The term homophobia means more than just a fear of homosexuals; it is complex in that one might not fear the homosexual per se, but fear the cultural and social impact homosexuals contribute to society. Due to this fear, there have been a number of hate crimes committed against homosexuals, none as worst as the Matthew Shephard murder. This senseless murder was only exacerbated by people clearly pretending to be Christians parading at his funeral with signs claiming that “Christ hates fags” or “fags will burn in hell.” I say pretending to be Christians because as a Christian myself, there is no way that the Christ I worship, love, and live for would endorse such behavior. My Lord hates sin, not people. Better yet, my Lord would have a cup of coffee with Mr. Shephard, go to a ball game with him, even ask him about his goals and dreams. Because my Lord would do this, I have found myself doing the exact same thing since high school; I have only known a hand full of gay people, but that hand full has had a positive impact on my love for all people. The challenge I face daily is finding ways to communicate Christ’s love for all people with my students. I have a number of students who will tell you that it is wrong and sinful to discriminate and hate; yet, I have a large number of students who use the term fag as if it were a natural part of their vocabulary. After reading Luke Dockery’s blog piece entitled Double Standard, I have been thinking about this question more as of late.
Because I am a Christian, a liberal, an intellectual, and a member of a racial minority group that faces constant societal prejudices, it is not possible for me to hate or discriminate against a gay person. As a society governed by liberalism and constitutionalism, I continue to find myself confused by the many contradictions inculcated into the fabric of our polity. For example, how can we as a country via government say it is okay to be gay and to have a gay partner, but create laws banning gays from getting married? The apparent contradiction does not seem to be very clear to many. If a country is going to permit by law homosexual lifestyles, how can society ridicule gay people for not being in monogamous relationships? Remember, people recently voted via the referendum not to permit gay monogamy (marriage)?
Yes, if it does not make sense to you, imagine how confused I feel at times; imagine how confused my students feel when they hear Christian adults using racial slurs while watching them pretend such slurs are jokes, or when they hear Christian adults say that all fags should burn in hell instead of discussing ways to share their faith with a gay person, assuming that person is a non believer. Recently the chair of the Joint Chiefs (key military leader who chairs a top official from each branch of the military) stated at a formal dinner that homosexuals were immoral people. The chairman, Peter Pace, has been under fire. Again, another contradiction here. The government has enacted laws banning discrimination but allows its largest employer to practice it by following the policy of “we will not ask, if you do not tell us.” Clearly Peter Pace was saying what the U.S. government practices.
As a Christian, I clearly know and understand the tenet of my faith, as stated in the Bible; however, what about the many people who do not follow the tenet of my faith. If we as a government say it is okay to be gay, what is our reason for saying gays cannot marry? There is no clear answer here. One cannot say it is because they present a health problem to society.
I have heard political leaders address the marriage issue by saying their God and bible deemed it wrong. According to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, Congress cannot establish a national religion or preference one religion over another. Clearly the Framers put such a document in place to protect Americans from the authority and persecution of a religious state, one much like that of 18th century England. If the Establishment Clause is designed to protect the individual from state religious authority, how is it that people have allowed the government to politic this type of religious morality on members who might be an atheist?
Much of this blog is just a continuation of a discussion I was having at a coffee house in the heights. We did not draw any particular conclusions to this matter or the Peter Pace issue. It is important that Christians follow the way of the Lord; if that means being frank and honest when it comes to a follower’s faith, so be it. It is much easier to address the sins of a believer than a non believer; I have found this to be true for a number of years. I have also discovered that a believer cannot approach the sins of a non believer in the same manner that he or she would with a person of Christian faith. I learned this lesson the hard way years ago. Luke addressed this well on his blog by saying:
Thankfully, Christ was willing to experience death in our stead, and bridge the gulf that our sins had created between us and God. That death gives the hope of redemption to liars, gossips, thieves and adulterers. Homosexuals too.