Recent polls have found that nearly 91% of certain age groups think that Christians are “antihomosexual.” As in, we hate the person as well as their sin. And this week, I fear that most Christians on Facebook are trying to increase that percentage.
Because when a well-known president of a well-known restaurant chain speaks out on gay marriage, all we care about is that he said all the right buzzwords. Not that he also spoke a long string of judgmental words in there are as well. Nor that he trumpeted his definition of marriage as more “Biblical” than other definitions – even though he probably supports the Americanized version of marriage. A version of marriage that makes polygamy, concubines (legalized sex slaves), and forced marriages illegal. Never mind that those are all accepted in the Bible, therefore making the current “traditional” definition of marriage itself a re-definition of true Biblical marriage.
People have moved past the old definitions of hate, where you actually spoke racial slurs and told people they were less than human to their face. People are now looking at how you treat people that are different than you… how you speak to those that don’t agree with your position. It is one thing to say that you don’t agree. It is another thing to mock people that don’t agree with you. It is another thing to accuse them of being ignorant, silly, nit-picky, ridiculous, or hypocritical just because they disagree with you. This is looked at as modern-day hate speech. It goes over the line of disagreeing and into the realm of demeaning in subtle ways. We have to realize that sometimes hate can be subtle or implied.
So, looking at what has been posted on Facebook this week, it seems that Christians are more concerned with being right than with having compassion. We care more about the freedom of speech rather than speaking with love. We would rather post lame jokes about supporting Chick-fil-a than trying to see how the words of Dan Cathay affect the people he has been speaking against. Because he didn’t just speak about an issue. He spoke about the people behind that issue in a demeaning, judgmental way. Nothing in the Bible supports that.
And the big one that saddens me the most is that we would rather blast people for reacting wrong than try to understand why they are reacting in the first place. I agree that many of the calls for boycotts are way over the line. But instead of spending all of our time mocking people for calling for them… why not try to understand where they are coming from? You will probably still disagree with them, but maybe you will help them to understand why they are hurt, rather than pouring more hurt on top of a lifetime of pain.
I say this with a heavy heart because many of the people I call friends with would rather post harsh things on Facebook slamming people for reacting incorrectly than try to understand in love and grace.
People get hurt and they react rashly. Welcome to dealing with the human race 101. Gay people feel hated and ostracized by the Church. Do we not get that? I don’t think so. Not at all. Because if we did, it wouldn’t matter that people were calling for boycotts. It would matter that hurt people are being hurt even more by our actions. And maybe we would stop adding to the chorus of hurt.
So you can continue to slam people for calling for boycotts. I won’t necessarily join in the boycott, but I will tell them that I get where they are coming from and understand the logic behind their frustration. You can post sarcastic attempts at humor on Facebook, but I will try to bridge gaps with those that feel left out of our closed Church societies. You can continue to add to the chorus of people that want to pile sarcasm on top of decades worth of hate, but I will stand up and say “enough is enough!”
I won’t let it slide or stick my head in the sand (as much as I like the idea of both). I don’t let silly eCards with pithy (but illogical) statements determine my theology. I don’t let people’s over-reactions to Cathay’s statements drive me to slam a group of people that need compassion rather than (yet another) slap on the wrists. I am in this discussion because Jesus said to love.
Are we bandaging wounds, or causing more?