Is it just me, or has the LGBT movement become downright strange? Do you remember a time only a few short years ago, where LGBT folk just wanted the rest of us to grant them the same legal rights that everyone else had? And then, we did, with Obergefell, and now the goalposts have moved. Now, it isn’t enough that a man can legally “marry” another man. No, now the whole society, including the Christian Church and Christians themselves need to actively encourage and support homosexual bedroom relations between two or more people, or they will be labeled “intolerant” or worse, and shamed into silence. It is officially not enough to be kind to gay persons, listen to where they are coming from, and politely explain why we hold our own beliefs.
Now, “tolerance” is code language for “celebration”. How strange it is, then, that an entire movement of people say to us, “Celebrate the way I have sex and the people with whom I do it!” It never occurred to me to demand that celebration from those around me, and for centuries modesty generally ruled the day. No more! To “tolerate” no longer means to kindly welcome, listen, disagree and commit to living together peacefully. (That is quite literally the definition of tolerance.) Now, “toleration” is “agreeing with my entire worldview or be labeled a hate-filled bigot.”
The reality is that since Obergefell has resolved the legal questions surrounding Christian marriage, the only things we have left to discuss are physical acts and what can be identified as “gay culture.” Those are the final homosexual topics left to offer opinions on since Christians have lost in the courtroom. But apparently, we aren’t even entitled to those opinions, in spite of our scriptural witness, millennia of tradition, and our own rights to conscience and free speech. Ellen Page recently called out Chris Pratt for his relatively weak connection to a relatively weak non-gay-affirming congregation. Cynthia Nixon did the same when Joe Biden said Mike Pence was a “decent guy”. Apparently you can no longer be “decent” and believe that one man having sex with another man is wrong.
This judgement is only going to become the norm so long as we continue the course of conflating civil rights-era discrimination on racial grounds with “intolerance” towards LGBTQ folks. Unless and until we are able to recognize the difference between systematically enslaving and suppressing black people with disagreeing with what adults do with their genitalia, I cannot conceive of this disagreement lessening.
I believe what is really happening is that some are trying to live in a way that is out of accordance with God’s will and nature itself, and instead of seeking to become more obedient to God, they turn their sights on those who point out reality. We are easier targets than God, so the vitriol will come in waves.
So as this becomes the norm in civil discourse today, I wanted to offer 5 responses that every orthodox Christian should have at the ready.
1. “You are being intolerant.” It is always best in these conversations to get your opponent to commit to being tolerant as early as possible in the conversation so that later, when you point out their intolerance, they are left with their hypocrisy. If we all agree that tolerance is a moral and social good, then point out that they are being as intolerant towards Christians as they accuse us of being towards them. Christians do have equal rights to beliefs, right?
2. “It isn’t just LGBT sins that Christians don’t tolerate!” Christians would also do well to point out that we are not targeting or singling-out gay persons for their sin. Rather, we are forced to respond to a tsunami of cultural change and the constant demand that we accept gay sex as moral. We would do well to indict pornographers, adulterers, thieves, murderers, coveters, idolaters, abortionists and many more as sinners as well. In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul clearly says that “such were” some such sinners before coming to Christ, and among those sins was homosexuality. But the vice list is not limited to that sin. So we are consistent in opposing a broad array of sins. Again, the difference is that no one who commits those sins is insisting I rubber stamp it as good. That is exactly what the LGBT movement is doing.
3. “This conversation is broader than you think.” Christians really need to help LGBT folks and their allies see that this issue is not only about what two or more people do in their bedroom. Ultimately, it is about the dominion mandate to “be fruitful and multiply”, to live as God made us as male and female, to live as servants of God before our passions, and to live in harmony with nature itself. Evolution itself—were one to endorse Darwin—opposes homosexuality. Homosexuality is just one way that we express rebellion against God, and we are all rebellious in a variety of ways. It isn’t just six passages of scripture that Christians are obsessed with. It is the first two chapters of Genesis, really, wherein an ideal life offered by God is offered and rejected by Genesis 3. Homosexuality does not offer fullness of life and it does not come with blessings from God.
4. “I thought we opposed guilt by association.” There are many voices that oppose the LGBT movement, and some are rather repulsive and un-loving. Make sure that your accuser is not considering you guilty by association of what some Christians have said about gay people, but rather, insist that they listen carefully to your own words and judge you accordingly. It is interesting, isn’t it, that Chris Pratt and Joe Biden were both deemed guilty of anti-LGBT stances, though it was only associations that they held, and not direct comments.
5. “It is possible for me to love you and disagree with you at the same time.” In our radically “affirming” culture, we seem to have lost that part of truly loving someone else, is being able to disagree with them in very fundamental ways and still love them. Perhaps the left is not capable of that dichotomy, but Christians, by and large, are. If we could simply help someone see that it really is possible to hold those things in tension, we would go a long way in advancing civil discourse. But so long as my disagreement is really just a judgement of you, we’re stuck hating each other, or at least, you hating me.
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