America's leaders are making history—but not in a good way. Rejecting biblical values that long strengthened the nation, some are now pursuing a treacherous path earlier leaders warned of long ago.
On May 9, 2012, President Barack Obama made history. In a television interview, he became the first sitting U.S. president to announce his support for marriage between homosexual couples.
I wish I could say that Americans were shocked to hear the news. Regrettably, few seemed surprised at all.
Many thought it was only a matter of time before President Obama revealed his true views. After all, when running for a seat in the Illinois legislature in 1996, he had openly supported gay marriage, stating that he favored legalizing homosexual marriages and would fight efforts to prohibit them.
His public positions took a different turn when he campaigned for higher office. When running for the U.S. Senate in 2004, he took a more mainstream position, stating, "My religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."
Running for nationwide office as he sought the White House in 2008, he similarly said: "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman . . . For me as a Christian, it is a sacred union."
Yet those words soon rang hollow. In 2011 he declared his view that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman and had passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming majorities, was unconstitutional and ordered the U.S. Justice Department to stop defending it in court.
That same year he pressed the U.S. armed forces to stop enforcing restrictions on homosexuals serving openly in the military—a practice dating back more than 200 years to George Washington's Continental Army.
Still later in 2011 he directed the U.S. State Department to use American foreign aid programs and agencies to support homosexual organizations in other countries, to coerce foreign governments into accepting and promoting gay rights, and to encourage homosexuals in other nations to seek asylum in the United States.
To many, Obama's recent announcement was evidence that, with elections looming in November, he had chosen to court the vote of various liberal constituencies (and the financial support of wealthy gay donors) and embrace a position millions of Bible believers consider repugnant—in spite of holding what he professed to be Christian beliefs.
Such a position is definitely not in line with Christian teachings from the Bible, as we will see. And it comes after other assaults on traditional religious values. As America and its leaders increasingly defy God and oppose godly morality, the country faces dire consequences.
Government forces employers to violate religious beliefs
The president's advocacy of homosexual marriage followed on the heels of another far-reaching step that those who accept the authority of the Bible find abhorrent.
In January the Obama administration announced that "Obamacare" regulations for church-affiliated institutions such as hospitals, charities, schools and universities will require employers to include coverage for contraception in their employee health insurance plans.
Although the president had been briefed beforehand about concerns that the mandates violated long-held religious freedoms, his administration chose to authorize them anyway. An immediate outcry arose, particularly from Catholic leaders who support their church's position of avoiding the use of contraceptives for birth control.
Initially the White House appeared to backtrack, excusing religious institutions from having to pay for contraceptives for their employees and instead forcing their insurance providers to pay for them.
But church officials weren't fooled, as the move meant the institutions would still have to pay for practices that violated their long-held beliefs—the only difference being that they would now pay for the required contraceptives through higher payments to their insurance companies rather than directly. And many institutions, being self-insured, simply had no other option than to comply with regulations that required them to contravene their beliefs.
Owners and executives of insurance companies who hold strong religious convictions also found themselves in an impossible position—now being forced by federal mandate to cover practices they consider not just morally repugnant, but sinful.
So objectionable were the new requirements that, as of this writing, more than 40 Catholic dioceses and organizations, including the University of Notre Dame, have filed religious-freedom lawsuits against the federal government to try to reverse the new regulations. Two other Catholic universities announced that they have dropped their student health-care plans rather than comply with the contraceptive requirements that violate their religious beliefs.
To be clear, this is not just a Catholic issue. Religious leaders of many faiths recognize this as a clear assault on religious freedom, which is why many non-Catholic plaintiffs have joined in lawsuits to overturn the government's actions.
Employers ordered to pay for abortion-inducing drugs
Most abhorrent of all, however, was the fact that the new government regulations also required coverage for "morning after" pills—drugs that, taken up to several days after sexual relations, lead to spontaneous abortion of any fertilized embryo.
This is, plain and simple, chemically induced abortion— the destruction of human life, which Christians who accept the Bible's teaching reject as murder. (To understand the true biblical perspective on abortion, be sure to read our reprint articles "The Abortion Quagmire " and "America's Child Sacrifice ")
Make no mistake: These actions are a clear assault on the religious beliefs and practices of millions of Americans. Agencies of the United States government, at the direction of the president, are requiring American citizens to engage in actions that violate their conscience and directly contradict long-established Christian beliefs.
If this is allowed to stand, one shudders at the thought of what else government could require citizens to do.
Does Scripture support same-sex marriage?
Those who draw their values from the Bible find President Obama's explanation that his faith and that of his wife Michelle as "practicing Christians" is the motivation for his support of homosexual marriage to be baffling. It boils down to "the Golden Rule," the president explained, meaning "how we treat other people . . . treat others the way you would want to be treated."
The Golden Rule is certainly scriptural (Matthew 7:12), but it doesn't negate the many clear biblical teachings about marriage and homosexual activity. The Bible contains dozens of passages on marriage, and nowhere is the institution described as anything other than between a man and a woman. (Recall that, as noted above, Obama himself had earlier stated that he viewed marriage as between a man and a woman based on his Christian beliefs.)
Marriage is first mentioned in Genesis 2:24, right after the creation of Adam and Eve. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh," it tells us.
Quoting from Genesis, Jesus Christ upheld marriage as being between a man and a woman, saying: "From the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Mark 10:6-9).
Other passages such as Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Peter 3:1-7 show that marriage was never intended as anything other than between a man and a woman. The pattern was established with the first marital union, which again was between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve or Eve and Evelyn.
What does the Bible say about homosexual behavior?
Scripture is also very plain in its teaching about homosexuality, in spite of the efforts of many to distort or ignore the clear meaning of passages. Let's notice a few:
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22; compare Leviticus 20:13).
