The year of our Lord 2018 is gone, and 2019 is before us. To commemorate the ending of one year, and the beginning of the next, this article will highlight some of the important culture news items from 2018. These stories were all featured on Answers News, our twice-weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum and broadcast on Ken Ham’s Facebook page, the Answers in Genesis Facebook page, and YouTube channel.
While some of these stories may seem incidental or even inconsequential, they are indicators of the cultural change that is steadily brewing on issues such as the sanctity of life, human sexuality, and religious freedom. In the past decade we’ve already seen a moral upheaval regarding marriage and gender, but it is far from over yet. Christians need to be aware of what is going on in the world as these stories point towards changes and trends that will affect us as Christians in ways we do not yet fully understand.
Sanctity of Life
In April, The Globe and Mail, a well-read publication in Canada, published a lengthy piece on an elderly couple married 73 years who chose to die together with doctor-assisted death. This story attempted to romanticize the idea of assisted suicide. These types of “romantic,” idealized stories on assisted suicide will only serve to increase its acceptance and popularity in our culture. Hear the Answers News team discuss this item in this episode from April 12.
The whole world watched last spring as the story of Alfie Evans, a terminally ill toddler in the United Kingdom, unfolded. After doctors determined that further treatment for the child was pointless and not in his best interest, Alfie was removed from life support against his parents’ wishes and eventually he passed away. This is not the first time such a story has come out of the UK, and it highlights our culture of death and the growing sentiment that the government, not parents, decides what is best for a child. The Answers News team also discussed this item. See it on this episode from May 3.
In January of 2018, the California State Senate in the United States approved medically induced abortions on university campuses. This legislation would require all California public universities to provide medication that would induce an abortion in a woman up to 10 weeks pregnant. This points towards the prevailing belief that women should be able to kill their unborn children with as much convenience as possible. Likely these abortion services on campuses will become increasingly common in our culture of death. Hear the Answers News team discuss this item in the February 5 episode.
In the state of Ohio, United States, a judge gave custody of a minor, a 17-year-old girl, to her grandparents because she identifies as male and her parents refused to call her by her chosen name or allow her to take male hormones, believing she was not ready to make such a life-altering decision. Such a decision by the Ohio judge is an affront to parental rights and reinforces the growing idea that governments know what is in a child’s best interest, not parents. Listen to the Answers News team discuss this item in this episode from February 26.
A ten-year-old drag queen, who goes by the name “Desmond is Amazing,” was in the news many times throughout 2018, not the least for starting a drag club for kids. He is frequently praised for being “who he is” and is fully supported by his parents in his desire to dress and perform as an over-sexualized caricature of a woman. As our culture drifts further from a biblical view of sexuality, we will increasingly see perversions—even perversions in children—celebrated. Hear the Answers News team discuss this issue on April 5.
In November, the social media giant Twitter updated its terms of service to prohibit “deadnaming” or “misgendering” transgender individuals. Deadnaming refers to calling a transgender individual by their birth name and misgendering refers to using the “wrong” pronoun. If a Twitter user refers to a biological male, who identifies as female, as “he,” that user may be banned from the platform. The gender revolution is increasingly attempting to silence the voices of those who do not agree, even at the expense of free speech. The Answers News team discusses this item in this episode from December 6.
In May, The Episcopal Church in the United States removed the words “husband” and “wife,” as well as references to procreation, from their marriage liturgy to make their wedding services more “gay-friendly.” Apparently gay and lesbian Episcopalians complained that these terms made the liturgy “offensive and exclusionary.” Therefore, instead of the union of husband and wife, the liturgy now references the union of two people and replaces the procreation of children, one of the purposes of marriage, with “the gift of children” to include those same-sex couples who choose to adopt. Such compromise with secular values, and outright rejection of the biblical teaching on marriage, will only continue as church denominations look to the world, rather than the Word, for truth. Hear the Answers News team discuss this item in this episode from May 21.
