Posts tagged ‘Westboro Baptist Church’

Homosexuality: Asking The Wrong Questions

ImageHang around with a group of Evangelical Christians for awhile and the topic of homosexuality will surely come up.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but Christians tend to put each other in one of two groups.  There’s the mega liberal  group comprised of Socialists, Democrats, Methodists, and/or apostates that not only believe homosexuality is okay with God, he ordains it because they give us modern fashion and make the property values in our neighborhoods go up.  The other group is the dumb, hateful, Fox News worshiping kind that believe homosexuality is the cause of AIDS, rising gas prices, and Barrack Obama. 

Which are you, a blaspheming Socialist or a hate-mongering member of the Westboro Baptist Church?

 You only have two options and you have to choose, right now. 

Do it. Do it now.

I wish there were more exaggeration in those examples but the debate on homosexuality has almost gotten that absurd.  Frankly, I hate both sides.  I’m making a third group.  From now on, when someone asks me about my view on Homosexuality from a Christian standpoint, here will be my response:

Who cares?  It’s a dumb question, and the wrong one to be asking.

To better explain my stance, we have to look at the most fundamental question in this debate, the question of whether or not homosexuality is a sin.  I’ve read books from both sides of the issue.  There are people who honestly and legitimately have solid evidence to believe that it is not a sin.  Also, the same applies to those who believe that it is.  No matter where you stand, if you do a little studying, you have to admit that the Bible is pretty ambiguous on the topic (except for in the Old Testament where everything was an abomination).  But I’ll give you my personal answer to this  fundamental question:

Who cares?  It’s a dumb question, and the wrong one to be asking.

To be clear, I actually do care about the issue from a Biblical standpoint.  I wouldn’t have read books on the topic it if I didn’t.  My problem with the debate is that the question is often asked  for the wrong reasons.  Today, it’s too-often asked for people’s own agenda, instead of for furthering the Gospel.

Let’s all get on the same page for a moment and agree (or pretend) that homosexuality is a sin.  Okay, now what?  Some would say, “Ha! We can’t allow homosexuals to get married or adopt or join the army or work the nursery (or even attend) at church!  Why?  Because homosexuality is a sin!” 

Let’s take a look at how ridiculous this sounds.  Many Christians want to forbid these things simply because homosexuality is a sin.  Why is homosexuality treated as the one sin that makes God get stomach cramps?  Aren’t we all sinners?  Have you ever seen a perfect nursery worker?  The Bible talks about gluttony being as sin.  Can you imagine the fallout if churches started treating chunky people like they have cooties? 

Let’s look at my own life for a second.  I’ve hated people before, and the Bible says I’m a liar and a murderer.  The Bible also equates lust with adultery.  Oops.   I’m also an American, which means I’m rich in comparison to the rest of the world.  The Bible says it’s essentially impossible for me to enter into the Kingdom of God.  It’s why I thank God for his grace because if it were up to the law, I would be a lying, murdering adulterer who is doomed for perdition.  But even so, it’s okay for me to watch the kids in the nursery, go to Bible College, and have my minister’s license.  After all, murderers aren’t that bad, right?  But those homosexuals…we have to keep them away.

And of course, the biggest issue is homosexual marriage.  Again, because homosexuality is a sin, we can’t let them marry.  We have to protect the sanctity of marriage.  The problem with this logic is that it’s mind-blowingly hypocritical.  If we really think that it is a Christian’s duty to make sure marriage is sanctified through political means, then we’re doing a really bad job at keeping it holy.  Why are we not rallying to forbid divorce or remarriage for divorced people?  Why are we rallying to make adultery a felony?  And since Jesus equated lust with adultery, why aren’t we petitioning congress to create a lust Gestapo?  

