Monday, February 24, 2014

Playing poker with a cardsharp

Liberal fascists raise the issue of how a Christian photographer should respond to a homosexual "couple" who seeks to retain his services for their wedding. I'm using "should," not in the sense of what's obligatory, but what's permissible. I can think of three options which may be permissible:

i) He could refuse. That would be a strong Christian witness. And if he's prosecuted, that would also be a strong Christian witness. 

Of course, that's the toughest option. Even if he could win a law suit in the long run, he might well be ruined in the short term. And there's no guarantee that he'd win, given the current political climate. It's a great personal risk.

There are, however, Christian legal agencies like ACLJ which takes cases like that. 

ii) Especially if he has dependents, he has to balance competing obligations. On the one hand he has a duty to support his dependents. On the other hand he has a duty to maintain a Christian witness. If society puts him in a bind, where he has no good options, he might agree to photograph the ceremony in order to discharge his prior obligations to his dependents.

If, on the other hand, he's an unattached male, then that might shift the relative force of the conflicting duties.

iii) He might lie. Say he has a scheduling conflict for that day. Claim he's already booked.

There are some Christians who think it's always wrong to lie. I've addressed that contention on several occasions (see below). I disagree.

If society puts Christians in a moral dilemma where they have no good options, then society is to blame if Christians must resort to exceptional measures. To take a military comparison, it's normally wrong to shoot into a crowd of women and children. If, however, the enemy is shooting at you from behind the crowd, by using the crowd as a human shield, then you have the right to defend yourself by returning fire. Although innocents will die, the enemy is at fault for putting you in that untenable position. You can only choose from the available options. 

To take another illustration, must we play by the rules? Fair play presumes that both sides play by the same rules. What if the game is rigged? If the dealer is a card sharp, if the deck is stacked, then it's not cheating for you to take countermeasures. Rather, that offsets the cheater. He no longer has an unfair advantage. That restores the imbalance. 


  1. One thing I didn't feel you addressed in those posts, Steve, was this: If God doesn't lie (and, indeed, Jesus is the truth), and our sanctification increasingly conforms us to the image of God, doesn't that mean we should be increasingly truthful and thus eschewing falsehood?

    1. i) Although Scripture says God doesn't lie, it sometimes depicts God as a deceiver.

      ii) God never finds himself put in untenable situations. As finite creatures in a fallen world, we sometimes do.

  2. I'm reminded of the Hebrew midwives in Exodus 1 who told Pharaoh that Hebrew women were vigorous and gave birth before they could arrive. Therefore they couldn't kill the newborns.

    Paul also used the legal options available to him and appealed to Caesar.