Christendom Walks in the Way of Canaan
THE Canaanites had a religion that involved fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and child murder. Because of it, the earth vomited them out. The Israelites copied that religion and merged its obscenities with Jehovah’s worship, and the land vomited them out. Today, there are people and religions that claim to be Christian yet copy those ancient sexual immoralities. Fornication and adultery have become commonplace. Homosexuality and the snuffing out of life in the womb are running rampant. Unwanted, babies in Canaan were sacrificed by the hundreds; today, they are trashed by the millions—55 million a year.—Compare Exodus 21:22, 23.
Not to be labeled old-fashioned or prudish, many churches in Christendom have rushed to mount the “anything goes” bandwagon. Some even provide for “safe” sexual sinning, such as the Unitarian Universalist minister who stopped his sermon to pass out condoms to his congregation.
A columnist, himself an Episcopalian, said: “The Episcopal Church of the ’80s is a theological taxidermy shop. It can be depended on to stuff and mount in the window whatever societal trend seems most up-to-the-minute. Some years it’s politics. This year it’s sex.” He refers to a new sex-education curriculum that shows that “Christians are behind the times in refusing to condone gay sex . . . and unwedded bliss.” An Episcopalian bishop in New York believes that “responsible homosexual relationships will one day be accepted as God’s will.”
Roy Howard Beck, affiliated with the religious weekly the United Methodist Reporter, wrote in his book On Thin Ice: “Caught in the act [immoralities] were TV evangelists, tall-steeple mainline preachers, bishops, well-known charismatic leaders, highly-visible lay leaders, revered small church pastors, priests, Pentecostals, liberals, conservatives—you name it. What a commentary on the church’s role in uplifting society!”—Page 214.
The Church of England
The Church of England’s parliament, the General Synod, met in November 1987 to consider a motion that called on it to reaffirm that “fornication, adultery, and homosexual acts are sinful.” The general secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement declared: “If this motion were accepted it would wreck the Church, and the Archbishop of Canterbury knows it. As a general figure, we believe between 30 and 40 per cent of Church of England clergymen are gay.”
Reporter Philippa Kennedy, writing in England’s Daily Express, October 29, 1987, said: “Margaret Thatcher’s attack on Church leaders for failing to give the nation adequate moral guidance will add spice to what promises to be one of the great clerical punch-ups of the decade. For it is not only the Prime Minister who believes that Bishops in general and the Archbishop of Canterbury in particular, are a bunch of wishy-washy wafflers.”
On November 11, 1987, the motion was debated, was found to be a pill too big to swallow, and was scuttled by a feeble amendment that passed overwhelmingly. So it was not “one of the great clerical punch-ups of the decade.” It fizzled out. The bishops shadowboxed, ducked, weaved, feinted, and backpedaled.
The General Synod’s decision: The ideal is sexual intercourse in a permanent married relationship; fornication and adultery are sins against this ideal; homosexual genital acts fall short of this ideal; and all Christians are to be exemplary in all spheres of morality, including sexual morality. Homosexual acts were rated less serious than fornication and adultery—the latter are sins against the ideal, whereas homosexuality merely falls short of the ideal. No removal of fornicators. No dismissal of adulterers. Gay priests and vicars whitewashed.
The synod’s trumpet had given an indistinct call, and the original motion submitted by parish priest Tony Higton was left in shambles. (1 Corinthians 14:8) Yet, strangely, he voted for the emasculated version and was “very, very pleased” with the outcome. A difficult reaction to fathom in view of his previous expressions. “If the Church doesn’t put its house in order,” he threatened, “then God will judge it.”
During the synod, Higton had presented a sensational dossier of evidence against the homosexual clergy. One was convicted of child molesting but was merely moved to another parish. Another priest, convicted of gross indecency in a public toilet, was appointed to another diocese, where he was convicted of a similar offense—still not defrocked. Homosexual Anglican priests in London, Higton reported, ran a church bookstall for “selling literature alleged to encourage homosexual promiscuity, the use of male prostitutes, and a variety of homosexual acts.” One book in the stall allegedly showed “a five-year-old girl in bed with her father and his male lover.”
