Here’s a nice article from Jonathan Merritt on the subject of the church acting with love toward those who identify as homosexual:
An Evangelical’s Plea: Love the Sinner
I have two small beefs with this otherwise excellent and spot-on piece:
1. I think that Jonathan overplays the hand on evangelicals who’ve not acted with grace toward homosexuals. Sure, there have been examples a-plenty of evangelicals who’ve hated the sinner (or at least acted that way); that said, I think that this piece would have been more germane–and more accurate–maybe ten years ago, or even twenty. I believe that there is a relatively high percentage of evangelicals who’ve embraced “love the sinner, hate the sin” with regards to homosexuality, probably a higher percentage than Jonathan’s article would suggest. Personally, I’ve long maintained that evangelicals have erred in opposing any/every piece of legislative change that has advanced equality for homosexuals. For instance, I supported “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” when Clinton first implemented it (yes, yes, I know, the homosexual lobby doesn’t like it now, but back then, it represented a step they generally liked, and to support it was an unpopular position for evangelicals to take). Further, and here’s my libertarian impulses coming to the fore, I believe that what two people want to do consensually in the privacy of their own home isn’t the business of the state so long as their freedom doesn’t encroach on the freedom of others. I’d apply that principle well beyond matters of sexuality, by the way, but that’s another post for another time. There is a difference, I’d remind us all, between what is legal and what is moral. There are things that are immoral which ought not be made illegal (it’s wrong to lie; you want the government to clap you in jail for fudging a little when your wife says, “does this make me look fat?”), and there are things which are not morally wrong, but which must be made illegal in order to have an ordered society (driving on the left-hand side of the road isn’t immoral in itself, but it has to be illegal). But my point is this: legitimate equal rights ought not be denied individuals on the basis of their sexual decisions; that fact does not in any way suggest that immorality ought not be opposed in the appropriate venues. As an evangelical, I support the right of any person to have whomever he/she chooses at his bedside in the hospital, to have whomever he/she chooses to make end-of-life decisions, etc. I don’t have to have moral agreement with a person’s lifestyle choices to advocate for his rights before the law. And by the way, to any reading who might wonder about this, it is the position of this blog that “gay marriage” has nothing whatever to do with “equal rights”, and everything to do with granting special rights to a group of people…not that I want to go down that path, but I felt the need to issue that caveat.
2. It’s regrettable that Jonathan uses the term “sexual orientation”. It’s a made-up term that obscures the real issues and plays into the hands of the legitimizers of homosexual activity, and it’s an unbiblical term that connotes an unbiblical approach to the issue to boot.
Other than those two small quibbles, the article is dead-on, and I commend it.