Apr 302013 10 Responses

How the Gay Rights Movement is Good (and Bad)

The modern Gay Rights Movement has had many positive contributions to American society.

Two weeks ago I sat in a restaurant and had lunch with a friend. I respect him. He is smart, politically savvy, funny, and gay. Our lunch was a direct result of the gay rights movement.

Fifty years ago the lunch would not have happened.

We might have had lunch but we could not openly talk about our lives. He would have had to kept his secret to himself for fear of his safety and that of his friends. If he would have had the courage to live openly, as an evangelical pastor I would have been risking my job being associated with him.

Yet 50 years later, the two of us can sit and have lunch discussing politics, debating policy, joking about “right-wing” and “left-wing” crazies, and having an enjoyable time.

The Gay Rights Movement has had positive effects. I can’t fathom a society where the physical safety of a person was threatened because of actions between two consenting adults. I can’t imagine the hatred spewed toward people and the bigotry which has been experienced by so many. Much of the reason that I can’t understand what took place a generation ago is because of the positive effects of the movement.

Of course, I am an evangelical pastor. I see much bad in the movement. I am yet to hear an effective Biblical argument which upholds the inerrancy of the Bible while confirming the gay lifestyle. The Bible is clear that sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sin.

The Gay Rights Movement has led to the Same-Sex Marriage Movement which threatens the traditional definition of marriage, calls into question God’s creative design, and ultimately will undermine our Constitutional freedom to exercise our Christian beliefs under the 1st Amendment.

The Gay Rights Movement has been good and bad.

So it is with humanity. Good intentions can have bad consequences and bad intentions can have good consequences. People standing for morality can do immoral things and people fighting against morality can do moral things. This is who we are.

Yesterday, the NBA’s Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete in a major American sport. When I saw the announcement, my first thought was “we’ve come a long way.” When I was a kid, I had a life-sized poster of Magic Johnson on my wall. I still remember where I was when I watched his press conference announcing he had contracted HIV. Even as a 13–year-old, I knew Magic’s lifestyle was not aligned with Biblical sexuality. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t think he should be hated for his actions. I knew it was immoral, but I didn’t think he should be punished by the law for his sin. I knew it wasn’t what the Bible taught, but that didn’t mean I had to stop cheering for him.

What was true of Magic Johnson in 1991 is true of Jason Collins in 2013. His announcement shows everything good and bad about the gay rights movement. The good is clearly seen in that Collins can be open about his actions, not fear for his life, and have the protections of American law. The bad can be seen in that many can look at his actions and not understand them to be against the Biblical mandate while condemning anyone who has the courage to speak Biblical truth in love.

It will be interesting to see how ESPN responds to their reporter Chris Broussard who compassionately, but honestly critiqued the actions of Jason Collins in this video. (For those reading via email, Click Here)


It is vital for the church to be honest about the Gay Rights Movement. Whenever we critique the whole movement as bad, we are denying the injustices of the past and communicating that every action which has taken place in the past was rightfully carried out. Clearly it has not all been right. Many, in the name of Jesus, have acted in a most unChrist-like manner. The fear of admitting the good of the Gay Rights Movement is that our message critiquing its negative consequences will not be heard. However, no matter how people respond, we must speak truthfully. Many good things have come from this movement, just as many bad things have happened as well.

Being able to applaud the good and critique the bad is a key characteristic of a follower of Christ.

For more:

Why is Anderson Cooper Against Polygamy?

Why the President Won’t (and probably shouldn’t) Listen to Christians

Mr. President, Let’s Protect this Child Too



10 Responses to How the Gay Rights Movement is Good (and Bad)

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