by Evan Queitsch
Pastor Robert Dekker wants to hold religious services for 8 weeks, on Sunday morning, on the beach in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The town manager refused his permit as it would violate the invisible “separation of church and state” clause (Invisible of course because it doesn’t exist).
Hateful. Heartless. Bigot. Religious Zealot. Homophobe.
These are the names that we are called by “The Intolerant Minority”. They tell us that we are forcing OUR worldview upon them when the reality is that THEIR worldview is being forced upon us. Forget the constant barrage in the media and entertainment, from Lady Gaga to “The Fosters”. It’s to be expected that those kinds of things will happen and no one forces us to watch or listen, we are free to turn them off. We’re also free to find other programming that we find more palatable and we often do. What I’m talking about is more insidious than some foul mouthed pop-tart whose star has quite literally flamed out or a rather tasteless display of “A new kind of family” over on ABC Family (solidly in the middle of the Cable ratings Monday June 25th on its highest ever ratings night). I’m talking about a minuscule minority of the population now restricting the 1st Amendment Rights of the rest of the population.
Question: What percent of the US population identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender(LGBT)? If you said 20%-25%, you’re like more than half of the Americans whom Gallup surveyed in 2011. You’re also incredibly off, just like 52% of America. “One in Ten“, as the Kinsey Report suggests? Like another 17% of America, you’re overshooting the number by quite a bit. The actual number? Even today, as the LGBT movement peaks and they gain “victories” all over the country, about 3.5% of Americans identify as LGBT. By contrast, Atheists and Mormons make up 2% of the American population each (4% combined).
So a group only slightly larger than the Mormon church (often ridiculed as insignificant) has dominated the political landscape in the past few years. States have changed centuries old policies to accommodate this class of people and the country as a whole is moving to do the same thing. Whatever your thoughts are on gay marriage, homosexuality or self expression, that a group of people who make up less than 5% of the population could be so loud and powerful as to make the majority of Americans believe that they are nearly ten times as large a group as they are, is incredible.
Here in Delaware, 3.4% of the population is estimated to be part of the LGBT community so we’re about on par with the American average and there have been significant victories for the LGBT movement here in the last few years. In 2012, Civil Unions were passed and this year, same-sex marriage was legalized along with a bill that allowed free usage of public restrooms based on ones “gender identity” as opposed to actual gender. The institution of marriage, held for thousands of years as a union between a man and a woman was altered and the safety of Delaware kids (especially little girls) was put at risk in the course of a year and all for just 3.4% of the population.
To be clear, I am not advocating that we discriminate against the LGBT community. Despite the fact that I believe that their lifestyle is wrong and it runs counter to my morals, I am not advocating that we ban homosexuality (like they do in the “tolerant” Muslim world) or even that we refuse them any basic human rights. I have never advocated “praying the gay away” or trying to change anyones sexuality, their choice is their own. However, their right to their lifestyle ends when they infringe upon the rights of others. I don’t blame homosexuals for wanting to have the right to visit their “spouse” in the hospital or to be legally covered on medical and life insurance policies. I don’t. I blame the federal and state governments for ever having involved their bureaucracies in the sacred religious institution of marriage in the first place. The government turned “marriage” into little more than a tax write-off and a legal status symbol. They corrupted it from its original intent…but even that, while it wouldn’t sit well with me, I would tolerate.
However, when a group of any size, but especially 3.4% of the population can stop a Pastor from preaching his sermon on a public beach or convince a majority of Americans that what’s written in the Bible that teaches love and forgiveness is not only “hatred” and “bigotry” but potentially illegal, there’s a fundamental problem. When a group can successfully lobby government to restrict a person’s 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech AND their 1st Amendment Right to practice their religion under the auspices of the separation of church and state (forgetting that the entire concept is a moot point), while also successfully lobbying the secular government to infringe on the religious institution of marriage and in some cases using that same secular authority to force churches to allow their private property to be used for same-sex ceremonies and forcing individual business owners to participate in activities that they aren’t comfortable with, there are even bigger problems.
I don’t believe that Christians ought to be able to tell the secular government who can have the legal right to partner with another individual. Nor do I believe that secular humanists, atheists or homosexual activists should be able to use the secular government to tell the church how and when they can speak, what they can say and where they cannot speak. I don’t believe that I have, nor do I desire, the right to tell anyone who they can or cannot love. Nor do I believe that the government has the right, on behalf of any individual or group, to tell me how I may conduct my own private business. I support Pastor Robert Dekker, as a Christian and as someone who believes that the Constitution is bigger than my own personal agenda. I also support the right of homosexuals to perform their ceremonies on the beach and the boardwalk and for atheists to “not believe in God or Jesus Christ” on the beach and boardwalk despite the fact that the City of Rehoboth Beach was incorporated by the Delaware legislature as “a permanent Christian sea-side resort”.
On July 4th, Pastor Robert Dekker draws a line in the sand and he has my support and my prayers to see his mission accomplished. Government has no right to tell us where we can and cannot pray or hold religious services, EVEN on public property. If they want to charge for the permit, we have no right to expect the fee to be waived but we do have a right to expect to play by the same rules as any other organization. Gay or straight, left or right, if you value the role of the Constitution in our Republic, I hope that you too, will support Pastor Dekker in his efforts. Below is the flier that his church is distributing for the July 4th service. Please join him and urge all others to come as well.