Gays Aren’t The Problem


San_Francisco_pro_gay_marriage_protest

On Facebook, a friend of mine addressed reactions to the recent terrorist attack at the Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Reactions from Christians. Hateful reactions.

In part she said

I need to stand up now and denounce the Christians I’ve seen saying that they are glad there are 49 fewer gays in the world and they are only sorry that the shooter didn’t finish the job.

This is vile, vile talk, and people who express such thoughts are no friends of mine.

I saw one short video clip on a news program that showed a pastor in northern California saying hateful things. And now there’s reportedly another pastor in Arizona who has said even worse.

As the news of these reactions flooded media channels, other Christians immediately responded with great love and support for the LGBT community. Society is rallying around gays and decrying Christians for hate speech. Of course there’s the usual “it’s the guns” response, and a few people are saying, Wait a minute; this was an attack in the name of loyalty to ISIS.

With all this clamor, one person commented to my friend’s post by asking some tough questions. I’m not sure they weren’t the same kinds of questions Jesus faced when the Pharisees were trying to trap Him by something He might say, but perhaps they are legitimate, tough questions. Here’s what the commenter asked:

Pls, as a true Christian, what is your take about the gay thing. Are we to love them as they are? Or to tell them it is wrong to be gay? Or to turn a blind eye to whoever they are and whatever they do? Your honest answer pls.

Really, that seems so much like an Are we to please God or Man? question. If we say God, we’re going against our culture and will incur further hate from those who decry hate speech (notice the irony), and if we say Man, we’re conceding the marriage ground and ultimately the authority of the Bible. In either case, Christians lose.

Oh, we lose, too, if we turn a “blind eye,” the option that many German Christians chose when confronted with Hitler’s treatment of Jews.

In reality, the answer is None of the above. Because the liberal left under our current administration has successfully challenged the status quo and redefined marriage, or prohibited states from putting a halt to the redefinition of marriage, and because gender identity has become a new, favorite liberal cause, we Christians have reacted. We want to defend the status quo, to push the LGBT community back into the shadows, to force compliance to God’s standad.

And make no mistake, God’s standard is marriage between one man and one woman.

But God’s standard is also for truth instead of lies, fidelity instead of adultery, love instead of hate, kindness instead of gossip, humility instead of pride, and much more. I don’t see us Christians taking to the street to rally against prostitution. Or to stand in pulpits and wish for the death of men (or women) addicted to pornography.

For some reason, some people, professing to be Christians, have drawn a line in the sand, saying if we could just stop this “gay thing,” we’d have our country back. That position has more problems than I can address in one post.

First, the goal of the Christian out not to be to “get our country back.” As much as I love America and am sad at the changes I’ve seen in my life time, I have no desire to work to return things to the “good old days.” God has given believers a clear mandate: we are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

The incredible thing about belief in Jesus as Messiah and Lord, is that we now have a spiritual kingdom that is far more important than the temporal one in which we live. So Christians in China and Guatemala and Cypress and Indonesia and Japan and South Africa and Morocco and Venezuela and India and wherever else in the world, are part of the same kingdom.

But of course we still have to deal in the here and now, the kingdom in which we find ourselves. We still have to “render to Caesar.” So here’s my answer to the questions the commenter raised:

The Biblical “take on the gay thing” is that gossip, slander, adultery, homosexual activity, lying, taking God’s name in vain—all of it—is sin.

Essentially sin is rebellion against God, and John 3:18 tells us that “he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

So if all the homosexuals stopped their homosexual activity, they would be no closer to God unless they believed in Jesus. It’s not their homosexual activity that separates them from God: it’s their rebellious hearts that say they will go their own way, no matter what God has to say. In that regard, homosexuals are no different from any other sinner.

So how are we to treat homosexuals? We are to treat them as we do any other unrepentant sinner. We should pray for those we know and ask God how we can present His truth to them. We are certainly not to slander them as a group.

At the same time, I don’t think we are to embrace them and identify with them as some have done in an effort to distance themselves from the hate speech.

Most certainly we shouldn’t pretend that homosexuality isn’t sin, but we also shouldn’t act as if it’s the unpardonable sin.

Above all, we should teach the next generation, because they’re getting pounded in schools and media that the LGBT community is nothing but a minority group that should be respected. (Emphasis added for this post; other formatting edits have also been made.)

In short, gays aren’t the problem! Sin is the problem. The stubborn hearts of humankind that refuse to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ—those are the problems.

And that’s what Christians should be speaking against. No, my neighbor, my friend, my co-worker, my critique partner, my uncle, my sister, my Twitter follower, none of us is good. We have a sin issue that we all must deal with, and there’s only been one successful solution: accepting the payment Jesus Christ made at the cross.

