Rev. Nate Wilson's Letter
August 24th 2010
Honorable Manhattan City Commissioners:
I am an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, so I rise to speak on a subject related to my professional training and vocation, and that is the subject of religious ethics. This is the 500 pound gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about but which poses the problem before us this evening. There are basically two ethical systems in conflict here, the ethical system of Secular Humanism and the ethical system of Biblical Christianity:
1. Secular Humanism says that humans are the result of the interactions of impersonal matter and energy, that humans are at the top of the evolutionary chain, and therefore humans should decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong.
2. The Biblical Christian worldview, on the other hand is that a transcendent, personal God created humans and then revealed His standards of right and wrong to humans and had it recorded in the Holy Bible, therefore humans are obligated to follow God’s ethical standards found in the Bible.
The ordinance before us today begs the question of ethics by assuming that homosexual activity and gender change is morally good and something to be affirmed by law. This issue must be reconsidered because it is a religious issue. Is it good or is it bad for people to engage in homosexual conduct? Is it good or is it bad for people to be transvestites? This is essentially a religious issue, and depending on your religious views, you will get different answers:
1. Many here believe that homosexuality and gender change are not ethically bad. This is ethical according to Secular Humanism, which is a religion, according to the Humanist Manifesto and the determination of the U.S. Supreme Court in Torasco v. Watkins (1961).
2. Biblical Christianity has a different take. The Bible claims to be God’s word on ethics, and it says in Deut. 22:5 that cross dressing is an “abomination;” in Leviticus 18:22, it says that homosexuality is an “abomination;” in Romans 1:26, it says that lesbianism is “vile” and “unnatural,” and in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is says, “Have you not known that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the immoral nor idol-worshippers, nor adulterers, nor gays nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards nor abusers nor graspers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you, but you washed yourselves, but you were made holy, but you were made righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Furthermore, in Revelation 21:8, Jesus speaks as to how he will judge mankind in regard to His standard of ethics. He decreed that those who do not believe, those who practice sexual immorality, and those who do what is abominable (using the same word found in Deut 22:5 and Lev. 18:22 to describe homosexuality and cross-dressing) will be thrown into the lake of fire.
These two worldviews, the worldview of Secular Humanism and the worldview of Biblical Christianity, are internally consistent with themselves, yet mutually exclusive of each other. Although both worldviews (for different reasons) agree that discrimination based on gender and race are wrong, they do not agree that discrimination based on sexual orientation and sexual identity are wrong. Adding these two categories to the current body of law is to decide religious ethics in favor of Secular Humanism.
Accusing, trying, and fining Biblical Christians like myself with the intent of bringing us into compliance with your religiously-held belief that homosexuality and cross-dressing are good is not a neutral stance religiously speaking. Consider what would happen if the tables were turned and an ordinance were to be passed which assumed your religiously-held sexual ethics to be wrong. In that case, Bible-believing Christians could accuse, try, and fine homosexuals and cross-dressers until they complied and agreed that homosexuality and cross-dressing were bad. I encourage you to stay religiously-neutral on these issues of discrimination with regard to sexual orientation and sexual identity; remove them both from the language of the ordinance.
For more thoughts on the distinctions between the ethics of secular Humanism and the ethics of the Bible, please see the chapter 3 of my book, The Functions of Deity, entitled “God defines Good: Ethics.” You can find this attached to my blog entry entitled “How to tell a good law from a bad one” at http://www.natewilsonfamily.net/Ethics.pdf
Christ the Redeemer Church