Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Things That Just Don't Help, People

I believe in my last post I mentioned how I was bored and at home. Well, I'm not really either anymore! I decided to take a few days and head back down to my college's town to visit all my friends who live here in the summer. Man, I love this town, and also the fact that I have high speed Internet down here! Yay! So I figure that since right now the friend I'm staying with is asleep (and probably will be till noon or so) I should go ahead and blog. So with that, here goes.

It's really interesting, and a little sad, to hear some conservative Christian commentary on the recent decision by the California Supreme Court remove the ban on same-sex marriages. Now, in general, I have to say I disagree with the court's decision. Even taking personal opinions out of the mix here, I feel there was little legal basis for their decision and it went against the will of the people of the state of California... not to mention that their decision to allow same-sex marriage, but not allow plural marriage, sounds more like a "because we say so" than anything else. There didn't seem to be any logical sense to how they could remove one of the prerequisites for marriage (opposite genders) but not another (two people), and they didn't take time to bridge that logical gap. They just said so. I'm not usually a fan of the slippery slope argument, but let's face it, the court left themselves pretty wide open here.

But anyway, that's not the point of the post anyway, so before any of you decide to throw chairs at me, hear me out (especially if they are nice chairs). I have been increasingly saddened by the seeming inability of many Christian commentators to talk about this issue with grace or concern for homosexuals. I think one podcast by James White brought it home for me. Yes, there were plenty of good points made about the sinfulness of the sins involved, and the missteps that the court took in order to reach its decision. But still, I'm just frustrated... is there no way to talk about those things without having to resort to idiotic statements? I can't tell you how many faulty statistics and assertions I've heard around the Internet (i.e. "gays don't want marriage," "they have multiple partners a month," etc.) And don't get me started on broad, over-reaching, and unflattering (not to mention largely untrue) statements like "gays are selfish" or "gays are trying to destroy America." Seriously, it just blows my mind that Christians are still talking like that. It makes the ignorant hiccups (like references to "deciding to be a homosexual") really pale in comparison (though they are no less annoying, I've found).

Is it really too hard to imagine that commentating on things like same-sex marriage might actually be a good opportunity to reach out to homosexuals? I mean, the two just seem to go hand-in-hand to me, because Lord only knows how many gay men and women read and/or listen to these commentaries. But how can you reach out to a group if you lie about them, and just assume that the worst statistic you've read about them is true? How can you reach out to a group if you haven't taken any time to know where that group has come from? Choosing to have homosexual sex is one thing, but no one decides to be a homosexual, and hearing that little nugget is enough to turn people off (even people like me, who are conservative), because it shows that we're just not being listened to. I mean, it really makes me wonder if they actually care. I can't think of any other sin (short of murder, perhaps) that so many Christians just don't seem to be able to be gracious about.

It's especially sad when a lot of this commentary is coming from writers, like James White, that I really respect and who are usually a breath of fresh air in terms of their thoughtfulness and intelligence (especially when compared to other Evangelical commentators). I was at least hoping for some effort to reach out to homosexuals in that podcast, but nope, nothing. Even if the effort had been wrapped in bad, NARTH-style jargon it would be better than nothing. It would at least show that they, you know, care about us. It's frustrating, I guess, but it also makes me reflect and wonder if there are any sins or struggles that I am callous about. Is there any group that I am unsympathetic to? Are there any people whose actions I rightly know as sin but who I nevertheless fail to reach out to out of my own prejudices? I can't be a total victim here, because usually the things we dislike in others are mirrored in ourselves. If I can see what doesn't help when witnessing to homosexuals, maybe I can use those things to see what doesn't help when witnessing to others.

Christ's peace to you,

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