Written by: Conrade Yap
Date: 5 Sep 2011
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders.” (1 Cor 6:9)
A) The Question: Would Jesus Attend the Pride Parade?
|Photo Credit: JustinBeach.ca|
B) The Answer: Yes But…
I watch the captive audience. One person who usually walks out to the restroom in the middle of every sermon actually sat through the entire time. The topic on Homosexuality is one part of the list of ‘Burning Questions’ series that we are doing through Summer. It is a topic that has given a lot of Christians much concern. Since the question itself pertains to the very popular Gay/Lesbian Parade, it fails to cover a lot of other issues such as:
- Is there such thing as a ‘Gay Gene?’
- What about gay ordination in churches?
- What should one do if a family member declares himself/herself a homosexual?
- Will homosexuals go to heaven?
- Is homosexuality a ‘special gift’ given to some?
- What can we do when homosexuals claim: “They cannot do anything about their sexual orientation?”
The issues are complex. There are no easy answers. In fact, churches are largely divided over this issue. Many proponents and opponents of homosexuality have consistently used the Bible to justify their positions. Some people take a stand first, and then go into the biblical texts to adopt choice verses to justify their stand. It is a sad case of putting the cart before the horse. Theologians are equally guilty of this.
C) The History: Brief Origins of the Parade
The Gay Pride Parade has its origins in New York. Back in 1969, after a group of New York law enforcement officers brutally beat up a group of gay people in a bar, the city’s gay activists revolted with riots and public display of anger at any discrimination to gays and lesbians. This event is called the ‘Stonewall riots’ because the bar was located in an inn called Stonewall. Soon after, New York City held its first Gay Pride parade, which has since become an annual event in many major cities in the world. The ‘pride’ is a position that encourages the gay and lesbian community not to be ashamed anymore about their sexual orientations, but to assert their rights.
D) The Concerns: Three of them
I discussed the sermon with a number of church members and friends. There are three major concerns. Firstly, it is the rising prominence of the Gay Agenda. Imagine a small minority of people managing to sway the popular media to publicize their causes almost non-critically. Imagine how 3% of the population makes the whole city think that the majority of the city supports gay rights? Imagine how can a small vocal few make such thunderous noises, influence the higher authorities, and even now wants to make the city declare the Gay Parade as a civic event! The latter essentially means that future Gay Pride Parades will be paid out of public money. Erwin Lutzer writes:
“Through this action, the radical gay movement let it be known that its agenda would proceed regardless of research, science, and dialogue; and that intimidation would be one of its weapons to achieve its aims, no matter what.” (Erwin W. Lutzer, The Truth about Same Sex Marriage, Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2004, 19)
Secondly, it is the gradual erosion of equal rights for the dissenters. A disturbing trend is the fact that *any* disagreement with anything homosexual is automatically construed as a ‘homophobic’ statement. The homosexual community is now on the offensive. They are now wielding the axe of intolerance, ready to chop off any dissent, any disagreement, and any position that is NOT in line with their own. In fact, at some point, it seems that homosexuals gain more public sympathy then any other group.
One professor of a higher institution recently twitted:
“Vancouver’s so-called ‘Pride Parade’ should be banned. It is vulgar . . . to say the least!”
Almost immediately, there is a barrage of negative comments, with calls from the public to the University to terminate this professor's job. I look with bewilderment. What happened to freedom of speech? Are there different levels to public expression? How can a society be truly democratic if it turns up the volume for gay rights, but mutes any negative comments about it? As expected, this professor gets the automatic label of ‘homophobic’ and ‘intolerant.’ This is sad. If there is an alien from outer space, it would have thought that the city of Vancouver’s ‘standard’ sexual orientation is same-sex orientation.
The third concern I have is the most pressing one. The Gay Agenda has largely silenced the silent majority. Many people are choosing to stay silent on the whole issue. Some claim ignorance. Some are afraid to venture into the controversial topic. Some are genuinely concerned about homosexual topic splitting churches and communities all around the city. It is true that there are other sins that deserve to be condemned, like adultery, theft, and all those lists apart from homosexual sins. On the one hand, one cannot go on a witch-hunt to single out homosexual people calling it the ‘most hideous crime.’ On the other hand, one cannot let the gay agenda grow like blackberries to overwhelm the minds of the city. Mind you, I am not speaking against homosexual people. I am speaking out against the agenda behind ‘some’ activists who by asserting their rights, have openly suppressed others for their rights to express their opinions.
In their book, The Homosexual Agenda, authors Sears and Osten shares this illustration. Suppose someone facing you is walking backward toward a cliff. You tell him to stop, saying that he will die if he continues his backward movement. Unfortunately, each time you tell him to stop, he screams at you saying that you are against him, that you are ranting at everything he stands for, and that you are ‘homophobic.’ After that he continues moving backward and shouting accusations of intolerance on our part. What then do we do? Do we stay silent? No. We should not. We cannot. Here’s Lutzer again.
“We have to emphasize to the gay community that opposition to same-sex marriage is not about hate, but about debate.” (40)
This must be the message we need to consistently speak up on. It's debate. Not hate.
E) The Exhortation: Three Tips on Speaking Out
Here are three suggestions on how to speak out.
- Listen Honestly. Before one can speak intelligently, one needs to be able to listen to what is going on in the first place. I notice that the more one interrupts another during a conversation, it indicates a lack of desire to listen to the other person before stating one’s convictions. This is why many conversations end miserably.
- Speak respectfully. There is no excuse to be rude. No matter how much we disagree, we must always adopt an attitude of respecting one another as people, regardless or race, language, religion or sexual orientation. Jesus died for all. Know that the person we are disagreeing with has his/her own perspectives.
- Love Unconditionally: Christ died for all because He loved all people. This is the attitude that we should in any conversations. For Christians, it is important to remember that our responsibility is conversation. Conversion is God’s responsibility.
We need to be fair. We need to be vigilant against all kinds of sins, not just homosexuality. We need to be ready to speak up, regardless of consequences. In learning to engage respectfully, listen honestly, and speaking out lovingly, we can all practice speaking the truth in love. It is time to speak up against the suppression of free speech upon any people group. It is time to speak out in love to those we feel are risking not only their own lives, but to generations after them. It is time to speak into the hearts of all people, that the kingdom of God is near.
THOUGHT: "John Q. Citizen will never be convinced about the credibility of the Christian faith until he becomes personally acquainted with someone who lives out the Christian life." (Erwin Lutzer)
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