I work a part-time job in a non-Christian environment. I am the only believer in my immediate work station, and I can think of only a handful or so of professing believers in my whole building. This can sometimes give me a unique voice in certain conversations, and because of that I get asked lots of questions. Some of the question are of a contentious nature, while other questions are purely out of curiosity. Recently my partner asked me one of the latter.
Knowing that I am an evangelical and knowing something about my past experience in theater he inquired of me, “If you were still an actor would you play a homosexual?” My initial knee-jerk reaction of “NO!” was caught before it left my mouth, and I was able to ponder the question more thoughtfully. I had never really thought about this particular problem. I had thought much about what it meant to play immoral people on stage, and had even done so in previous performances. I had thought about what it meant for homosexuals to play Christians (this came about with the controversy surrounding End of the Spear a few years ago). But I had never thought about what it meant for Christians to play the role of homosexuals. A thought occurred to me as I pondered further on this subject: do Christians make homosexuality a worse sin than others?
We know that to God sin is sin! It’s all the same, in one sense anyways, because it is all equally offensive to Him. But for some Christians, homosexuality strikes us as some how more sinful than, say, speeding or lying. Would I play a liar on stage? Would I play a cheater, womanizer, murderer in a show? The answer became clearer in my mind as I compared the sins. It all relates to story and message.
What is a particular film or play trying to say with its overall production? What does the story value and promote? If sin, whether that is lying or homosexuality is endorsed then I struggle to justify playing that role. If, however, sin is condemned, or its consequences are spelled out that might convince me to take the role. There are a number of related questions that need to be asked as well. What is the role of character? Is he a good guy, or bad guy? Hero or villain? Does his sin play a major part of his character or of his activity in the production? The recent news about Dumbledore raised the question in my mind, “If I were a famous actor, and an evangelical Christian, would I play the part of Dumbledore?” I think I would. The reason being his sin is not a part of his role in the movies. The larger question to ask in all of this pertains to the nature of “acting” itself.
Is it possible to “act” the part of someone and not have to agree with, or endorse, that character’s morality? I think, to some degree, this must be true. You can “play the part,” so to speak, and not condone the activity, though this of course does not excuse those who participate in pornographic films and the like. There are some parts that cannot be separated from immorality, and Christians should not take such roles. Any role that asks you to sin against God is not one Christians should take. But with that in mind I must say, perhaps to my own shock as much as to yours, that there are cases where I would willingly and to my best ability play the role of a homosexual.
I suppose the final question to ask is as follows: Just how mad, do you think, the homosexual community would get if a Bible believing Christian played gay in a show?