A while back I saw episode of 30 Days on FX (catch it on Netflix streaming if you can, it’s really interesting) about a straight man living with a gay roommate for a month. It did much to dispell some of this man’s preconceived notions about the gay community, but it also raised some interesting questions about the straight community, and that of the church’s position and views (some churches, anyway) regarding homosexuality.
The show really made me think about some things.
That was always one of the toughest things about “the church” for me to deal with–the sometimes violent reaction that homosexuality provokes within it, from many people one would not normally expect to have that type of reaction. You see people who look like soccer moms, and schoolteachers, and just…regular people picketing places known to have gay patrons, or guests, or even just some places they (the picketers) can draw attention to themselves.
The “church” Which Shall Not Be Named seems to be the chief offender but certainly not the only one—just watch any news coverage of a gay pride parade and you’ll see the people I’m talking about (I am not naming that particular institution because they don’t deserve to be named—hate speech has nothing to do with Jesus) .
When I see those people were standing there with their sandwich board signs proclaiming “God hates fags” and things of that nature, it makes me feel sad more than anything else. For goodness’ sake, sometimes you’ll even see small children holding signs and yelling!
That just isn’t right, not to me at least.
These people spent a lot of time citing the various scriptures that refer to homosexuality as proof that God does indeed “hate” gays.
I believe God hates the devil, and the sin that he “inspires” in God’s people, but God does not hate his children.
These men and women say they take the bible literally. OK. Fine. Take it literally. It’s true. But if it is, and they believe all of it, then where do they get the idea that it’s OK to hate someone because of who they sleep with (or who they don’t)?
The message of Jesus is one of love, not condemnation. These kind of people just don’t get that. I believe the bible is just really one long love story–about God loving his creations through the messiness of their lives, all of them. Not just any one denomination, or cultural sub-group.
He loved us when he made us, through our sin, in spite of our sin, and he will continue to do so even if we never repent, and even if we never come to know Him and never realize that He loves US, he still will. I think of John 3:16. Romans 8:38-39. Nowhere does the either the bible or God say to hate a person because of the person’s sexuality or any other reason (that I know of).
Jesus did get angry at people—like the money changers who made the temple into a den of thieves, or the Pharisees who just didn’t get it, either. Come to that, these sign-holders are sort of modern-day Pharisees themselves, aren’t they?
Do I believe that homosexuality is a sin? Yes, because I believe the bible is true. But I don’t hate gays, or really their sin, either, to tell you the truth. It isn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to hate anyone. And while I’m rolling on that topic, I don’t feel that two men or women being able to legally marry threatens the sanctity of mine or anyone else’s marriage, either.
I will be just as married whether or not two men are able to do the chicken dance at their reception. What I can do, what I should do regarding these men and women is show them the love of Jesus, and not color it with my personal hangups or ideas about what is and isn’t right.
I know a lot of people think that a person chooses to be gay–that it’s a preference. I’m not so sure I agree with that, either. Why would anyone choose to be hated, or persecuted?
But with that said, all I can really do is pray for them. The thing is, the gay people I’ve known in my life have all been pretty much cool, and in the case of a girl I used to work with, someone I liked very much. Someone I could (and plan to) be friends with.
I knew a gay man named Michael, who was another story because he embodied all the stereotypes people cite when they talk about gays; he was very promiscuous, he used drugs, he was flamboyant (though not particularly stylish. He could dance, though). But even he was pretty cool.
The thing I have noticed about gays and lesbians is that they seem far more accepting of people as they are, and not who they think they should be. And the support they offer one another within their community is extraordinary. Maybe we straight folks could all learn a thing or two about that. Maybe it comes from having to draw together as a group, and accept each other when no one else will accept you. I don’t know. Anyway, it’s a tough issue, and one that I probably won’t figure out anytime soon.
I guess for now, I’ll just have to accept that gay people are going to be gay whether I or anyone else wants them to be. I’ll continue to think their lifestyle is a sin, because I believe the bible is fundamentally true, and that’s what it tells me. Romans uses the term “unnatural lust” to describe it. But I will not hate homosexuals because of their lifestyle. I will do my best to love them as people, to accept them as people like I would accept anyone else. I’m not going to be condemning anyone because of their sexual proclivities as consenting adults.
It’s for God to condemn, not me.