May 15, 2008

Posted by in Diversity, Mosaic, Outreach | 11 Comments

Why Homophobia is So Gay

Originally I had given one of the chapters in Not Like Me this title, but my editor encouraged me to broaden the topic and discuss serving, loving, and reaching out to all people no matter how the live their life morally – not just those who are living a homosexual lifestyle. The chapter is now called “Lots of Sex in the City: Engaging Others in a Post-Sexual Revolution World.”

If you haven’t heard already, the California Supreme Court ruled that the same sex marriage ban voted on and approved by California voters in 2000 was unconstitutional. Same sex marriage will be legal in California within the next few weeks. The 4-3 decision will lead to more court battles and more arguments.

With friends on both sides of this issue, and with my own personal convictions, I thought I would offer a few thoughts to consider as the dialogue heats up:

It is possible and in fact imperative to love people – even those with whom we disagree.

We can involve and include people in our lives and in our churches – even those with whom we may disagree. (Anyone can be a part of our community at Mosaic – no matter who they are or what they believe. To become a part of our volunteer staff requires going through a mentoring process).

Christians should not expect non-Christians to act as if they have the same standards, especially since even Christians have a hard time living up to them. The Spirit of God can truly change people when people want to be transformed.

Those opposed to same sex marriage should share reasons for a ban based on a broad rationale rather than simply spiritual reasons.

We cannot influence others we have pushed away. This includes those who are struggling to figure out what to do with their sexual desires while growing up.

Christians are known for who we hate rather than how we love. This moves us out of the conversation and polarizes those involved so quickly no progress can be made.Most of us already feel like God will judge us. Too often, we don’t realize that God offers to love and forgive us.

For more on this controversial topic, listen to my message on Religion, Sex, and Politics and Erwin’s talk on “What About Sex?” during the “Life’s Toughest Questions Series.”

Another thought on politics and faith: “Changing Laws or Changing People?”

  • http://www.morethancake.org Joe Miller

    Hi Eric,I heard the news today on the decision. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in other states.

    I wrote an article some time ago about how in one area, homosexuals are right about marriage, but now it may not apply so much as this law has come into being.

  • http://elementalcm.wordpress.com Henry Zonio

    I like how you word it: “Christians should not expect non-Christians to act as if they have the same standards…” Also I like the point of using more than spiritual reasons to want to ban same sex marriage. My wife and I were talking about that same thing when we found out about CA.

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  • http://www.nikao.ws Vince

    Good stuff. I think a lot of Christians have versions of the bible with 1 cor 2:14 missing or somthing

  • http://matthuber.wordpress.com Matt Huber

    Ohhhh…very well done. I actually work in an area in Columbus, Ohio which has an astounding number of gays, and this issue is very relevant in the immediate area, especially at my work place…I work at a Starbucks, and am the only straight guy that works there. Needless to say, this topic tends to surface every now and then, and I think folks are a little surprised to hear that not every Christian hates them…it is sad that rejection is usually what they get from Christians. We have a big opportunity to improve on this one.

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  • http://www.bigearcreations.blogspot.com Dave Carrol

    Hey there… I just got your book and I’m looking forward to reading it. I think I feel similar to you about this… a few years ago I wrote this called “the church needs to come out of the closet”

    http://bigearcreations.blogspot.com/2006/05/church-needs-to-come-out-of-closet.html

    It’s about a gay professor I had in college who wouldn’t let a christian come within 10ft of him. It made me horribly sad. I live in Ontario Canada where homosexual marriage has been legal for a number of years and there has not been the catastrophic church collapse like some said…

    that said, I do think that churches need to be mindful of who they place in leadership positions concidering many issues (not just this). Stuggles are one thing and an embraced sinful lifestyle is another. But frankly, the church is in a position of failure with the homosexual issue. It has some serious repentance to do in how it’s treated brothers who are simply stuggling with something a little different.

    Anywho…
    bless ya man
    Dave

  • Garett

    Great thoughts. Just yesterday at church we had that “church” from Kansas who hates gay people picketing in front of our church in Vegas. The worst part of it was most of them were little kids who where forced to be there and didn’t care! It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. The group is only known for hate. Your comment “Christians are known for who we hate rather than how we love.” is very true. Jesus didn’t hate the adulterous woman…He loved her…and was angry with those who did hate her. Just a thought.

  • Julio

    “Those opposed to same sex marriage should share reasons for a ban based on a broad rationale rather than simply spiritual reasons.”

    This is the most important part of the blog entry but the most likely to fall on deaf ears to mainstream Christians and people of other faiths. If you request religious people to argue against gay marriage without the aid of their Bible, their arguments will collapse. There is no reason to deny constitutional rights to a segment of our population, and the law of man is not subject to the law of God, as granted to us by the first amendment.

  • Danielle

    Great insight. I visited a church recently, before the recent legislation was passed allowing same sex marriage and it was one of the most offensive sermons that I heard against homosexuals (and yes it was against the people, not the lifestyle). I commend you for promoting the message of love and grace. There is never a reason to be rude and disrespectful of people no matter how they live their life.

    Personally, I agree with the last comment, that there is not a solid argument (outside of the Bible) to ban same sex marriage. Since our government is not set up to implement religious values, I see it as a positive move. I’m always surprised that Christians feel so strongly on this issue, when it’s really just two people wanting to be in a truly committed relationship. One would think that would be better than a lifestyle of multiple partners.

    Regardless of your view on homosexuality, we are absolutely called to embrace people with kindness and gentleness. Having been on the receiving end of Christians judgement before, I can tell you it’s no fun.

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  • dk

    I’m a bit confused. The post title uses “gay” as an insult/derogatory term, even if it’s meant to be cute or funny. Is that really the best way to introduce thoughts on what it means to love people regardless of their sexuality (or anything that places them outside of the ‘Christian norm’)?

    I don’t think there’s any difference between saying something is “gay” and using a term for someone with Down’s Syndrome or another mental disability in a derogatory way. I think Christians should try to move beyond using these kind of terms in this way, and was surprised to see it here. I’m glad that the editor suggested broadening the title, but I’m not sure why you wanted to use the same title on your blog.

    But maybe I missed something…

  • http://www.ericbryant.org/blog Eric Bryant

    I forgot to mention this, DK! Thanks for reminding me.

    I would have never gone forward with this chapter title without the input of my friends who are homosexual. Each one (so far) has loved that title. That doesn’t mean it would have been ok to use in the book, but for a quick post, I thought it would be ok.

    If I offended anyone, oops and sorry!

  • Sara

    Love is an Orientation. Andrew Marin. Check it out (themarinfoundation.org).