Who’s the Real Nutcase?
Recently I’ve heard a lot of rhetoric about the “violence” and “hatred” of something derisively called the “Christian right.” These charges would be amusing if they weren’t so serious.
The Bible is not ambiguous about homosexuality. There are a few Old Testament passages in Leviticus, plus a New Testament passage in 1 Corinthians 6:9 stating: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” It is not possible to claim that God’s Word approves, or is even neutral about, homosexuality.
So yes, we do believe that homosexuality is sinful. But we believe that vengeance for sin belongs to God, not to ourselves. Our responsibility is to tell people about it and help them escape it through repentance in Jesus -- not to try and carry it out ourselves. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” referred to ancient Israel’s punishment for adultery: stoning. It certainly did not refer to advising the woman in question that adultery was wrong so she could change her ways! Is peaceful disapproval of something worth being condemned as mean-spirited, intolerant, and “homophobic” (my personal favorite -- from the Greek, it would mean “afraid of men”)? Every time I see such vitriol, I think the same thing: who’s really intolerant?
But, you say, didn’t violent rhetoric kill Matthew Shepard? No, it did not. Nutcases killed Matthew Shepard. Any movement with millions of people is bound to have a couple members who are a few fries short of a Happy Meal. As long as the First Amendment exists, someone will say something that will give these people a “reason” to do something stupid. Sane people don’t go around beating people to death, regardless of what rhetoric they hear.
A pattern of liberal reactions is starting to manifest itself. Don’t like the pro-life movement? Trot out John Salvi, one man, and condemn as “extremists” the millions who protest abortion peacefully with their votes. Don’t like Christians who still believe that the Bible is the Word of God? Bring up the nutcases in Wyoming, who were looking for an excuse to kill someone, and ignore centuries of tradition held by entire nations of people. If one or two nutcases completely misunderstand what a movement is about and do something that runs against its stated beliefs, that’s apparently enough to discredit the entire movement.
Charles N. Horton ’99