A friend of mine posted a link to the article Bake for them two, referring to the recent situations in the news where Bakery owners have refused service to gay couples. In this article the author essentially makes the case that Jesus called for Christians to “go the extra mile” and therefore we should feel a sort of “Christian Duty” to serve people even when we disagree with their philosophies or way of living.
While I agree with the author’s conclusion and the subsequent behaviors they suggest, I disagree with their reasoning. I’d like to talk about why I disagree.
So first let me say, I’m probably rocking the boat with this post. I think I’m going to say some things that at least someone is going to disagree with, and that’s going to open the door to conflict. And I’m not a person that likes conflict. So I am asking in advance, if you feel inclined to disagree with my conclusions or my reasoning, please do so in a manner that is respectful to everyone on all sides.
Gay people are not sinners
I am stating it exactly like that and emphasizing the point because I want to make it clear that this not something I have simply decided to believe, but that it is a fact and I am confident in it’s truth. Homosexuality is not a sin, or an abomination, or a lifestyle choice. If you want to see why I know that homosexuality is a normal and acceptable part of the diversity of humans you can go watch this video by Matthew Vines. There is a lot of discussion that could be had regarding why I am confident in that truth, but that’s beside the point of this post.
What I do want to talk about in this post is not What gay people are, but Who gay people are. If you are a Christian then you believe that God created all human life, and that each and every life is precious. You believe that each and every person has a soul and that God individually created each of them (Psalm 139:13-14). You believe that God loves each of us the same regardless of the choices we make.
So who is a gay person?
A gay person is born. Just like you and me. He has a mother that pushed him out of her body and into the world and loved him instantly. He has a father that wrestled with him or taught him to throw. Or maybe he grew up without one of his parents in the home. Maybe he spent part of his life deeply sad and hurt at the absence of someone who should have been there. Maybe he had an idyllic childhood rich with loving and fulfilling experiences and relationships.
Maybe this boy grew up in the city, or maybe in the country. He might have been teased or bullied like so many other kids. Or maybe he was athletic or one of the popular kids and had lots of friends. He was good at math. Or maybe it was science, or English. Maybe school wasn’t his thing, but he knew how to make people laugh. He was incredibly confused and troubled by all of the mixed messages he got about gender and sexuality from his friends, teachers, family, or community. He made some bad choices based on those messages. And some good choices too.
He was immensely nervous the first time he went on a date. He didn’t know what to talk about, or how to act, or the right way to communicate his feelings. Childhood and school were sometimes horrible and sometimes wonderful, and sometimes both at the same time. Maybe he went to college, or dropped out of college. Maybe He got a job, or an apartment. He made friends. He lost friends. He fell in love. He had his heart broken.
He has passions and interests. There are places he loves, and places he’d love to go. He sometimes worries about money, or family, or work. He has someone in his life whom he loves deeply, or maybe he is looking for that special someone, or maybe he prefers being unattached. He has moments of euphoria and instances of sorrow. He got picked last at recess. He scored the winning run. He became a parent. He lost a parent. He got the big account at the office. He got passed over for the big promotion. He is sometimes proud, sometimes afraid. Sometimes bold, sometimes timid. He loves, and he hurts. He fears, and he fights. His sexuality is a defining characteristic, but it is not the sole characteristic that defines who he is. Just like me. Just like you.
Like all of us.
What’s the point?
It’s all well and good to say that one should make a point to go the extra mile out of a sense of duty. That’s fine, but it’s a behavior based on an intellectual choice and it doesn’t change the emotional state of one’s heart. The problem is that it is an action from the head and not an attitude from the heart. It fails to address the underlying issue that this “solution” is still only looking at what a gay person is rather than who a gay person is.
Forget about your opinions regarding what homosexuality is. If you believe that God created each of us and that He endowed each person with a unique and precious soul then maybe it would be better to try looking at gay people the way God looks at them. A precious and treasured person who He specifically and uniquely created. A person with flaws who has made bad choices, yes. But also a person with old hurts and deep fears. A person with relationships both strong and weak. A person with passions and talents. A person with hopes and dreams. A person who laughs and loves. A person.
If you want to do the “Christian” thing then looking at your service to or interaction with a gay person as something you must tolerate out of duty is missing the point. Instead of seeing what gay people are try seeing who they are; a uniquely treasured person. Fearfully and wonderfully made.