In February 2007, a colleague of mine attended the annual fundraising dinner for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the world’s largest gay activist organization. As a Christian man deeply committed to righteousness in our nation, he wanted to see how the HRC operated firsthand.
Next to him at the table was a homosexual couple, and as my friend was talking to one of the men in the couple, he suddenly had a vision—and he is not prone to such things—of a snake wrapped around the man’s neck. He knew he had to kill it before it strangled the man to death, but he also knew if he didn’t exercise extreme care in killing the snake, he would kill the man in the process.
That, in vivid pictorial illustration, is the predicament we find ourselves in today in the church. On the one hand, we see the real dangers of gay activism affecting virtually every area of our society. In fact, it can be said without exaggeration that gay activism is the principal threat to our freedoms of speech, religion and conscience. And we see how our kids are being negatively influenced in their schools and through the media by curricula and programming produced by gay activists and their straight allies.
At the same time, we want to reach out to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender with the love of God and the compassion of Christ, recognizing how much rejection many of them have suffered and being fully aware they perceive conservative Christians to be their greatest enemies, viewing us as hateful, bigoted, intolerant and homophobic—as condemning all of them to hell.
How then do we stand against gay activism without hurting our witness to gay individuals? And how do we reach out with sensitivity without softening our stance for righteousness? How do we walk in both grace and truth together?
Reach Out and Resist
In January 2005, the Lord spoke this word to my heart: “Reach out and resist.” I knew this word to mean I was to reach out to the homosexual community with compassion while resisting gay activism with courage—and I have been seeking to live that out ever since.
I can hear already what some believers will say: “We agree we need to reach out to gays and lesbians with the gospel. Of course we do! Homosexuals are loved by God just as much as heterosexuals. Jesus shed the same blood for gays and straights. All of us are created in the image of God yet are broken and fallen. It is our sacred responsibility to share the gospel with the LGBT community—but we’ve got no business opposing gay activism. That’s mixing politics with religion, and it will only hurt our witness.”
Really? Are you sure? Was it mixing politics with religion when Christians opposed slavery and the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries? Is it mixing politics with religion now when Christians stand up for the lives of the unborn or oppose human trafficking?
In the same way, it is not mixing politics with religion when we stand up for gender as God intended it, for sexuality as God intended it, for marriage as God intended it, just to name a few of the issues here. And while there is a real challenge to our witness to the LGBT community when we stand for righteousness, we really have no choice.
Let me explain why the stakes are so high and why it is imperative we practice the “reach out” part as well as the “resist” part.
The War on the Bible
Forty years ago, gay activists concluded their two main enemies were the psychiatric profession and the church. The former classified homosexuality as a sickness, the latter as a sin, and so an ideological war was launched to combat these mindsets.
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (followed by a host of other organizations) depathologized homosexuality, saying it was not a mental or emotional disorder of any kind.
This meant the last major obstacle to overcome was the view of the church, and that’s why there has been a concerted effort to change public perception about the Bible and homosexual practice. This effort has involved arguing that the message of the Bible is antiquated and irrelevant or, in more conservative circles, that the Word of God was condemning things like pedophilia and homosexual prostitution as opposed to committed, loving, same-sex relationships.
Make no mistake about it: Gay activists will not be satisfied until Christians across the nation believe Moses and Jesus and Paul would affirm same-sex marriage. After all, love is love, right?
This battle is coming to a church or denomination near you.
The War on Gender
What many believers do not realize is that there is not only a war on heterosexism (defined by the San Francisco Unified School District as “an overt or tacit bias against homosexuality rooted in the belief that heterosexuality is superior or the norm”). There is also a war on gender—on male-female distinctives and on the male-female dichotomy.
As stated by lesbian sociology professor Barb Burdge, “The social construct of dividing humans into male and female is oppressive and should be rejected altogether.”
In keeping with this ideology, Newsweek magazine asked almost four years ago, in its August 16, 2010, issue, “Are we facing a genderless future?” and further stated that “a small but growing number of people are rejecting being labeled male or female.”
Even more shockingly, standard policy in Los Angeles schools states, “‘Gender identity’ refers to one’s understanding, interests, outlook and feelings about whether one is female or male, or both, or neither, regardless of one’s biological sex.” (I’m not making this up.)
That’s why you’re hearing more and more about female prom kings and male prom queens. As one 16-year-old girl explains, “It’s not like the stereotype where the [prom] king has to be a jock and he’s there with the cheerleaders anymore. We live in a generation now where dudes are chicks and chicks are dudes.”
Who can imagine what’s coming next if we don’t uphold the standard of God’s male-female creation?
The War on Children’s Education
Writing in the flagship gay publication The Advocate in 1995, lesbian journalist Patricia Nell Warren stated, “Whoever captures the kids owns the future.” Long before this, in 1958, Allen Ginsberg, the famed Beat poet and gay hippie icon, shouted to a young conservative leader, “We’ll get you through your children!”
Gay activists have been incredibly successful capturing the hearts and minds of our kids, not primarily by trying to seduce them into gay sex (as if all gays were child predators), but rather through indoctrination. As stated by the National Union of Teachers in the U.K., “It is particularly important to begin to make 3- to 5-year-olds aware of the range of families that exist in the U.K. today: families with one mum, one mum and dad, two mums, two dads, grandparents, adoptive parents, guardians.”
Coloring books like Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls seek to deconstruct traditional gender roles. Children’s readers like One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads and Oh, the Things Mommies Do! What Could Be Better Than Having Two? influence the minds of nursery school kids.
And “Terminology Game Cards,” provided by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, quiz elementary school students on terms such as biological sex, gender identity, gender role, transgender, gender expression, sexual orientation, heterosexism, transphobia, asexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, transsexual, intersexual, androgyny, cross dresser, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, queer, LGBTQ, sexual reassignment surgery, D/L (down low) and MSM.
In the last two years, the state of California passed bills that 1) call for the mandatory celebration of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history in America for all grades and districts, with no ability to opt out for parents or students; 2) make it illegal for a minor with unwanted same-sex attractions to get professional counseling and help, even with parental permission; and 3) give rights to a student in any grade who identifies as the opposite of his/her biological sex to use the bathroom of his/her choice and to play on the sports team (male or female) of his/her choice with use of the respective locker room.
And you say we shouldn’t care about this or get involved? (Remember also that what I’m sharing here is the tiniest tip of a massive iceberg; for many more details on all these fronts, see my book A Queer Thing Happened to America.)
The War on the Media
Writing in 1989, gay strategists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen called for the “conversion of the average American’s emotions, mind, and will, through a planned psychological attack, in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media.”
They and their colleagues have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams to the point that film critic and radio host Michael Medved noted several years ago, “A Martian gathering evidence about American society, simply by monitoring our television, would certainly assume that there were more gay people in America than there are evangelical Christians.”
We could now say the Martian would also conclude gay people are, with rare or no exception, incredibly nice, family-oriented, creative and considerate, while evangelical Christians are mean-spirited, judgmental, dull, greedy and hypocritical.
Back in 2010, gay media activist Jarrett Barrios stated, “It’s not enough to be Will and Grace anymore. The benchmark is higher.” (For our kids, Glee has certainly gone a good way toward advancing that goal.) That same year, an article on the insidemovie.com website noted “a particular sub-genre has emerged as perhaps the hottest gimmick in Hollywood: girl on girl [kissing].”
Yes, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is now old hat and Brokeback Mountain (which featured gay sex scenes with mainstream actors on the big screen) is remembered with nostalgia for its groundbreaking role.
Today, Hollywood is becoming more and more militant, with leading actors like Mark Ruffalo, who appeared in the lesbian-themed movie The Kids Are All Right, saying this about the stand for marriage as God intended it: “It’s the last dying, kicking, screaming, caged animal response to a world that is changing, a world that’s leaving a lot of those old, bigoted, unaccepting views behind. It’s over. Those against it are very tricky, and they’re using really dark ways to promote their ideas.”
Hollywood has declared war on biblical values—and, sad to say, many American evangelicals are more familiar with the latest movies than with the Word of God.
The War on Our Freedoms of Conscience, Speech and Religion
Whole books could be written on this subject detailing the stories of university students punished or kicked out of their schools because they could not affirm gay activism, employees fired from their jobs or fined for posting their views on homosexuality on their private Facebook pages or in local newspaper editorials, street preachers arrested for preaching the Word of God on sexuality, business owners fined for refusing to participate in gay commitment ceremonies—and the list goes on and on.
As I wrote in December 2013, “It is not just private individuals who have been punished for refusing to bow the knee to gay activism or for speaking out of turn, but also public figures like Dr. Ben Carson, pastor Louie Giglio and Sen. Rick Santorum. (In case you missed what happened with Mr. Santorum, in April, a Michigan high school canceled his speaking appearance out of concern that he would address same-sex marriage, eventually agreeing to let him speak with the caveat that students could only attend with parental permission [!]. In stark contrast, Bible-bashing, gay-sex-exalting speakers like Dan Savage are hailed as heroes in our schools and campuses, given carte blanche to talk about the most vile subjects to our young people.)”
And who can forget what happened to Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson after his comments about homosexuality were published by GQ magazine?
The simple truth is that if we don’t stand up for what is right today, we will have to apologize to our kids and grandkids tomorrow. Yet many Christians refuse to believe this, thinking that by ignoring these critical social issues and simply building bridges to their LGBT friends and co-workers, they will remove the gay community’s opposition to the gospel.
The reality is that unless we affirm that homosexual relationships and homosexual practice are fine in God’s sight, we will still be branded as homophobes and bigots.
Our Reaching and Resisting Response
What then must we do? First, we must ask God for His heart of love and compassion toward those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, recognizing the vast majority of them did not simply choose to have these attractions or gender-related issues and that, more than anything, they want to be accepted for who they are.
Second, we must get our own houses in order, repenting of our sexual sin and of our rampant, no-fault divorce.
Third, we must pray for the LGBT community and reach out to them in friendship with the message of the gospel, remembering that Jesus offers forgiveness and redemption equally to all.
And fourth, we must stand firmly against the encroachment of gay activism, recognizing the unspoken mantra of LGBT activists is, “We will intimidate and manipulate until you capitulate.” We must make it known clearly—with love, grace, compassion and humility—that capitulation is not an option.
It is our nature to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and in Jesus we will stand.