For decades, the line of evangelicals regarding homosexuality has been pretty hard and fast. “It’s wrong, God says it’s wrong, that’s all there is to it.” This is still a common view, but there are some Christians who are starting to change their tune in favour of something that, at first glance, appears to be more progressive. Lately I’ve been hearing a new explanation – “I suppose people may be born with a predisposed attraction to the same-sex. Sin, however, is sin. Being gay may not be wrong, but God says acting on it is. I love homosexual people, I have friends that are gay, and I want them to know the love of Christ. We’re all sinners, their sin is no worse than mine.” I listen to sermons with this message all the time, and every time I can hear the approving “amen” of a congregation who fancies their preacher a progressive guy.
First of all, let me just say that their ARE progressive Christians. There are those who don’t just tolerate, or “love the sinner hate the sin,” but actually accept. Those Christians are not the subject of this piece. Second, for the Christians at issue here: I know you think you have gay friends, but those who are kind to you despite your disapproval of who they are, are being nice. Nobody likes to feel that they must hide or minimize who they are in front of those who claim to enjoy their company, and shame on you for having the audacity to call them “friend.” Human beings deserve better than that.
I call this the ‘Myth of the Progressive Christian’ because that’s exactly what it is. The preachers proclaiming this new homophobic explanation are proud of themselves for taking what they think is a more socially progressive stance. It’s nothing new, though. This is the same damn thing, it’s ‘love the sinner hate the sin 2.0.’ Accepting the fact that some people are born gay is designed to make the idea that they shouldn’t have a relationship seem less dastardly. How loving, to say that these people are born gay but that Jesus both loves and condemns them. What a bastion of acceptance where you are told that you were born broken, but God can change you.
Now, to be fair, we’re all told that we were born broken. Born worthy of hell thanks to original sin, deserving of eternal torment for the indiscretion of our ancestors, yet given the gift of salvation by our loving God. That we are all sinners is part of this ‘progressive’ message, and it’s completely misleading. The ‘sins’ of the majority are not put on equal footing with the ‘sins’ of the minority. If they were viewed as equal, those who make placards and protest on the street corner would have to also march back and forth in front of their own homes.
There is nothing progressive about passing condemnation off as love. It is altogether dishonest, hypocritical, and yes, hateful. A progressive stance, or better yet a correct stance, would be to accept that the Bible is NOT a textbook, that the church no longer follows any of the 613 scriptural laws save for 10 (11 if you count “thou shalt not be gay”), and to accept that diversity is, if you are so inclined, God-given. THAT is progressive, THAT is correct. You may accept this, or you may reject it and choose to be in this world but not of it. Choosing the latter is a shame, considering the fact that humanity has a lot of love to give. It pains me to see people marginalizing themselves over a rejection of others. What misery, what sadness.
Be mindful of what you hear on Sunday mornings. Ask yourself if it’s right, if it’s just, if it’s loving. Choose love. Do not believe the myth of the progressive Christian.