Today I received an e-mail from a reader asking, “What can I do?” And I responded:
I’m not ready to say the battle is lost. I prefer to emphasize the fact that we have the victory and really cannot lose.
However, we will lose (although here I am not even talking about the political contest) if our response is merely a repeat of “the Christian Right” of the 1980s and 1990s. How do we avoid that?
Next, remember that the battle is not ours, but God’s. Gays’ quarrel is not with us – it is with God and His Word. Let them wrestle with Him and with their own consciences.
Next, when we address the question of homosexuality, always lead with God’s love and grace and His offer of forgiveness in His wonderful son Jesus. Emphasize that we are all sinners. There was a good article about this in Sunday’s NY Times Online: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/opinion/sunday/why-evangelicals-should-love-the-pope.html.
Remember that religious freedom includes the non-establishment of religion as well as the right to the free exercise of religion. That means that it is never enough to quote the Bible in a debate about public policy. If the government were to adopt a policy based solely on scripture, it would constitute an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Furthermore, in very practical terms, religious appeals are of no use if we hope to persuade those who do not already understand that the Bible is God’s Word; and of course that is the task. If we venture into policy advocacy at all, we must be prepared with non-religious grounds for our point of view.
Next, inform yourself. This is something I have not yet completed by any means, but I am working on it. It’s my view that homosexuality is very poorly understood scientifically, but that if it were understood, the biblical view would be vindicated. This would merely be a corollary of the “Two Books” model, would it not? Our understanding of nature is aided by our understanding of the Bible, and vice versa. So we should make sure we are familiar with the scientific literature that does exist, try to form some understanding of what research still needs to be done, and advocate for the funding of that research.
Tom, so glad you are writing on this subject of gay marriage. I really liked your point that the bakery would be happy to sell any of their wares to gays, only that they denied a wedding cake. This is an important point when comparing past discrimination against African Americans where they were not even allowed to enter an establishment. It’s really upsetting that gay proponents get on their high horse about morality, accusing conscience-bound Christians of hypocrisy. All a form of calling lies the truth. Thanks for tackling this issue.