I had a conversation with three of my favorite Millennials yesterday. What began as a chat about youth group dynamics ended up on the subject of gay marriage. They had met a girl who couldn’t consider Christianity because “the church is against gay marriage” and therefore the church “hates gays.” They talked about how in the movies and in real life, those who support traditional marriage are called mean names like “bigot” and “homophobe.”
Another friend of mine, a public high school freshman, was in his history class when the teacher showed the video “Same Love” in an effort to prevent bullying. Then the teacher made the statement that “All Christians hate gay people.” Bravely, he raised his hand and said “I’m a Christian, and there are three gay couples on my street and I don’t hate them.”
And then there is the famed video of 100 students walking out of a national journalism conference as anti-bullying activist Dan Savage began cursing and attacking the bible and those who stand upon it. He called those who chose to quietly leave “pansy assed.”
Name calling? Intimidation? Degrading someone because they disagree with you? Hmmm, there’s a name for that I think. Oh yeah, it’s called bullying.
I know you have heard about bullying. There are special days and authorized curriculum denouncing bullying in your school. And you are into it. Because you love your gay friends and you love your gay family members. And if you are a Christian, you should love and serve them better than anyone else, even if you disagree with what they think (that’s called tolerance).
Young friends, I know that the message “If you don’t support gay marriage, you hate gay people” is ubiquitous in our culture. Hollywood, politicians, activists, or educators- they may think it’s impossible to love traditional marriage and your gay friends. But they’re wrong. No one else writes your story. What they say doesn’t have to define you. You define you.
And trust me, no matter how much you love your gay friends, if you choose to stand for traditional marriage, people will call you names- I guarantee it.
But just because someone calls you “bigot,” doesn’t make it true.
23 thoughts on “Hey Millennials- No One Gets to Tell You Who You Hate”
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I reckon you guessed I’d disagree with you – don’t you think it time we learned to turn the other cheek. The church still wants to tell gay people that their sexuality is distorted and tell them that they are undermining family with their desires for their own. Don’t you think they might just be a little frustrated and angry? Meanwhile the church hides behing the bible and says: “It is not me that is saying it but God – take it up with Him” that my friend is bigotry.
Thanks for your comments, Tapman. Just so we are working from the same definition, this is what Merriam-Webster has to say about bigotry:
“a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”
You and I have had several discussions about what the Bible says about homosexuality. Both of us have presented arguments, used reason, and attempted to persuade one another. So according to the first part of this definition, we might both be bigots, yes? “Obstinately [ADHERING to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion] or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.” So if looking only at the first part of this definition, to not be a bigot do you have to have ever-changing views, or be willing to engage in honest discussion, right?
The second part of this definition: “one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”. I would invite readers to review the discussions that you and I have had after the following posts: “Is being gay a sin?” “The French Get It” “If Gay Marriage, What Then?” They can make their own decisions about which one of us, or both, have had a tone of “hatred and intolerance” and which one of us has blessed and prayed for the one with whom we are disagreeing.
Regarding turning the other cheek, what does that look like to you? Because I think that the 100 students that quietly walked out on Dan Savage as he berated them certainly were not returning evil for evil. The public high school freshman noted above who calmly challenged his teacher’s outrageous claim seemed to be demonstrating an attitude of meekness, but not weakness. I would say that they are an example for all Christians of gentle strength despite unfair treatment.
Yes, I am a bigot, it is actually a human trait that most of us carry – some just live in denial. Yes your tone is beautiful and beyond reproach. If however I am right in my defense of Gay people my tone would be deemed too mild. Quiet voices have been talking for over twenty years, the voices will get louder – get used to it. Justice is an issue close to God’s heart.
Tapman, Im responding to your comment that –
“The church still wants to tell gay people that their sexuality is distorted and tell them that they are undermining family with their desires for their own. Don’t you think they might just be a little frustrated and angry? Meanwhile the church hides behing the bible and says: “It is not me that is saying it but God – take it up with Him” …”
I can see some validity to your point, in the sense that some people do use the Bible as an excuse to dislike homosexuality. But I dont think you are complaining about such superficial Christians. Rather than just accusing superficial Christians, your wording simply accuses “the church” in general. If Christians oppose stealing, or murder, are they likewise just hiding behind the Bible? On your blog, you call yourself a Christian. So what does being a Christian mean to you? Does it include abandoning the Bible? Isnt it a requirement of a Christian to align with Biblical teaching?
