Response to a Young Gay Man, and Being Made to Care

westboro

To the young gay man who shared so openly and clearly on RedState:  thank you.  It’s refreshing to see someone willing to engage in real debate without invective, accusations, and straw men.  That’s a rare event these days, and it deserves recognition and encouragement.

That being said, beyond encouragement, such a heartfelt diary deserves a response.  And the response must be just as clear, open, and free from the trash talk filling our culture war—I will endeavor to do so.

First, your grandfather is like most people in America who live outside major cities.  The gay (when I say “gay” I mean LGBT) population in America is no more than 3% of the total, and that population is concentrated in metropolitan areas, where it’s easier for gays to connect with each other and enjoy safe social interaction.  This leaves places like Nebraska, and most more rural areas, with zero “out” gays.  It’s very possible that most people who live in those areas can go their whole lives without knowing a single gay person—knowingly that is.

With television, media, and film soaked in gay culture and “normalcy” (is anything normal on TV?), it’s nearly impossible to avoid portrayals or various examples of gay life in America.  Some of them seek to make gay culture seem as average as you are, and some seek to glorify it as something to be aspired to—a libertine society where rules are for smashing and life is for pleasure’s purpose, and some seek to vilify it as deviant and dangerous.  Most of these extreme views are straw men which are regularly built and burned.

And this is what America gets to see.

Before I proceed on that line of argument, I wish to address the young gay man “olive” directly.

You speak lovingly of your grandfather, and that you wish to save him from a “fruitless campaign to ‘pray me straight.’”  That’s commendable and compassionate, to save him from emotional pain.  But allow me to frame your statement in terms of presuppositions.  If you believe any prayer to change your sexual orientation is fruitless, then it must follow that you believe that prayer has limits—that certain miracles do not, and cannot occur, such as gay people becoming straight.  It must also follow that you believe that there’s no natural way for a gay person to become straight.

Yet examples abound of this.  Most gay men (and lesbian women) state that they’ve been that way as long as they can remember.  And that makes sense.  But there are verifiable “ex-gays” and people who are straight most of their lives who have a gay experience and then “come out” because they like that lifestyle more.  The presupposition here is that your experience, and the experience of the “out” people you know and with whom you associate, must be the only experience possible, and that it supports a truth that sexual orientation is fixed and immutable (even by God).

I could be misreading you:  it’s possible your statement merely indicates that you do not wish to change—after praying that God would change you, and failing to see the answer to that prayer, you’ve given up and decided God wanted you to be gay.  It’s certainly true God made you.  And it’s true God made all of us, and we all have our “crosses to bear.”  But there’s no evidence that God made you to be gay, and simultaneously tempted you to a sinful life.  The Bible is clear that God does not tempt us to sin.

This is likely the largest source of frustration and pique against God by gays.  How can a loving God have made me (and left me) this way, and yet condemned my only chance at a loving relationship?

But let’s move past God here back to worldly presumptions and circle back to heavenly ones.

There is no biological, physical evidence of “gay” DNA or other non-experience-based triggers for same-sex orientation.  If there were, I’d be in the same boat as you—how could God have done this—and it would be repugnant to look at it as a disease like Leukemia or a genetic disorder like Downs Syndrome.  As much as compassionate scientists and gay advocates have sought this smoking gun evidence, it hasn’t been found.

The presumption is that it simply must exist.  Since the gay experience consists of testimony “I’ve always been this way,” it must follow that there’s a reason for it, and that reason is beyond the control of the person who is gay.  Any other explanation fails to offer succor to the gay man, and condemns him to suffering—that his condition is something wrong, versus simply another way of living.

Let me submit to you:  that’s faith, brother.  You have faith in the story that there must be a physical reason you are gay just like others have faith that God can change the sexual orientation of a gay man (again, “gay” refers to all LGBT).  The gay community has a different faith than the Christian community, and in fact they are at odds, even mutually exclusive truth claims.

It cannot be true that God created gay men as another sexual preference, and God condemns homosexual behavior, and that gayness is not a disease, and that God will not change gay people into straight people (i.e. a “cure”), all at the same time.  Either God is not good—or there is no God—or gayness is not what God considers “normal”.

It’s this schism that separates Christians from the gay community.  And on both sides, there’s plenty of fear, defensiveness, and even (although this is not a Christian trait) hatred.

This is indeed the basis for the “internecine warfare” to which you refer.

But there’s a key difference here, and that difference is ends and means.

One of my favorite movies is the biopic “Walk the Line” where Joaquin Phoenix portrays Johnny Cash.  There’s a scene where Cash, fresh from his rededication to God and recovery from drug addiction, is in the Capitol Records office, declaring his intention to make a live album at Folsom Prison.  When one of the execs questions whether Cash’s fans—Christians—want to hear him sing at a prison, Cash responds “then they’re not Christians.”  Not everyone who claims the name is a Christian—in fact, in some places, most aren’t.