Just a few months later, in July, the same denomination passed a resolution allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry in their own churches. While most churches in the Episcopalian denomination already allowed for gay weddings, this resolution overrides those few that did not. Although clergy can still decline to marry a couple, under this new resolution, they will find someone else to marry the couple so that the couple can still marry in the church of their choice. This is yet another step closer to the culture and further from God and his Word for the Episcopalian church. Hear the Answers News team discuss this item in from July 23.
“Society is continuously changing, and family structures are changing along with it,” wrote a judge in Newfoundland, Canada, after granting parental recognition to two men and one woman who are in a polyamorous relationship and parent the same child. Polyamory, or “many loves,” refers to a relationship where those involved have mutually agreed they can be in relationships with other people. It is yet another example of the perversion of family and marriage that comes from rejecting God’s Word—and his definition of marriage—as the authority. Listen to the Answers News team discuss this item from June 28.
In order to encourage young people in a first job, the Canadian government offers the Canada Summer Jobs Program which allows eligible employers a grant to hire a summer student to work for them. Many non-profits take advantage of this grant but for many Christian non-profits, that is now over. The government now requires all applicants to sign an “attestation” that includes respect for reproductive rights (in other words, abortion) and sexual orientation and gender expression. Of course, many Christian groups cannot, in good conscience, sign any such thing, and therefore will not be eligible for the funding. This is a clear example of the government trying to force citizens into supporting the party line when it comes to abortion, gender, and sexuality. No longer are you allowed freedom of religion or freedom of conscience. Instead you must agree with the government or lose your funding. Listen to the Answers News team discuss this item in this episode from January 25.
University campuses are supposed to be bastions of free thought and speech, but that is increasingly no longer the case. In February the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), United States, rescinded a speaking invitation it made to Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis. Ken had accepted the invitation and had a contract to speak at the university on March 5th. However, after LGBT groups on campus complained that a speaker who believes in biblical marriage and sexuality was coming to speak, the offer was rescinded. Interestingly, Todd Starnes of Fox News pointed out that drag queens and a sex carnival have come to the university but a speaker who believes the Bible (and who was speaking on creation, not sexuality) was not welcome. Hear the Answers News team discuss this item in this episode from February 8.
Thankfully, after the UCO decision went public, immense pressure was put on the school to re-invite Ken and he, along with AiG’s Dr. Georgia Purdom, were able to speak at the university. While this attempt at censoring free speech and freedom of religion was squelched due to the pressure put on the university, it doesn’t always end this way. Religious freedom and free speech are increasingly under attack and Christians must stand up for their rights or lose them completely. Hear the Answers News team discuss this.
In June, a British Columbia, Canada, University, Trinity Western University (TWU), lost an important legal battle in the Supreme Court of Canada. TWU sought to open a law school but was denied accreditation because their mandatory covenant (their code of conduct) includes abstinence from sex outside of heterosexual marriage. This was considered discriminatory and they were unable to open their proposed law school. TWU took the case all the way to the Supreme Court and, sadly, lost. The court claims that:
It found the public interest of the law profession gives it the right to promote equality by ensuring equal access, support diversity within the bar and prevent harm to LGBT students.
Diversity, in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada, does not make room for differing opinions on marriage and sexuality. Again, here we see another example of freedom of religion being sacrificed on the altar of “diversity.” But this diversity is intolerant of anyone that does not agree with the status quo and is, therefore, not true diversity. The Answers News team discusses this item in this episode from June 21.
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, TWU decided to drop their community covenant in August, no longer requiring students to sign this statement. Sadly, this willingness to drop their code of conduct points towards a compromise with secular values. If Christians and Christian institutions aren’t willing to stand up for what they believe—even when it is difficult and appears to do them harm—we will increasingly lose our freedoms and (more importantly) our convictions. Listen to the Answers News team discuss this item in this episode from August 27.