Hi again Stasisonline – I believe I am aligning with God’s Word – we can’t use the Bible as an excuse to do the wrong thing. The traditional view is wrong and hurtful – it is sin – and we hide behind our particular view, our particular prejudice, we hide behing the Bible and say it is OK because this is what it says. Well I say God is not saying it and God is not that mean…..
Yes, to a degree the traditional view is hurtful. There are a number of doctrines in the Bible that have an element of being hurtful, eg the doctrine that other religions are false (John 14), prioritising God over your own family (Mat. 10), giving away your hard earned wealth (luke 6) etc etc. So should we ignore all parts of the Bible that lead people to feel hurt?
And yes different people interpret the Bible differently, but surely you can see that the ‘default’ position someone would take after reading the whole Bible (in a standard English translation), is that it portrays gay sex as sinful? IE that rather than hiding behind anything, they simply acknowledge what it states. In debates about the topic, it’s those who disagree with standard translations, who construct big arguments rather than simply accepting what the printed word says. Take your argument about the original Koine Greek word ‘arsenokoites’ that most translations portray as referring to homosexual activity in 1 Cor. 6:9 etc. You have previously said that you dont think it refers to homosexual sex, because some have translated the word to mean ‘masturbation’. I think it’s wise to ask the question who is hiding the most? Those tends towards the majority expert opinion on the meaning of the word, or those who reject majority expert opinion? It seems to me that you are not open to even the possibility that ‘arsenokoites’ refers to gay sex? Your post above leads me to wonder whether the reason you hold the position that you do, is that you feel that it would be too mean of God to consider gay sex sinful? IE that your theology is built more on your own reasoning (risking contravening Proverbs 3:5) than on what the Bible directly states. I would think that it’s those who claim the Bible does not oppose gay sex, who are hiding behind something?
I make no apologies for using my own reasoning – God gave us a brain for this reason. It is my experience that those that are loudest against Gays are addicted to porn or sex or other sins and feel that little bit better when they can point the finger at someone else. I am not Gay, I am happily married and live a chaste life, I have no reason to throw stones. Keep searching, try not to hurt too many people along the way.
But Tapman, I recall on this blog, you referring to those who consider gay sex to be sinful, as “gay bashers” and you ascribe them as having false motives. You may not throw physical stones, but in a context of a polite blog like this one, Im afraid you do throw ‘literary’ stones. To mangle an old adage; “In seeking to be kind to Peter you are intolerant of and a little nasty towards Paul.” In reshaping Christianity to suit your preferences, you are drifting from Christ, but I can see that (in a humanistic way) you are well intended.
Words convey meaning – people need to realize that no matter how politely we say it – in the end we are still bashing and holding up hate banners. Strong language can be used to convey this message – if people are upset perhaps there is an edge of guilt. Maybe I get a bit passionate in my defense, does that nul and void the truth? Specks in others eyes are always nice to point out.
On reflection I might add that Jesus called certain people vipers and snakes and whitewashed tombs – if I was to say that this is how I view people who use polite words to attack LGBT people that would be offensive. The aim is to get people to ask questions – and that I believe was Jesus’ aim, he loved the pharisees as wel.
