The conservative Christian website WND.com published “an open letter to ‘gay’ teens” written by Matt Barber (yes, he’s one of those people who puts “gay” in quotation marks). Barber is an attorney and the vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, an offshoot that evolved from the late Jerry Falwell‘s Moral Majority.
After Barber introduces himself as a follower of Jesus Christ (as if anybody had any doubts), he addresses the reader as he would one of his three children, or so he says:
I love you. I neither judge you nor condemn you. I accept you and I would die for you.
But you are not “gay.”
Yes, you may be physically attracted to people of the same sex, but how you act on those attractions is entirely your choice. Who you are — your identity — is not defined by your sexual feelings, temptations or behaviors. The difference between who you are and what you feel or do is as the difference between night and day.
No, Mr. Barber.
My sexual and emotional and romantic feelings are inextricably linked to my identity as a gay person. Regardless of my actions, this is who I am. Does your connection to your wife not contribute in some way to who you are? And since when does “what you feel” not significantly affect “who you are,” whether or not the feelings in question are sexual?
Here is who you are: You are a wonderful, beautiful, precious human being created in the image and likeness of the one righteous and Holy God of the universe.
You are priceless.
But you are flawed — you are a sinner.
I am flawed — I am a sinner.
We are all flawed sinners — corrupted beings in a corrupted world. We are all tempted by sin.
Those temptations manifest themselves in different ways for each of us. We are all on equal footing, however, as to how we react to those temptations.
Homosexual behavior is always wrong — demonstrably and absolutely wrong.
No, Mr. Barber.
You do not have the right to call someone “beautiful and precious” and “demonstrably and absolutely wrong” in the same breath. You do not have the right to force your own bigoted “moral code” on unwilling participants. I know I am a wonderful, beautiful and precious person, Mr. Barber, and I know also that I am flawed; but my identity is not wrong. It’s just me. And in case this wasn’t already clear, it’s about more than behavior.
He then goes on to cite the same crop of vague, winding Biblical passages that most Christians interpret as denouncing homosexuality. But the kicker is when he claims that LGBT teens’ feelings of depression, isolation, or desperation are not a result of discrimination, stigma, and outward homophobia. Nope; gay kids do that to themselves by being gay, Barber writes:
God’s word also says that when we sin sexually, it’s particularly egregious because our bodies are the temple of Christ. This separation from God — a natural result of sexual sin — can lead to depression and even despair.If you feel such despair, know this: it is not “homophobia” causing it, as adult enablers might tell you, but, rather, it is the sin itself that causes it (or struggling alone, absent Christ, with the temptation to sin).
You are being used. Adult homosexual activists with a political agenda are using you as a pawn to achieve selfish goals in a dangerous political game.
You’re just a means to an end.
No, Mr. Barber.
Homophobia is real, and it’s vicious. This is why LGBT teens are so much more prone to depression and suicidal thoughts than their heterosexual peers. This has been proven time and time again. Why would anyone bring that upon themselves, Mr. Barber? And how exactly is an “adult homosexual activist” different from a 17-year-old gay person? At what point does an LGBT teen morph into the apparently demonic “homosexual activist” from whom we should apparently hide our children?
And finally, intertwined with a hoard of phony statistics about HIV/AIDS and other “natural consequences” of homosexuality, he reminds all the sad gay kids out there that only Jesus can set them free:
Love without truth is hate.
If you continue down this wide, empty path, make no mistake: it will not “get better.”
It gets much, much worse…
Jesus loves you with a love that no human can fully grasp. This is true not because of your so-called “sexual orientation,” but, rather, it is true in spite of it.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Kids, take your sexual confusion — your struggle with sin — to Christ.
No one else can give you rest.
No, Mr. Barber.
That’s not how it works. For starters, your fake statistics about the higher death rate of gay men have been proven false, and you’re only hurting your own reputation by repeating them. (Not that your reputation is all that stellar to begin with.) Furthermore, I’d appreciate it if you would stop using quotation marks around words like “gay,” “coming out,” and “sexual orientation.” You have a sexual orientation, too, Mr. Barber. I’m guessing it’s straight, or you wouldn’t be such an insensitive, ignorant jerk. Plus, your Jesus sure sounds like he contradicts himself a lot, doesn’t he?
Finally, Mr. Barber, while coming into your own sexual orientation or gender identity can sometimes be confusing, being gay is not synonymous with “sexual confusion.” It’s not chosen, forced, or able to be scared away by a higher power. Being gay is just that: a way of being. Until you wake up and realize it, your belief system and those who share your backwards views will fall faster and faster into obscurity, and we will all be better for it.