The blog is back, writing now from Bruno Saskatchewan on the great Canadian prairies. As mentioned earlier, I am here, doing this.
I have wanted to weigh in for some time on some of the explosive issues surrounding religious freedom, civil rights, wedding cakes and pizza (!) that have been generally blowing up social media over the past weeks, particularly in the USA where most of my readers are. As usual I have an aversion to the pack mentality where we all have to write about the same topic on the same week (I cannot stand that aspect of social media, truly). Unfortunately this means I’m usually weighing in with whatever I have to say after everyone else has grown bored with the subject and moved on to something quite different. Nonetheless, here are a few of my thoughts.
First, it is good to reflect that we live in a world where in some countries gay people are thrown off of high buildings or jailed, and where in some of those same countries or others Christians are hunted and gunned down on university campuses or shopping malls. I don’t provide links for these claims; if you don’t know that’s what is actually happening in the world in the year 2015, you really should inform yourself.
While questions of civil liberties and religious freedom are important in any context, it is good to get some perspective. Nobody is killing anybody over these matters in this country, barring the occasional random act of violence that can happen anywhere for any reason. I’m not trying to minimize the facts of the situation, but to situate them, perhaps.
Second, it is odd, isn’t it, that the corporations that are fuming and threatening about not doing business with Indiana or Arkansas don’t seem to have any problem doing business with China, Saudi Arabia, and the whole host of other countries where actual violence is being perpetuated, with the full force of the state, on LGBTQ men and women? Is that not hypocritical? Isn’t it a problem that corporations are using their vast wealth and power to subvert the political processes in these states, and doing so with a great deal of duplicity and cynical moral posturing? I realize I have readers of this blog who differ from me quite a bit on LGBTQ issues—that’s fine, but don’t be taken in by these corporations, and do be alarmed at the degree of political power they have displayed in these events.
What I really want to write about, though, is this whole question of ‘hate’, or ‘H8’ as the current spelling has it. Leaving aside what is actually a thorny question, capable of more than one answer, I believe—can a Christian vendor sell goods to a same-sex wedding service?—we can all agree that it is wrong to hate people and right to love people. Certainly, from a Christian perspective, this is beyond dispute, being the central commandment our Founder gave us, right?
But it is not hatred to say to someone, “I believe you are doing something wrong.” It is not hatred to say, “I believe God has revealed to us that this particular action is always wrong, so you really shouldn’t do that thing.” It is not hatred to say “I don’t think I can help you to do that thing, since I believe it is wrong.” It is not hatred to say, “I disagree with you.”
Hatred is saying, well, “I hate you. You disgust me. I want you to die a painful death and then burn in Hell for all eternity. I will do anything in my power to hurt you.” That is hatred. Personally, I cannot think of any human being on this earth who I hate, to be quite honest. Even people who I believe are doing terribly evil things—people who hurt children, traffic drugs, perform abortions, and so forth—I feel deeply sorry for these people more than anything, since I do believe that whatever harm they do to others, they do incomparably worse damage to themselves.
So I do say to any LGBTQ person who may read this blog that I love you, I wish you well, I want nothing for you but happiness and joy. And I firmly believe that to engage in sex with a person of one’s own gender is always a deeply wrong thing to do, that even though it may not feel like it, it is profoundly damaging to the human person, and that the true way to happiness and joy is the difficult practice of chastity and continence, the mastery of one’s sexual appetite so that it is only expressed in a morally right way. And that the only right way to engage in sexual intercourse is for a man and a woman to first wed each other (forging a bond that cannot be broken by any subsequent legal decree) and then come together in sexual union.
That is my belief, and I express it with love and affection and a great desire for all men and women to be happy and joyous in God who alone can make us happy. I would also say the same thing, then, to anyone else who is engaged in sexual activity outside of marriage. And I would say the same thing to those who are engaged in any other kind of practice that is against the moral law—violence, theft, lying, greed, and so forth.
But that’s quite enough for one blog post, and pretty much what I have to say on the matter. Let us love one another on this Mercy Sunday, and let us know that we are all sinners, all fall short of moral perfection, but that God’s mercy covers us all and calls us to rise from the tomb of our sins and offenses to live with the Risen Christ in truth and in love.