Conventional Thinking: Who’s picking on whom?
On March 28, the self-proclaimed faith-based gay rights group, Soulforce, showed up at Oklahoma Baptist University for the second time in five years. The group is on a nation-wide “Equality ride,” which seeks to draw attention to various issues in the public debate surrounding homosexuality, such as reported bullying.
The Shawnee News Star reported that “as part of a presentation, six demonstrators were bound in yellow caution tape, muzzled with blue tape over their mouths and swaddled in balloons. The six demonstrators represented people in LGBTQ community and wore shirts that read, “I am a gay person,” “I am a trans,” “I am a Lesbian.” They also held a sign that read, “This is what it looks like to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer on this campus.”
Soulforce was outraged that OBU policy prohibits homosexual behavior.
Marty O’Gwynn, associate vice president for university advancement, however, rightly pointed out that the policy does not specifically target homosexuals but all sex outside of marriage.
The half-truths and tactics exhibited by Soulforce are characteristic of the group, who consider themselves in the line of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights activists. Through creating public confrontation wherever it goes, including even interrupting public worship services, the group under the guise of seeking dialogue is notorious for instead presenting a monologue. Soulforce even attempts to use the Scriptures to justify its positions.
Mel White, founder of Soulforce, has said, “We must stage powerful and long term direct actions against local churches and local pastors who are the primary source of the antigay propaganda in our communities.”
So once again Oklahoma ended up on their map. The group rides under the banner of equality. Yet it fails to recognize that it is not equal rights they seek, but special rights. After all, each of us has the right to marry anyone we choose—so long as that person is of the opposite sex, and so long as that person is not a relative, already married or is not a minor. Each of us is abiding by the same rules.
“Morality,” as G.K. Chesterton said, “like art, consists of drawing lines.”
In the case of marriage, the lines are clearly drawn.
It is not us drawing the lines. It is not that we will not condone or normalize homosexual behavior as Christians; it is that we cannot. The Scriptures leave us no wiggle room. Space prohibits a complete discussion of the Scriptures related to homosexuality. But Soulforce attempts to explain away places in the Bible that condemn the behavior, such as Gen. 19, 1 Cor. 6, Rom. 1 and 1 Tim. 1; the group also twists the Scriptures toward its aims and agenda.
If we are not careful, we could get caught off guard in a few ways by a group like this. The first mistake would be to get angry. Christ calls us to shed light, not heat. It would be improper and counterproductive to turn this conversation into a shouting match.
Moreover, we would repel the very people we seek to reach.
The second mistake would be to get caught flat-footed in a conversation. Too often, we do not do enough “homework” to back up our positions, whether on this issue or another, and when we are challenged have difficulty finding the right words. For a helpful book on the topic, you might look into, The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible by Joe Dallas, who once lived the homosexual lifestyle and now has a ministry dedicated to helping those who are trapped in it.
The last mistake would be for Christians to let bullying tactics work on us. Too often, we fear the consequences of speaking out for truth in love. I admit that even in writing this piece, I could be misunderstood as someone who is fearful of homosexuals or does not speak out of love. On the contrary, we Christians are simply defending the Faith and its long-held moral positions. You see, we are not the ones forcing this conversation. We are simply responding when it shows up on our doorstep. In this case, it was our doorstep in Shawnee. This might lead one to ask Soulforce, “Who is picking on whom again?”