Homosexuality has become something of a growth industry in the past twenty years. It’s moved out of the closet into mainstream culture despite the protestations of conservatives and Christians alike.
If the experience of other Western nations is a clue one would have to predict that openly practiced homosexuality is here to stay.
If this is true than it begs the question what do we do now? How should Christians respond or relate not just to the moral abstract of homosexuality but to the real and everyday presence of neighbors who are lesbians or gays—or bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals?
Our Christian worldview suggests several answers:
-There is no biblical justification for bigotry, hatred, or violence toward LGBT individuals. None. Such acts are expressions of fear not love and not faith.
-There is no logical justification for bigotry, hatred, or violence toward LGBT individuals in the sense that homosexual sins are no different from heterosexual sins. In other words, immorality is immorality, so a person engaged in LGBT behavior cannot, morally speaking, be distinguished from a person committing adultery.
-LGBT citizens are entitled to their civil liberties under the Constitution and under the law just as any other citizen. They are also entitled to their civil rights as established by law, not in my estimation special rights but certainly the same civil rights other citizens enjoy.
-Honoring LGBT citizens’ civil liberties and civil rights does not mean Christians must condone, embrace, promote, or otherwise morally approve of homosexual practice. Perhaps you don’t morally approve of cursing, yet you recognize another person’s freedom in using such language. Perhaps like me you don’t morally approve of abortion, yet for now at least, pro-choice is the law of the land, so a person may legally opt for an abortion without legal punishment. I don’t morally agree, but I must, if I respect our pluralistic democracy, grant people the freedom to be morally other within the law.
-LGBT persons are not defined by their sexual orientation or behavior. It is something they choose to do. Since I do not believe homosexuality is a given at birth I’d say it’s also something they can choose not to do. Consequently, rather than call someone Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender I’d rather say a person has chosen at this time to express their sexuality in these ways. You see, I simply do not believe that “once a thief, always a thief,” “once a liar, always a liar,” “once a gay person, always a gay person.” The Spirit of God always offers and can enable another Way.
-Christians should speak up, speak more, and speak loudly against acts of bigotry, hatred, or violence—including bullying in schoolyards—against individuals who’ve come out of the closet.
-Christians should never be the ones creating environments in which people want to or must hide in closets.
Christians need to learn to express love, acceptance, and support for people even while disagreeing with the person’s moral choices. We must learn to do a better job of emulating Jesus talking to the Woman at the Well. This we must do if we ever hope to win the other’s trust and listening ear.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010
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