Put It In Context, Part I

Recently, in the comments of the vlog I posted where I called out gay liberals for their blissful ignorance, one user said that it was somehow one-sided to “only call out liberals who say mean things.” Of course, this was a user with whom I had never had a discussion before and he had no idea that I have, in fact, called out the people on the right who have uneducated ideas about what homosexuality is about; he was commenting on a single video and had no idea what my beliefs were, but he assumed and, naturally, he never admitted he might well be wrong.

This is going to be one of those Come-To-Jesus posts where we sit down and have a good talk about the religious view of homosexuality and the place of both in society.

It starts with a story out of Wisconsin. The Hawks Post, the student newspaper at Shawano High School, published an op-ed mashup between two students of opposing viewpoints. That is perfectly normal for a high school newspaper. What isn’t normal, however, is the subject matter: gay marriage. Even more abnormal was the fact that the student who wrote the dissenting opinion did so from a completely religious perspective, something that doesn’t really jibe with the continued assault on the rights of religious students to express their beliefs.

According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, that student wrote, “If one is a practicing Christian, Jesus states in the Bible that homosexuality is (a) detestable act and sin which makes adopting wrong for homosexuals because you would be raising the child in a sin-filled environment. A child adopted into homosexuality will get confused because everyone else will have two different-gendered parents that can give them the correct amount of motherly nurturing and fatherly structure. In a Christian society, allowing homosexual couples to adopt is an abomination.”

Pretty harsh. Scripturally inaccurate, for sure, but I’ll address that later. First I want to point out a few other things. The article was seen by a 13-year-old student whose parents are a gay couple, one of several in that school district who lead very balanced, healthy homes. When he asked his fathers about it they were both stunned and upset; they talked to the superintendent of the district, who also expressed shock at the article. Almost immediately, the district issued an apology and called the article a form of bullying. One of the fathers was quoted in the article I linked above saying that the printing of that article in a school paper “sets us back 20 or 30 years” and claimed that it could lead to bullying of gay students at the school.

I have a few things to add to this debate before I get into anything else.

1. This debate has no place in a public high school newspaper. Period. It never should have been done. The reason I say this is that it was an op-ed mashup; when you give one student the green light to write in support of any gay rights, you open the door for other students with deeply-held religious beliefs about this subject to insist that their opinion be printed as well. They are going to find ways to express their beliefs, but when you give those beliefs space in a school-sponsored publication you might as well be giving those views some form of validity. It should have been left alone.

2. Once the damage was done, the worst thing the district could possibly have done was attack the dissenting student. Believe me, that is exactly what they did when they apologized and called him a bully. That student doesn’t understand why his views are so reviled, and he is going home to a family and a church body that is affirming what he wrote as a courageous stand. Everything you say against him is, to them, persecution; you are validating everything they’re teaching him.

3. Far be it from me to criticize a parent, since I am not one myself…I am, however, an aunt, and I also remember quite well what it was like when my mother would pound on my principal’s desk about the things they were teaching that she didn’t like. It was embarrassing because it made me a target of the real bullies in school who didn’t claim any religion at all. If you push too hard, you’re setting your own kids apart more than anyone else is. Plus, if you get upset about it, they will, too – turn it into a learning experience, and do it peacefully. You might make more friends than you thought you could.

Todd Starnes of Fox News reported on it as well, and if you read the comments you’ll see some pretty intense back-and-forth from some genuinely intellectual people and other folks who…well, aren’t quite that well educated. If they were going to let one student write about the subject, then it was only fair that they let a dissenting opinion in, and since they made that decision they should be standing by it. Instead, the district has behaved in the worst way possible.

I’m going to say what they are not going to let anyone else say…while this student has his right to his opinion, he is wrong.

Jesus never, not once, addressed homosexuality. Never in any of His sermons, prayers or responses to the religious leaders did He ever say one word about homosexuality. The only place where it is called an abomination is in Leviticus 20 (which this student did cite) – the very same ceremonial law that also called for the death penalty for adulterers, children who disrespect their parents, idolaters, soothsayers (what we know today as astrologers), and married couples who have sex during the wife’s menstrual cycle (no, I’m not joking). That ceremonial law takes up nearly the whole of Leviticus, and the ceremonial law was exactly what Jesus meant when He said He had come to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17). The ceremonial law and the moral law were very distinct and separate. Jesus’ sacrifice – His torture, death on the cross, and resurrection – was the atonement for sin that the ceremonial law called for according to scripture. The biggest reason for the ceremonial law was to set Israel apart completely from other nations, and because Christ is the way to salvation now, the ceremonial law is moot for us.

Nowhere is that point so clearly made than in Galatians 2:15-16: “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” In the very next chapter Paul reminds the Galatians that if you only cite part of the law but do not keep it all, you call a curse on yourself. I would caution religious conservatives who like to point out those scriptures – you’re taking scripture out of context.

My next post will be a little different. I will be dropping names, pictures and direct quotes from a couple of genuine hatemongers.