Follow-up to Criticism of my Support of Homosexual Civil Unions
Recently I wrote a blog post entitled: Why I support Homosexual Civil Unions as a Christian (https://redeemed42antihero.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/why-i-support-homosexual-civil-unions-as-a-christian/). I received the following comment on Facebook, and instead of writing a really long comment back, I decided to make it a follow up post to address the issues brought up
This person wrote:
“I’m surprised by most of the blog since you actually hit the nail on the head when you refer to your own sins. You say: “I struggle with…”
The difference is acknowledging sin as sin. I don’t see much “struggle” or repentance in homosexuals wanting to marry and by demanding rights. No, the word rebellion comes to mind.
The harm here is that society is confusing tolerance for love. If we agree that homosexuality is a sin (which you do), how do we as Christ followers simply look the other way and make it easier for people to remain in their sin? Is that true love? Should we buy the alcoholic a case of beer? Or maybe hire a hooker for the husband and father of 3 because we know he’s already had one affair?
As Christ followers, we know the Truth about all sin–it leads to death. Sin is ugly and messy and destructive. If we TRULY believe God and TRULY love people–ALL people, HIS people, instead of condoning sin–whichever sin it is, we should be introducing them to Jesus who WILL help them overcome their sin and give them life to the full.
Instead of legalizing more sin, we should be grieved by it–all of it–including our own. So, pray desperately for friends and loved ones in a homosexual lifestyle. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sins and to open their eyes so they can see their need for Jesus–instead of seeking comfort and equality in this world. Praise God there were people praying for me. Jesus heals all who seek Him. Believe in Him and start sharing!!
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”
First, as to your statement that “society confuses tolerance with love,” I agree that it does do this at times, but I don’t think this is what I am doing. I am saying that we should not try to make homosexuals feel like lessor citizens by withholding certain rights from them. This is what the Pharisees did with the “unclean” sinners and tax collectors. They wouldn’t even eat with them because they thought they were sinful, but this is exactly the type of person Jesus went to. He didn’t make these “unclean” persons feel like lessor citizens, he treated them as equals, and yet still condemned the sin as sinful. Just because he said that they shouldn’t sin didn’t mean he had to take away their rights through the secular government. I think you are confusing condemnation of a sin with preventing a certain group of persons from having a civil right that in no way condones their behavior. Just because we support their having certain civil rights does not support their sinful behavior, it just awards them the same legal rights that every other sinner has. We don’t prevent heterosexual non-believers from having these civil rights, so why prevent homosexual non-believers from having them?
Next, you say, ”If we agree that homosexuality is a sin (which you do), how do we as Christ followers simply look the other way and make it easier for people to remain in their sin?”
I don’t agree that the state allowing homosexuals to “marry” (though I would prefer using the term civil union) makes it easier for them to remain in their sin. They as homosexuals are already sinning by having sex with another of the same gender, and they are doing this and are going to continue to do this, regardless of whether or not they as homosexuals couples have the legal rights afforded to heterosexual married couples.
What I am arguing for is the state allowing or bestowing the same legal rights it affords heterosexual married couples, and their sin in not affected by these having or not having these rights. By supporting them having these rights, I am not making it easier for them to remain in sin; I am simply trying to make them feel more like a human being and less like a second-class citizen. If you want to take the stand that we should use the secular government to legislate Christian morality, then the fight should not be about keeping them from attaining marital legal rights, but it should be to make homosexuality itself illegal.
I should note, however, just as I pointed out in my blog, that if using secular government to enforce Christian morals is your stand, there are many other battles that need to have champions as well. You ought to be taking up other fights, like the fight to make premarital or extramarital sex illegal, the fight to make pornography illegal, the fight to make divorce illegal, the fight to make a man (or woman) thinking about a woman (or man) lustfully illegal, though how would one enforce that thought-crime? No matter how difficult enforcing such a thought-crime would be, it is still a Christian moral stance, and if your position is we should use secular government to enforce Christian morals, why shouldn’t it be fought against?
I don’t think this is the proper stance, and it is only part of the reason why we have a separation of church and state. Separation of Church and State is not only meant to protect the church from the state interfering with it, it is also to protect the state from the church, (as Jim points out in reply to your original comment) because if it is okay to use secular government to enforce Christian morality, why is it not okay to use it to enforce something like Sharia Law?
