Tag Archives: LGBT

We are all “Born That Way”

People who see the demographic for homosexuality increasing in the context of today’s cultural stew really do want to know where homosexuality comes from.

The answer is: Satan

Homosexuals, and all the other sexual variants that now fall under the umbrella of “gender queering” want to say that it is genetic. The fact that no evidence has been found for any genetic basis for the behavior has not discouraged the political types at all. They list possible areas of research as if the list itself proves the hypothesis the research will test.

Christians come under intense pressure and vitriolic scorn from LGBT activists, because Christians call homosexual behavior a sin. The revealed Word of God calls it sin, and people who take the revealed Word of God as their guide for faith and life accept that what it says is truth.

The mantra of LGBT activists, bloggers and public figures is that homosexuals are “born that way.” Further, they assert that the drive for homosexuality is not only inborn, but it is also immutable; a born homosexual is incapable of changing his or her sexual orientation.

 They further declare that only a vindictive God would create homosexuals and then condemn homosexuality as a sin. Thus, if one accepts that a person could be born homosexual, that fact is said to completely debunk the Bible as a vicious myth, because the Bible says that homosexuality is sinful and lumps that behavior in with a lot of other behaviors that are condemned as evidence of Satan’s work in human life. According to the LGBT activists, the fact that a person is born homosexual, “born that way,” automatically establishes the behavior as normal. They are outraged that God would condemn someone for something he did not choose and cannot change.

Christians who hear this argument are tempted to engage in the rhetoric over genetic research. Genetic research to date has found no evidence of a genetic basis for homosexuality. Christians want to say that the lack of evidence proves that homosexuality is a choice. LGBT activists, firm in their conviction that it is not a choice, aggressively point to what they consider to be promising lines of inquiry that could establish some prenatal factor in the vast biochemical stew that is the human body which predestines a fetus to be born homosexual.

Christians cannot disprove what has not been alleged to be proven. This line of argument is fruitless. It is also beside the point. If homosexuality is a sin, then the real problem homosexuals have is not genetic. It is also not unique, because every human being is born a sinner. Being born sinful is a universal problem.

Every one of us is “born that way.”

To accuse a homosexual of being a sinner is no different from accusing a thief of being a sinner. The behavior someone engages in as a consequence of being a sinner is irrelevant to the real problem. Every person is sinful and needs salvation, and there is only one way to fix the problem.

The answer is: Christ.

The cultural issues surrounding homosexuality and the way people act when confronted by it are complicated. Homosexuals feel that society has scorned them, and it feels hurtful. The reason they feel that way is because society does scorn homosexual behavior. It is true that the culture has expressed complete repugnance at homosexual behavior. Homosexuals rightly point to a long history of real abuse of homosexuals, but the fix for the problem is not to deny the biblical truth that homosexuality is sin.

The fix is: Christ.

Christians and non-Christians alike have expressed outrage at homosexual behavior. Many Christians have behaved very badly. Why? Because Christians are human beings, and human beings are “born that way.” What way? Human beings are born sinful. Christians are human beings. The difference between Christians and non-Christians is not perfection of behavior and attitude: the difference is the blood of Christ. Christians are born sinful, and their sins are forgiven, because Christ died for all people. When they receive Christ as their Savior, they become forgiven, not perfect. Bad behavior toward homosexuals is the consequence of their human nature, not an indictment of the Savior.

This problem proves an important point: because every human is born sinful, and because forgiveness of sin neither eradicates sinful human nature nor destroys Satan, every Christian is still subject to behave under the influence of Satan through the agency of sinful human nature. LGBT activists say that because a person is “born that way,” the condition is immutable. If being born sinful were immutable, then Christ’s death would have no purpose. The fact that Christ died for all people and rose to give all people eternal life means that while everyone is born sinful, and even though the condition of being sinful is immutable, everyone is invited to be forgiven and to be fundamentally transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Every person is born a sinner. The kinds of sin are numerous. Homosexuality is only one. No Christian who happens to be untempted by homosexuality should scorn those who are. We are all born sinners, and one sin is not any better or worse than another. What Christians must NOT do is be tempted to deny the sinfulness of sinful behavior. Christians who feel confident in asserting that homosexuality is sin must also be honest in asserting that lying is a sin. There are, for example, no “white” lies that are good in contrast to “black” lies that are evil. God is the God of Truth, not of lies.

We cannot classify some sins as worse than others. What makes us feel that way is often the problem of advocacy. We feel that while every person is a sinner, those who make a career of luring others into sin are worse than those who go about their sinning quietly. Jesus agreed with that evaluation. He said that misleading a person and luring people into sin would merit a particularly gruesome punishment in God’s eyes. Christians are justified in their insistence that voices demanding the normalization of homosexuality in the culture and voices pushing to teach kindergartners that they need to figure out if homosexuality is for them must be silenced. To demand an end to public advocacy for homosexuality is not the same thing as demanding the shunning or exclusion of homosexuals. To refuse to participate in homosexual behavior such as pretending to get married is not the same thing as saying that homosexuals have no right to pretend whatever they like to pretend. Christians must be firm in rejecting the behavior and in refusal to participate in it, just as they might refuse to promote a Ponzi scheme or decline to drive the getaway car for a bank robber.

