Yesterday on Truth that Transforms, the radio program of Truth in Action Ministries, Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver maintained that pastors in America are experiencing legal punishment for preaching against homosexuality. Staver claimed that the “homosexual rights agenda” is “without a question, the most significant threat to religious freedom that we face in the future.” He argued that gays and lesbians do not care about “tolerance” and “coexisting,” saying that “it has always been about dominance.” He went on to repeat the falsehood that organizations are being classified as anti-gay hate groups because of their position on marriage equality, when in fact the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose hate group classifications do not have legal weight, clearly notes that “not one of them was listed because of their position on same-sex marriage.”
Staver told host John Rabe that American pastors, as they supposedly are in Canada and Scandinavian countries, are facing legal penalties for speaking against gay rights. As Kyle pointed out when discussing a similar claim from David Barton, the “Hate Crimes Legislation was signed into law in October 2009 and not one pastor, priest, or preacher has yet been charged with a hate crime for preaching against homosexuality.”
Carmen Pate: What would you see as the greatest threat to our religious freedom here in America today?
Mat Staver: Well I think the greatest threat is the prevalence of the apathy that we sometimes have and just simply the lack of knowledge of the threat being there, I think that’s certainly the base line. Beyond that though I think that there is a clash that’s coming and it is very significant, and it is the clash between religious freedom and the homosexual rights agenda. There will be a winner and there will be a loser. And it’s not necessarily because of those who advocate religious freedom, it’s because of those who advocate the homosexual rights agenda. It’s no longer about tolerance and it never has been about tolerance, it’s never been about coexisting and so forth, it has always been about dominance. The dominance is that the homosexual rights agenda trumps everything else and if you disagree with it or if you have a different view, say for example even on marriage, then you will be labeled and you already see labels being thrown out there as a hate group, a hater. Someone that does not have the same access to a public facility, to have the same opportunity as a Christian club on campus or any other public venue or benefit that is otherwise open to people of various viewpoint except for your viewpoint because of your religious viewpoint, particularly as it relates to homosexuality. I think, without a question, the most significant threat to religious freedom that we face in the future.
John Rabe: If you look in countries, like some of the Scandinavian countries, what you’ve actually had pastors in churches being disciplined for standing up and offering a biblical perspective on homosexuality, or preaching from the bible about homosexuality, you’ve had cases in Canada where people are called before hate crimes tribunals for offering the biblical perspective. Is that something that could happen in the United States of America?
Mat Staver: Well it’s something that is happening in the United States of America and it is something that could escalate to a more significant level.