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)
  1. Jim bob Reply

    I just read your blog. I’m a friend of your friend that you’re talking about. I just thought I’d share a response to your blog:

    https://www.facebook.com/simplybao/posts/10200197098624274

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Jim, Thanks for the thoughtful response. I do not believe that two individual getting married threatens my constitutional right to exercise my religion. I do believe that changing the definition of marriage will change that right. Granted, it is conjecture so only time will tell. However, I do believe in a very short period of time that Christians who uphold the Biblical definition of marriage will not be able to fully exercise their religion in the workplace and with their businesses in much the same way that religious freedom is being challenged under the Health Care Act. Time will tell, but that what my concern, not what takes place on an individual level between two people.

      • Jim bob Reply

        Kevin,

        I appreciate your arguments and hopefully, we can agree to disagree. How is it that if I disagree with what you believe in a violation of your constitutional right to freedom of religion?

        If we go down that path, then that also means that those that are Buddhist or Muslim or Jewish violate your rights. They don’t believe in the same god or belief system that you do. So, by your argument, because they believe in something different that means that they are violating your rights. In my view, I believe that’s wrong.

        I, myself, am agnostic. I neither believe in the Christian God nor any other god that I know of. I believe there is something out there. There isn’t any specific doctrine that I believe. So does that mean that because of my beliefs, I am violating your beliefs?

        If I continue on in with your argument, that means that because I like blueberries and you don’t, that means I’m trampling on your rights. What about MY freedoms? The constitution isn’t a one way street. Freedom of religion means that I am ALSO allowed to believe in what I believe in.

        Because, I don’t force my beliefs on you, I don’t see how I could possibly be denying you your right to freedom of religion. On the other hand, if you force your belief system on me, then that means you are violating my rights to freedom of religion.

        I state again that I am not asking for the Christian church, nor any other church to accept me. I’m asking for the federal government to recognize my marriage as valid. Just like they recognize your marriage. Again, that’s a civil discussion and not a religious discussion.

        I respect your beliefs. And in some respects, I envy you for your beliefs. All I’m asking you to do is to accept that we are here. We aren’t going away. There are many of us that don’t believe in the same things you do. And you know what? That’s ok. We live in a society where that’s ok. We live in a society where I shouldn’t have to fear for my life or well being for being different.

        This is what we are fighting for. Different isn’t bad. Me being different isn’t violating your rights. Different is what makes the world go round. Our differences are what makes me enjoy waking up in the morning. Our differences create artists, musicians, politicians, janitors, engineers, civil workers. If we were all the same and believed in the same things, wouldn’t we live in a boring world?

        Back to your argument about religious freedom. Jewish people believe eating shell fish is a sin. They also believe that eating pork is a sin. Does that mean that Jewish people are trampling on your rights because they believe that? Do they force you NOT to eat shrimp or that delicious pork chop? Nope they don’t. And no, they won’t refuse to serve you because you are Christian. Instead of divisiveness, why can’t you just embrace our differences, accept that we are different. You can even pray for us and I will thank you for it. Please pray for me. Pray for all of us. Maybe one day we can all find salvation in your God or some other god. Maybe one day we can all live together in a world where it’s ok to disagree with one another and still be friends.

        I also say this. Some of these same arguments were used when we abolished slavery. Some argued that it was against the natural order for a black person to marry a white person. How wrong do we feel about that today? How about passages in the Bible that talk about women being the property of men? I dare say that you’d be hard pressed to find a woman that would submit to you owning them or selling them off.

        But if you’re saying that because I believe in something different than you do is violating your freedom of religion, then I will just respectfully agree to disagree. I’d argue the opposite. And that is that you’re denying me my religious freedom. You’re denying me my right to NOT believe in your god. Isn’t America great?

        • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

          Jim,
          It’s obvious I need to edit my original post as evidence by the fact that I agree with most of your response. In no way do I believe that the two of us disagreeing is a violation of my rights. In every way possible, I believe you should have the right to do as you wish. My fear is where this is logically headed and what that will mean for people wanting to exercise their freedom of religion. Much of my concern comes from the current struggles of Christian people trying to run their business by Biblical principles but are being forced to pay for abortions through the Health Care Reform Act. The Administration has said Hobby Lobby, Tyndale House (a Bible publisher) and others must violate their religious convictions regarding the health care law. The same will be true when the definition of marriage is changed. That is my fear. I’m not afraid of what individuals are doing in private or that others disagree with me.

          It is way too long, but if you want to see my full sermon on same-sex marriage, you can watch it here: (go to Sermon 2 in this series)

          http://www.communitychurch.com/resources/media/watch/past/questions-that-leave-a-mark-video-on-demand

          I’m intrigued at where you stand on the marriage issue. Do you believe like some that the definition should only be expanded to same-sex couples, or do you believe like others that it should be expanded beyond that or what is the growing argument which is marriage itself should be done away with?

