Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

I’ve really struggled with whether or not I should write this post and have decided to go ahead with it. I’ll make the upfront disclaimer that it really isn’t meant to be offensive even though I know that because of its subject matter, it may offend some of my readers. I am just sharing some things that have been in my thoughts this month.

I’ll begin by stating several of the things that have brought this topic to mind:

*The California Federal Court ruling regarding the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy

*The Facebook status that has been appearing on numerous friends’ pages: “Please put this on your status if you know or love somebody who is gay. My wish is that people understand that being gay is not a disease nor a choice—people who are gay are not looking for a cure but acceptance and equal rights…93% of facebookers won’t copy and paste this…”

*A recent conversation with a preacher friend of mine about an incident at a funeral that involved his interaction with a couple of gay men.

*A book that I’m reading by an ultra-conservative pastor that addresses homosexuality and the stance that Christians should take on gay/lesbian rights.

*Wear purple day

First, I have to say that hatred is not an option for the Christian. On the other hand, believing that same gender sex is a sin is not hate or intolerance. Having differing beliefs is not a sign of intolerance. It means that we have different beliefs. I’m comfortable explaining why I believe what I believe. And I’m equally comfortable listening to your reasoning for why you believe what you believe.

Having said that:

I believe that everybody is entitled to certain rights as citizens of our country…not special rights, but the same rights that are afforded to other citizens. This includes the right to defend our country. I’ve always thought the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was a bunch of political mumbo jumbo that was just stupid talk designed to give somebody something they deserved but that somebody else didn’t like them having. Like I said…stupid.

As for same gender civil unions: Even if our society decides that same sex unions are legal, and even if our society changes the definition of marriage to include same sex unions, it doesn’t change the Biblical definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

So, you may ask, “John, do you believe that homosexuality is a sin?”

I have a simple way of resolving this in my simple brain.

I think that the Bible is clear that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Even if you are willing to set aside all of the texts that deal with same gender sex, you still have to understand that any sex outside of God’s idea of marriage is a sin. Yes, that includes premarital sex, extramarital sex and same gender sex (since that is always outside of God’s definition of marriage).

If a person is attracted to another member of the same sex but abstains from having sex, it really is no different than an unmarried man that is attracted to an unmarried woman that abstain from having sex. In spite of what society accepts as normal today, there are heterosexuals that remain celibate because of their beliefs that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Even though same gender couples will never have the option of celebrating sex in a Biblical union, it is still a choice…and it is still a sin.

Are they condemned because they are homosexuals? No, they are condemned because they are human. Clearly, the Bible teaches that we are all condemned because we are all sinners. Not one of us is worthy of saving…and yet God chooses to save us.

I know that it is so politically incorrect (some say intolerant) to say that Jesus is the only way to reconcile our sin and gain eternal life in heaven, but I believe with all of my heart that only in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus do we have the hope of eternal salvation. The condemnation of our human state is the same for heterosexuals as it is for homosexuals. The good news is that the plan of salvation is also the same for heterosexuals as it is for homosexuals.

Yes, Jesus died for their worthless souls just as he did for my worthless soul!

I didn’t wear purple today. I don’t think that I have anything purple to wear. It is tragic that any young person feel so ostracized that they would resort to suicide. It doesn’t matter if they are gay or not. Suicide for our young people (15-22) is the third leading cause of death behind accidental death and homicide. Bullying of heterosexuals as well as homosexuals should not be tolerated. The tragedy isn’t that homosexual teens are committing suicide. It is that teens from all walks of life are committing suicide in alarming numbers.

To anybody reading that might be feeling alone, afraid, depressed and considering that living life is not worth it—there is hope. Call somebody. Get help. If you feel like you have nowhere else to turn, e-mail or call me. My contact info is the right column of this blog or on the info page of my Facebook profile.

The truth of the Bible is that God loves you. He has made a way for you to meet with Him through His Son, Jesus. It would be my honor to introduce you to my Lord, my Savior and friend.

I know that many may say that my religious view point and my belief in an absolute truth just prove how intolerant Christians really are. The simple fact is that we all can’t be right. We can all be wrong…but we can’t all be right. If you are willing to say that I’m intolerant because I believe that I’m right, then you give yourself the same intolerant label.

Let’s make a truce: As we search for the truth, let’s share the information that we find. I believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth. Truth doesn’t change from person to person; it is what it is. Right and wrong are not relative things. Though society’s standards have degraded to the point that pornography, promiscuity, corruption and greed are becoming normal—these things are still wrong.

Feel free to disagree with me. I won’t think that you hate me just because we disagree. And I hope that you won’t think that I hate you. Tell what you think…and why. Together, let’s figure this truth thing out.



Anita Elwell said...

This is really good! I believe this way too. As Christ taught us, "We all fall short of the glory of God". But God loves the sinner and hates the sin. So, yes, in turn ALL hate is wrong, because it goes against Gods teachings. "Love one another, as I have loved you", that is what he teaches, but unless people really know how God loves us, they cannot love this way. Lets pray and hope that more and more of humankind learn about his love, his grace and mercy, and his sons ultimate sacrifice, and then, maybe more souls can be saved.

Mike said...

I think everyone should have a chance to die for their country.

I've always said that there should be manditory public service. After you leave high school for whatever reason you put in a minimum of a year doing something for other people. Military, Peace Corp, Habitat, etc. etc.

FuturePrez said...

One of the most thoughtful and deep blogs I've read in a really long time! I like the way you think. I know everyone hates it when people do this, but you check out my blog some time? I really need someone like you for insight.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, John. We would definitely have areas of disagreement on the issue, but there's no disagreement that Jesus is Lord and Saviour of ALL!

As recently as last night's prayer group (PAC!) we talked about the Devil and how he uses disagreements to wedge us apart. As Christians we MUST be able to handle disagreements and differences in a healthy way. Our faith demands it.

Bandit said...

I believe the way you do. This is very well thought out and stated.

Claudia said...

Then there's "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Wish I could remember the exact chapter and verse.) My reason for putting this out there is, how do we ever really know what the person next to us is thinking? We are left to decide who is fit to serve based on what we can see or quantify, and heaven help anyone who breaks a mold. This is true not only in the military, but in all walks of life. I think a big problem in life is that we fence people off from opportunities to do valiant things with their lives by giving some people lifetime entitlements (Supreme Court Justices, tenured educators, bishops of many denominations, etc.) and most of the rest of us are rarely recognized for the good that we do. Instead, we lead lives of quiet desperation, that are affected by these privileged few. Their edicts and pronouncements have only in the last 40 to 50 years been challenged. I'm totally with anybody who wants to serve God and/or country and can do so without seeking glory or power for him or herself. No wonder there is still a need for paid mercenaries. No wonder that option is still available to those who are rejected by current legal standards from serving in our military. But this option is looked down upon because it is unconventional, and it does not have the potential of awards like the regular military does. If I were large and in charge, I'd be looking to give a "soldier of fortune" some recognition, and I'll bet there would be plenty of gay,lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered candidates, not just straight ones.