I think that one of the reasons that many view Christians as religious bigots when the topic of the day is dealing with homosexuality is because many of us Christians are very inconsistent with condemning all sinful behavior or immoral lifestyle choices equally. We whisper and gossip about the rumors within the church of the woman sleeping around with another woman’s husband – adultery. We might think badly of the fornication of single members of our church but we don’t always confront or condemn this behavior. We may know that a member is smoking marijuana, drinking excessively, beating his or her spouse or stealing and we may even be vocal about it, but not nearly as loudly or with such fervor as we do the homosexuality in our midst. Homosexuality, in my opinion, more than any other sin, is treated as the sin of all sins – the ultimate abomination to Jesus Christ. The swan song of morality. It is regarded as something that is so unnatural, vile and repugnant to us that if we don’t speak up against anything else, we’ll speak up against it – well many of us but most certainly not all.
The very idea that two men or two women would physically & emotionally embrace one another in the manner which the word of God has clearly designed and preserved for one man and one woman is so repulsive to us and quite rightfully so because it is repulsive to Christ. Before someone comments mentally or otherwise that I am a bigot, note that I am speaking of the acts themselves as repulsive, not the person committing them. Now I’m not arguing that we should not view homosexuality in this way, but why aren’t the other sins named and others, equally repugnant to us? None of us are perfect, although I think we should be striving for it as best we can. Even if we are not physically manifesting the sins named, many of us are thinking about dating or sleeping with other men or women when we are married, even if that person is married – we lust and are enticed by sins of the flesh constantly, well I know that I am, if I am being honest with myself. Matthew 5:28 tells us unequivocally that:
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his mind.”
Many of us, without manifesting the sin of adultery itself, have been guilty of it repeatedly without giving it a second thought– think about that. Many of us are “in the closet” with our manifestations of heterosexual perversions. So how dare we point a harsher finger (keyword harsher not that a finger should not be pointed at all) at those who sin openly because we feel morally superior in the moment, because no one knows about our sins or we are not sinning in the same way that homosexuals are or committing an allegedly “worse”sin. My father, Leroy “Lee”McEachin (RIP) had a great method for keeping his mind on things that were pure and righteous – he constantly studied and memorized the word of God. When he was on the job he would read over and over again scriptures that were written on the back of his business cards. One of the gifts he received from me one year was his favorite – a small hand held electronic Bible which he used so much the markings on the keys became worn and faded in just under two years. When I was a child our home was filled with conspicuous postings of scriptures on bright orange poster board – above the sink where we brushed our teeth, on the refrigerator, which some members of my house accessed more than others (smile Lance, my brother) and on the mirrors of our bedrooms where we glanced, or stared for hours (okay guilty as charged). Obviously, he too, was not perfect but the habit that he passed along to my siblings and I through his actions more than words, was to commit the scriptures to memory for our spiritual survival in this world full of sins of all types and more importantly, our minds – the devil’s playground. Back then I didn’t appreciate this habit so much but now as an adult I completely understand. After speaking with other fellow Christians about this matter, one of them said to me:
“..it (the church & I know this person didn’t mean all churches) doesn’t view all (non-violent) sin equally. It looks the other way on premarital sex, and is now warming up to same-sex marriage because it doesn’t want to be confrontational, unfair, bigoted, homophobic, etc. The church is just all too willing to be just like the world instead of shining light on darkness. That’s why Christians are trying to find all sorts of excuses to go along and get along on same-sex marriage. I guess they’re just tired of getting beat up. The bottom line is they won’t be able to squirm away from this one so easily.”
I am in strong agreement with this person. Now back to those non-homosexual sins; I have found none and believe that there is no biblical evidence that the sin of homosexuality is greater than others such as adultery or lying for example. If someone has it, please share it and I will retract that statement after consulting with trustworthy Christian scholars on the matter (trustworthy to me). I submit to you, that the bigotry accusations, due to the view of homosexuality, hurled at Christians, are misguided and misdirected because in our faith, which we have the constitutional freedom to pursue in America, we are taught in Colossians 3:5:
“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires.”
and also in Galatians 5:19-21:
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness,wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
The Bible outright forbids and expresses disdain for the practice of homosexuality in the Old and New testaments:
“You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman.”
