I’m wondering if the day is going to come in America when I will be arrested and imprisoned for preaching the gospel? Could I be put in jail for not performing a wedding ceremony? Or could I be fined and even incarcerated for publishing this blog?
You say, “That could never happen in America!”
Think not? Then consider the recent case of Donald and Evelyn Knapp.
The Knapps operate the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in the resort town Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. Their chapel is located across from the county clerk’s office, so couples can conveniently get their marriage license, cross the street and get married.
Don and Evelyn are both ordained ministers. They’ve been performing religious wedding ceremonies in their chapel since 1989. Their ceremony has a spiritual tone with references from the Bible about marriage. In addition, each couple receives a CD set with two sermons about marriage.
However, voter-approved protections for marriage between and man and a woman were struck down by an Idaho court ruling this year. Officials warned Don and Evelyn publicly and privately that if the law was ruled unconstitutional a city nondiscrimination ordinance would require them to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. If they refused, the Knapps could be fined up to $1,000 a day for each day they refused to perform same-sex marriage and be jailed for 180 days.
Last Friday, October 17th, a man called the chapel asking them to perform a ceremony for him and his homosexual partner. The Knapps respectfully declined. In the meantime, the Alliance For Defending Freedom has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on behalf of the Knapps to stop officials from enforcing the nondiscrimination ordinance.
“I don’t hate those people, Donald Knapp told KXLY-TV, “I don’t think anybody should ever be abusive or mistreat them or anything like that, but I cannot in clear conscience unite such a couple.” Knapp then added, “I think the Bible is pretty clear that homosexuality is not his way, and therefore I cannot unite people in a way that I believe would conflict with what the Bible teaches.
We are continuing to see a distributing trend in our country that is bent on persecuting Christians for their consciously held religious beliefs regarding marriage. Last week we cited the case of the lesbian Houston Mayor, Annise Parker, and her city attorney, who issued subpoenas to five preachers to turn over their sermons regarding homosexuality.
Our leaders have forgotten that our civilization was founded on the age-old Judeo-Christian ethic of marriage between and man and a woman. Jesus was clear when he proclaimed this in answer to the Pharisees.
“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘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.” (Matt 19:4-6)
Joined together a man and a woman in holy matrimony is what Don and Evelyn Knapp are doing. And that’s I what I have done for over 40 years. And will continue to do so.
The Knapps will not perform homosexual marriages. And neither will I. The reason is not because we are haters. Or because of some archaic tradition. Or a personal prejudice against a segment of society. We sincerely believe that homosexuality is sin. We believe that because the Bible says so!
In Romans 1:18-27 homosexuality is described as dishonorable. Unnatural. Vile. And shameful. However, homosexuals, just like fornicators and adulterers can repent of their sin, come to Christ and be saved. (1Cor 6:9-11)
I stand with Don and Evelyn Knapp on this issue. I will go to jail before I perform homosexual marriages. What do you think?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman