My 19 year-old brother, Jared, recently shared his thoughts in a brief essay on today’s politically correct, post-modern concept of “tolerance.” I’m admittedly biased, but I thought he exhibited insight beyond his years. He did, however, open the door for a debate on whether Christians focus too much attention on the sin of homosexuality while giving other sins a pass. His musings and my response follow:
“Certain things, if not seen as lovely or detestable, are not being correctly seen at all.” – C.S. Lewis
It has become difficult to hold true to strongly held beliefs. The problem lies in the fact that behaviors, once held simply as sinful actions, are being lauded as definers of identity.
So, when one states that one believes fornication, homosexual behavior, or adultery to be wrong, the modern world calls this person an “intolerant” “oppressor” of “sexual freedom.” Or they are called “hateful.” The rationale is that they are oppressing “the way people love.” Sexual behaviors, in particular homosexuality, are called “identity.” “This is who we are.”
This is a problem, grave and immense. This rationale seeks, in its innermost, to undermine the ability of others to challenge these beliefs. By setting themselves up as minorities, people in this realm make disagreement “hatred,” “bigotry,” “judgment.”
In reality, it is statement of fact. Morality is what it is. To attempt to rationalize it away is lunacy.
Another problem arises here, though; and it is this: Christians, as a whole, focus too much on the homosexual issue alone. They attack it solely, denounce it, and live whichever way they please. Adultery, fornication, racism, pride, jealousy, selfish ambition, drunkenness; all of these immoral acts take to the background in view of homosexuality, and so we as Christians are set up as anti-gay instead of anti-immorality. We need to end our own hypocrisy, all of us, I as much as any, so that we can more blamelessly broach this subject and others.
And foremost, we must remember that Christ preached one thing above all else: Love. We must love others, with, as [C.S.] Lewis said, “...a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.” We must hold to the standard of morality which binds all mankind. We must not allow behaviors to define identity. We must do away with “tolerance” in its modern form which simply indulges behavior despite what morality says. But above all else, we must love.
Incisive analysis, Jared. Nicely done. I think C.S. Lewis himself might have said so. The only sentiment with which I take issue is this: “Christians, as a whole, focus too much on the homosexual issue alone.”
Here’s why I disagree.
You're spot on when you say that we need to confront all forms of sin, call sin sin and repent of that sin. God hates hypocrisy, no doubt, and as you rightly observe, “we need to end our own hypocrisy, all of us…” Furthermore, you’re absolutely right when you say, “above all else, we must love.” But as you essentially point out, this does not mean that we indulge sinful behavior and call it good. True love does not facilitate immorality, it takes it to task.
However, consider this: A particularly heavy focus on the sin of homosexuality by “Christians as a whole” is not at all gratuitous. There is such emphasis, not because we intentionally and specifically chose to target this particular sin, but rather, because strident moral relativists demand that, in contrast to the other sins you address, the sin of homosexuality not only be “tolerated,” but celebrated. That’s what the euphemistic slogan, “celebrate diversity,” supposes.
Unlike the sin of homosexuality, the other sins you cite — the sins of adultery, fornication, racism, pride, jealousy, selfish ambition and drunkenness do not have the benefit of a tremendously powerful and prosperous lobby which is blindly supported by people in positions of political influence, and other leftists in media and elsewhere who have been duped by the crafty and disingenuous rhetoric of “tolerance” and “diversity.”
Proponents, practitioners and enablers of homosexual sin demand that we all renounce God’s express condemnation of such conduct and embrace this spiritually and physically destructive behavior as virtuous — as a wholly equal, alternative sexual “orientation.” They believe that the only thing objectively immoral is to reckon there are things objectively immoral. Yet, when others find freedom from the homosexual lifestyle — as untold thousands have done through the loving and redemptive power of Jesus Christ — those former homosexuals are maliciously maligned for committing a betrayal most immoral. Like that popular hotel in California, “You can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave.”
Thus we find ourselves — back against the ropes — in a fight we did not pick, struggling in a culture war we did not ask for. It’s a clash of worldviews in a zero-sum-game. Make no mistake; the sin of homosexuality is the bunker-buster bomb in this war against morality.
The very firm response by defenders of Biblical truth to the homosexual lobby’s relentless assault on our nation’s Judeo-Christian tradition is indeed a defensive reaction, not an act of aggression. The sheer mechanics of homosexual conduct very naturally elicits revulsion in most rational folk. Therefore, most of us would prefer not to even imagine it, much less struggle to defend against its wholesale promotion. But regrettably, our hand has been forced.
Scripture cautions, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” That Scripture becomes manifest in the left’s insistence that homosexual behavior — which God unequivocally condemns and which human biology coldly rejects — be either embraced or opposed under penalty of law.