By Scott Lively*
May 2008 – Hate has a pretty bad name in the world today. No one wants to be called a hater, especially Christians, which is probably why we get accused of it all the time by our opponents. Homosexuals are especially fond of calling people haters. They even invented the word homophobia, which means hate and fear of homosexuals, envisaged as a mental illness. (A phobia is an anxiety disorder.)
I hate being called a homophobe. It has such an ugly connotation. It’s especially unpleasant because, as a Christian, I’m supposed to have a reputation for loving people, not hating them. So I’ve worked really hard over the years to try to get the homosexuals to stop calling me a homophobe. I’ve pointed out the difference between hating people and hating their behavior (loving the sinner but hating the sin). They hated that.
Then I tried “walking my talk” by taking an ex-gay man who was dying of AIDS into my family. My wife and I and our children loved and cared for him during the last year of his life. They hated that even more.
Then I began asking for guidance from homosexuals themselves. “Tell me, where is the line between homophobia and acceptable opposition to homosexuality?” I asked. “What if I just agree with the Bible that homosexuality is a sin no worse than any other sex outside marriage?”
“No, that’s homophobic,” they said.
“Suppose I talk only about the proven medical hazards of gay sex and try to discourage people from hurting themselves?”
“No, you can’t do that,” they said.
“How about if I say that homosexuals have the option to change if they choose?”
“Ridiculous,” they answered.
“Maybe I could just be completely positive, say nothing about homosexuality, and focus only on promoting the natural family and traditional marriage?”
“That’s really hateful,” they replied.
After awhile, I realized that the only way I could get them to stop calling me a homophobe was to start agreeing with them about everything. But here’s my dilemma: I honestly believe the Bible, which says that homosexuality is wrong and harmful and that all sex belongs within marriage. I’ve also read the professional studies and know that gay sex hurts people because it goes against the design of their bodies. And I’m friends with a number of former homosexuals who are now married and living heterosexual lives. Do I have to give up my religion? Ignore scientific facts? Betray my friends? Is that the only way to avoid being called a hater and a homophobe?
There’s no escape. A homophobe is anyone who, for any reason, disapproves of homosexuality in any way, shape, manner, form or degree. This leaves me with just two choices: agree that everything about homosexuality is natural, normal, healthy, moral and worthy to be celebrated or be labeled as a mentally ill, hate-filled bigot.
Am I wrong? Is there any way to openly disapprove of homosexuality without being a homophobe? Gay leaders, please set me straight on this.
Because if I’m right, that means the gay agenda is to stop everyone from following the Bible regarding sexual matters. It is, after all, their stated goal to “stamp out homophobia.” No more religious freedom. It’s also to suppress scientific research that has reached conclusions they don’t like, especially if it helps people to change their homosexual orientation back to a heterosexual one. (Ask the doctors and scientists at www.narth.com what they’ve had to endure.) If it discourages homosexuality, even by implication, it’s homophobic and can’t be used.
There’s a queer reasoning behind all of this. Homosexuals call me names like bigot and homophobe, condemn my religion, mock my rational conclusions about social issues, impugn my motives, display intense hostility toward my actions and curse my very existence, all under the justification that I’m a hater. But if I’m a hater for civilly opposing what they do, why aren’t they haters for uncivilly opposing what I do? Such a double standard, in the context of a public debate on civil rights, is not just hypocritical, it is surreal.
I admit I have some hate. I hate watching people kill themselves with preventable diseases like AIDS. I hate seeing children being steered toward unhealthy lifestyles. I hate having my pro-family views distorted by dishonest journalists, politicians and academics. And I hate seeing my God being treated like a homophobe for what He teaches in His Bible.
So if you’re not going to stop calling me a hater for wanting homosexuals to be saved and healed or for opposing their political agenda, let’s at least see a little more of that famous “American sense of fair play” in the public debate on this issue. Hatred of haters is hateful, too.
*Dr. Scott Lively is president of Defend the Family (www.defendthefamily.com). He speaks extensively, empowering listeners to become effective advocates for the family.