The old joke isn’t really a joke anymore: three subjects that you don’t discuss are politics, religion, and women (for us men, anyway). Once it becomes a country song, it’s past the joking stage, even if being a country song is its own joke. (Sammy Kershaw’s “Politics, Religion, and Her”, if you were wondering; here’s the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzkBtFUBlNM ) They are the stereotypical topics that are guaranteed to start a fight, so what idiot would bring them up?
That’s the logic applied to the issue of homosexuality by many Christians, according to this article. I can see it; I’ve lived it myself. No one wants to make waves; well, that isn’t true, many people want to make waves, but we usually see that as threatening behavior. It’s no wonder, since we live in the era of the nasty internet comment—to voice any opinion at all on anything is to invite a backlash. The article in question makes the point that Christians have often taken an attitude of silence toward the issue of homosexuality, choosing to display their disagreement by their lives rather than rhetoric, and this is very true. It’s appealing to the timid among us who don’t, for whatever reason, want to argue. It also falls into line with the biblical command to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.” But here is the catch: It’s not enough. In many cases in life, it’s not enough, and especially in this matter of sexual orientation. Why not? Because it doesn’t set us apart enough to attract attention. Our lifestyle, is good, will indeed stand out to those who know us and pay attention, but to the world at large, it’s drama that attracts attention these days. Evil might be, well, evil, but it’s sensational.
For those who didn’t check the link above, the article concerns an internal memo for Department of Justice supervisors and employees regarding dealing with LGBT issues in the workplace. It’s essentially a promotional document for that agenda. Now, believe it or not, I’m not here to debate that memo; the article does that well enough, and people can form their own opinions. But one line stood out to me:
“DON’T judge or remain silent. Silence will be interpreted as disapproval.” (Italics belong to the author of the article, not the memo).
If in fact it’s become unacceptable not just to voice the contrary opinion (which in this case is the traditional, heterosexual view), but also to simply be silent in your holding of that view, then we have come to a sad state of affairs indeed. We’ve crossed the line from telling people “you can’t keep me from believing this” to telling them “you must believe it with me”. That, my friends, is a PROBLEM. Haven’t we learned from history? (Don’t answer that, of course we haven’t.) Didn’t we pay attention to all the times that dictating a belief went spectacularly, catastrophically wrong?
I can’t do it, myself. I don’t want to be part of the problem; and I don’t want anyone to say, years later, that it was never clear what I stand for. Now, if you care to stick with me until the end of what I’m about to say, you’ll see that I’m not trying to alienate anyone—but at the same time, I want to be clear in what I say. At the very least, you might stick around long enough to have something for which to hate me!
You can’t talk about homosexuality—or any highly-charged moral issue—by itself. It isn’t isolated within a person. Is anything? Rarely, if ever. No, this issue is a part of the overall condition of humanity, and has to be addressed in that way. I believe that it’s rooted in our worldview, our answers to the big questions. You know what they are: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? And frankly, if you can’t answer those questions, then you have a larger problem than who you choose to sleep with. That problem is death, the great equalizer, the one that’s coming for all of us eventually—and it should scare you enough to make you want to answer those questions.
Before I say anything else, I have to say this: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU WANT. SO DO I. To express an opinion that you don’t agree with, is not the same as to judge your right to your own opinion. Here is what I believe; if you would like to know, please read on.
I believe that there is a God that created the universe and everything in it, including humanity. I believe that this occurred the way it’s presented in the Bible. There! That is the biggest pill to swallow. Get past that and the rest follows. Now, I know there is a wealth of debate about this, vehemently held by both sides, with evidence that can be viewed either way. I may get into that another time. This is a statement of what I believe, not a defense of it, at least not today.
The problem is this: If you have an all-powerful God Who created the universe, He essentially owns it. He shaped it according to His will, on His terms. That means He gets to make the rules. If God says it, it doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong on its own merits; it’s right BECAUSE God says it is. The universe is a closed system of creation, with God as its arbiter; there is no higher authority. What He says, goes. Shake your fist at Him if you like—we all do, occasionally—but in the end, what He says is definitive.
Whose authority do we obey? That’s the ultimate question. There are only two true answers. We obey God, or we obey ourselves—but choose wisely; we do not have the power to determine the outcome of our own future beyond this life. Either we submit to God, or we seek to BE God; but try to be God, and death will show you what an illusion that was.
From that point on, it’s simple. Homosexuality is wrong because God says it is wrong. That includes all portions of the continuum of sexual orientation, be it lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The Bible makes it clear that God created male and female to be both unique and together; no other version is acceptable. That is where I stand on this. Does that mean I hate you if you’re gay? NO! I won’t even treat you differently. Truthfully, if you don’t bring it up, I may never know your sexual orientation, so why should I change the way I treat you? The same God Who says that homosexuality is wrong, also says to love your neighbor (and let’s go ahead now and head off the crass jokes about the meaning of the word “love”, thanks). I’ve been down this path myself; I’ve known quite a few homosexual individuals, and I have never acted differently toward them. I don’t have to approve of everything you do in order to be okay with you as a person. Which brings up another facet of what I believe: homosexuality IS something you DO, not something you ARE, except by choice. Yes, we find it customary to use terminology that implies that someone IS gay; it’s the common method of expressing this, and even I do it, as you can see from this entry. It’s unfortunate, though, that our terminology has developed that way. It’s not in your nature to be gay; you choose it. You may have had experiences that primed you for a certain choice, but ultimately, it is your choice.
Either way, as I have said, I won’t treat you differently. My goal as a Christian—what is properly the goal of any Christian—is not to convert you from homosexuality; it’s to convert you from sin. From hell. From the consequences of our disobedience to God. That goal is motivated by nothing but love and fear—love for people around me, and fear that they may be stuck in an eternity of suffering. It’s trying to reach a hand to a drowning person. If that means that along the way, you give up a homosexual lifestyle, fine. If not, we have bigger fish to fry. But…I will not condone homosexuality through silence. The fact that God is longsuffering about it—that He puts up with us for a while—doesn’t make it right. And if silence itself is intolerable, intolerable is what I’ll have to be. Lest you think I’m being intolerant, let me put it another way: I’m the guy who said, above, that you are entitled to believe what you want. You can even talk about it, live it out, as you see fit. That’s tolerance, and making my own position known doesn’t make me intolerant. Intolerance is that line, above, where it’s stated that silence will be considered opposition. It’s saying that not only can I not speak out against homosexuality, but I can’t be silently opposed to it either—that I must, in fact, speak up in support of it. That’s dictation of a belief. That, my friends, is true intolerance—and as history would point out (were we listening), true stupidity.