Monday, December 06, 2010

"Up from Homophobia"

Steve Chapman, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, has an article in Townhall entitled, "Up from homophobia."  Chapman admits that he once had a strong dislike for gays and "found the whole idea sick and repulsive." But that was before he actually knew anyone who was gay.

One day in college he came back from class and found a note on his desk from his roommate and good friend admitting to being gay. After much soul-searching Chapman finally concluded that gays were not an alien species and that this revelation by his roommate really didn't change anything. He continued to be friends with his roommate and has remained friends for 35 years.

Chapman's point was that it is easy to be homophobic if you don't actually know anyone who is gay. In this case, familiarity, Chapman says, breeds acceptance. Chapman has changed his views and is now in favor of gay marriage and gays in the military.

This is the second of Chapman's articles I've read. In both cases I found his articles to be well written, thoughtful and wrong.

Chapman is certainly right, of course, that gay people are not an "alien species." They are not monsters. They are people just like everyone else. The gay people I've known were nice people who were kind and friendly. I would whole-heartedly agree that people should never be hated, mocked, ridiculed or assaulted for being gay.

From a Christian perspective, however, that is really all beside the point.

First, the issue is not whether someone is friendly or nice. The issue is not even about whether someone is sexually tempted by those of the same sex. The issue is about behavior. Both Old and New Testaments make it clear that having sex with someone of the same sex is sin--just like committing adultery, having sex before marriage, or getting drunk is sin.

Christians know and work with all kinds of people who regularly engage in lifestyles that we consider sinful. We don't hate such people. We may hate the sin, but should love the sinner. The same thing should be true of Christians' attitudes toward people who engage in sex with people of the same sex. Christians should not hate them and we should never ridicule or abuse them. They are sinners for whom Christ died, just like all the rest of us.

But on the other hand, we cannot accept sinful behaviors as OK just because our society has now determined that such behaviors are no longer sinful.

Second, Mr. Chapman seems to be entirely unaware that the real issue involved in re-defining marriage has to do with Freedom of Religion. See "The Consequences of Same Sex Marriage,"  "What's Wrong with Gay Rights?" and "Chai Feldblum against the First Amendment," and "Gay Rights vs. Religious Liberty."

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