Two Powerful Recent Events Pertaining to Homosexuality
By Ron Highley
Published June 1998
The full-page ads telling of freedom and the death of a young man in Wyoming – call for a renewed declaration of the truth. Normally, our space and energy in the newsletter are used in showing how freedom is achieved, but I felt that LIFE needed to address two aspects of the current turmoil. In addition, I am offering a document LIFE has produced to equip the Church. It will aid in understanding the issue and speaking the truth in love to the wide range of opinions we encounter today. You may have a copy just by requesting “Responding to the Homosexual Movement”, and you may use the reply envelope.
The following issues need to be addressed by LIFE because our desire is to help our friends and our enemies (God bless them!) see the whole truth of God’s loving gospel and how it applies to these issues. We must check our hearts to see if we really are loving and compassionate, then do our best to persuade others of the Lord’s truth!
Are Ex-Gay Ads Political?
The full-page ads in 3 or 4 national papers in July that eloquently proclaimed freedom from homosexuality have caused a great response among those who agree and those who disagree. They were very well written and designed, and I would reproduce one for you here, but it would be too small to be legible!
I think they are so helpful that I am offering full-size copies of them – three full-page ads for a $10 gift to LIFE ministry! They will help those who know that homosexual behavior is a sin, but who want to speak about it in love, wisdom, and compassion. It is a terrible pity that those who violently opposed these ads could not see the love and truth in them, but that is the nature of spiritual blindness, and we were there at one time! (See Titus 3.)
It grieved us that those who created the ads were accused of being politically motivated, that it was a tactic of the Religious Right and the conservative Republicans (that “vast, right-wing conspiracy” Mrs. Clinton worries about!) to get votes for this year’s elections! Well, it’s not a “conspiracy”, but it is certainly a movement, including some Republicans, of people devoted to spreading God’s truth about right and wrong, what’s good for America, and humanity’s need for a Savior.
The uproar comes from those who can’t understand or tolerate a purely evangelistic motive and must try to discredit any offer of salvation as motivated by politics or personal gain. Many greatly fear Jesus’ gospel because it directly attacks their world-view and personal control over their lives – in other words, their REALITY. The agitated, sometimes violent response to even the kindest message about Jesus, shows that it is not “good news” when we are deceived by the world, the flesh, and the Devil. It is only good news when we are sick of sin and torment and looking for answers.
On this point, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to speak a cosmic reality to the Christians in the great ancient city of Corinth.
“But thanks be to God, Who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ, and through us speaks everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death, to the other, the fragrance of life…” II Corinthians 2:14-16
So, we see the old story – the Cross is an offense, (I Corinthians 1:18-31) and God’s people are aliens in this world! Many people loved the message of the ads, and many others hated it. The Lord keeps holding out His hand to save those who will receive it (“To all who received Him, He gave the right to become children of God” – John 1:12). What awesome reality! If people only knew what they were discarding, but that’s the glory and challenge of evangelizing – waking people up to their need for God.
Are Hate Crime Laws Needed?
This issue has exploded with much anguish following the cruel murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, and I believe Christians should have an informed stance on the matter. There is an emotional outcry for new laws, but do we really need them? Can they prevent such crimes?
We agree with columnists, judges, and others across the country that “hate crime” laws are not necessary because crimes already carry penalties and new ones seriously complicate the justice system. Here are some points:
A federal bill would strain the resources of the FBI which could not respond to even part of the offenses labeled as bias or hate crimes by victims and advocacy groups.
Hate-crime laws would foster discrimination by implying that some persons are more valuable than others, since a crime against them carries a stiffer penalty. In Wisconsin the sentence is tripled if the crime is motivated by prejudice! In New York, aggravated harassment can get you 15 days in jail, but if you add a racial slur, it could be a year!
Who could discern the motivations when someone commits a crime? Words spoken during a crime can come from a wide range of issues.
Our government would become “thought police”, having to prosecute crimes and feelings or motives…
I don’t believe the laws would prevent hate crimes, desirable as that is, because these acts are committed in an irrational state, and further, even those who plan such crimes would also plan not to cause a higher sentence!
In a sense, all crimes are hate crimes, since assault or theft indicate malice and a gross disregard for another human being.
After all, “equal protection” should mean one law for all, applied consistently and justly with no regard for our differences, not new laws invented because of our differences.
Finally, here is the worst aspect of such laws. Activists have wrongly asserted for some time now that bigotry and violence toward homosexuals are rooted in values learned in the family and from Judeo-Christian teachings. The “gay” groups and their sympathizers have railed against the Christian full-page ads that told of freedom, saying they promote gay-bashing and hatred, a total distortion of the intent of the ads. We certainly sympathize with those who feel they are prey for someone’s murderous urges. All of us should do what we can to rid society of its cruelty and prejudice, and that goes for the violence and verbal abuse from the “gay” community as well.
However, proclaiming the fact that homosexuality is something that can be changed – a fact supported by the majority of counseling professionals and the testimony of many who have changed – cannot be construed as inspiring violence. The “bashing” of homosexuals is a hideous deed done by disturbed people, but to assert that they are moved to injure others because the Bible says homosexual behavior is an abomination is bad reasoning. Millions of Christians and Jews believe what the Bible says, but have no desire to do violence to homosexuals. The men in prison who had murdered homosexuals looked on “gays” as “perverts” that didn’t deserve to live or be happy, therefore, to them, an attack was justified.
Isn’t it obvious, then, that those who do these terrible things already have the hatred and violence in their hearts? The fallen human heart is the core problem, because the urge to hurt those who don’t agree with us or who threaten us is in our sin natures and the antidote is a renewed spirit, heart, and mind from the Lord. Certainly those pitiful, hateful people who protested at Mr. Shepard’s funeral need renewed hearts and minds because their behavior is far from the Lord’s will, and some will associate Christians with such attitudes!
Therefore, the worst aspect of “hate crime” legislation is that it moves toward criminalizing any expression of opposition to homosexuality. There are still many people who think that opposing the condition means opposing the people with the condition. Look at the simple incident of Senator Trent Lott saying that he believed what the Bible says about homosexuality, that it is a sin, and he went on to say that they need help, not censure, like those who are compulsive in other areas. A compassionate statement of a religious belief – who could complain?
Mike McCurry, then White House press secretary, said such thinking was “backward”, and had referred to the ex-gay ads as “gay-bashing”. Many other activists called Mr. Lott’s comments “hateful” and want such statements made illegal. Are you prepared to live in a society where quoting the Bible is called “hate speech”? This is the sad result of a steady strategy of breaking down traditional boundaries of right and wrong and this has been written about by many clear thinkers in recent years. Yes, this must be seen as a war, but a spiritual war between opposite views of truth, God and the nature of humanity. God’s truth is always a sword, but our strategy in this war must be love.