“That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against thenatural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.”
I could just as quickly and logically hurl accusations of non-religious bigotry at those who hurl them at Christians but I’m not a fan of ad hominems, so I won’t do that. Instead let me emphasize that although marriage is licensed and taxes are collected from the institution of marriage by the government, the institution itself is a predecessor of government. One thing that religious and governmental institutions once universally agreed on is the belief that heterosexual unions in marriages were the best environments for rearing and protecting children. Consider this, nearly 75% of America’s population says that they are of the Christian faith and Christianity is not the only religion which opposes homosexual lifestyles. When our governing officials attempt to re-define marriage in ways that many citizens oppose based on the tenets of their religious faith, they are in fact launching a direct assault on our liberties and legislating morality for all.
Instead of our current president Barack Obama’s recent open support of gay marriage, and in light of his strong views on the separation of church and state, his only response to the topic should have been in support of states’ rights to democratically decide the legality of non-traditional marriage. At least this way, religious and non-religious citizens alike, on both sides of the argument maintain their choices on this decision where they reside. It is in this tradition that the members of the highest court of our nation – the Supreme Court, can maintain their personal opinions while fairly and objectively rendering legal decisions. For Christians, if the vote is in their favor they can rejoice when the legal mandates are in harmony with their personal beliefs and respect them when they are not, although they should still be able to vocalize disapproval, without the ever present stigma of being labeled a “bigot”, which is etymologically fallacious anyway. A bigot is a person who is viciously and utterly intolerant of a differing creed, belief or opinion. Expressing disagreement in and of itself does not merit intolerance. Many Christians simply agree to disagree with non-theists on the matter, and cast their votes accordingly. Christians, if we were to voice our dissent on non-homosexual sins such as adultery just as quickly, adamantly and loudly as we do at homosexual lifestyle choices, perhaps the non heterosexual community would not be so quick to label us “bigots”. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t live to avoid labels from non-believers but Mark 16:5 states:
“And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.”
and Matthew 28:19-20:
“Go therefore to make disciples of all of the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Predestination arguments aside, how are we to achieve this with hypocrisy red herrings regarding the sins we unequally stand against as obstacles? Again, either way this label is unfair, however, we are spiritually charged with the task of and justified in expunging all sin from among us, as much as we possibly can. We must treat the sin of adulterers, liars, fornicators and so forth with equal spiritual condemnation. It is not the fact that we speak out against homosexual lifestyle choices that is problematic, it is the manner in which we treat other sins, equally forbidden in the Bible, as if they render a cooler place in hell or a warmer place in heaven if the offenders are not repentant. I spoke with another colleague who is a self-professed “gay Christian” He says:
“I believe that gay persons are born this way. Since many in the gay community are guilty of fornication and promiscuous, the church should advocate gay marriages in order to discourage sexual promiscuity and the spread of diseases just as they do for heterosexuals”
There are several errors in his logic and views among other things but I’ll say this – personally, I think that those in the church who believe that “some people are born gay” and use this as an argument to justify their support of gay marriage are wrong. What we are all born into is sin:
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me…” Psalms 51:5
I believe that we have different inclinations towards different sins and some have an attraction towards the same gender. This alone is not the troublesome issue but rather the fulfillment of such desires in active homosexual lifestyle choices. This is the same problem for sinners whose inclination is for premarital sex who become practicing fornicators. We will either choose the path of hedonism or seek to be forgiven and quell those desires through the teachings of Christ and fellowship with the righteous. So I say to believers under the cyber sound of my voice, that if we want take charge of the religious and general narrative on sexual lifestyle choices in light of morality and be taken seriously, we must first, like my father, form habits which encourage and foster pure thoughts and leave little room for sinful impurities. Then once this habit is formed, we must develop an equal opportunity philosophy towards all sinners, regardless of which one they choose to indulge, including ourselves. Either way, quiescence in the face of sin is equivalent to approval and sin type based, biased, vociferous condemnation is hypocritical. Balance, which is always my personal goal, is found in the scriptures, when applied equally to sin inclination demographics.