his presence is the fullness of joy (Revelation 3:20, James 4:8, Psalm 16:11).

With New Contract, QB David Carr “Going to Help a lot of people:” Tithe, Getting Wife Something Nice

Nick Note: Watch it here. “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered (Proverbs 11:25).”

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Israeli flags expelled from gay pride parade

Posted by    |    June 27th, 2017 at 6:03 am

Jewish people celebrating LGBT pride in Chicago were told they could not display the Israeli flag because other people found it “offensive.” Ironically, the march from which they were banned is described by organizers as being “more inclusive” than Chicago’s main Pride parade.

Several people who carried the Star of David flag were removed from the march. One of them said that she lost count of the number of people who harassed her. The organizers explained that they are “anti-Zionist” and that their organization “supports the liberation of Palestine and all oppressed people everywhere.”

Jews were not the only people rejected by this march for “tolerance”—American flags were also not welcome, as they were likewise considered signs of oppression. Flags from other nations were present at the event, however.

The illogic of the organizers’ position is remarkable.

First, they assume that the Chicago marchers supporting LGBT rights in Israel are opposed to the liberation of Palestine. Having traveled to Israel more than twenty times, I can testify that many—if not most—Israelis want a separate state for Palestinians.

Second, Israel is one of the most LGBT-affirming nations on earth. It legalized same-sex relations in 1988, banned employment discrimination against gays in 1992, and included openly gay Israelis in the draft in 1993. Tel Aviv has been named the world’s best gay travel destination. Every year, it hosts one of the largest gay pride parades in the world.

Israel’s critics accuse it of “pink-washing,” endorsing gay rights to distract from its alleged abuses of the Palestinian people. Do they make the same claim against Brazil, which has legalized same-sex marriage but has major problems related to prison overcrowding and rural violence? Or Colombia, which has embraced “marriage equality” but has the second largest population of internally displaced persons in the world? Or Uruguay, which has legalized same-sex marriage but reportedly mistreats minorities?

I am not endorsing Israel’s LGBTQ endorsement or “marriage equality” in any country where it has been enacted. My point is that many who advocate for “tolerance” are remarkably intolerant of ideologies with which they disagree. The best way to measure whether we accept all people is whether we accept people whose beliefs we oppose.

The Christian way is clear: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44). Loving and agreeing are not the same thing. Sometimes the most gracious thing we can do is to oppose unbiblical ideas and actions because we love the people they harm.

Regarding sexuality, the “tolerance train” has left the station. If, like me, you disagree with what its advocates believe, prepare to be labeled, caricatured, and scorned. Then choose to risk their rejection by telling them the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Our mission is simple: Christians are called to love every person Jesus loves.

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