Pretending that we’re actually good simply does not square with the facts. Working harder, trying better, hoping we’ve done enough, leave us wanting. Pretending that sin doesn’t matter, doesn’t make it go away.

The happy, happy news is that Jesus did what we can’t do. He has dealt with our sin for us. And that’s what every unrepentant sinner needs to hear—those in the LGBT community included.

Published in: on June 17, 2016 at 5:45 pm  Comments (10)  
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Christians And Gay Rights


Anti-Christian_sign_in_Federal_Plaza_ChicagoYesterday the Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed a bill that would have permitted people to refuse service to gays and lesbians on the grounds of religious persuasion. You could think of it as the equivalent of the military’s alternate service for those drafted into the armed services who were pacifists. The intent, as I understand it, was to accommodate people who believe, based on their religion, that homosexuality is wrong.

Of course both local and national news shows, on every channel, covered the story, often tagging it as a clash between religious rights and personal freedom. I couldn’t help but think of the First Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees a person the right to free expression of his religion. I don’t see anything in the Constitution about freedom of expression of a person’s sexuality.

I also have thought how early in the debate about “gay rights” those advocating for inclusion often argued that what a person did in the bedroom was their own business, no one else’s. That argument has been replaced.

Just last month a particular ethnic group here in SoCal held a parade. Originally a group of LGBT advocates were denied permission to be a part, but that decision was reversed. On parade day, the news shows covered this “happy end” to the conflict as the contingent of homosexuals marched behind their rainbow banner. Presumably what they do in their bedrooms is now something to celebrate.

Christians, who are uniquely singled out because of our opposition to homosexuality–not Muslims or any other group who also oppose that behavior–are portrayed with growing frequency as bigots.

The most bizarre news clip last night was the interview with a member of the LGBT community who was holding up pages and pages of pictures of lawmakers who supported the Arizona bill or who have taken a conservative position on marriage. This individual explained that all these lawmakers would be boycotted.

In other words, if a person says he opposes homosexuality on religious grounds, he would be discriminated against. But somehow, their boycott is not discrimination while exercising your right to express your religious beliefs, is.

The thing I don’t like is the fact that the news media is framing this discussion. Over and over, the same snippet came on the air showing people celebrating who were holding signs urging the veto of the bill. The implication was that this was a big crowd in front of Arizona’s Capitol. And yet the camera never panned out, never showed more than two rows of people, and the people they did show were not tightly packed together.

Of course, one station also aired their recent poll, showing that 52% of Americans now support same sex marriage. I think they forgot to mention the margin of error in the poll (usually a +/- 3%, sometimes greater) or whether it was conducted scientifically or informally. The point is, there’s a great attempt to create a bandwagon effect.

Homosexuality, which is sin, is now being presented as the position which a good, kind, caring person will naturally support. One Tweet, for example, thanked Christians who don’t discriminate.

Such loaded words. Once Christians who said homosexuality is sin were called homophobes. The name was used as a shaming tactic. No one wants to admit they’re afraid of “gayness.”

But the rhetoric has changed. Now homosexuality is getting traction as a civil right and therefore opposing it is discrimination and someone taking that stand is a bigot. This approach is more aggressive. It’s not shame but condemnation. It is a way of saying the religious person is wrong and the gay person is right.

Which reminds me of these verses in Isaiah:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever in their own sight! (5:20-21)

At the root of the LGBT issue is the fact that those who are choosing against their God-given bodies are being wise in their own eyes. They know what they are like inside and ought not be hampered by the biological organs they’ve been born with–the body which God formed in their mother’s womb.

To me, what’s most interesting in all this is the admission of this inner being–you’d almost call it a soul or spirit–which the LGBT community listens to. If they feel like a woman inside, it doesn’t matter if they have a male body. The inside is what counts.

But that brings up the question: what happens when the body dies? The body, so many people say today, ends life. But this inside someone the LGBT community identifies as the stronger-than-the-physical entity of personhood–does it die with the body? This question, I would think, offers a conundrum for the gay person. If the body ends it all, then why should this inner person hold sway over the body? And if the inner person lives on after the body dies, does that mean there really is life after death, and a whole supernatural world with a God who will judge according to what a person has done during his time on earth?

As I see it, Christians have the greatest opportunity now to speak into the lives of people in the LGBT community. What they believe about their inner person determining their gender identity can open up a discussion about what happens to that inner person.

May we focus our attention on rescuing the lost and not on winning arguments.

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