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Jonah, Hate, and Homosexuality December 21, 2005

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Religion.
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In reading Bruce Feiler’s editorial in the NY Times today, it started me to thinking about Jonah, and his desire to see the sins of Ninevah result in their destruction. Jonah wanted God to open up a good old-fashioned can of whoop-###, and pour it out on those unrighteous ######## who have such hedonistic practices. It then occurred to me that many Christians suffer the plight of Jonah when it comes to dealing with homosexuality, and more importantly, with homosexuals themselves. In short, we say “love the sinner and hate the sin,” but the truth is, we’re much more comfortable with hating the sinner too, and would welcome his or her destruction.

For example, we regularly see and hear evangelicals on TV and radio preaching about “family values.” Now, I’m a pretty dumb guy, but even I know that what they’re really preaching against is, “behavior that I’m not comfortable with, and therefore want a license to hate.” It’s not so much that they want to identify a set of core values such as: demonstrating value to your children, compassion for the poor, or the protestant work ethic. We want an easy way to label a set of behaviors as “anti-family,” because everyone loves the idea of a good, solid family, and desires to be part of one.

Here’s a handy translation guide for using when you hear a Christian speaking out against homosexuality (the spoken text in quotes, “”, and the real thought in brackets [])

  • “Homosexuals are destroying society.”

    [I don’t really know what’s destroying society, but I get grossed out when I see men kissing, so I definitely don’t want to see it on TV, or when I go out in public. As for women kissing, I can’t really tell people my reaction to seeing that, but I suppose that’s got to go too.]

  • “God hates the sin of homosexuality.”

    [But clearly he doesn’t hate the sins that I happen to struggle with.]

  • “I love homosexuals.”

    [Uhm… what I meant by that was… I love them with an Agape love, not an Eros love. Well, maybe Phileo. OK, maybe Storge, since my cousin just came out. But I hate the sin, and can’t tolerate it.]

  • “Homosexuals are welcome to come to our congregation, provided they first repent of their sin.”

    [However, if you simply love money, lust after your neighbor’s car (or wife, or finely manicured lawn), then come on in and we’ll take care of that sin down the road. :-D]

Obviously, this isn’t exactly what most Christians are saying, but if you peered inside the heads of many, the thought processes wouldn’t be far from some of these ridiculously extreme comments. Unfortunately, the problem runs deeper than just the simple question of the Bible’s stance on homosexuality (which is fairly clear, just as is the Bible’s stance on idolatry).

Statistically speaking, Christians are not significantly less likely to avoid divorce than non-Christians. This starts to beg the question, “What is causing the destruction of the traditional American family?” Of course, when you ask this question, you should first ask, “What is the traditional American family, and was it something worth saving from destruction?” How many women and children, over the past 100 years, have quietly lived under the same roof with an abusive husband or father? The truth is, we have very little data, because social mores prohibited speaking about such things.

So instead of looking deeper, and possibly discovering that the Norman Rockwell paintings depict a reality that never existed on the widespread scale, it’s much easier for us to look back on those days quaintly, and suggest that since homosexuality didn’t have broad acceptance in society, that we need to do the same. Instead of trying to figure out what has changed, and if it’s for better or worse, it’s much easier to just blame homosexuals (well, along with those God-less atheists!).

It’s as if pushing homosexuals back in the closet (where they exist, but do so in shame and humiliation) is preferable to dealing with the social issues that they bring along for the ride. In truth, it seems that we’re happier if they simply don’t exist. How many Christians would weep if suddenly, some mysterious disease claimed the lives of every homosexual in our country?

Would we mourn, or would we smugly sit beneath the shady tree, relishing “God’s perfect justice,” that fortunately came down on those sins, but managed to not claim those subject to my own?

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