CERTAIN sins, such as murder, make our nation especially guilty before God.
The sin which brought the wrath of God upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is another sin of this kind. In Britain, the flagrant promoting of the heinous sin of sodomy puts our land in a particularly grave and solemn situation before God. Our Church has protested to successive governments about legislation which decriminalises this vile sin, but these protests have gone unheeded, in common with the protests of many individuals.
However, it remains our duty to voice our condemnation of this great evil, and especially at this time, when the Government’s declared intention is to lower the age of homosexual consent to 16. It is most unpleasant to have to speak and write about this sin. On the other hand, it is a serious dereliction of duty to keep silent about this steadily growing cancer in society. The increasing acceptance of this abominable practice is largely due to the effective lobbying of powerful homosexual pressure groups.
We have now descended to the situation in which the Government has brought forward its Bill for lowering the age of consent, in spite of the fact that it has been warned that the measure is completely contrary to the law of God, and although most people in this country are opposed to lowering the age of consent. In the past, pro-homosexual Bills were sponsored by private members, the Government of the day not demeaning itself by initiating measures of this kind. Now we have the situation when the Government is not only sponsoring such legislation but is doing so in a most determined manner.
Many Christian people have written to their MPs and to the Home Secretary, Mr Jack Straw, protesting against the proposed measure. So have some of our church courts, including the Northern Presbytery, through its clerk, the Rev. D. M. Boyd. The substance of the Presbytery’s letter, sent to the Home Secretary early last November, is as follows:
“We continue to be concerned at the Government’s intention to lower the homosexual age of consent from 18 to 16 years. We are extremely thankful that the House of Lords has forced the Commons to reconsider this matter, and we trust that the Government will indeed reconsider.
“The argument in favour of equality of the age of consent does not stand, as it implies an equality in health risks, social consequences and morality.
“The median age of death of homosexuals in America is about 42 years old. Engaging in homosexual activity is a lifestyle of disease and death. The medical case against homosexual behaviour is overwhelming, and if those engaged in homosexual behaviour had to pay private medical insurance to cover the increased health risk arising from their behaviour, then it would become apparent that equality is not the issue. There are good reasons why homosexual behaviour was once judged a criminal offence and, in some circumstances, still is.
“We understand that members of the House of Commons were influenced primarily by the argument that homosexuals were being discriminated against. The call by a prominent promoter of homosexuality that the age of consent should be reduced further to 14 years must make it now apparent that discrimination is not the issue.
“While we deplore the fact that homosexual acts, which are contrary to the holy law of God, are allowed by British law, we are deeply concerned that if the age of consent is reduced further there will be grave consequences to vulnerable teenage boys. From a practical point of view, it is madness to be fighting against AIDS, the highest incidence of which is among homosexuals, and at the same time to be legislating for the extending of homosexual conduct.
“The Presbytery wish to protest strongly against the solemn fact that all three major party leaders and Government ministers supported this measure. The real agenda is not that of removing discrimination, and we trust that you can assure the Presbytery that you will not bring forward legislation for reducing further the age of homosexual consent.”
However, despite very many such protests being sent to MPs and ministers, the measure was announced in the Queen’s speech at the opening of Parliament on 24th November. Also, on Monday 25th January, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, whose main provision is the lowering of the age of homosexual consent to 16, was given a second reading in the Commons in a “free vote” by 313 to 130, a majority of 183. The Government’s determination to implement this God-dishonouring and Heaven-provoking measure is shown by its statement that it will use the Parliament Act to ensure the Bill becomes law if the House of Lords votes it down again.
In these circumstances it is not surprising that the response of the Government to protests against the measure have been most unsatisfactory, as those of our readers who have received replies are already aware. So large has been the volume of correspondence received by the Home Office that it has sent out a standard reply to protesters. The issue is really one of equality before the law, it claims. The Home Office also has the effrontery to argue that the lowering of the age of consent will not promote homosexual activity. But in the same reply it assures us of the Government’s intention to bring forward measures ‘to protect the most vulnerable boys and girls aged 16 and 17’. This certainly smacks of inconsistency and duplicity.
But God is not deceived. He looks down from His throne and closely observes when nations, as well as individuals, repudiate His authority and spurn His law. The judgement upon Sodom and Gomorrah was preceded by God taking special note of their sin. “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know” (Gen. 18:20, 21).
We read that godly Lot, living in Sodom, was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)” (2 Peter 2:7,8). Godly people today are similarly grieved as they view the evidence of the sin of Sodom being committed more flagrantly in our nation, and see another foul piece of legislation being sponsored by our Government. That evidence is a call, as it were, to be increasingly importunate at the throne of grace, pleading with the Lord that He would not come out against us in judgement, but rather, that He would visit us in mercy, and turn us again to Himself, so that we would once again be a righteous nation.
We cannot leave this distasteful subject without emphasising two points from Scripture. First, God designates this sin as “very grievous” (Gen. 18:20), an “abomination” (Lev. 18:22), and “vile” (Rom. 1:26); therefore it is an especially hateful sin in His sight. But secondly, God reveals Himself in Christ as rich in mercy, ready to forgive, and able to deliver those guilty of this sin from the guilt and power of it. In pagan Greece and Rome this sin was prevalent, but some who committed it were changed and cleansed, becoming true Christians, as we read in 1 Corinthians, 6: 9-11. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”