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The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco will not be repeating his attendance at the annual “March for Marriage” in Washington, D.C., Saturday.

The decision by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who was a speaker at last year’s event, means, according to a terse statement released by the archdiocese, he will be at the march in “spirit and prayer” but will “remain home and attend to the pastoral needs of the church here at this time.”

Left unsaid is the pressure that has been mounting against Cordileone due to his support of biblical marriage.

Some experts believe overt persecution isn’t far behind.

As recently as last month, Cordileone, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, encouraged other bishops to attend the march.

But in recent weeks he’s faced a vigil by students, teachers and activists who opposed his call for employees at Catholic high schools to sign a contract pledging to respect Catholic teachings.

A group of professed Catholics also called on Pope Francis to replace the archbishop, placing an advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle accusing Cordileone of creating “an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”

Last week, activists promoted the pro-homosexual “Day of Silence” national event at a Catholic high school in the archdiocese, leading to a walkout by nuns.

The attacks against a defender of traditional marriage come as many Christians face legal jeopardy for advocating biblical morality.

Death threats and overt physical violence have been committed against some Christians who refuse to bend on their beliefs.

Evangelical leader James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, has warned Christians are about to become a “hated minority.”

Paul Kengor, a professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania and author of the upcoming “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage,” believes Christians will face increasing repression in the years ahead.

“There’s no question that this militant push toward complete gay-marriage acceptance is leading to a form of persecution against Christians in America,” he said. “Sure, Christians are not being beheaded or having their churches blown up, as they are in the Middle East, but they’re being blatantly attacked for their opposition to gay marriage.”

Kengor said opposition to Christians is going beyond mere speech because advocates of homosexuality are targeting the ability of believers to economically support themselves and their families.

“In the case of certain business owners – florists, bakers, photographers – who beg not to be forced to service a same-sex wedding that violates their beliefs, they are being harassed, picketed, hauled before state commissions, sued, fined and even shut down,” he said. “This is a form of nasty religious discrimination by gay-marriage proponents that can and is ruining the literal livelihood of some religious believers.”

Kengor said the attacks are “shocking, especially in a country founded on religious freedom and for which religious liberty is the first freedom in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution.”

“And it’s coming,” he noted, “from people who claim to be fighting for gay marriage in the name of ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity.'”

Psychologist Michael Brown, author of “Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality,” charges “gay marriage” proponents with open hypocrisy.

“I’m not in the least bit surprised, having said for the last decade that those who came out of the closet want to put us in the closet. The bullied have become the bullies.”

As the case of the archbishop of San Francisco shows, Brown believes individual churches, Christian schools, and even families and individuals will be put under extreme pressure by “gay” activists and their allies.

“While most LGBT people probably want to live peacefully alongside of those with opposing views, those who are militant will not be satisfied as long as it is perfectly legal for us not to affirm same-sex ‘marriage,’ while we can expect increasing pressure on Christian leaders who hold to biblical morality and professional counselors who help those with unwanted same-sex attractions,” Brown said.

‘Vehicle to attack believers’

California and New Jersey have already banned licensed counselors from incorporating sexual-orientation change efforts in therapy for minors. In 2014, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Liberty Counsel arguing for such therapy to be permitted for minors who want to rid themselves of unwanted attractions.

Kengor argues the increasing repression against Christians and other advocates of traditional morality justifies the opposition to “gay marriage.”

“I’ve been warning people for years: Do not trust the left with gay marriage. For the left, this will be the vehicle to attack religious believers.”

Such attacks have already begun. Jeran Artery of the homosexual-rights group Wyoming Equality demanded in a post on his Facebook account that churches that do not endorse homosexual marriage lose their tax-exempt status.

Kengor states Christians in both parties are betraying their faith by not standing up for their stated religious beliefs.

“While I realize that many conservatives are disappointed in Republicans not being stronger on this issue, I see nothing but cowardice on the part of traditional religious Democrats,” he said.

“Where is Jimmy Carter on this issue? Where are Bill and Hillary Clinton, who, despite now supporting gay marriage, were once very solid on religious freedom? Where are all those Democrats who once voted for DOMA and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act? Are they all mere sycophants to whatever the far-left wing of their party is pushing at the moment?”

Without Christians of all political ideologies speaking up in defense of their faith, Kengor sees a dark future for religious freedom.

“As the culture and state become more aggressively secular, and more intolerant of the position of religious believers, this will only get worse.”

In the face of such growing hostility to faith, Brown says surrender in any form is counter-productive.

“What homosexual activists call diversity is really ‘my way or the highway,’ while inclusion for them means the exclusion of all opposing views and tolerance means intolerance. Their unspoken mantra is, ‘We will intimidate and we will manipulate until you capitulate.’

“Now is the time for us to say, ‘Under no circumstances will we capitulate.’

 

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