          • Jim bob

            Kevin,

            Thank you for your response. I believe that the argument that we are facing here is one for same sex couples only and not to the argument for plural marriages. Being gay is not a choice. It is not a behavior, rather it is who we are. Polygamy is conduct. Those people CHOOSE to have multiple partners. We gay people do not CHOOSE who we are. We are gay by birth.

            Those that want to marry their family members, plural marriages, marry their dog, etc… Those are behaviors and NOT something they are born with. People aren’t born with an innate feeling to marry their sisters/cousins/etc…

            For our argument here, I again argue that the only thing we are arguing for is government recognition of marriage and not that of the Church. You ask who should regulate marriage? The government has already spoken. This isn’t a philosophical issue. It’s a civil issue and because the government issues marriages licenses and doles out very specific rights, that means they get the final say in who is “married”.

            Again, I see this is married in the eyes of god and married in the eyes of the government.

            I understand you’re in Fort Smith. I’m from there. I’d love to sit down and have a conversation with you. I think it would be fascinating.

          • Kevin A. Thompson

            I would enjoy that.

  2. Don Reply

    Pastor, with all due respect, it is hard to discuss the subject of same-sex unions with someone who will interject the notion that acknowledging a marriage between any two people somehow opens the door to multiple people in a marriage or people and animals. I can understand your concern about the exercise of religion in the workplace as it concerns both employees and faith-based enterprises, but again, these are apples to oranges comparisions. Instead, I encourage you to look simply at the families in your congregation. You instill morals, ethics and spiritual guidance to them and their children. As those children grow, they need 100% assurance that with their continued application of their Christian teachings they will be accepted and that the unions they make, and the families they create, will be equally welcomed in your church. The debate should end there without unfounded projections towards the undermining of church or the exclusion of faith from work.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Don,
      I don’t think I made mention of marriage to animals. I hope nothing I said could be taken that way. To me, that would be disrespectful to the argument. I do, however, think it is only logical to discuss polygamy within the conversation of changing the definition of marriage. I don’t see how we could have a logical discussion without it. As I’ve written before, being for same-sex marriage but against polygamy doesn’t make logical sense to me. If the notion is that the only test for marriage is people that love each other, what right does anyone have to limit that to two people? I believe it is fair to define marriage as a man and woman because there seems to be a unique design in how we were created which sets that relationship apart from others. That does not lessen other relationships but does show the uniqueness of marriage. If we change the definition away from what appears to be the creative order and move that to any other definition, who sets the definition? And whose definition is right? “Any two adults who love each other,” why just two? Are we going to outlaw siblings or parents marrying children? A Hollywood actor has already said if the marriage definition is changed, he will marry his adult son so to avoid estate taxes. Will we allow that?

      So I think it is fair to ask these questions in our discussion, but if we are going to change the boundary lines, we have to figure out where the lines will be set and who will set them.

      In your opinion, where should they be set?

  3. Veek Reply

    Where are your scriptural references? Every time I “get told” by one of our mutual friends, to read one of your articles, I am immediately reminded of those “preachers, pastors, and evangelists that will be here after the trumpet sounds. Way off. Here’s some scripture for you….. Leviticus 18:22. The sin is an abomination unto the Lord. Go ahead and “protect” those rights of men. Your pal is continuing to live in unrepented sin, seeking out “men” and their laws to protect them. When the Lord comes back, or if he should pass away first, those men can not protect him. If your gay friend goes to church and still doesn’t see his error, maybe he should find a real church. And this country will be judged as Sodom was judged. All of this will fall on deaf ears. You will reply with your “intelligence” and institutionalized knowledge and ensure all of your followers that you are superior. I feel sorry for the soul of your lost friend, and for yours because, like the pharisees, whom gentiles despised because they “told” them their sins but repented not of their own, sent people straight to hell. I pray to God with great thanksgiving for the pastor that I have and for God using him in a mighty way. Maybe there’s a congregation somewhere that needs to pray for the same.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Veek,
      I have no doubt the congregation I serve needs to pray for me. Why did I not include Scriptural references? Because I wasn’t writing an overview of Biblical sexuality. If I did, write one, I probably wouldn’t quote Leviticus 18 as authoritative for a Gentile. Read the article again and you will see that I haven’t watered down any Biblical doctrine. I simply pointed out that we have all sinned and this movement has corrected some of ours sins while celebrating others. I assure you that I don’t place my self as superior to any of my “followers.” You can feel sorry for my soul all you want. My hope is not in the greatness of my soul but in the mercy of a loving God who loves me.

      If you would reveal your true name and our relationship I would be happy to tell our “mutual friend” to stop recommending my blog to you. As I’ve said before, if I were you I wouldn’t read it because it clearly causes you great frustration. Of course, being a Bears fan, you are probably use to that.
      Blessings and go Cowboys,
      Kevin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.