The Church also teaches that many other desires/proclivities (sexual and otherwise) are distorted, we are all broken, we all must strive for holiness, and we all need grace to get there because on our own we can’t do it. If that message makes people angry, that’s certainly nothing new, and to each his own. But to equate it with hatred is silly and, in itself, bigoted because it is assigning a blanket motive to someone’s beliefs – just because he/she is a Christian – without examining them on their merit. As a Christian, I choose not to define people by their “sexuality”. Every person is a child of God, and we all struggle with different inclinations that pull us away from what is holy. All of us. What happens more and more frequently is that Christians are defined by what we are against rather than what we are for. This is partly the fault of those “Christians” who can speak only with strident condemnation about the sins of others; partly the fault of poorly-catechized Christians unprepared to discuss their beliefs; and it is partly the fault of the secular culture, for which it is awfully convenient to set the Church up as the “bad guy” because it is so much easier just to tell people to do whatever they wish as long as they don’t hurt anyone (“anyone” being rather loosely defined, depending upon convenience and perceived value). I have never heard any intelligent Christian argue that gay people are “undermining family with their desires for their own”. People are free to enter into relationships with whomever they wish, and any Christian worth his/her salt recognizes that sexual desire in and of itself is not the issue… What many Christians believe about the civil institution of marriage is that it should be reserved for monogamous, heterosexual relationships because that very legitimate distinction represents society’s best chance of retaining the ideal notion of childrearing vis a vis biological parenthood – which is a natural right of every child. Like it or not, childbearing is a heteronormative endeavor. Legal recognition of marriage as a committed relationship between a man and a woman is simply an acknowledgement of what *is*. I don’t dispute that there are rational arguments for the “other side” of this issue. Nor do I question the personal integrity or motives of those with whom I disagree. Many are close friends. I would just appreciate it if my religion weren’t distorted and scapegoated in order to fit someone else’s convenient stereotype. I am not hiding behind the Bible. God has written his plan for human sexuality and, by extension, for childbearing/childrearing, into our very flesh. It is what it is – individual desires notwithstanding, because we all – in some way, shape, or form – desire things quite naturally that are not in line with God’s commandments and designs. No doubt marriage has been going down the tubes for quite some time, so it’s hardly same-sex marriage alone that should cause Christians grave concern. And, in my experience, it isn’t – it’s just the one that happens to be getting the most attention, with Christians being cast as the “ANTIs” once again, just like with the issue of abortion. I am not anti-gay. I am pro-marriage, for the purposes it has historically served in society and as defined objectively by the very nature of our beings. I highly recommend the book “Sexuality Authenticity – An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism” by Melinda Selmys. You will likely disagree with her conclusions, but it would be hard to accuse the author of bigotry, ignorance, or “hiding behind” anything. She is an incredibly intelligent, frank and engaging writer. Much like our friend “the Bigot” here. 🙂
Thanks for reply Beth – it is all a matter of perspective – I am either a bully and a name caller or I am the voice of God.
It was only in the 70’s that Aboriginals here in Australia were granted the right to vote – before that we were Bible totin’, Bible believin’ Christians that would have exhasuted a lot of time blogging about the God ordained structures of society and how allowing black people the same rights as us would be a slippery slope towards goodness knows what else.( They did try to warn us that allowing women to vote was a slippery slope.) Bible believing Christians have a long tradition of making stupid claims based on superior knowledge from the Bible. Galileo was imprisoned because he wouldn’t recant what he saw from his telescope. If I was to insert the word black wherever the word Gay is used on this site I would be a hero – we might want to think a bit before we make distortions of what God has created.
This is where I always see the conversation end. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to fast forward through all the gymnastics of trying to justify discrimination at the secular National level by interpreting the Bible. One should not influence the other except to the extent that society overall embraces the same tenets.
As for the church, we spend so much time trying to focus all the condemnation of God on two issues (and I’m not saying that Askthebigot does this. She believes it is wrong and I respect that.) but not a lot of time focusing on what Jesus told us to do before ascending to heaven (feed my sheep) nor emulating His life while on Earth.
I also see a disconnect in the notion that a child who does not have a father because he has lesbian parents or a mother because he has gay parents cannot have a full life. What do we do about children who lose a parent? What do we do about children whose parents divorce? Is single parent adoption to be outlawed? If one of the main cornerstones of rejecting gay marriage is that it leaves a child without one of its natural parents (I assume you mean a mother AND father, though not necessarily biological) and that is somehow cruel or ethically wrong, then why is there not a push to have divorce outlawed?
This blog is mixing purposes in some ways, Cindy. In one respect, I strive to engage the secular world on the topic of gay marriage. I feel, as you do, that what scripture says about morality is the wrong platform from which to argue public policy. That is why when giving reasons for why I support and am zealous for natural marriage, and why it benefits society, I make my case based on reason, the best social science, history, biology- all of which we hold in common. AND some of these posts address a Christian audience, and in those cases I use scripture. I can see how a reader might be confused.
