Defending/critiquing the homosexual lifestyle

In the wake of the Jennifer Knapp story, I’ve had a chance to analyze the reactions of people on either side of debate. One of the things that’s bothered me most is that the media and the blogosphere are predictably going out of their way to find reactions that sound hateful and hurtful. I’m convinced that the larger part of the truly reproachable reactions are the ones called out for attention by those who find criticism of homosexuality to be hopelessly benighted and who make a point to imply that these examples are but the tip of the iceberg of how cruel and uncivil Christians are. I’d like to point out that even Jennifer Knapp told Larry King that the responses have been overwhelmingly civil and fair.

This is not to say that Christians haven’t been critical of Knapp in large part; the evangelical community has, as expected, overwhelmingly opposed Knapp’s decision to be an apologist for Christian homosexuality. But I think any fair-minded person should step into the shoes of their opponents (even Christians!) for half a second.

I’ll save another post for my response to certain Christian critics of homosexuality, but in this one, I’d like to pose this question for the thoughtful.

For people who truly believe that the gay lifestyle is not only displeasing to God but is a harmful lifestyle for anyone embracing it, what reaction is appropriate?

No one seems to want to address the fact that it is neither hateful nor boneheadedly intolerant for people to be distressed when someone they care about has embraced something they are convinced is harmful to that person, or when someone with influence over people they care about acts in a way that effectively legitimizes harmful behavior.

You may or may not be convinced that the neighbor’s house is on fire; you may in fact be throroughly convinced that the person who called the fire department is blind and delusional. But last time I checked, the enlightened are expected to feel compassion and seek care for the blind and delusional, aren’t they? And when you seek to enlighten them and change their behavior, aren’t you doing exactly what they’re doing to homosexuals when they attempt to reform them? Heck, if you think my house is on fire, please act compassionately — I can certainly forgive you if you’re wrong.

Enough emotionalist rhetoric already. Believing the Bible’s clear criticisms of homosexuality (just save the fancy footwork, please — they are in there) may make conservative Christians benighted, naive, or even outright moronic. But it does not alone make them bigoted hypocrites. One must actually think or act in bigoted, hypocritical ways before one can legitimately be criticized as bigoted and hypocritical.

By all means, continue telling critics of homosexuality why you think they’re wrong in their beliefs (here’s a hint: honey attracts more flies than vinegar). But please think twice before assuming that every Christian opposed to homosexuality does so for prideful or otherwise nefarious reasons.

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