We, like Jesus, need to speak the truth and inform everyone of the truth of the gospel message, that we are all sinners in need of salvation. However, we must make sure we are speaking this message out of love. This means we need to let them know that they need Jesus to save them from their sin, rather than tell them or making them feel like this (that is, their) particular sin makes them second-class citizens, which is what we do when we fight against civil rights of a group of individuals.
Do we try to fight against the civil rights of other groups of non-believers whose self-identity lies in some sin they don’t think is wrong, such as gamblers, drunks, fornicators (terms like “ladies man,” and “player” come to mind for term), or any other group? No, we don’t, so why are we as Christians concerned with keeping homosexuals from obtaining certain legal and/or civil rights?
The issue is not that they are sinners, because every single person, whether a believer or a non-believer is a sinner. The issue is that they need they need to accept Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior, and allow him to come into their lives and change them and set them free from their sin, and being a sinner (whether that sin is homosexuality or pornography or lying, or cheating, etc.) doesn’t prevent you from coming to Christ.
Why should we be trying to take away their civil rights in order to “not enable them?” Rather than help them I think this fight of most Christians against homosexual civil unions hinders them from coming to Christ because they see his followers as bigots who want to prevent them from having certain civil rights, and they don’t want anything to do with Christ because of that. Taking a stand against gay marriage specifically and vehemently, and not against other things like divorce (especially divorce within the church), or pre/extra-marital sex among believers makes us look like and become exactly the bigots they think we are because we are picking and choosing what sins we fight against. Instead of fighting against specific sins, why don’t we proclaim the message of the gospel, that all fall short of the glory of God, (no one group more than another), and all need Jesus Christ (no one group more than another)? By putting our focus on proclaiming and uplifting Christ, rather than on condemning and degrading sin/sinners, we will do a better job of speaking the truth out of love, rather than judging those outside the church.
As to your analogies, I do not think they are applicable, because in the examples you give, the person is actively helping a sinner to commit a sin, whereas by granting or supporting the giving of certain legal and civil rights to homosexual civil unions, you are not enabling them to sin. They are having gay sex whether or not they have these civil rights, and by granting or withholding from them these civil rights, we are not making it any easier or harder for them to have gay sex, so the analogies don’t hold up. I agree that we shouldn’t enable anyone to sin, but by fighting against their legal and or civil rights you are not preventing them from sinning, you’re just making them feel like a second-class citizen. Should we take away the civil rights of heterosexual married couples because they sin? No, so why should we not grant the same civil rights to homosexuals simply because they are sinners? I don’t think we would be condoning sin by saying homosexuals should be allowed the same civil rights as heterosexuals
Finally, you say “we should be introducing all sinners to Jesus who WILL help them overcome their sin and give them life to the full.” I fully agree with this statement, but I think by condemning homosexual civil unions, you actually inhibit them from meeting Jesus, rather than helping them, because like I said, they are committing these sins regardless of whether they have these civil rights or not. It wouldn’t be “legalizing more sin” because homosexual sin isn’t illegal right now. Whether they have these rights or not, it is perfectly legal for homosexuals to be gay and have homosexual sex, so how does supporting the rights of homosexual civil unions work towards legalizing more sin?
In the end we both agree that all fall short of the glory of God, and we all need Jesus Christ to set us free from and save us from their sins, but it is about more than preventing or destroying sin. It is about a loving relationship with God, and we are called to love others like Christ loved us. Once we have found Christ is the time to worry about and work on our sins, not before. We don’t get perfect before we come to Christ, we come to Christ, and then he perfects us by convicting us of our sins. He doesn’t take away our rights as citizens because we were sinners, and he continues to respect our free will even when he doesn’t support the actions we take with it. He still loves us no matter how willful we are or how much we sin. He still died on the Cross to set us free, and we need to share this message of love with others. Yes, that does mean sometimes having to have hard conversations with homosexuals, because they are not necessarily going to agree that homosexuality is a sin, and we take the stand that it is. But what we need to remember is that homosexuality is no more a sin than lying, or cheating, or stealing or murdering. All are sins, and all condemn us to hell. It is not like their homosexuality is causing them to be separated from God any more than when they commit any other sin, and this seems to be a point lost on Christians. They (and we) are sinners regardless of their sexuality, and they (and we) need Jesus, regardless of whether they have gay sex or abstain from it. This is why I say we should #SpeakTruth about sin and our need for Jesus, but it is also why I say we should #SpreadLove by fighting for the civil rights of ALL citizens, homosexual or otherwise. We need to #FollowChrist, and love like He did, and if we do, others will follow Him too.