Intellectual Constipation

I want to take a moment and address an opinion article I found online, “Quoting the Bible to Attack Gays Is Hypocritical” by Leonard Pitts, Jr., in the Miami Herald. Quotes from the article are indented with my responses following.

Put simply, I’ve had it up to here with the moral hypocrisy and intellectual constipation of Bible literalists.

By which I mean people like you, who dress their homophobia up in Scripture, insisting with sanctimonious sincerity that it’s not homophobia at all, but just a pious determination to live according to what the Bible says.

So are you saying that it is not possible to be anti-homosexuality (or anti-murder or anti-lie, etc.) based upon the Scripture? You seem to be implying that the Scripture is being used to justify a pre-existing belief.

Before I was a Christian, I was the friend of at least one homosexual (that I was aware of). I didn’t hate them, and though I thought the lifestyle “weird,” I was not against it. After becoming a Christian, I am still that same friend, I just disagree with homosexuality now, in accordance with the Scripture.

And never mind that the Bible also says it is “disgraceful” for a woman to speak out in church (1 Corinthians 14:34-36) and that if she has any questions, she should wait till she gets home and ask her husband. Never mind that the Bible says the penalty for going to work on Sunday (Exodus 35:1-3) is death. Never mind that the Bible says the man who rapes a virgin should buy her from her father (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) and marry her.

Do not judge a Christian by the Bible unless you are willing to take the time to learn it yourself, at least on the most basic of levels. It’s incredibly easy to find lists and lists of so-called shocking or inappropriate Bible verses, but it takes a little more effort to understand.

Exodus 35:1-3 & Deuteronomy 22:28,29 were written to the nation of Israel. They are part of the covenant between God and the Jews, and the precepts were never given to the Gentiles or to the Church. In other words, they are irrelevant to the discussion of a Christian’s view of homosexuality.

First Corinthians 14:34-36 (and elsewhere in the New Testament) do indeed teach that a woman should not speak in church. Your “modern, liberated thinking” may sound great in a politically correct society, but did you know that to create a politically correct god is idolatry? God is not an American, and we shouldn’t expect Him to fit into our mold. The same God who created trees in Genesis will wipe out much of the world’s vegetation in Revelation. The same God who gave women a prettier voice than men tells them to keep silent when believers assemble. He gives His reasons, which are rooted in the events of the first chapters of the Bible. He does not force you to accept them, agree with them, or anything else.

I’m going to speculate that you don’t observe or support those commands. Which says to me that yours is a literalism of convenience, a literalism that is literal only so long as it allows you to condemn what you’d be condemning anyway and takes no skin off your personal backside.

Convenience? You don’t make too many friends believing the whole counsel of God. Do you think it’s convenient being looked upon as a primitive for believing that the divinely given roles of men and women are so different? Trust me, it is not.

However, as a believer in God Almighty, I choose to believe His Word, that it is just and right for a woman to be in silence during assemblies, and that homosexuality is a sin along with lying, murdering, adultery, and all the others.

As such, your claim that God sanctions your homophobia is the moral equivalent of Flip Wilson’s old claim that the devil made him do it.

I do not blame God for my beliefs. Rather, I thank Him for giving man the Holy Bible, that we might know what we should believe. However, in your rejection of the Bible and your reference to “The Devil made me do it,” you would do well to remember that the first being ever to call into question the word of God was the serpent way back in Eden.

You resemble many of your and my co-religionists, whose faith so often expresses itself in an obsessive focus on one or two hot-button issues — and seemingly nowhere else.

It is indeed unfortunate that a vast majority of Christians are unbalanced. Some focus on moral reform in America (where God never called us to anything like that). Some focus on crushing the homosexual-rights movement. Some focus on finding the right blend of entertaining theatrics and watered down theology to attract large crowds on Sundays.

However, like it or not, Christians do not speak for Christ or the Bible. Judge the faith based upon the word of God. Some of us will do our best to show you the love of Christ, but far too many relish simply in the fact that they are right (or at least believe they are, in some cases), and will fight you tooth and nail to prove it.

They’re so panicked at the thought that somebody accidentally might treat gay people like people. They run around Chicken Little-like, screaming, “Th’ homosex’shals is comin’! Th’ homosex’shals is comin’!” Meantime, people are ignorant in Appalachia, strung out in Miami, starving in Niger, sex slaves in India, mass-murdered in Darfur. Where is the Christian outrage about that?

Moral and even societal reform was never something God told the church to do, actually. We are but ambassadors in the foreign lands of this planet, and as ambassadors we do our best to influence, but change only comes about when people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

To illustrate the point, Christians have been building homes, schools, hospitals, and shelters for many, many years, yet they don’t bring an influx of new believers. The money expended would be much better spent spreading the gospel, and I don’t mean by building bigger, better, more modern churches.

As believers, then, people can find joy even when they have little, recognizing that if God can take care of a sparrow or a flower in a field, God can take care of them. Christianity is not about an outward change of circumstance, it is about an inward change of heart.

Just once, I’d like to read a headline that said a Christian group was boycotting to feed the hungry. Or marching to house the homeless. Or pushing Congress to provide the poor with healthcare worthy of the name.

What good would it do? That’s an honest question. Would you accept Jesus Christ and be willing to live for Him if you saw these things in the newspaper? You may get caught up on the social gospel bandwagon perhaps, but if the true gospel is not preached, then the social gospel is only making a bunch of people’s trip to Hell a little bit cozier.

Biblically, any goodwill from within the church is dealt with within the church. There’s no need to get entangled in the affairs of this world by finding corporations to donate food, governments to sanction healthcare, or anything else. If our goal is to see people’s affections set heavenward, would it really be beneficial to increase the appeal of this earth?

Instead, they fixate on keeping the gay in their place. Which makes me question their priorities. And their compassion. And their faith.

Agreed. The priorities of the church are skewed.

If you love me, feed my sheep.

For the record … the Bible says that, too.

Do you know what it means? Jesus instructed the apostles to feed His sheep. They did this by teaching the whole counsel of God, which actually included quite a few condemnations of homosexuality (such as in Romans 1), as well as many other sins. If you want to take the “feed” part literally, I hope you’re feeding all the sheep on the farm. ;)

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