Since Higton’s evidence was ignored, how could he be “very, very pleased”? No doubt because Anglican clerics are gentle souls easily pleased. As one news report said: “Admittedly, none of this scandal has been met with thunder, rather with the gentle drizzling rain in which Anglicans specialise.”
Understandably, the homosexual clergy were pleased. “The Synod had clearly given the gay and lesbian community a place in the life of the Church,” they said. After all, Archbishop of Canterbury Runcie had “argued that the church should not condemn disciplined and responsible homosexuals,” and had said: “I want to insist that to be homosexual by nature is to be a full human being.”
“Homosexual by nature,” the Archbishop of Canterbury said. Helpless homosexuals sentenced to be such by genetics? Some so argue, saying that the homosexual condition “is a basic psychological trait which predates any moral choice.” They dismissed the apostle Paul, who under inspiration condemned homosexuality, as “a bit of a prude,” according to The Times of London.
Sir Immanuel Jakobovits, a chief rabbi, questioned that “such a natural disposition to homosexuality” had been proved and said: “To argue from natural predispositions is a slippery slope which would lead to the collapse of the entire moral order . . . We cannot accept in any society that a natural predilection can in itself be sufficient to exonerate from guilt. We must be masters of nature, and not its victims.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury whittled away at Jesus’ words until they were reshaped to make room for homosexuals in Christ’s church, saying: “In this earthly tabernacle of Christ’s church there are many mansions, and they are all made of glass.” (Compare John 14:2.) So he was saying, ‘Don’t throw stones at anyone else, not even at homosexuals, for there is also a mansion for them in the church of Christ.’
The Bishop of Chester, Michael Baughen, argued that “the Greek of the New Testament justified the restatement of Anglican doctrine to express ‘love, sadness, sensitivity and understanding’ towards homosexuals,” that homosexuality was rebuked in Scripture only as “a wandering away from the path.” What the Scriptures really say is that homosexuals, if they don’t change, will not inherit the Kingdom and “are deserving of death.”—Romans 1:27, 32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
To quote The Times again, the synod proved “the well-worn accusation that the Church of England believes nothing and permits everything” and established “its wishy-washy trendiness—swallowing, as if it were the Gospel, each new liberal fashion.” Under the headline “Church Fudge,” the Liverpool Daily Post said: “Church of England leaders seem increasingly unable to declare in ringing terms just what they consider right and wrong.” As The Economist wryly observed: “The Church of England is against homosexual practices, but not very much.”
Under the headline “Fury at Synod Ruling on Gays,” the Daily Post quoted a number of Tory MPs. One MP called the Synod’s decision “shameful and lily-livered.” Another: “I am afraid that homosexuality has now obtained a firm foothold in the clergy of the Church of England and in the Church of England itself.” A third: “This vote—I would prefer to call it a disgraceful fudge—actually puts children at risk. Many homosexuals who are unable to find partners turn to young children and this is where youngsters who attend church are so vulnerable. . . . In stark language, the Church has failed to purge itself of an evil rampant within its own ranks.”
The Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church is blunt in its disapproval of homosexuality, branding it a gross sin. But in practice the church conducts a cover-up for guilty priests and even makes it possible for them to continue their sexual perversions. Certainly, Pope John Paul II had warm words for homosexuals when he declared: “They are in the heart of the church.”
An independent Catholic newspaper, the National Catholic Reporter, of February 27, 1987, said that homosexual clergy estimated that 50 percent of the U.S. Catholic priesthood is homosexual. This figure is contested. One psychologist, basing his statement on 1,500 interviews, says that 20 percent of the 57,000 U.S. Catholic priests are homosexual, whereas more recent reports make “other therapists think the true figure today may be closer to 40 percent.”
Just over a year ago, newspapers across the country were flooded with reports of sexual assaults on children by Catholic priests. The following report from the San Jose, California, Mercury News, December 30, 1987, is typical:
“At a time of heightened national awareness of the problems of child abuse, the Catholic Church in the United States continues to ignore and cover up cases of priests who sexually molest children, according to court records, internal church documents, civil authorities and the victims themselves.