Christians must reject sin in all its forms. Christians are called to hate sin and love sinners. This attitude does not justify or promote ugly behavior toward homosexuals; if anything, it should promote understanding of their plight, which is no different from anybody else’s plight. Christians are, as Martin Luther commented, sinful saints and saintly sinners. If Christians do not love sinners, then they cannot love anybody, because the truth is:

We are all “born that way.”

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To Dissent is not the same as To Hate

If you read this blog very often, you are familiar with many of the issues in our culture that challenge, sometimes even threaten, the freedom of Christians to live in the US in a manner consistent with their faith principles. You are probably not surprised, even if you haven’t yet heard the news, that Emory University in Atlanta has decided to remove Chick-Fil-A from its food court because of the owner’s position on homosexuality. This university was founded in 1836 and named for a man who “dreamed of an American education that molded character as well as the mind.” If this man could visit the offices of the college administration today, he would surely request that his name be removed from the institution.

If the people who instigated this action had made a reasoned analysis that required the removal of Chick-Fil-A because it is a poisonous influence on the character of young people, the news might be more palatable. However, the news is that an aggressive campaign by LGBT activists on campus led to this decision. Students in Emory’s LGBT alumni group, GALA say that “Chick-Fil-A has already become a symbol of hate that causes active harm.” This allegation, based entirely on the fact that the owner of Chick-Fil-A has exercised his First Amendment right to express his position on a social issue, uses rhetoric that has successfully avoided saying what the real issue is. News outlets allow them to say that the company is guilty of hate instead of demanding to know what Chick-Fil-A has done that is hate in speech or action.

Christians cannot readily agree how to respond to the volume and variety of cultural challenges to traditional moral values. Those who are advocating the changes complain that Christians are asking for privilege when they advocate for traditional values and stand for their right to express those values in word and deed. In fact, the values Christians advocate have been considered the normal, commonly-accepted values for centuries. If the globe were all one country, most of the traditional values Christians stand for would be the dominant values, Western Europe notwithstanding.

However, this observation is irrelevant. This observation could even be interpreted as whining. We live in the USA, and we live in this culture, and in this culture, the voice of Christians is increasingly being suppressed and drowned out by other voices. With regard to the problem arising at Emory University, there are even many Christian voices who do not agree with the traditional Christian view that homosexuality is sin and that gay marriage is a contradiction in terms. That fact further reduces the impact when any Christian speaks up for biblical values. Should we feel tromped on? Abandoned? Upset? Angry?

Jesus warned us that our way of life would not be the popular one. He said, “The gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) If he is right, then we must be on the right path, because the crowd is thinning out. If he is right, we must be on the road where we belong, because it is hard.

One of the hardest things about this path is that while we travel it, our enemies continue to bombard us. Not only do they object to our arguments against their intentions; they also object to our having opinions at all. The allegation against Chick-Fil-A is a case in point. Never at any time has the owner of Chick-Fil-A said anything insulting about homosexuality or gay marriage. He has, however, exercised his God-given right, protected in the First Amendment, to express his opposition to gay marriage and he has donated money, also his right, to organizations that advocate for traditional marriage and family values. His religious convictions shape his political speech and action. Every citizen has the right to express his political views, a right Hillary Clinton famously supported during the 2008 presidential campaign. Sadly, because Chick-Fil-A’s owner has done so, LGBT political activists accuse him of hate. If being opposed to somebody’s view constitutes hate, then the LGBT activists around the nation must be complete hate-mongers, because they hold views directly opposite to mine.

If I asserted that view, I would be taking on the attitude of the people on the other side of this political/cultural chasm. If I asserted that view, I would also be rejecting the teaching of Christ. Christ taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who abuse us. This means that even though we are called hate-mongers or accused of venomous speech, Christ expects us to respond with love. We can and must dispute with the people who assault what is right, but we must not engage in name-calling and vicious sound bites. When one United States Senator feels comfortable calling another United States Senator a “wacko bird” it feels as if the underpinnings of civil society are wobbling. Those of us who claim the name of Christ must depend on Christ to give us words for the conversation that express our message without demeaning our opponents.

Jesus never said it would be easy. We must pray for the guidance and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We must trust that God is still sovereign in the affairs of time and space. We must be willing to suffer for our convictions, willing to be insulted and ostracized, maybe even willing to lose friends, horrifying as that sounds. We must never forget that in this battle, we are called to be the sweet scent of Christ in the stinking mayhem of the culture wars.

