Saturday, April 14, 2012

I'm Christian--If You're Gay, and If You're Not Gay

Since a number of people have been responding to the blog "I'm Christian, unless You're Gay," and the response to it, "A Teen's Brave Response," I thought I'd better take a look at them.

The articles are well-intentioned. The blog author is right that it is important to love. But there are so many misconceptions in both of the posts, and pretty much every point of view expressed by the various people in those two posts is wrong.

The author is wrong in his understanding of what it means when a person says, "I'm Christian."

The mom is wrong in how she felt as a Christian before she knew her son was gay.

The mom is also wrong in how she felt after she found out her son was gay.

And the teen is wrong about how he expects Christians should treat him as a gay.

First, saying "I'm Christian" doesn't mean, "I'm going to be kind to you." It also doesn't mean, "Hey, whatever you do is your own business; it's OK by me; I love everyone, so let's just be friends." And it doesn't even mean "I try to adhere to the great moral teachings of a wise teacher." No, "I'm Christian" means "I have been saved from the consequences of my sinfulness by Jesus Christ, and I now have a personal relationship with him." And if that changes when we encounter people who are different from us, then we are not truly Christians. The examples of so-called Christians cited in the blog, who are unkind to gays or who say they hate them, are very poor examples of Christians.

Second, the mom, as a Christian, was wrong to feel hatred towards gays or to think they were evil just because of being gays. Christians ought to know that every single person on earth, gay or not, is sinful; there is no difference between them. They ought to know that every single person, gay or not, needs Jesus Christ. Christians ought to know as well that no one is any worse than anyone else; that no one deserves to be hated. Without exception, Christians ought to know that everyone deserves to be offered the love of God. Jesus died for gays and Jesus died for heterosexuals. He loves them all and does not think of people in categories. Hatred against people, gay or not, is not open to Christians. It is a sin for Christians to hate.

Third, when the mom found out that her son was gay, she was wrong to suddenly totally accept everything her son did. She was right to want to express love to him. But she was wrong not to want to guide his actions. Christians, if they truly follow Jesus' teachings, should not suddenly change their minds about what is a sin just because they know someone nice who does it. Christians can love people while still expressing disapproval of sinful behavior. Parents do this all the time with their children. It is no different with sexual behavior than it is with anything else. One can express disapproval of a child's sexual behavior and guide the child away from it without hating the child.

Fourth, the teen, and many other LGBTQ people, expect that Christians (and everyone else) should treat them not only with love, but with approval of everything they do. In essence, LGBTQ people are asking Christians to change their beliefs so that LGBTQ people can live their lives the way they want without having to hear that anyone thinks that they are wrong. This is unfair and, in fact, hypocritical, because the LGBTQ people are telling Christians that the Christians are wrong. In a truly tolerant society, everyone would have to put up with hearing someone say that they were wrong, and no one should feel hated just because someone says they are wrong.

I would actually like to know where Jacob, and this teen, live, because I certainly do not know any towns where everyone hates gays. But I do know that in Western culture recently there has been a vociferous effort to make Christians stop stating that they believe that homosexual sex is wrong.

"I'm Christian, unless You're Gay" says this: "...sin is a very personal thing! It always has been and it always will be! And it has nothing to do with love. Absolutely nothing. Disparity and difference have nothing to do with love. We shouldn't choose who we will love and who we won't."

This makes several incorrect assumptions about Christian beliefs about sin. First, it assumes that it is only disparity and difference that constitute sin for Christians. Instead, Christians view as sin what the Bible has called sin.

Second, it assumes that when Christians call a behavior sinful, they have chosen not to love the person engaging in that behavior. There are two parts to that assumption: 1) the assumption that one could not love a person if one says their behavior is wrong; and, 2) the assumption that it is not loving to correct someone.

The first part of that assumption is proved wrong by all the times a loving parent tells a child their behavior is wrong. Since the parent has told the child about the wrong behavior, has the parent chosen not to love the child? The statement, "We shouldn't choose who we will love and who we won't," referring to disapproving of homosexual sex, is incorrect.

The second part of that assumption is proved wrong if you take into account the Christian belief that living one's life the way God has designed it to be lived will lead to greater happiness. In that case, telling people how to live the way Christians believe God has told us to live is indeed loving--Christians are trying to show people a happier way to live. It is not the case that urging people not to sin has nothing to do with love. Instead, seen from the Christian point of view, it has everything to do with love.

It is sad to me when I see articles such as "I'm Christian, unless You're Gay." This is not only because there are so many hurting people like the teen in the response. It is also because there are so many misunderstandings that lead to discord. If only people would truly listen to those who differ with them, rather than reacting with their first emotions. There would be much less hurt, even if we didn't all agree.


Anonymous said...

"If only people would truly listen to those who differ with them, rather than reacting with their first emotions. There would be much less hurt, even if we didn't all agree. "

Which is what you just did, isn't it? Leadership by example?


Debbie said...

Anonymous--if you're going to make such an accusation, please explain exactly what you're talking about. Where do you see me not listening, and reacting with my first emotions? If you can't give specific examples, it's hard to take you seriously.