The American Pastors Network devoted time in recent episodes of its “Stand in the Gap” broadcast to denouncing the Supreme Court’s June 15 ruling that federal civil rights law prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. APN leaders charged that the Supreme Court created legal chaos by redefining “biblical” definitions of sex and undermined the biblical template for law and order.
“This is a very, very bad case,” said attorney David New, a guest on the June 18 broadcast. “It’s very bad for the American family. It’s very bad for children. Whenever the gay-lesbian agenda is promoted and encouraged and supported, you basically damage American families, and it really damages children.”
New said that Justice Neil Gorsuch, who surprised and angered conservatives by writing the decision, had joined the ranks of liberal justices “who think that the Constitution is a novel from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ where words can take all different kinds of meanings.”
He said Gorsuch was applying the word “sex” to “gay sex, and lesbianism, and boys who like to shave their legs, and all that kind of stuff, and girls who want to wear pants and think they’re butches.”
“The only thing worse than this ruling is when they first decriminalized homosexuality and when they made homosexuality marriage a protected right under the 14th Amendment,” New said. He called the ruling “an attack upon Christianity” and “an attack upon Christian values and morals that this country was founded upon.”
Hosts Sam Rohrer and Gary Dull returned to the topic the following day. Rohrer denounced the “horrendous” Supreme Court ruling that he said “redefined the biblical definition of the word sex to include a host of interpretations of gay sex, LGBTQ sexual preferences.” He said the court had not only violated the Constitution but “in effect almost kind of like raised their fist to God above in arrogance.” Dull said that the Court was “forgetting the law of God” and that the nation is on its way to experiencing greater judgment from God.
Dull complained, as many religious-right leaders do, about Supreme Court rulings in the early 1960s that prohibited official prayer and Bible reading in public schools:
God’s law, God’s teaching, the Ten Commandments, which is our moral code, really, all of that has been taken away by godless people. And what does that reproduce? It reproduces more godless people who have no respect for law, period, or certainly for God’s law. And you cannot shake your fist in God’s face and get away with it. I fear what’s going to take place in our nation—that there’s not a real repentance and turning back to God.
Rohrer and Dull discussed “God’s design for creation” and said that when a society rejects God’s moral law, it invites rebellion and lawlessness. They discussed the possibility that civil war would engulf the U.S. sometime in the next few years.
Rohrer and Dull were joined on June 19 by Kate Anderson, senior legal counsel at the religious-right legal behemoth Alliance Defending Freedom, which opposes LGBTQ equality in the U.S. and around the world. Anderson criticized the ruling but noted that Gorsuch referred to the Civil Rights Act’s religious exemption and other protections for religious freedom under the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act. She said it was not clear how religious exemptions will be applied after this ruling.
Anderson affirmed that pastors have strong protections for freedom of religion and speech when preaching from the pulpit, adding, “I also actually think this is a great opportunity for the church and for pastors to speak the truth in love about sexuality, about identity, because we need to be a voice to help people understand that there are important differences between men and women, and that those are valuable, and that our human dignity stems in large part from those things.”
“Stand in the Gap” also devoted two recent episodes to discussing “biblical authority.” In an episode uploaded on June 10, Rohrer and pastor Isaac Crockett were joined by Oklahoma pastor Paul Blair, a conservative activist and promoter of nullification—the idea that local officials should ignore Supreme Court rulings on abortion and marriage that he deems unconstitutional.
Rohrer, Crockett, and Blair discussed biblical passages that say all authority is given by god and that describe public officials as “ministers of God” who have been “given the sword” by God to punish evildoers. Blair said that the U.S. was founded on a “biblical worldview” dating back to “the Pilgrim forefathers.”
Blair said government’s primary responsibility is to “punish evildoers” and protect those who are doing good. He said that a pastor’s responsibility is not only to make disciples, but to “stand against wickedness in the culture” and serve as a “moral thermometer” by providing instruction to citizens and legislators.
Blair repeated a claim, grounded in Christian Reconstructionist ideology and embraced by many religious-right figures, that the Bible does not give government the authority to care for the poor: “There’s nowhere in the Bible where God commands the civil authority to use the sword to take from those who are working hard and then redistribute to those that simply refuse to work.”
The trio discussed the separation of church and state, which Blair described as prohibiting the establishment of an official state church. “There is no separation of God from government, because every institution is accountable to God, but there is a separation from government telling the church what to do,” Rohrer interjected.
“What part of life is Jesus not the Lord over?” Blair asked. “Well, he’s the Lord over everything … and that includes civil government. That includes the areas of politics. … If God in fact, designed the church and designed the home and designed civil government, then pastors should be experts on God’s expectations and limitations in the area of civil government.”
Blair said that he is “looking for the Rapture every day,” but that there is no guarantee that Christians in the U.S. will escape persecution. He is looking for the Rapture and working for revival, he said, so that he doesn’t have to face tyranny or martyrdom.