We can’t really say that for gays.  If someone says they are gay, they likely are.  There’s no talking the gay talk without walking the walk, so to speak.  Therefore the (“out”) gay community is much more well crystalized on the meaning of “gayness” and the life experience than the Christian community, which tends to be fragmented and peppered with frauds.

But let’s focus on the “real” Christian community—that segment of Christians who believe the Bible for what it is:  God’s word, and live by its precepts.  This means they aspire to glorify Christ, and acquire the fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  That automatically disqualifies churches like Westboro Baptist, for reasons which should be obvious.

These Christians are guided by the Bible, and the Bible’s goals are theirs:  that no one should perish, and that by knowing Christ people can be saved, and that Christ commands that we go out into the world and make disciples even to the end of the age.  The means by which disciples are made is by love, friendship, goodness, kindness, peace-making, and truth.  Not by war, invective, or stone-throwing.  But the last item on that list is “truth.”  If the word of God is truth, and we believe it is, then Christians are compelled to act in accordance with truth.  This means that distasteful verses which condemn those who practice (and continue to practice, unrepentantly) homosexual acts are not following Christ.

Whether we preach those verses or not, we cannot wish them away or simply ignore them.  They exist.  We cannot disclaim them or excise them from the Bible, because the Bible is truth and it is whole.  We cannot disclaim God’s intent of the Bible because then we are not following truth.  You get the idea here, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.  A “your Kingdom come, your will be done” kind of deal here.  It’s not my kingdom, it’s God’s.

Let’s look at the ends and means of the gay community.

The gay community wishes to achieve acceptance.  Your wrote, “Gay activists are not interested in true tolerance; they want affirmation, endorsement, celebration.  Withholding that affirmation is not something to be accepted.  All must participate.  They and Erick are right about that.”  Since the Bible doesn’t affirm gayness as a valid way of lie, that’s a major source of pain.

Your analogy to Ender Wiggin kicking his rival so badly that he will never fight again makes perfect sense.  It’s done out of fear.  But Ender Wiggin also had a gift for strategy—in fact this is the entire plot of Ender’s Game.  And the gay community is not simply acting out of fear, but with a very specific strategy which includes ends and means.

A decades-old book titled “After The Ball” seeks to set out those ends and means.

At a later stage of the media campaign for gay rights-long after other gay ads have become commonplace-it will be time to get tough with remaining opponents. To be blunt, they must be vilified. (This will be all the more necessary because, by that time, the entrenched enemy will have quadrupled its output of vitriol and disinformation.) Our goal is here is twofold. First, we seek to replace the mainstream’s self-righteous pride about its homophobia with shame and guilt. Second, we intend to make the antigays look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.

And this.

The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes…bigoted southern ministers drooling with hysterical hatred to a degree that looks both comical and deranged; menacing punks, thugs, and convicts speaking coolly about the “fags” they have killed or would like to kill;

This is what’s known as “consensus engineering.”  It’s a well-studied field, kicked off by an essay in the 1940’s titled “The Engineering of Consent” by Edward L. Bernays, a rather famous consent engineer.  Bernays’ essay was followed by a book of the same title, to which Bernays contributed a chapter.

Words hammer continually at the eyes and ears of America. The United States has become a small room in which a single whisper is magnified thousands of times. Knowledge of how to use this enormous amplifying system becomes a matter of primary concern to those who are interested in socially constructive action.

The essay then walks through the steps: planning, study, techniques of research, themes, strategy, approach, and tactics, for winning public opinion and achieving social change.  Another term for consensus engineering is “community organizing” and Saul Ailinsky wrote a book on that also.  These principles are used by the gay community, and have been for decades, to achieve their ends.

Their means are carefully planned, scientifically researched, and carried out with calculated precision.  Those who direct, and those who follow the plans in “After The Ball” are pursuing a stated, definitive campaign to vilify the church—whether it be Westboro Baptist (who should be vilified) or my home church filled with the faithful.

The fear that many gays feel is real, but real things can be manufactured.

Laws like the RFRA are simply a defense against being kicked to the curb, and then kicked when you’re down.  Yet the strategists will not relent because they see Christianity as their entrenched enemy.

To a young man who I would like to call a friend in both spirit of constructive dialog, and a friend in pursuit of real solutions and truth, I say that Christians (and most Americans) don’t want to defeat the gay community or put them back into the closet.  Nothing of the sort.  What we wish to do, however, is expose the corrupt and manipulative means the leaders of the war on Christian expression have used and are using to put Christians into the closet.

Nobody likes to be manipulated.  If we work together, we can defeat the manipulators on both sides, set aside our presumptions, and see each other as human beings.  And by that we will fulfill the Royal Law:  love your neighbor as yourself.

Thanks for reading.