Here’s my absolute favorite – the Bible treats divorce as a no-no, but if we get our marriage annulled, then it’s okay.  We’ve given a secular judge the right to take the sin out of divorce.  That’s the problem with legalizing morality.  If we’re going to ban one thing based on a Biblical view of marriage, then we’d better ban everything else the Bible talks about in that respect.   And I don’t see any Christians being okay with those ideas.

Up to this point I’ve only picked on one group.  However, the most important point I want to make is a problem that exists on both sides.  In the heat of this debate, I wonder how often we forget about what we’re truly called to do: bring people in to the Kingdom of God; because at the end of the day, the only real thing that’s important is what Christ commanded us to do.

So if you honestly believe that homosexuality is a sin, that’s great.  What are your actions doing for the Kingdom of God?  Will marginalizing homosexuals bring them to God?  Will prohibiting marriage bring them closer to God?  If you believe that homosexuality is not a sin, that’s great.  Are you preaching tolerance and acceptance but no gospel?  Are you too busy apologizing for people in the other group but not telling people about Jesus?  Everything must be viewed as secondary to the Gospel.  Everything.

“Yeah, but c’mon, Josh.  Just give us a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  Do you think homosexuality is a sin?”

 

…Okay, fine.  I’ll give you my answer….

 

Who cares?  It’s a dumb question and the wrong one to be asking. 

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Why I Don’t Want The Mosque

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk and opinion about whether or not a mosque should be built two blocks away from the World Trade Center site.  Now, I don’t have any proven statistics on this, but it seems like the overwhelming majority of non-Muslim Americans don’t want the thing to be built.  And their (our) reasons make sense.  I don’t want the mosque to be built, but my reasons differ from the flock.  There is also the dividing issue about whether or not the government should allow the mosque to be built.  My opinion is that the government should allow it.  But again, my reasons are atypical.  Please allow me to explain.

I’ll admit that I have a prejudice towards Islam.  (If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can you be honest with?)  It’s hard to not be these days.  Every time you hear about Islam in the news, it’s usually coupled with terms like “car bomb” and “Sharia Law”.  Their Qur’an is chock full of violence towards infidels.  Now, I want to be clear that my prejudices in this matter have nothing to do with any particular race or nationality, just the religion.  So it is hard for me to care if American rights are extended to Muslims in the case of building the mosque.  I just can’t flatly state that it’s their American right to build a mosque without me secretly hoping that the government prevents it.  I know this is wrong, but it’s currently how I feel.

So then, why do I think the government should allow the mosque to be built?

My reason (and I’m just being transparent here) is actually selfish.  In the “Land of the Free,” the government does a pretty good job impeding some harmless freedoms in the name of morality. And that makes me a bit squeamish. What’s going to happen when the government decides to do something about people who do idiotic things in the name of Jesus?  What if no Christian religious activity can be performed within a few blocks of an abortion clinic that gets assaulted by some religious nut-job?  What if all churches start having their sermons monitored for hate speech because of the fanatics at the Westboro Baptist Church?

Just like anyone else, I feel angered and insulted with the thought of this mosque being built.  I’m not incensed because of some distance principle.  I have some first hand experience with American-Muslim communities, so my raw feelings are for personal reasons, with addition to the memory of 9/11.  But here is the whole point of this blog:  my personal feelings about Muslims are NOT the biggest reason why I don’t want the mosque to be built.

I don’t want the mosque to be built because I value the safety of Muslims in New York.

This mosque is a horribly bad idea because I believe that there are going to be people who will show their disdain in violent ways.  This is simply wrong, no matter how you feel about the Muslims.

I could argue this from a Christian perspective, but this encompasses all rational human beings.  It is never right to escalate a situation to physical violence on the grounds of being insulted.  I’d like to think we’re past that backwoods, anachronistic way of thinking.  We’re no longer the Hatfields in the mountains. We’ve evolved.  And violence is not the answer.

So do I want the mosque to be built near the 9/11 site?  No.  Do I think it’s insulting?  Yes.  But more importantly, do I think we need to pray for the peace of those who insult us?

Absolutely.

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