Regarding your comment on discrimination, I think that Beth has covered that point in her response below.
“As for the church, we spend so much time trying to focus all the condemnation of God on two issues.”
Honestly, abortion and gay marriage are not major topics of discussion at my church or most churches with which I have contact. Our church, and others in our community, is greatly involved in the local food bank (in terms of food donated and man-power), missions to meet the physical and spiritual needs locally and globally, person-to-person sacrifice for the needy in our neighborhood, connections with teen pregnancy centers, ministry to the homeless, groups for those struggling with addiction, Grief Share, and lots more. But no one is looking for comments on those efforts. Those “two issues” seem to be the only area where media is interested in hearing church’s voice, and usually just to distort it or find a sensational tid bit here or there.
“What do we do about children who lose a parent? What do we do about children whose parents divorce? Is single parent adoption to be outlawed?”
What we do is recognize that children in all of these scenarios have suffered a tremendous loss. (For the adopted child, wherever s/he lands, there must be an honest acknowledgement of the brokenness that has been suffered). And while we allow adults to make choices about their personal lives, we should not promote or incentivize any arrangement that necessitates loss for a child. Revising no fault divorce laws would be a fantastic start, and would have a broad impact. I could really get behind that effort.
In terms of adoption, in my opinion we allow agencies to consider marital status and gender of parents when they make placements- since those factors play a role in child well-being.
askthebigot (does it bother you that I address you that way, because I always feel like it could be interpreted that I am stressing it for other reasons, and I’m not. I just want to practice good manners),
Thanks for clearing that up. I sometimes get confused about where the political and religious lines blur. And your point is well taken. I suspect it will not be the last time that this type of discussion crosses into the other territory.
My church also does a lot of good in the community and supports many missionaries and hosts Awana and bible camps and has a great youth program. But I don’t blame the media for highlighting the issues, I blame the church. Because even within my own church, when there is condemnation to be discussed, regardless of whether it is gentle, it almost always focuses on these two issues (gay rights and abortion).
One of the reasons I stopped going to Sunday School myself was because divisive issues were discussed very openly using rhetoric that I believed wasn’t appropriate in church. I love my church and did not want to know what every nook and cranny looked like because it is my place to escape all the hatefulness I see in the world around me (or it should be). Perhaps that is a cop out on my part.
I wish that whatever side of any of the issues we are on we could meet together to work on a resolution, a fix, a compromise that acknowledges that what is good for the church may not work for all of society but not everything the church thinks is harmful is bad for society. I think to do this, however, we must allow all of the people affected to have a voice.
@ Tapman. Yes some in the church have distorted God’s word to forward a political agenda. And many have rightly used scripture to combat the social evils of their time. Evangelicals, at the beginning of the movement, defined themselves on political issues. They were committed to the anti-slavery movement in the 1800s, which went hand-in-hand with many of their revivals. They were committed to end slavery out of a love for Jesus Christ and the equal dignity of their black brothers. Also, evangelicals had a prominent role in the feminist movement (not necessarily where it has ended but where it began) based in the biblical truth of the equality of genders. You can listen to Tony Campolo talk about that here (http://www.gaychristian.net/campolos1.mp3) in a debate with his wife on the issue of homosexuality. (I think you would appreciate the tone and message of the discussion.)
But sexual orientation is different from race and gender. We have to be honest about the Biblical author’s intent and use solid exegesis so that we do not bend God’s word to fit our agenda. God has opened the door of His kingdom to people of all races and both genders through several scriptures (Gal 3:28, Joel 2:29, Romans 3:22, Romans 3:29, 1 Cor 12:13, etc). I stand on the claim that God does not approve of homosexual conduct because it is denounced within scripture, and heterosexual sex is encouraged within marriage. If your interpretation is correct, then you should be able to provide me with a scripture where God affirms gay sex. Can you?
On Galileo, he was under house arrest. The facts surrounding his circumstances were not because of teachings in opposition of the church, though that explanation has a sensational appeal. Social historian Rodney Stark gives the details of Galileo’s house arrest in his book The Triumph of Christianity, pages 288-292.
