I have always been under the impression that far too many people are sue happy in this nation. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there are an abundance of legitimate claims but some people take things to a whole new level. We live in a nation that provides for so many individual freedoms and our nation’s history has been marked by the constant struggle to obtain and uphold those rights. One man believes that he is embarking in a fight for that very reason.
Bradley LaShawn Fowler, and ex-con turned author, is suing two Bible publishers in a US District Court for a combined $70 million (Zondervan for $60 and Nelson for $10). Now if you haven’t heard about this you may be thinking something like ‘he was mistreated by the companies, wrongfully fired or refused a job, or perhaps they wouldn’t publish something of his’. All legitimate ideas. However, Mr. Fowler is suing them for causing him 20 years of emotional distress and instability for publishing this “book” that speaks so harshly of homosexuality, a lifestyle in which Mr. Fowler has chosen for himself. According to him, this violates his constitutional rights. Representatives of the publishing agencies have simply stated at this point that, “they don’t translate bibles they only publish them.” The future of the case is still undetermined.
I love the US Constitution. I teach American Government so I have spent a lot of time studying this document and teaching about it as well. There is no shortage of incredible freedoms and protections contained there. However, there is no such protection against someone verbally or in a written fashion speaking out against choices and lifestyles. If so, millions of books would have to come off the shelfs, blog sites shut down, magazines and newspapers out of business. There are such things as libel and slander which are prohibited but for those to exist there has to be a malicious intent by the author or speaker and it has to be with a disregard to truth. So for starters, Fowler’s case is not with Zondervan and Nelson publishing (which is what their reps were trying to say) but with the authors of the various books contained in the Bible, and as one could also argue, his case is with The Author of the Bible. But I really doubt that Fowler views it that way. Regardless, he is going to have to get very creative in making his case because he is representing himself in the proceedings. But I am not writing this to argue his case…not my job.
When I first heard about this I went through a roller coaster of emotions and I have finally settled on one…sadness. People have already begun to point fingers at our president and Supreme Court for opening the flood gates for things like this but this is nothing new and it is not surprising either. In fact, this book that Mr. Fowler is suing over tells us that a time will come when people will no longer endure sound teaching and God’s truth but because of their own desires will want to alter it and gather teachers to themselves that will tell them what they want to hear. Thats found in 2 Timothy chapter 4 (my paraphrase). This has been happening for decades as generation after generation in this nation have abandoned God and His word as a basis of truth and guide for how we are to live our lives. Mr. Fowler, along with others, want the Bible to be altered to remove the negative remarks about homosexuality. To do that, they would have to take out entire sections, not words, but sections and chapters to make it fit what they want it to say. Here is just a short list of what would have to be taken out (feel free to look these up on your own): Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Timothy 1:10, and Genesis 19:1-38. I don’t want to take readers down a path of pointing out God’s feelings towards homosexuality. The Bible says what it says and there’s no way around it.
I get tired of both Christians and non-Christians putting a spotlight on homosexuality. Sure, God specifically states his views on homosexuality but this is really part of a greater issue. In many other places throughout the Bible, God calls people to not live in any form of sexual immorality (Revelation 21:8, Galatians 5:16-21, Ephesians 5:1-21, Hebrews 13:1-25) among those would certainly be included homosexuality. So this is not a problem between a gay man and the most historically proven, accurate, and fact-containing religious text in history. This is a problem with a society that has long embraced sex outside of marriage, having an affair if your spouse isn’t making you happy, pornography, and teaching safe sex to children rather than telling them to keep themselves pure for a future spouse. It’s a society that promotes all forms of lust and plasters it all over billboards, magazine covers, and television screens. This is a problem with a society that embraces pleasure at pretty much any cost and doesn’t want anyone, even God restricting us. I’m of course using generalizations which usually I don’t like to do. I know that there is an ample number of people in this country not embracing the afore mentioned things.
So yes, I am sad. I am sad for the state of our nation. I am sad for generation after generation giving into more compromise. I am sad for what the future holds for everyone abandoning hope in the Lord. And I am sad for Mr. Fowler. If I were able to reach him directly I would not criticize him or bash him or tell him my opinion of his case. I would simply tell him that God loves him. That God died for him so that He could spend eternity with him. That God doesn’t want to restrict his life but give him abundant life. I would tell him that I am sorry for any abuse or mistreatment he’s faced by people who have condemned him rather than showed him the truth and walked alongside him in love. And I would share that with anyone else in his shoes.
God is not a withholder of freedom, He is the creator of it. He has given every human being the ability to make choices for themselves and live the life they want but along with those choices comes consequences. God is not a buzzkill of love…God is love. God designed us all for love. But we live in a broken world caused by mankind’s selfishness. The Bible says what is says about sexual immorality and many other immoral practices like lying, cheating, killing, etc because God knows that those things destroy people and societies. We can try to change the Bible all we want to fit the lifestyle we want to live but when our life comes to an end, and we stand before Almighty God, our translation of His Word will not suffice. Be encouraged because we have a God who loves us and wants what’s best for our lives.