For those who mistakenly argue that this was only Old Testament instruction inapplicable today, notice what New Testament writers say.
Jude, the half-brother of Jesus Christ, listing examples of the certainty of God's judgment against those who refuse to turn from their sinful ways, wrote: "In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire" (Jude 7, New International Version). Sodom, of course, gave its name to the homosexual act of sodomy, and to its practitioners, sodomites.
The apostle Paul wrote of some who denied God: "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools . . . Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie . . .
"Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion" (Romans 1:21-27, NIV).
Paul wrote plainly about homosexual practices: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, emphasis added throughout).
Rome and Corinth, the cities to which Paul wrote these two passages, were well known for their sexual perversions. God's Word never presents such behavior as acceptable, but instead strongly condemns it. And the passage above from Jude holds up Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of the divine punishment that, unless repented of, awaits all those who practice such sins.
(We should note, however, that Scripture also holds out hope to those who repent of such sins, as Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 6:11. For those seeking to turn from such lifestyles, we offer hope and encouragement at our sister website, breakingfree.ucg.org .)
What did Jesus say?
Some excuse such clear passages by saying that Jesus Christ nowhere condemned homosexual activity. Those who make such statements reveal not their knowledge of Scripture but their ignorance. In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus plainly said that no one should think that He was doing away with even the smallest part of the laws of God (such as the passages from Leviticus quoted above).
They also fail to comprehend who and what Jesus Christ really was. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 that Jesus Christ was the "spiritual Rock" that accompanied the Israelites in the desert after their departure from Egypt. He also explains, as the apostle John did in John 1:3, that Jesus Christ was the same divine Being who, as God with the Father, created the universe and everything in it (Colossians 1:16-17; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2).
As the divine Being who interacted with Moses on behalf of God the Father (John 1:18), Jesus Christ Himself was the very Lord God who in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 gave the laws forbidding homosexual activity! (To see further proof, request or download our free booklets Who Is God? and Jesus Christ: The Real Story . ) So to say that Jesus Christ never addressed the subject or never condemned homosexual behavior is to simply reveal one's lack of understanding of biblical truth.
Can we change or ignore God's Word?
God is very clear about what He thinks of those who ignore His Word or twist it to their own ends. Notice His plain statements: "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you," and "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32).
He repeats these words in principle at the very end of the Bible in Revelation 22:18-19: "If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life . . ."
Regrettably, all too many politicians—and not a few self-proclaimed religious leaders—do just that, endorsing as "personal freedoms" acts that God condemns as abominable sins.
Such individuals don a religious guise when it suits their political ends, while at the same time disdaining what the Word of God says about the repugnant sins they endorse.
Warnings from one of America's founding fathers
Seeing how far the nation has drifted from God, is it any wonder that America is experiencing such great setbacks as its enormous explosion of debt, its retreat from inconclusive, un-won wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, severe economic difficulties and ever-growing social problems?
There was a time when the nation's political leaders understood the biblical truth that "righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34, NIV). And as believers in God and His Word, they felt a duty to warn their people of the consequences of sin and rejecting God.
Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, saw the danger that would arise when a nation loses sight of God and turns its back on Him.
"God who gave us life gave us liberty," he wrote in 1781. "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?
"Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever" (quoted by William Federer, America's God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations, 1994, p. 323).
Jefferson understood the eternal truth that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7)—and because God is just, it's inevitable that His justice will eventually be carried out.
"Too proud to pray to the God that made us"
Another who understood this truth is one of the nation's most famous presidents, Abraham Lincoln. Long before his election to that office, he spoke in words echoing the lessons of history: "If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher" (1837, quoted by Federer, p. 375). He well understood that many a nation is destroyed from within before it is vanquished from without.
Could that happen to the United States?
When the nation was in the throes of the Civil War and in mortal danger, President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of fasting and prayer that the nation might be saved. Part of his proclamation read: "We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.
"But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
"Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of [God's] redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!" (quoted by Federer, pp. 383-384).
Where do we go from here?
Lincoln's words describe the present-day United States all too well. We've been blessed beyond measure. We've accumulated wealth and power unmatched in any single nation in history. But we have indeed forgotten the Source of those blessings, and in our conceit and arrogance we've concluded that it's all our own doing and we don't need God.
Obey His laws? Forget it—they're so horribly outdated. Study His Word? No way—too boring, too out of touch. Accept His Word for what it says? Of course not—we know better; we'll make up our own rules.
So, ignoring His Word, we've slaughtered 70 to 80 million unborn infants through abortion, and now the nation's highest elected leader has openly committed himself to redefining marriage, the primary building block of civilized society.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil
Centuries ago the great Creator God confronted another nation whose political leadership had grown corrupt and comfortable when it came to rejecting His Word and the sins that had debased that nation.
Through the words of the prophet Isaiah He thundered: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness . . .
"Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes straw and as dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will become like something rotten and their blossoms will blow away like dust, for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of Hosts, and they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
"Therefore the Lord's anger burns against His people . . . His anger is not removed, and His hand is still raised to strike" (Isaiah 5:20-25, Holman Christian Standard Bible).
We should learn a crucial lesson from history from these words and those of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. God was patient, but eventually His patience ran out. The kingdom of Judah, to whom these words were written, finally grew so corrupt and degenerate that they suffered a devastating national downfall and captivity at the hands of mighty Babylon. Crushed and shattered, the kingdom never came close to recovering its former power.
Whether its people realize it or not, America is treading a treacherous path, defiant or ignorant of the growing danger. Unless the nation and its people heed the lessons of history, and the abundant warnings of God's Word, history will soon repeat itself.
One can despise the Word of God for only so long before reaping the tragic consequences!