Recently, I watched an incendiary diatribe labeled a sermon from a pastor in North Carolina. As a part of his civic duty to defend North Carolina’s Amendment One, he offered his “solution” for “queers and lesbians”: remove them from society and let them perish.
Put all the queers and lesbians behind a fence and airdrop food until they all die out? Really? Examples that parallel this type of behavior exist throughout human history. I’ll allow your intellect to cull through them and their success while I choose to focus on one.
Forcing people labeled as LGBTQ outside of the larger community is just like the treatment of lepers in ancient Israel. You remember those folks: the ones that had to yell “unclean” as they walked along, just so normal people wouldn’t accidentally touch them. The ones that Jesus stopped for, talked to, touched. Oops.
Throughout his life, Jesus often mingled with those that were socially unacceptable, much to the chagrin of the elite. Jesus broke the social norms of his day in a litany of ways. He spoke with women (John 4:27), allowed children to occupy his time (Luke 18:15), and even physically touched lepers — a catchall designation for those so handicapped by disease they were ostracized from society (Mark 1:41; Luke 5:13). From eating and associating with the poor (Matthew 9:13), to improving their status (such as raising the son of the poor widow in Luke 7:11-16), to affording them high levels of respect when no one else would (such as defending the naked woman brought before him with an accusation of adultery in John 8:1-11) Jesus demonstrated what Tim Keller described as a priority of care for the least respected people of his culture.
Why must so many of us define ourselves by what we are not? By what we are against? Even if someone were to blithely say what they are “for” our brains are so wired in a dichotomist manner by now that we instantly jump to the negative form of what someone is saying: we conclude that if they are for something, then logically, they are against the opposite. Why opposites? Why are we settling for either/or stances? Where is the nuance? Where is the beauty?
Benjamin Barber called people who cling to dichotomist, either/or thought “adult-infants,” stating that the pervasiveness of this mentality dominates almost all areas of society.
“Dogmatic judgments of black and white in politics and religion come to displace the nuanced complexities of adult morality, while the marks of perpetual childishness are grafted onto adults who indulge in puerility without pleasure, and indolence without innocence.”
Certainly, there are myriad sources of emotion and different philosophies that contribute to the topic of legalizing same-sex marriage. To refuse valuable people from sitting at the table cannot be an option.
There is a responsibility in followership, especially when a “leader” sets a course that is so hateful. No matter you stance on the issue of same-sex marriage, I believe it is time for silent Christians to take a stand against the type of bullying exemplified by this “sermon.”