This attack on free speech and freedom of religion is not just taking place in Canada. It is happening throughout the West. In August the California State Senate of the United States voted to approve legislation that forbids individuals experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction from getting help. “Sexual orientation change efforts” are now included with prohibited goods. This means that books endorsing rejection of a homosexual lifestyle will no longer be able to be sold and that any paid counselor cannot help someone leave that lifestyle. As legislation like this continues to be passed, we will likely see pastors’ sermons, pro bono counselors, and others restricted from offering real and gospel help to homosexuals. Hear the Answers News team discuss this item in this episode from August 30.
But all the news regarding religious freedom from 2018 wasn’t bad. In 2014 the Atlanta Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochran, in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, was terminated from his position because of a few lines in a men’s devotional that he wrote. These few lines expressed a biblical view of marriage and sexuality and promoted an investigation to see if Cochran had ever discriminated against anyone. Although the investigation turned up nothing, he was still fired, ironically, for failing to tolerate diverse views. But in late 2017 it was ruled that the city’s actions were unconstitutional, and in October of 2018 he was awarded $1.2 million in damages. We’re thankful for victories of religious freedom and free speech. The Answers News team discusses this item on this episode of Answers News from October 22.
In April, a 28-year-old humanist was appointed as the first atheist head chaplain of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. She was placed in her position due to the increasing demand for pastoral support among patients who claim no religion. Of course, no one actually has no religion. We’re all religious. Atheists and secularists have a religion; they believe there is no god, life arose by natural processes, there are no moral absolutes, there is no afterlife, etc. Sadly, the religion of secularism is growing as generations reject Christianity and embrace the religion of our day. Hear the Answers News team discuss this item on this episode of Answers News from April 16.
In March, The Guardian (a United Kingdom publication) wrote on a study of Christianity and religion throughout Europe. The article was titled, “‘Christianity as default is gone’: the rise of a non-Christian Europe.” This study found that the majority of young people in a dozen European nations hold to “no religion.” If this trend continues, experts claim eventually Christianity will be gone for good throughout Europe. Again, this points towards the growing secularization of the West. What is happening in Europe is a warning to us here in America—this secularization is coming to America and will radically change the culture. As Christians, we need to be prepared to stand for and share the gospel in a culture increasingly ignorant of and hostile towards it. The Answers News team discusses this item on this episode of Answers News from March 26.
In February, the prominent evangelist Reverend Billy Graham went home to be with the Lord at the age of 99. He left behind an incredible spiritual legacy, but his passing also marked the end of an era. As certain media outlets pointed out, the world that made Billy Graham’s influence possible is now gone. We won’t have another Billy Graham. At the height of his influence and popularity, the culture had the foundation to hear the gospel and understand it. But the culture of 2019 is very different. We can’t start with the gospel and expect people to understand that there is a God (and only one God, the God of the Bible), that they are sinners, that they need a Savior, that the Bible is true, or that Jesus is the only way. We must start with Genesis and show that there is a Creator, that his Word is true, and that we’re sinners in need of a Savior because we’re all descended from the first sinner, Adam. Listen to the Answers News team discuss this item on this episode of Answers News from February 22.
It was announced in February that the state of Delaware in the United States was likely to adopt legislation that would allow students enrolled in public schools the ability to self-identify their “gender and race.” Now, from a biblical and biological perspective, there aren’t races. We’re one race, the human race. However, there are obvious ethnic or people groups, due to the division at the Tower of Babel that broke up the human gene pool. Delaware is expected to allow students to choose their own ethnic group, regardless of their actual ancestry. This is the same kind of thinking behind the gender revolution; all that matters is how you feel. If you feel a certain way, that makes it true. This kind of thinking will only increase as our culture drifts further from absolutes and biblical truth. Hear the Answers News team discuss this item on this episode of Answers News from February 26.
Our Hope is in God
As 2019 begins, headlines will bring more premonitions of what is to come in our increasingly secular world. The trends may make us as believers fearful, but they shouldn’t. Our hope is not in this world—it is in Christ and his promises. We do not have to fear coming persecution or secularization. Our hope is in God and God alone.
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:14)
As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)