“Church officials insist that a notorious 1985 Louisiana case in which a priest molested at least 35 boys has taught them to deal firmly with the problem. But a three-month Mercury News investigation reveals that in more than 25 dioceses across the country, church officials have failed to notify authorities, transferred molesting priests to other parishes, ignored parental complaints and disregarded the potential damage to child victims. . . . Millions of dollars in damages already have been paid to victims and their families, and one 1986 church report estimated that the church’s liability could reach $1 billion over the next decade.”
The “notorious 1985 Louisiana case” mentioned in the Mercury News report concerned a priest named Gilbert Gauthe. There has been a “payment of $12 million to his victims.” The homosexual activities of Gauthe were known for many years, but ‘the diocese handled the problem by transferring him from parish to parish at least three times.’ In one instance “parents testified that Gauthe sodomized their 7-year-old son on his first day as an altar boy and for a year afterward, until the priest was transferred.”
The “damage to child victims” was also mentioned in that report. Sometimes the damage is final. One 12-year-old boy took his life, leaving a note saying that “it wasn’t worth living” after having been “made a virtual sex slave of a Franciscan brother.” Another, molested by a priest, hanged himself after telling his brother, “Contact Father S.— and tell him I forgive him.”
Most sexual assault cases involve boys, but many girls are also victimized. As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer of December 19, 1987, a 16-year-old girl and her parents filed a civil suit in 1986 against seven priests for sexual molestation. She had become pregnant, and the priests urged her to get an abortion. When she refused, they arranged to send her to the Philippines to cover up her pregnancy. The church is against homosexuality and abortion but apparently not when it involves their own priests.
The newspaper reports go on and on listing many specific cases of Catholic youths sodomized by Catholic priests, of millions of dollars being paid out to settle lawsuits, of many settlements made out of court, and of insurance companies that “will no longer cover diocesan personnel against molestation charges.”
Thomas Fox, editor of the National Catholic Reporter, says: “There has been a national cover-up of the problem for years by the bishops.” Eugene Kennedy, a former priest and now psychology professor at Loyola University, says: “What you see in the courts is just the tip of the iceberg.” Thomas Doyle, Dominican priest and canon lawyer, declares: “The sexual molesting of little boys by priests is the single most serious problem we’ve had to face in centuries.”
What Does the Bible Say?
It says: “God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error. Although these know full well the righteous decree of God, that those practicing such things are deserving of death, they not only keep on doing them but also consent with those practicing them.”—Romans 1:26, 27, 32.
It also says: “What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) 1Co 6 Verse 11 adds: “Yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean.” Sinners who became Christians cleaned up or were cast out: “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” (1 Corinthians 5:11-13) It is not that fleshly sins will never occur in Christian congregations but that when they do occur, those guilty will either repent or be removed.
But this spiritual cleansing work—the removal of fornicators and adulterers and homosexuals—most of the religions of Christendom will not do. Israel claimed to serve Jehovah as they practiced ancient sex worship. (2 Chronicles 33:17) Christendom’s congregations say ‘Lord, Lord,’ even as sexual immorality flourishes in their midst. “Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known,” Jehovah asks, “and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’—safe to do all these detestable things?”—Jeremiah 7:4, 8-10, New International Version.
Jehovah is not to be mocked; all will reap what they sow. (Galatians 6:7) Jehovah’s words given through Jeremiah are as appropriate today as they were when spoken to Israel by the prophet: “Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.”—Jeremiah 6:15, NIV.
[Blurb on page 7]
Episcopalians: “Christians are behind the times in refusing to condone gay sex”
[Blurb on page 8]
“We believe between 30 and 40 per cent of Church of England clergymen are gay”
[Blurb on page 9]
Cover-up for “priests who sexually molest children”
[Blurb on page 10]
“The church’s liability could reach $1 billion over the next decade”
[Blurb on page 10]
Another youth, molested by a priest, hanged himself
[Blurb on page 11]
Made pregnant by priest, urged to get abortion
[Blurb on page 11]
“They have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush”