This piece has been a long time coming. The issues that the Christian community has faced and will continue to face surrounding the growing influence of the LGBTQ community and their activism cannot be circumvented. The days are gone when one could say publicly their heartfelt views on same-sex couples with no major backlash; that tide has turned. Therefore, when a well-known person, who is not a proponent of same-sex marriage (which is not many), is honest about their beliefs, they usually receive some sort of backlash for it. Manny Pacquiao, a great boxer from the Philippines, is the latest person to vocalize his beliefs and receive some backlash for it.
Now, Pacquiao may have stated his point of view a bit crudely, but it is his to voice in how he sees fit to do so, as long as it is not calling for any violence to be committed towards others. I find that the major problem is really that he, like so many others, do not know how to state their opinions without lacing them with so many fallacious arguments. At the same time though, this is hot-button topic now-a-days, so even if one states their argument against same-sex marriage in a logical and loving manner, many people would still dismiss the argument as being steeped in hatred, homophobia, and religious bigotry. Of course, there are some who are very hateful in their convictions on homosexual relationships, but it is helpful to remember that people who share a view that is opposite of yours does not always mean that they share that view in the exact same way. But a person cannot know the true reason behind another’s opposing position if they do not engage them in some sort of civil discourse.
It can be seen as reasonable that if one cannot fully know another’s outlook on any given issue where there is some contention, then that person cannot (without making their prejudice known) proclaim that the other is hateful or bigoted without pointing to hateful assertions made by the other. This is the problem that I continue to have with many gay rights activists when they write or speak about those of us who will not back same-sex marriage. To many of them, just to oppose what they call “equal rights” is basically an evil decision; if you so happen to be a Christian, which many that stand opposite of backing same-sex marriage are, then religion is the reason that there is so much hatred in the world will be the tired argument made by them and those in liberal media. Today it so necessary that every person learns critical thinking and learns how to state their views with clarity and respect and a robust understanding of Scripture (if you are going to argue from that place) and without falling to the foolish rhetoric of some who claim to be Christian or very elementary and childish ways of showing disagreement with this lifestyle.
I am a bit disillusioned with the things that take place in our country (USA) when it comes to debate and the discussion of ideas. You can see it especially when election time comes around, but it creeps up also whenever there is discord over some social or political issue.
This particular blog is to dispel the myth that every person (typically who is Christian, but not necessarily every time) who are not in agreement with the LGBTQ community must be homophobic or hate them at all costs. Yes, you read that correctly! It is a myth! Is there a lot of hatred? Possibly yes. I cannot give numbers. But it is not all hatred, even I am stand alone in this position! I am one person who does not hate any gay persons or persons desiring to change genders. Do I take issue with them? I take issue with some behaviors and actions that I see as not being beneficial or healthy for our community or our world in generations to come, even when it does not directly impact me. Yes, I do care like that. More than I should? Maybe so! Think about it in this way: I have never been involved with abortion in any way (which is something that I disagree with), and yet, I see it as being not good for my community, this world, or the future generations to come. I do not go out of my way to seek out abortion activists to tell them that they are beneath me or that they are condemned to eternal damnation. I try my absolute best not to even think of them in those ways.
It may be possible that hate for something does not necessarily invalidate an opinion of that thing, but I won’t go in depth with that idea here. More than anything, “hate” speech is not helpful or beneficial to anyone, and it should not be condoned by any Christian, especially if another so-called Christian is the one spewing off such language. You may tell that “Christian”: “Did your Lord speak in hatred, even when he spoke in righteous indignation?” I think not! Then, remember to let Jesus guide the tongue and motivate you into “love speech.”
Hence, I wanted to write out some “love speech” and not be sarcastic or considered disingenuous. I am going to list reasons why I cannot hate my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. This needs to be written and I hope that it causes some discussion for anyone who reads it.
1. They are human beings!
First and foremost, those in the LGBTQ community are humans. I have no reason to put them down as beneath me. Even if a person wants to change genders, they are still human. They have a heart, a mind, body parts, etc. Also, they have loved ones. I (and we all) must hold on to the fact that there are other people that love those who identify as LGBTQ. I would hope that when my own child is born in a few months that they grow up (if it is meant to be) and marry a person, who is meant for them, but is of the opposite sex. I will make sure that they know my beliefs. But if they decide against the beliefs that I hold, then I hope that I would still love them as the child that I helped bring into this world. It actually saddens me when I hear stories of people disowning their children when that child chooses a lifestyle that they are not in agreement with. I cannot say that I know with certainty what I would do if I am placed in that situation in the years to come, but I hope that kicking my child out of the house without any means of supporting them is furthest from my mind.
2. I am a fan (of some human beings who live this lifestyle)!
Another thing is that there are some folks in the world who choose to live lifestyles that are not in alignment with what I believe to be right and I still can love them. For example, I have had a couple of members in my family who have been drug dealers and I knew about it. I would still embrace them and love them when I saw them at family functions and holiday gatherings, but I would never support their evil “vocation.” I do not respect anyone who peddles drugs and destroy our communities, yet, I did not dismiss certain family members of mine who feel that it is okay to live that lifestyle.
Also, there are gay men and lesbian women whose performances in sports and music I truly appreciate. Have you heard the songs “Rocket Man” or “Levon”? Well, let me tell you that you do not know what you are missing. The singer is Elton John and he is an amazing piano player and a wonderful singer. I have bought his songs before and I cannot tell you that I never will again. Have you ever watched United States women’s soccer? Have you seen our national team during their World Cup or Olympic run? Have you ever heard of Abby Wambach or Megan Rapinoe? They both are lesbians that are vocal about their beliefs and they are fantastic soccer players. Wambach is now retired but I loved watching her, Rapinoe, and the other ladies win gold medals and championships. I try to keep up with their schedule as much as I can. If I have a daughter, then she will be signed up for soccer. I appreciate what they do in their work, and I cannot somehow take those actions away from the persons that are committing them. I could go on making an argument with this point, but my main thing is that not every action from a person who identifies as LGBTQ is wrong because of what they identify as.
3. I can disagree with people’s actions and still love them! (I believe that I have been called to love people as God’s creations, but I may strongly disagree with & possibly hate their actions! I am – believe it or not – disgusted with my own failures (i.e. sins) to remain holy and reach God’s Glory!)
Some people may believe that it is hard to disagree with another’s actions while loving them. Of course, I would disagree with them and I would counter that every action from a person does not need to support every time in order to love them completely. I would like to think that I love my wife completely, but believe me when I say that we are not always in agreement with each other’s actions. For example, I love her natural hair, and I do not like when she adds other hair to it. That’s the way that I feel and I am not changing my mind on that any time soon. Guess what? My wife does not support my view, and I love her just fine. (I hate the other hair though, and I do condemn it to eternal damnation.) I do not feel that my actions diminishes her value, but I do not see it as truly beneficial to her being in any fashion. Of course, she would disagree, nevertheless, she has my heart and I have hers. So, I believe that it is completely possible to love an LGBTQ activist and still disagree with their position on that lifestyle.
4. Ultimately, I follow Jesus!
Lastly, I cannot hate my LGBTQ brothers and sisters because I believe that it is not in keeping with the life and teachings of my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. As a matter of fact, from what I see in Scripture, Jesus even sought out some folks who were not living lives that may have been considered to be righteous or pure in any way. In Luke 19:1-10, we see Jesus meet with Zacchaeus the Tax Collector, considered to be a sinner (as we all are) by the surrounding crowd, and Jesus desires to fellowship with him. What about the Samaritan woman at the well in the 4th chapter of the book of John? She clearly was not living a life of purity, even still, the Lord conversed with her and sparked her to bring others to Him. It is so important for others to do things in love and for the greater good of valuing people because are people and we believe that salvation is for all, if they would just accept it.
In conclusion, it is vital to be loving in dialogue while in discussion of cultural issues for their to be understanding and a meeting on common grounds. Discourse needs to be cordial in order to get to some place of understanding, which may lead to an arrival at the truth. We must listen carefully and think before we speak on any given topic, and the speech must be undergirded with love. We must hold to this kind of ethic when we disagree with those who see our viewpoint as hateful. We must see the person in front of us as beautiful even if they are physically changing themselves in one way or another. Viewing them as beautiful, listening to them carefully, thinking about their position patiently, and speaking with love may cause an about-face in our opponents’ ideology, not necessarily changing their “lifestyle” immediately, but helping them to see that there is a genuine love for them and the truth and what is right for community and society and beneficial for generations to come.
[A brother, whose podcast that I enjoy, decided to speak on this blog post. If you are into podcasts and/or have the time, then I will post the link to the podcast episode discussing my blog post. It starts at around 42:45!
Everything According to Tony Vance – “Church doings, the tithe, and big love” = Church doings, the tithe, and big love – Everything according to Tony Vance | podcast garden
(Originally posted on my old and now defunct “Watch Your Theology” website back on February 26, 2016.)