That “loving Jesus means hating gay people” is “proclaimed in Christian churches and on Christian television and radio broadcasts.”
So declares Dan Savage in his review of Jeff Chu’s “Does Jesus Really Love Me: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America” — on page one of The New York Times Book Review.
Who is foremost among those who have made “anti-gay bigotry seem synonymous with Christianity”? The Family Research Council and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. So says Savage. And who is he? A cradle Catholic who says he “was in church every Sunday for the first 15 years of my life. Now I spend my Sundays on my bike, on my snowboard or on my husband.”
One gets the point. And in handing this review to an apostate Catholic and atheist homosexual, the Times was nailing its anti-Catholic colors to the mast. Yet what Savage alleges and the Times published is a lie.
No true Catholic church can preach that Jesus hates gays. “Love your enemies” is the message of Christ. Hate the sin and love the sinner is taught as gospel truth in Catholic schools. This has been Catholic doctrine for 2,000 years.
Yet, in contending that America is reaching a “cultural tipping point,” Savage is not all wrong. Undeniably, the Christian view, though mislabeled “homophobia,” alienates millions. Many of America’s young have come to accept that homosexuality is a natural preference of a significant minority and ought to be accommodated, and same-sex unions ought to be treated as traditional marriages.
Case in point. At George Washington University, two students have demanded that Father Greg Shaffer of the Newman Center be removed for creating an environment hostile to gays. The priest’s offense: When Obama endorsed same-sex marriage, Shaffer posted a blog restating Catholic teaching condemning homosexual acts as unnatural and immoral. In private sessions, Father Shaffer also counseled gay students to remain celibate for the rest of their lives. One senior, Damian Legacy, says he was shaken by Father Greg’s admonition that he was risking his soul and by his ouster from the Newman Center after the priest learned he was in a relationship with a male student. Legacy and his partner have filed complaints against the Rev. Shaffer with the university Office for Diversity and Inclusion, alleging his homophobia has had a detrimental effect on the emotional health of gay students. They are asking the Student Association to cut funding to the Newman Center.
Though a minor collision in the culture war, this clash at GW may be a harbinger of what is coming, as the homosexual community seeks to have its agenda written into law and fastened onto the nation.
For traditional Christianity’s view that homosexual acts are immoral and same-sex marriage an absurdity cannot be reconciled with the view that homosexuality is natural and normal and gay marriage a human right.
The issue is pulling the Republican Party apart. It is pulling Christian communities apart. It is pulling the nation apart.
Like abortion, it is an issue on which both sides cannot be right. Yet it is an issue of paramount importance both to devout Christians and to the homosexual rights movement.
What happens if the gay rights movement, as it appears it may, succeeds politically on same-sex marriage, but many Christians refuse to recognize such unions and continue to declare that American society has become ungodly and immoral?
Gay rights advocates often compare their cause to the civil rights struggle of half a century ago. But there is a fundamental difference.
When Martin Luther King Jr. called on the nation to “live up to the meaning of its creed,” he heard an echo from a thousand pulpits. Treating black folks decently was consistent with what Christians had been taught. Dr. King was pushing against an open door.
Priests and pastors marched for civil rights. Others preached for civil rights. But if the gay rights agenda is imposed, we could have priests and pastors preaching not acceptance but principled rejection.
Prelates could be declaring from pulpits everywhere that the triumph of gay rights is a defeat for God’s Country, and the new laws are immoral and need neither be respected nor obeyed.
The issue is acceptance. We know of how America refused to accept Prohibition and, in good conscience, Americans broke the laws against the consumption of alcohol. Imagine the situation in America today if priests and pastors were telling congregations they need not obey civil rights laws. They would be denounced as racists. Church tax exemptions would be in peril. Something akin to this could be in the cards if the homosexual rights movement is victorious — a public rejection of the new laws by millions and a refusal by many to respect or obey them.
The culture war in America today may be seen as squabbles in a day care center compared to what is coming. A new era of civil disobedience may be at hand.
Cover image credit: shutterstock.com