A school district in Alameda, CA is in the news due to their curriculum that includes a book on two male homosexual penguins raising a baby penguin. School authorities are now trying to make it compulsory for all their students to attend the class. The age group for this class- 5 year olds.
Parents are protesting this. The story is carried on Fox News and only a few other mainstream media outlets like the San Francisco Chronicle. Comments to the reports as usual shed more heat than light. Pro-LGTB rights commentators say they cannot support hatred as shown by the protesting parents. The overriding themes are bigotry, hate, moral arrogance, ad hominem attacks on Christians. Familiar topics in the last 10 years of Right vs Left.
As a Christian I'm convinced that our uber-activism in the political sphere and the corresponding lack of interest in showing real love to the world around us have sunk our reputation. Besides the reputation it has also shown us to ourselves what we have become. A culture that insists on morality by the lawbook and not by the heart.
In this context those who hold to the Biblical position that homosexual behaviour is sinful and part of the fallen world are in the dock to answer for bigotry. Many of us will not deny the basic inalienable rights guaranteed under the Constitution to anyone, even if the beneficiaries contradict our moral values. Most of us will allow for hospital visitations and even civil unions. Some of us have deeply held concerns about adoptions by LGTB couples that stem from our belief that immorality is then allowed to spread. Most of us do not like the idea of our society and government reaching out to our kids with the idea that LGTB behaviour is morally sound. Even withholding our religious convictions, these issues are being hotly debated among lawmakers and many LGTB rights issues are won after a tough fight. In such circumstances, to introduce gay curricula into schools is not right. I think it is also very clear to those making the argument about our protests being bigoted and hateful that the real issue is not hate at all; only our convictions about morality. This may seem judgmental to some, but even a cursory reading of our stance on this issue will reveal to them that our condemnation of immoral behaviour is not a condemnation of the person. Indeed we know that we have huge planks in our own eyes. Pornography, infidelity, insincerity in the puplit, moneymaking scams are all gnawing at the vitals in some of our churches and perhaps even in our lives. Our faith seeks to rescue the sinner from sin.
But another possibility presents itself. We have been fighting these issues in the legal and political sphere. How can we ever rescue the sinner when we do not have love for the sinner? As Mark Young, President of Denver Seminary, said in one of his chapel addresses at DTS (Dallas), when we cast our votes, consider voting on the basis of what will help me present the Gospel in the most effective manner. Will we win hearts by our love and compassion? It is a sad reality that today we Christians are known for bigotry to the homosexual community than our love.
Yes, the Gospel is offensive. We cannot avoid stepping on anyone's toes when we speak the truth- even when we do so in love. But let the Gospel be offensive- do *WE* have to be offensive as well? Perhaps we feel we are standing up for the truth when we get offensive about these topics. Malcolm Muggeridge once remarked (about the Leftward leaning who protest against pro-lifers, right-to-lifers, et al) that it is far easier to hold a placard in the streets and shout a few slogans than actually practise moral behaviour. Worse, this also blinds us to our own sins. We think our moral outrage, rather than love, covers a multitude of sins. Maybe we should look at ourselves and ask this question: am I reflecting Jesus' love? The answer may surprise us- let's hope it will not scare us.