As we de-stigmatize homosexuality, the human toll continues to mount. Why? Perhaps because the fundamental problem wasn't "stigma" in the first place. Perhaps when the problem is sin, de-stigmatizing sin doesn't actually heal the human heart. Celebrating sin doesn't ultimately soothe the conscience. And in celebrating sin, we often stigmatize the one Truth that can offer light in the darkness of the soul.

We've seen this movie before. Since the 1960s, much of the American church has been stampeding away from its allegedly "judgmental" past. As we de-stigmatize divorce, our families dissolve. As we de-stigmatize illegitimacy, fathers vanish. In matters public (see, for example, the Christian community's utter failure to oppose no-fault divorce) and private (the reluctance to "judge" our close friends when they stray into manifestly destructive behaviors), the message is clear: "I'm not one of those judgmental Christians."

We need to learn that there's a difference between judgment and reading comprehension. You are not making a judgment when you say that homosexual sex is wrong, that God hates divorce, and that premarital sex is a sin. God made those judgments, and you're merely communicating the judgment He made, not making one of your own. Further, in withholding, watering down, or denying those truths, you are not making anyone's life better. You are making their lives worse.

You can't find a single serious social scientist who will argue that divorce and illegitimacy lead to better social outcomes for children than intact mother-father families. With 36.5 percent of single-parent female-led families living in poverty (versus only 6.4 percent of married households), and with illegitimacy increasing from 7 percent of all births in 1964 to almost 41 percent in 2008, it's time to realize that the old stigmas had real cultural value. They literally saved lives.

As my retired pastor was fond of saying, it's tough to see and understand the good news of the Gospel until you understand the bad news -- that we are all fallen, broken before God. Yet now this critical reality is deemed too hurtful to speak. It is still true, however, and understanding that truth is a critical first step to redemption.

Our culture -- with the church marching right at its side -- has reversed centuries of moral norms. Divorce is acceptable, even liberating; single parents are heroes; and homosexual behavior is a celebratory act of intimacy. In the meantime, our poverty increases, our kids miss their fathers, and young people still take heartbreaking leaps from the George Washington Bridge.

Are we really better off without the truth?

 

David French is a lawyer, writer, soldier, and veteran of the Iraq war. He serves as the director for the Center for Academic Freedom.

For more articles like this, visit Patheos' Evangelical Portal. Also see David French's previous columns, "Onward Christian Soldiers?" and "Social Conservatives Are Small-Government Conservatives."