Good afternoon and welcome everyone to the Christian Liberty Academy. I am Pastor Calvin Lindstrom of the Church of Christian Liberty. Christian Liberty Academy is a ministry of the Chaurch of Christian Liberty.
In light of the threat and act of hate and violence directed against the school, Scott Lively, and Peter LaBarbera, I would like to make four points.
First, I would again like to thank the Arlington Heights Police Department for their thorough response to the act of hate and threat made against us. They exercised professionalism, courtesy, and due caution. You can imagine that after the attack there was uncertainty and great concern. The presence of the AHPD helped bring a measure of calm. I am thankful to God for the response of the AHPD. We have thanked them in various ways already, but it is important to express our appreciation for their service.
Second, right from the beginning the banquet on Saturday was cast in a negative light. An article in a local paper was headlined – Gay rights opponent in Arlington Heights Saturday.
Attention was brought to the banquet not by the Christian Liberty Academy but by the Gay Liberation Network which issued a press release condemning Scott Lively and announcing that they would be protesting his appearance.
So from the beginning the banquet was cast as a controversial event held at Christian Liberty Academy. Dr. Scott Lively, a very honorable man, who currently ministers in Springfield, Massachusetts, is portrayed as an opponent of gay rights rather than a pro-family speaker and minister to the needy and downtrodden. Yes, Dr. Lively has spoken and written on the issue of homosexuality, but that is not the entire focus of his work as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am not in anyway blaming the media for the attack, but from the beginning a peaceful event was portrayed as being controversial and cast in a somewhat negative light. Because of this, the Christian Liberty Academy was also from the beginning portrayed in a suspicious way. Why would we allow such a controversial subject to be hosted in our building?
It should also be noted that the local press downplayed the direct attack and threat against Dr. Scott Lively. I am not here to berate the press, but Scott Lively was the specific brunt of the attack on our facility. This was not brought out as clearly as it should have been because of selective editing of the information that was presented to the press.
Third, it is extremely important to point out the slander directed against Scott Lively and Peter LaBarbera. They have repeatedly been identified as a part of hate group just because one liberal organization [Southern Poverty Law Center] calls them such. This is very serious business in an age of misunderstanding and raised tensions. This is one of the reasons why the Church of Christian Liberty has allowed our facilities to be used by Peter LaBarbera and his organization. He has been the subject of lies, slander, and misrepresentation.
I am not naïve. I do realize the work Peter LaBarbera and others do is viewed as being controversial, but if no one comes to the defense of a person who is under attack, how is that a good thing? I wish other local churches and organizations welcomed Peter LaBarbera to speak. Some have, but many are afraid to do so. We have welcomed Peter not to gain attention for ourselves but to stand with someone who has unfortunately often had to stand alone.
Related to this point, a number of people have suggested that Peter LaBarbera or Scott Lively to gain attention committed the attack on the school. This is absolutely ludicrous and needs no further reply.
Fourth and finally, it should be clearly realized that the position that Peter LaBarbera, Scott Lively, and the Church of Christian Liberty hold in relationship to homosexuality and the Bible is the historic position of the Christian faith. There is absolutely no doubt about this despite what many are trying to suggest today. A person is free to read the Bible and say that he or she doesn’t like what it says about homosexuality. But a person is not free to twist the truth of God’s Word.
I say this because it relates to the controversy that is being addressed today. Why should it be controversial for the Christian Liberty Academy to host speakers who are in agreement with the historic principles of the Christian faith?
I believe that what is being threatened in our society today is the clear message of God’s Word -– both God’s Law and Gospel.
The entire message of Scripture is clear. Homosexual acts are an abomination in God’s sight. This is not some outdated Old Testament concept but the clear teaching of the New Testament. This is the witness of God’s Law.
The witness of the gospel is that there is hope of salvation for all sinners. The work of Jesus Christ has turned away the wrath of God and has satisfied the righteous demands of God’s Law. All men and women are called to trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and to turn
as best they can from their sins and find complete forgiveness of sins.
This is the message that we seek to communicate clearly to our students. This is the message of true hope that we seek to share with the community of Arlington Heights and the world.