Hi Tapman – I differ on the assertion that Galileo was imprisoned simply because he wouldn’t recant what he saw through his telescope. But that’s a subject for another day. 🙂 The difference between the issue of same-sex marriage and the right to vote, or even the right of an interracial couple to marry, is that gender and race are not relevant to voting and race is not relevant to marriage. You can equate them if you wish, but personally I think that’s oversimplifying a bit. Racists and sexists make distinctions that are subjective and discriminatory. But that does not mean it is inherently wrong to make distinctions. Fairness requires that like cases be treated alike. It does not require us to stop making distinctions simply because in the past others have made distinctions that were unfair. The question is whether a sexual relationship between a man and a woman is fundamentally different from a sexual relationship between a woman and a woman or a man and a man – and, if so, is that fundamental difference relevant to the institution of marriage. I say “yes” to both questions – I am making a distinction about the objective nature of the relationships, not the persons in them and their worth, their abilities, their character, etc.
On the matter of sexuality, I’m not sure who/what is distorting what God has created. I don’t think it’s the concept of authentic (“traditional”) marriage. There are rational arguments against same-sex marriage that do not rely one iota on Scripture or even a concept of God – the reason it was mentioned here is because the topic of the post was the perception of Christianity as “hateful” on this issue. People certainly have used the Bible to serve their own purposes – it’s not immune to that, unfortunately.
Good post, i will share with my friends.
Thanks for reading and sharing!
There was a mention made about outlawing divorce. As a christian, the best way to accomplish that is to stay married till death parts us. I realize not everyone can or will, but if we all made our greatest attempt with God’s help, the church would be much stronger as a whole. This world desperately needs our witness.
On the whole gay issue, why is it so evil for us to stand on God’s word and believe that it’s wrong. Does it have to bother them that we don’t support it?
I have two male friends who are gay. They so kindly chose to decorate and gift me the most beautiful flowers at my wedding. I loved and cared for their mother who is in the nursing home with paralysis from a stroke.
I truly believe the issue is that we pray and witness with love that they may all be saved. Only then will changing the lifestyle have a true impact. Anyone of us can clean up and live good and still be lost and undone without Christ. That was me for years.
So to all the gay people out there, I do not hate you. But I cannot support a lifestyle that goes directly against the Word of my God. You may judge my choice today but He will be my Judge on the day that matters most.
This post and so many others; oh thank you! I fear I am going to face some if not a lot of backlash from my friends when I see them after the holiday break, and I really need insight like this to support me when I tell them that I am a born-again Christian. (of course, I will also need the support of God). I am not going to tell them in hate. I am not going to dismiss them as my friends because of my beliefs that differ from theirs. If they outcast me because of my beliefs, that is okay, but I will always offer them support. In hindsight, when I considered myself an agnostic/atheist, I probably would have scoffed at the idea of caring for someone that does not like me, respect me, or appreciate me, and I would have thought that anyone doing so was an annoying leech or just really desperate. But now I see it the way Jesus Christ saw it; we must love all, even when they make it painful for us. Because if they only love people who love them, who will be there for them if others stop loving them? As Christians, we will. It is our duty as we follow Christ to love everyone, even if it is painful for us. If my bisexual and/or liberal friends reject me because of my beliefs, I will not reject them, for my duty is not to force the Bible on them, but to simply answer any questions they may have about it, let them know that even if they are at their worst, there is a power transcendent of all human beings that will always love them, even if they don’t believe in Him or reject Him, and I will also be there to care for them. I am thankful for the reminder that Jesus faced much worse judgment from the people in his time, so he will understand my suffering when I face any such condemnation. And you’re right, nobody does get to tell me who I hate. I don’t love my friends any less now than I did when I agreed with their beliefs. Just because I choose to follow the Bible does not mean I am to hate my old friends – ha, it’s actually quite the opposite!
Holy cow. This is text-book quality commentary on the subject of loving those with whom we disagree in Christ’s name and for His glory. You are so right! Our job is to demonstrate what life with Christ looks like, stand firm on the truth, and reach out in love. Godspeed, dear friend! May you be a peacemaker, warrior, binder of wounds, freer of captives, and one who lays down their rights for the sake of the kingdom. This treasure in a field, this pearl of great price is worth all your sacrifice! I will be praying that you will see God’s hand at work as you love His world.
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