By Michael W. Chapman
The persecution of Christians because of their moral opposition to homosexual behavior and so-called gay marriage is on the rise in America, to the point where “Christian convictions are under attack as never before” and “we are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity,” said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is also an ordained Southern Baptist minister.
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During an Apr. 23 conference call with conservative pastors arranged by the Family Research Council (FRC), Gov. Huckabee and FRC President Tony Perkins talked about persecution of Christians in the U.S. military, in the business world, and how homosexuality as a “civil right” and same-sex marriage are affecting the social and legal climate.
“I think it’s fair to say that Christian convictions are under attack as never before, not just in our lifetime, but never before in the history of this great republic,” said Huckabee, who was governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007.
“We are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity – where it’s not simply going to be that a church’s tax-exempt status is threatened,” he said. “But, more importantly, where criminal charges for a person who defies a new government norm, a new legal norm and that is a homosexual orientation becomes a protected class.”
“I want to say that across the country there are numerous cases, whether it’s the chaplains in the military being told to put their Bibles away, to no longer pray in Jesus’ name,” said Huckabee. “Not to counsel people who are in a homosexual lifestyle. Not to counsel them to try to seek assistance for that but rather to have affirmed that lifestyle as being normal and appropriate.”
In addition, many judges and lawmakers, including “conservative office holders” are ducking the issue, he said.
“We’re continually seeing the courts overturn marriage amendments in states, which is very disturbing because, a lot of the time, elected officials are capitulating immediately when a court makes a decision,” said Huckabee. “And we’re seeing many people, including many politicians, simply surrender and just wave the white flag because I’m convinced that there are many people who just don’t want to take this issue on.”
“It makes you, in essence, a pariah within the culture of the ruling class,” said Huckabee. “And for politicians, I can assure you that it makes you a pariah among the donor class. And even, supposedly, conservative donors and conservative office holders are running away from the issue.”
Melissa and Aaron Klein, who are Christians and ran their own bakery business in Oregon, Sweet Cakes, were found guilty of discrimination for declining to make a cake for a homosexual wedding, which violated their religious beliefs, and then were fined $135,000 for their crime. They closed their business and private donors are contributing to help them pay the steep fine.
But while civil leaders may be weak and are running form the battle, Christian pastors cannot retreat, said the governor, because biblical marriage between one man and one woman was established by God. It cannot be compromised or redefined.
“But the last backstop to stand for biblical marriage has to be the pastors in our pulpits,” said Huckabee. “It has to be those who say we cannot capitulate on this issue because it’s not our issue. It’s God’s issue. We didn’t come up with the design of marriage, God did. It’s biblical.”
He continued, “We can negotiate many things that are clearly political and don’t have biblical authority behind them, but I know that I feel very strongly – not just as a believer but also as someone who’s held public office – that when there is a clash between one’s biblical convictions and principles and the law, one has to go along with the biblical principle because they’re going to outlast a human-made law that may, in fact, get overturned.”
“That’s why many of us, 42 years after Roe v. Wade continue to stand for the life issue,” said Huckabee. “We have not given up on that issue. I haven’t, and I doubt you have.”
“I’m asking and just encouraging all the pastors of America not to give up on marriage, but instead to help the congregation understand why it is the foundation of civilization and why our defense of biblical marriage is not an option for Christian believers,” said Huckabee.
Michael Dale “Mike” Huckabee, 59, is married and has four children. In addition to his political career and work as a Christian minister, Huckabee has written several books, including the 2008 New York Times best seller Do The Right Thing: Inside The Movement That’s Bringing Common Sense Back to America. His latest book is God, Guns, Grits and Gravy.