I've been reviewing the latest pronouncement of Mission America, an advocacy group founded by Christian activist Linda Harvey. She reacts to the recent rash of child suicides, suicides caused by anti-gay bullying, by suggesting that the "'gay' agenda" is to blame. The idea is that gay proponents, seeking to perpetuate the practice, entice youngsters into a chosen lifestyle that invites reaction from kids that have been brought up to rightly condemn that choice. "First and foremost," says Harvey, "kids should be told the truth that no one is born gay."
Mission America is a little more balanced, condemning both bullying and homosexuality. "Real Christians Say 'No' to Bullying and Homosexual Behavior" according to the headline they have chosen, the implication being that both are equivalent offenses. They quote biblical passages on homosexuality and suggest that anti-bullying actions are anti-Christian unless they teach the immorality of homosexuality. "They use talk of ‘bullying’ as a Trojan Horse to silence traditional values."
There are many temptations that seem to be built into our faith. Most are endemic to any faith. Highly selective quoting of scripture is one. A small group of Muslim extremists do that with Islam, as do many more anti-Muslim bigots. Christians do that as well with biblical scripture.
Mission America follows suit. They cite parts of Genesis 19, the rest of which would just as reasonably endorse incest as it would condemn homosexuality. They give a tiny passage from Matthew 19, in the rest of which Jesus condemns the then ancient practice of divorce at the whim of the husband. They use a tiny bit of Romans 1. In that entire chapter Paul points to homosexuality as akin to gossip, both being a result of sin, rather than sins themselves; that sin being the attempt to reduce God to a definable thing. Leviticus 18:22 is cited, with no mention of condemnation in Leviticus of lobster dinners, cotton and polyester shirts, and crop rotation.
A more basic temptation within our faith is the treatment of neutrality as antagonism. If you're not with us, you're against us. A few prickly Christians interpret a friendly "Happy Holidays", implying a sensitivity to other beliefs, as anti-Christian persecution. The lack of a "Merry Christmas" is a war on Christmas. Mission America carries that to gays. "School boards aid child corruption and insult faithful families when they allow 'gay-straight alliances,' homosexual indoctrination programs, permission for use of opposite sex restrooms, and any of the other ridiculous demands of the 'gay' lobby." That last is apparently a transgender issue having little to do with bullying.
Jesus speaks out against one of the most basic of human temptations, one that especially applies to those within any faith. We are pulled into "correcting" choices we do not like. Jesus warns of attempting to remove a speck from a neighbor's eye and ignoring the log in one's own eye.
When purely religious rules are imposed on others, rather than simply followed personally, it is wrong. When enforcement of that takes the form of bullying, most especially when the attempt to remove the speck is done with fists, authorities must step in.
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