As Christians, we like to think that we’re unpopular because we take a principled, Biblical stand against homosexual sexual relations. But the things that stain our reputation most are not at all theological. They’re not about the belief that same-sex sexual contact is sinful. They’re about the way we so often treat homosexual people.
There are plenty of churches that actively seek to welcome lesbians and homosexuals into to their midst, while still holding to the theology that homosexual sexual relations are sinful in god’s eyes.
They believe that those who are completely homosexual (and not at all bisexual or attracted to the opposite sex at all) should be celibate, and those who are bisexual should focus their romantic and sexual attention on members of the opposite sex, effectively living as if heterosexual.
These churches are occasionally called intolerant or anti-homosexual, but they actually have homosexual people in their congregations. They love and worship with and share communion with people who are sexually attracted to the same sex. They do not hold themselves sinless or blameless or better than their homosexual neighbors. And so they are able to witness and minister to people who are so often excluded from the Church.
People act like the alternatives are the Family Research Council (which spreads horrible, often false, ‘information’ about homosexuals and works against all their civil rights) or the Episcopal Church (which ordained its first homosexual priest in the seventies, and has created an official blessing for same-sex marriages).
That is a false dichotomy. You do not need to change your theology to change the way you treat your least popular neighbors (Don’t get me wrong: I believe you can be a faithful, prayerful Christian and not believe homosexual sexual relations are sinful. But those Christians aren’t the ones I’m writing this post to).
In other words, the evangelical churches of the United States do not have to start blessing same-sex marriages and ordaining homosexual ministers. But we do need to stop actively working to use the government to attack homosexuals.
In many states, homosexuals can be fired because of their sexual orientation for no reason. In many states, they cannot adopt. In many states, they are excluded from hospital visitation for their partners. Until 2003, having homosexual relations was felony on par with forcible rape in many states. That’s oppression: “if you’re gay, we treat you like a rapist.”
In other words, homosexual people are treated like second-class citizens, and it’s mostly because of political pressure from conservative Christians.
As Christians, we are called to love all sinners, not just sinners who sin like we do. As Christians, we are not called to use the empire’s hammer to beat down people we don’t like. That is antithetical to Christ’s behavior when He was on earth, and I believe antithetical to Christ’s message.
Jesus ate with the outcasts of Jewish society – Samaritans, tax collectors, and more – and He loved them. He loves them still, just like he loves the outcasts of our American society. If we love Him, we need to suck it up, step up, and start feeding His sheep.