A friend recently shared this article on facebook.
There is allot of good stuff in this article, and in some ways it is clarifying, but it starts out with an unforgivable vagueness:
Q: If I don’t agree with homosexuality, but don’t wish homosexuals to be put to death, does that make me a bigot?
Now, what can “agree with homosexuality” possibly mean?
If we define homosexuality as a persistent and predominate physical attraction to members of the same sex, there is nothing about which to agree or disagree, this attraction is simply a reality that two or three percent of the population experiences. It is like agreeing or disagreeing with the sun rising in the East.
But that is not the only way to define homosexuality: there is homosexuality the behavior, homosexuality the social construct (because gender is, to an extent, a social construction), homosexuality the cultural and political movement.
These distinctions are very real in practice. It is possible for someone to engage in homosexual behavior without self-identifying as homosexual (i.e. prison sex, some hazing activities in schools or the military, or the exploitation of boys common in cultures like ancient Greece or modern Afghanistan.) It is possible for someone to experience the attractions and not act on them on moral grounds. It is possible to be actively homosexual and not identify with the movement. And while experience shows that the great majority of people who self identify as homosexual cannot change themselves to heterosexual either by psychological therapy or hormones or by “praying the gay away”, experience also shows that our “sexual identities” are not monolithic and set in stone, but subject to shifts and changes over time.
So while it is technically impossible to agree or disagree with the fact that some people are attracted to members of the same sex, it is technically possible to agree or disagree on a moral or intellectual level with actions or political ideologies. But because our sexuality tends to color how we interact with others and how we see ourselves, the discussion gets easily confused.
And this is where the dilemma lies, and this is where some mutual compassion is necessary:
A conservative Christian can, with the best intentions in the world, say to a homosexual: “I respect you as a person, and want the very best for you, but acting out homosexual impulses is objectively wrong. Place your hope in Christ, who loves you, and though he will not take away this cross from you, he will help you bear it.”
And said homosexual will hear: “I reject you as a person, because the nature of your sexual desire inevitably colors your interaction with every man and woman you meet, and colors how you interact with yourself. You spent your whole adolescence in a deep state of anxiety and depression, worried about being different, wishing you were just like everyone else, wondering if others knew, feeling like you had the word “faggot” tattooed on your forehead. Well, I’m hear to remind you that your adolescent self was right, you are weird, and God thinks so too.”
Which of course is the last message the Christian wants (or should want) to get across. But the gay-rights activist’s unilateral excommunication from polite society of all who do not “agree with homosexuality” (again, whatever that may mean) is a rather obtuse response to what, in some cases, is an attempt at a serious moral distinction.
I think it is a good thing that one can live in America as an open homosexual and not fear any special repercussions. It represents progress to the extent that it forces serious people to deal with one another as individuals, instead of as categories. It is good for conservative Christians to be forced to re-examine what were once knee-jerk cultural prejudices, and take into account the lived experiences of people who had to deal with the stresses of trying to grow up gay.
But unless the Gay Rights movement can display a similar compassion, and at least try to understand the distinctions being drawn, and try to distinguish a well intentioned argument from an anti-gay slur, the only thing they are going to achieve is replacing one disrespected minority (homosexuals) with another (conservative Christians), which is to achieve nothing.