Brad Dacus: Setting the record straight on Pacific Justice Institute
On April 17, 2019, Staff Writer Sam Corey interviewed me in the front page article, “Religious liberty vs. civil rights?” Let me help set the record straight.
While the reporter did have a respectful interview and somewhat balanced story, there are some glaring inaccuracies (or misunderstandings) needing clarification.
First, while churches had every right and moral duty to express their convictions regarding same sex marriage during the Proposition 8 controversy, few see this as an ongoing issue worthy of church activism today. The Supreme Court in the 5-4 Obergefell decision legally resolved the issue.
Furthermore, while most churches today will continue to teach such unions as clearly unbiblical, churches should be predominantly focused on demonstrating love and outreach to the gay community, putting first the gospel message of redemption and forgiveness through faith in Christ, and avoiding any unnecessary distractions from such messaging.
Second, with regards to “conversion therapy,” yes it should be voluntary. But, it also must not be conducted creating false expectations of complete eradication of same-sex attractions or feelings. Some do portend such results. But the overwhelming majority receiving counseling do not. Healthy therapy provides the individual with understanding as to why they have such feelings and how they can control such attractions to go on and have the relationships they choose is best for them in accordance with their own beliefs. And while such therapy has proven at times unsuccessful, the many life-changing testimonies of those benefiting cannot (and should not) be ignored.
Third, Pacific Justice Institute defends religious freedom for all, not just for those sharing my beliefs. Yes, though we defended a pastor removed from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission because he had preached a very extreme position against gays, we also have defended a church wrongfully prevented from having a Bible study that had a very liberal theology on the issue. And, when a gay couple was being wrongfully treated by a social worker, I did not hesitate to give them the counsel they needed to protect their parental rights. The point: Just because Pacific Justice Institute defends religious freedom and parental rights for someone, doesn’t mean we agree with their beliefs.
Fourth, while I once acknowledged that the average gay person had a dramatically reduced lifespan, today thanks to medical advancements, that difference in fact has been substantially reduced.
But the greatest misunderstanding was when Mr. Corey wrote, in reference to previously publicized comments, “If they [churches] don’t [openly stand against same-sex marriage], he said, America, in supporting gay marriage without church intervention, could become like Nazi Germany.”
Actually, I believe the opposite. As stated earlier, churches today should relay a message of forgiveness and redemption for everyone who believes. Jesus demonstrated this by connecting with everyone right where they were — a tax collector, a prostitute, and yes, even a lawyer.
In addition, just because someone is gay doesn’t mean they are in favor of a totalitarian state. Yes, I have spoken to extreme LGBTQ activists who espouse shutting the doors of every church not flying the rainbow flag. Yet focusing on extremism, from either side, only fuels a division dangerous to true mutual tolerance and individual liberty.
Christians and LGBT activists alike, in a truly free society, should never have to apologize for their deep sincere beliefs. As we strive for genuine mutual understanding, let us all remember this: one way tolerance isn’t tolerance, but tyranny. And tyranny, in the end, becomes the enemy of us all.
To learn more about the work of Pacific Justice Institute, visit http://www.pji.org.
Brad Dacus, Esq. is president of the Pacific Justice Institute.
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