Today, I want to share with you what my friend, Ben Anderson, so courageously wrote on his personal Facebook wall in response to the decision by the United States Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage across the Nation. When I read it, I was so touched by his genuine desire to follow his conscience and speak his mind knowing many would oppose him and offend some -- even those closest to him. What difficult times we are now living in with the challenge to be Christlike and keep sacred covenants to stand for what we believe “in all things and in all places." 

Most Americans value the principle of Religious Freedom. We are grateful for the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects this most fundamental right in a free society. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded and is able to continue to flourish upon the basis.

However, if we allow our voices to be silenced by those with opposing, legalized views then we risk losing our ability to speak and more importantly act upon our faith beliefs -- and soon will find ourselves in bondage.

And for this, I am grateful for those of you like, Ben, willing to step out of your comfort zone (and many for the first time) being compelled to speak truth regardless of personal consequences. 

“Ok. I feel obligated now to express myself concerning the recent SCOTUS decision. 
The SCOTUS decision is a political nightmare. It circumvents the States’ rights. It ignores legitimate arguments concerning redefining marriage. It uses tenuous arguments not based on law...but based on "feelings" to come to a decision that in almost every way conceivable is "extra-constitutional.” 5 unelected individuals decided to overturn the legitimate legislative process in 16 states for the sake of making a 3% (being generous) minority feel equal (marriage is not forbidden to gay people...they have the right to marry a person of the opposite sex...just the same as me). This is in my view a miscarriage of the democratic republican system we live in. 
I have not to this point stated any religious position and would gladly argue the entire affair without addressing religious convictions at all. But I want it abundantly clear where I stand on this issue with regard to my religious views. 
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are not to judge unrighteous judgments and certainly not ignore the beam in our own eye. I am a sinner. I sin fact, this very post is likely a in which I will have to lean heavily on the mercy of Christ through his Atonement.

Alas, I am an imperfect person and will sin until my last breath. My intimate recognition of my own sins makes it possible for me to see other's sins and withhold judgment of their sins. I can readily acknowledge that we are sinners walking through a journey that is our own and requires compassion and love from each other in order that we can buoy each other through the rough seas of living.

I have been as compassionate as I know how to be...which isn't all that compassionate by some measures. However, I want to express my firm belief that God ordained marriage not as a matter of "love" but as a holy rite to bring about His Eternal purposes. He ordained marriage as the natural source of providing His spirit children with physical bodies. It is immutable that the biology of man and woman are compatible and necessary for the co-creative process of bringing new lives to this earth. Love is not necessary for this process to take is encouraged by our biology (for 97% of us at least) and certainly it makes marriage easier and more fulfilling but love is not a fundamental of marriage.

Marriage with love in it is divine and joyous and fulfills much of God's expectations for His children and so we are encouraged to find someone we can love for all Eternity. The holy sacrament of marriage cannot be redefined to insinuate that gender is interchangeable and unimportant. 20 years ago, the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were inspired to draft a document to unequivocally state the design of God with regards to the Family. [The Family: A Proclamation to the World] In it, they address the eternal nature of gender and its role in fulfilling God's plan. It also addresses the need for strong families built upon a foundation of loving parents, mother and father, who are united by marriage to raise children in righteousness. This 20-year-old document was well ahead of the cultural upheaval we see today. It is nothing short of prophetic. It warns that nations that ignore the importance of family as the fundamental building block of civilization will suffer great calamities. I believe that most of those calamities will be man-made and that people who seek “tolerance” while giving little to none will encourage them. 
Others often see things in their newsfeed, which they believe are "bashing" their opinions. While I see things that I believe are bashing mine. We are both right. I saw dozens...maybe hundreds of instances of Christian hating comments, posts, and shared articles over the course of the last few days. I saw people desecrate my sacred beliefs in pride parades and read of pastor’s spit upon simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I know that most of my LGBT acquaintances would never do such a thing. That they do indeed respect a difference of opinion. 
What I also see, however, is a movement that screams "tolerance" at the top of its lungs while giving none and seeking specific opportunity to offend. And then claiming that any Christian who dares disagree with them is being "hateful" rather than just having a different perspective.

I do not "hate" people that sin. I do not hate people that have a different opinion than I do. I do not block, or unfriend people of differing political or social views. But I can tell you...I have been on the receiving end of hate. I have been called a bigot, a hateful person, ignorant, and many words that fall into a category I dare not share. And all this simply because I dare share my opinion. 
This is also a reason for me to fear...yes fear...the SCOTUS decision. This decision has emboldened people who attacked me for my opinion. It has shown them that they...the 3%...can wield power and force people to sit down and shut up. The decision opens up the door for businesses to discriminate based on the affiliation a person has with a religion or if they've ever expressed a different position from the culturally accepted position. A business will be able to justifiably claim that hiring a Christian with a public record that puts them in opposition to the "law of the land" will cause them harm. Fear of a LGBT boycott is apparently enough of a PR nightmare that hiring someone who has openly opposed SSM is enough to now discriminate against that person. Before you say that it would never happen...I can say that it has. (Brendan Eich of Mozilla?) 
With all of this said let me be on record. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. I may be on the wrong side of history...but let it never be said that I was on the wrong side of God's plan. 
 Lastly, let me say again that I don't want to lose friends for this position. If they feel so uncomfortable with my opinions that they cannot bear to be near or affiliated with me then I can only express sadness...there is nothing they could do to change the way I feel about them.”

Thank you, Ben. I know many can relate to your thoughts and feelings. I am proud to know someone like you, willing to stand for what you believe in the face of inevitable consequences. If ever there was a righteous use for social media, it is to use it to defend truth and righteousness in the public square. 


Kathryn Skaggs

Ben Anderson is a father of 6, happy husband and social media entrepreneur. While not a Washington native, he calls Kennewick WA home. Ben can be found online at Twitter and Google Plus.

You might also be interested in reading: The Legalization of Same-sex Marriage: We've Got This!

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