Stop being Categorizers


Some people have been curious about my response / thoughts on the whole Chick-fil-A vs. Gay Marriage debate.  So here it is: stop being categorizers.

Both sides.  Stop.

Every time this debate shows up, I think both sides end up losing the battle and the main point.

Should Christians stand up for marriage?  Yes.  Is gay marriage really the end of traditional marriage?  No.  Should gays and lesbians get married?  Honestly, I don’t think any one can stop it from happening.  Are all people who oppose gay marriage hateful and insensitive?  No.

I personally do not agree with same-sex marriage or relationships.  I hold fast to the traditional interpretation of scripture.  However, you won’t find me boycotting gays and lesbians who want to get married either.  We live in a society that neglects the Word of God.  As I’ve said before, we do not live in a Christian nation.  We are a multicultural, multi-religious country.  Boycotting the things we don’t like, especially in the name of God, does about the same level of good that giving a blind person keys to a car does.  He may get in to the car and turn it on, but he isn’t going to go where he hopes.  We may hold up signs with scripture on them, but our message doesn’t resemble the one we should be portraying.

As I’ve said before about marriage, gays and lesbians getting married isn’t the end of traditional marriage.  The institution of marriage has been dying far longer.  And frankly, until Christians start being pro-family all around – meaning that we tend to single parents, provide for orphans, stop getting divorces ourselves, speak against adultery, etc – then we really do not have the right to protest some one else starting a family – gay or straight.

When we protest against one and not the others, we are guilty of cherry-picking scripture.

In saying this, let me speak to the other side of this debate.  When myself, or other Christians, come out and say we do not agree with homosexuality, or gay marriage, this does not mean we hate gay people or wish ill-will towards them.  It simply means we do not agree with the belief that homosexuality is biblical.  Now, there are some Christians who do wish hate and ill-will … for this, I’m so sorry that their evil rises above the truth of God’s love.

Should gays and lesbians boycott Chick-fil-A because of their stance on gay marriage?  No.  It’s their belief.  Just the same, Christians shouldn’t boycott Disney because of their stance on gay marriage.  It’s their belief.  This is America, where religious freedom reigns.  Non-Christians should not get bent out of shape when Christians stand up for their religious convictions.  It’s what we’re suppose to do (though in a non-boycotting way).  Likewise, Christians should not get bent out of shape when non-Christians stand up for their convictions.  We can not keep claiming “religious persecution” for the very thing we want the ability to do – which is express our convictions.

I just finished a book by Rajendra Pillai, “Reaching the World in Our Own Backyard,” and I want to share a quote from his chapter on changing attitudes.  Pillai is discussing the various types of attitudes people have towards internationals.  His conviction is that we need to move from these attitudes and instill a more biblical way of looking at people – we are all precious in God’s sight.  Pillai says this:

(In ministering to people) our job is threefold: (1) Respect the other person’s beliefs and customs without compromising our own Christian principles; (2) be ready to share the gospel gently and respectfully when the opportunityarrives; and (3) be a true friend … We must see people as unique individuals rather than trying to fit them into an ideology born of past experiences … the great divide is not among people of different skin colors, nor is it among people of different cultural or ethnic backgrounds. The great divide is between believers and unbelievers. It is our job to bridge this divide by reaching out in friendship and sharing the good news of salvation … However, to bring about a change at the societal level, we must start with ourselves.

pages 38, 40, 42, 43

I think Pillai’s words resonate with what is being said here.

If we are constantly at war with each other, how are we able to move forward?  Being a light in the darkness means that we stand up and allow our actions to speak louder than our words.  It means that we allow the influence of Christ to transform that which needs to be transformed – starting with ourselves first.

In this whole mess – and in the messes yet to come – I think Christians need to be a better witness.  This means we don’t take a situation like this and continually slam gays and lesbians with it.  How about, instead of buying a chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A, in support of their “great stand for Christian values,” we concentrate on befriending a gay neighbor.  After all, I think that’s what Jesus would do.


14 responses to “Stop being Categorizers

  1. I can agree with most of this post. The problem I have with your comments is that they do not address the reasons beyond religious convictions that conservatives and Christians have for supporting Chick-Fil-A and standing against gay marriage – and that’s our rights. There’s an element of fear there, but not of the person – we’re afraid of losing our rights, losing our ability to speak for what we believe, losing our jobs for speaking what we believe. I’m sure this applies to both sides, but the liberal, pro-gay-marriage side really just wants to force its beliefs on everyone else – to force not just tolerance, but acceptance and encouragement of gay pride.

    See my blog for more.

    • While I understand your concern, Blessed Assurance, Christ never said we would not face hard times as a Christian, much less not face hate from the world. He told us the opposite. Still, He called the Church to be His Light and Prrsence despite our persucation.

  2. what are you so afraid of? why can’t other americans have the same rights you enjoy? simply because you (and your god of choice) disagree with their personal preferences? preferences that in no way impact you? you claim to harbor no hatred for homosexuals, yet you admit that you don’t believe they should be allowed to wed. im sorry, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. thats hatred. plain and simple.

    • Its more, though I don’t agree with gay marriage, I’m not protesting their desire to get married.

      I fully support gay couples getting the same legal rights as straights.

      • but we just have to make up a new word for it? separate but equal right? thats worked out well in our history.

  3. Come on Now, “separate but equal” may have not worked well, but “the same” for things that are different hasn’t really been successful, either. Is it possible that we can identify and recognize differences (and maybe even pros and cons) without needing what I do/have/value to be a carbon copy of what I see my neighbors do/have/value? If we boil it all down, there is not any discrimination in marriage. Everyone over a certain age has the right to marry one person of the opposite sex over a certain age who is not within a certain distance of relation. Anyone (gay or straight) who wishes to marry outside of those bounds will run into trouble. People in same sex, polygamous, incestuous, or underage relationships have had these regulations opposing them for years. So why not come up with something entirely different that allows people to unite their legal, financial, personal, and household rights without bias toward gender, relation, or number? Let unions that wish to be blessed by their church/belief system bless or call them whatever they want to, but let that be different and separate than the legal union that is offered. I had heterosexual sister neighbors who lived together raising the son of one of the sisters. They would have greatly benefited from a legal union allowing them to combine taxes, etc. They had no desire to be “married,” but they shared everything in the household. Surely there is an answer that would allow religious adherents to keep their values without crippling the legal/medical/financial rights of people who want to be united in something other than a heterosexual relationship. Of course, the possibility of our governmental system figuring something like this out does seem slim at best.

  4. I thought that’s why the civil union was created? As well, I would be very upset if they forced pastors to we’d homosexual couples.

    Again Shawn, right on…I think the church could benefit from reading Cost of Dicipleship again…many of Bonfohher’s points are still very relevant.

    • I agree Jon. I don’t believe forcing pastors to perform gay marriages is right, either. Especially for those who do not agree from a biblical standpoint.

      The point, though, is changing our stance: from what we’re against to what we’re for. Surely this world has more important issues to be raised than gay marriage?! Poverty … AIDS … nations not knowing Christ … homelessness .. widows and orphans …

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