Dan Cathy has demonstrated how to be the sweet scent of Christ in this conflict. Read the story that models a way to stand respectfully on principle at http://tinyurl.com/ajboucy

 

Your Testimony in the Court of Public Opinion

When Trayvon Martin was shot, there was a media rush to announce the public opinion that George Zimmerman was a murder, and a racist murderer at that. Many of the slurs against Zimmerman that passed for actual charges of which the reports convicted him have since been debunked. The court of public opinion is not a very good place for achieving justice.

There is not much justice in the court of public opinion for Christians either. Christians are under fire for being narrow-minded and disconnected from reality. They are accused of meddling in things that have nothing to do with Christianity, and they are accused of not being Christian by people who do not know what a Christian is. Christians often feel rejected and belittled, at the very least. Sometimes they feel positively oppressed. The court of public opinion is not rendering much justice any case involving Christians.

Let’s look at the charges.

Christians are narrow-minded and disconnected from reality.

A prime example of this accusation is found in the ongoing discussion of whether an adoption agency can be compelled to place children with gay couples. Advocates of the LGBT agenda contend that it is illegal and immoral for Christian adoption agencies to refuse to place children with gay couples. They accuse Christians of narrow-minded bigotry in their unwillingness to approve gay couples as adoptive parents. LGBT advocates believe that Christian agencies have no right to implement rules for adoptive parents based on the Christian view that homosexuality is a sin. (It should be noted that Christians today are not of one mind about this. However, acceptance of homosexuality as a legitimate sexual expression by any Christian group is very recent, and the vast majority of Christian groups continue to classify homosexuality as sin.)

Christians like to meddle in things that have nothing to do with Christianity.

Even though the Supreme Court decided in favor of the church in Hosanna-Tabor public opinion considered the decision unjust. The core of the case was a question about the employment contract between a teacher and a church. The teacher signed a hiring contract that included a requirement that she submit any disputes about the terms of her employment to arbitration within the church. This contract amounted to a prohibition to go outside the church with any such dispute. However, when the church ruled against the teacher in a dispute, the teacher went to the EEOC with her complaint against her employer. The terms of the contract into which the teacher entered of her own free will led ultimately to the determination against the government. In the court of public opinion, there was considerable dismay that the contract was not set aside in the courts, because public opinion did not like the idea that the church was able to enforce such a contract. Public opinion felt that terms of employment are precisely the sort of thing churches ought to stay out of and leave to the government. What do terms of employment, the public asks, have to do with Christianity?

Christians are accused by non-Christians of not being Christian when Christians assert moral principles at odds with popular political and social agendas.

This problem is expressed on a broad range of issues. Non-Christians seize on a Christian teaching such as “Love your neighbor,” and accuse Christians of not loving their neighbors when they call their neighbor’s behavior “sinful.” It is likely that Christians contribute to the problem when they react with anger and outrage, but non-Christians do not understand that Christians can reject the behavior without hating the person. Christians can call homosexuality “sin” while simultaneously inviting homosexuals to church or while continuing to befriend a homosexual neighbor. A Christian can rejoice in the birth of a baby to an unmarried couple without condoning the fact that they live together without marriage. Non-Christians seem to believe that we cannot love people with whom we differ. More important, they believe that we DO NOT love our neighbors who engage in behavior we call “sin.” We probably need to work on our behavior and speech, but we probably also need to accept the fact that most people will continue to call us bigots for not approving and accepting all behavior we consider to be sin.

In the court of public opinion, these charges are made and the media reports conclusions without much published testimony from Christians. How are we to offer a defense against the accusations?

It is not likely we will ever refute these arguments once and for all. The arguments do not spring full-blown from the thinking of human philosophers. These arguments are the same arguments our enemy Satan has leveled against us from the beginning. When you boil all the accusations down to their essence, Christians believe they should listen to God, and Satan wants us to stop listening to God. It is the argument Satan used against Eve when he asked, “Did God say that? Well, he lies.” (My free paraphrase of Genesis 3:1-5)

Probably the touchiest issue is to be able to disagree respectfully and sustain love for the person with whom we disagree. Our opponents do not make it easy. In public discourse there is a lot of completely illogical speech. Too many people have been called “racist” or “bigoted” simply because they disagree with public opinion. It would be wonderful if that sort of thing could be ended. It can’t. If you speak or act to defend Christian teaching or Christian values in the court of public opinion, you need to be ready to cope with mindless name-calling.

Our only real defense against these accusations is to live lives that faithfully demonstrate the love of Christ for all people. When people say terrible things about us, when people lie about us, when people make fun of us and act as if we are immature children who believe fairy tales, it is easy to become angry. Satan loves it when that happens. It simply proves his point. The big challenge before us is to trust Christ completely. If we remember that he said “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” then we will be able to respond lovingly to name-calling and public scorn. We don’t need to be doormats. We do need to be loving at all times. When we don’t quite know what to do, we need to ask ourselves what will show Christ to those who see us.