During the days of slavery, people who kept countering the “Biblical” arguments for slavery with the “Biblical” arguments for the end of slavery were wasting their time. The very back and forth of it made it seem like possibly those who argued from scripture in support of slavery had a point at least worth opposing.
Instead, somebody needed to stand up and say, “I don’t give a damn what scriptures you throw at me, or how you spin them. Slavery is WRONG, and you’re sick, and that’s the end of it. Call me a heretic or whatever, but the universe arcs toward justice and in the end you’ll have been on the wrong side of both history and theology.”
Likewise, I don’t care what scriptures people are throwing out to justify the discrimination and hatred against gays. And let me be clear — it’s hatred on a level that is hard to imagine.I’m not talking about merely taking a theoretical position for or against “homosexuality.” I’m talking about a way of treating people whose sexual preference is different from your own. That is where you see the hatred. I’m thinking now of all those people who called and canceled their child sponsorships with World Vision because they didn’t like the idea that they might end up drinking at the same water foundation as a gay person. Apparently not even feeding hungry children is worth doing if a gay person’s hands might touch the food first.
Try being a Christian leader and speaking up in favor of loving and genuinely caring for and including gay people among the community of the broken-redeemed that is supposed to be the church, and you’ll catch all manner of hell (just ask Rich Stearns from World Vision). You’ll have to take a deep breath every so often to keep blogging and posting and writing on the topic when people are calling you a heretic and questioning your intentions, your faith, your integrity, and everything you cherish about who you are. And that’s not the “heathen” brethren doing this, it’s the so-called Christians.
On top of all this, you’ll be accused of selling out the faith in order to win a “popularity contest.” Ironic, because when the mission of your life is to reform and redeem the church, you already know the worst possible way to win a popularity contest is to suggest we need deep and radical change, about anything whatsoever. (I mean, who are we kidding? The church in the recent past has often not even fared well with the argument that we need to change the color of the carpet in the sanctuary). Especially this.
I know this first-hand. Christians swear up and down it’s not hate and I’m sure it isn’t with some, but I have seen hate you wouldn’t believe and have been communicating with a fellow pastor just today, who is losing funding, losing support, losing “friends,” and possibly soon losing his credentials because he is daring to suggest we treat people the way Jesus treated them.
As for those Christians who really feel their opposition to homosexuality isn’t rooted in hate, I urge you to join the fight against the obvious hatred we are seeing.Don’t sit around feeling misunderstood and persecuted. If it’s not about hate for you, I respect that — if you are actually willing to stand against hatred, not simply remain quiet because the haters believe some of the same things you do. If you stand against hatred, don’t respond in the comments with arguments against what I’m saying, just add your voice to the voices of others standing against hatred. That’s really all you have to do.
At some point, we have to get past arguing and just go about doing what Jesus did. There are people doing that right now who don’t even call themselves believers, and those people are my brothers and my sisters.