The Walt Disney Company is threatening to stop filming in Georgia if the state’s governor signs a bill that would protect a pastor’s right not to perform gay marriage ceremonies. The bill would also “protect property owners which are religious organizations against infringement of religious freedom.”
Disney owns Marvel, which has shot major films at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta. Such a boycott would be a significant loss for the state. The NFL is also threatening to bypass Atlanta as a Super Bowl destination if the religious freedom bill is passed. What does this news mean for those of us who support biblical marriage?
One: We can expect opposition to escalate.
Many who oppose legislation such as the Georgia bill consider same-sex marriage to be a civil right. If a bill was proposed allowing pastors to refuse African-American weddings, I would be the first to oppose it. That’s how many feel about gay marriage.
Of course, the issue is not that simple. Many civil rights leaders reject the linkage of racial issues with gay rights. And many companies that defend gay marriage have their own civil rights issues. For instance, Disney has been accused over the years of human rights violations with regard to working conditions in factories that produce their merchandise. And the NFL is embroiled in a controversy regarding its support for players at risk of cognitive damage.
Nonetheless, the crusade against those who defend biblical marriage is only going to intensify in coming years. We can expect strategies such as Disney’s, which are intended to provoke a public backlash against us. What used to be orthodox Christian faith is fast becoming “religious extremism.”
Two: We should choose now to defend biblical truth, whatever the cost.
The time to decide that we will endure persecution for Jesus is before persecution begins. Challenges don’t produce character—they reveal it. Walt Disney noted that some men make difficulties, while difficulties make some men.
Jesus promised, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11). To live a life God can bless, decide to stand for God’s word and will. The price of today’s obedience is an investment in eternal reward.
Francis Schaeffer was right: “If you are a Christian looking for an easy ministry in a post-Christian culture where Christians are a minority, you are unrealistic in your outlook. It was not to be so in Jeremiah’s day, and it cannot be so in ours.”
But the good news is that Jesus stands with those who stand for him. In light of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, can we do less?