Following Jesus Means Supporting Human Rights for Homosexuals.

Following Jesus Means Supporting Human Rights for Homosexuals. October 25, 2014

Ugandan men hold a rainbo 011

If you’ve got gay fatigue, you’re not alone.

I’ve been hearing muttering from some surprising places, including people who are strongly in support of gay rights, that they’re “tired” of the obsessive focus our society has on homosexuality.

The endless circular debates about forcing people to bake a wedding cake or if ordained ministers should be allowed to not perform gay weddings is beginning to try the patience of people from all points on the ideological compass.

However, there is another side to this, and it’s not about petulant demands that everyone collude in the fantasy that two men or two women are the same as a man and a woman. It has to do with the most basic of human rights: The right to life. It also has to do with another basic human right: The right not to be incarcerated unjustly.

I’m talking about countries that have draconian laws giving the death penalty, lashing or long prison sentences for homosexuality. Sadly, most of these laws are being justified because of bogus claims to religion, including, in a couple of places, Christianity. To the extent that this is true, it calls for Christians to speak out against these laws and take a stand against them. Laws such as these are an affront to the basic human dignity of men and women who are made in the likeness and image of God. They are a smear on the name of Christ.

One of the best parts about this story is that, at least in one circumstance, the passage of such laws has been turned back. Uganda’s law which would have provided for a death penalty for homosexuals, was scrapped. This was due to the work of brave homosexual people and their supporters all over the globe.

However, Uganda did end up passing a law that criminalizes “homosexual activities”  and metes out harsh punishments. This law clearly violates the civil liberties and human rights of homosexuals.

I think it’s important for us as Christians to join the fight against laws such as these, and for us to do it in the name of Christ. This does not mean that we should stop our defense of traditional marriage. It is a requirement on us as Christians that we walk this line of supporting the human rights of all persons, including homosexuals, and that we also refuse to back down in our defense of the family.

Each in its own way is a human right, which must be defended.

The commitment to Christ Jesus is always a counter-cultural commitment. It does not matter the culture. Following Christ, if you are true to the call, will pit you against the cruelties and lies of your society. That is why so many people who claim to be Christian do not, in fact, live Christian.

Living Christian is not easy. It requires being attacked for one position, and then crossing the street to stand with your attackers on another issue. There is no country for the authentic follower of Jesus except heaven itself.

I’m going to make an effort to follow these attacks against the basic human rights of gay people and to let you know ways in which you can join in the fight against them. At the same time, I am going to continue to urge you to stand strong in the work ahead to rebuild and reclaim traditional marriage, and to work against the onslaught of attacks on First Amendment freedoms in the name of bogus claims of “human rights” violations against gay people in this country.

If that seems like a contradiction, so be it. It is my idea of following Jesus the best that I can.

From the Washington Post:

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni today signed a law that imposes a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts — and life sentences for those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.”

A measure imposing the death penalty was removed from an earlier version of the bill.Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, as it is in 37 other African countries.

Though the death penalty was removed from Uganda’s law, it’s a potential punishment elsewhere, including parts of Nigeria, Mauritania and Sudan.(Last month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a measure similar to Uganda’s into law; a few weeks later, a mob pulled 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them, screaming about cleansing their neighborhood of gay people. )

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31 responses to “Following Jesus Means Supporting Human Rights for Homosexuals.”

  1. I wish I could agree with your post. However, it is hard for me to tolerant when they consistently attack and mock Christians in the name of equality. The Bible says that we should love everyone but it is not realistic when the gay lobby is attacking anyone disagreeing with their views. Their version of equality is all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

    • First, it’s not about us in a personal sense. Attacks on our faith are always, at some level, an attack on Jesus. Attacks on Jesus are always, at some level, inspired by the darkness. We are dealing with powers and principalities, my friend.

      Second our call as Christians is to follow the Gospel, not engage in petty back and forths. I know as well as anyone can know how tempting it is to snap back when someone calls you names and lies about you. However, there are times when we just have to trust Jesus and stay the course.

      Our call is to convert this culture, not flame out at those who attack us. That’s tough, I know. But then, it was tough to hang on a cross and forgive those who had driven the nails.

      Stand for marriage. Stand for life. Oppose injustice. And accept that when Jesus said we would be reviled, He meant it. Remember this also: When someone attacks you for following Christ, they are giving you the Kingdom of Heaven. “Blessed are you when men say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be glad. For so did they about the prophets before you. Great will be your reward in Heaven.”

      Stay the course and follow Christ. Trust Him and don’t hate.

      • Good luck with fighting for their rights. Just remember, there is a baker, a minister and a photographer fighting for their livelihood and their religious rights.

        • I’ve been kicked around pretty thoroughly for standing up for the baker, minister and photographer. I intend to continue standing up for them. One does not cancel out the other.

          • Would you stand with equal commitment with baker who refused to serve catholics?

            It seems harmless when christians are permitted to refuse service to a very small minority. But where does permission to discriminate end? Is that the nation you want to live in?

            • Yes I think a basket should be able to refuse b to bake for anyone for any reason. He opened a nuttiness selling his wares, that does mitt make him a slave.

    • If “I AM” is the most beautiful name of all, “they” is the most horrible word of all. How often do we hear folks talk about what “the Christians” did or believe because one or a few persons (or one group) acting in the name of Christ (or believing that they were) acted in such a manner that we are all then branded together with a “they” from then on? That’s the sad price of counter-culture. Likewise, it’s the sad reality that young people with SSA are seeing loud voices that equate them with the most of sex offenders or “gay rights” [sic] activists pushing for a destruction of cultural norms — when most of these young people are just looking to understand what their pubescent minds and bodies are doing to them. It’s when we (in the larger ‘we,’ the counterpart to the outside ‘they’) don’t open a door to them and other young people understanding as a part of the larger community that those young people are taken in by those ‘activists’ who whisper serpentine words at them for their own reasons of policy-change.

      I speak from my own example of a straight man, but a celibate straight man into now my mid-thirties. Not only am I bombarded with the usual sexual imagery of culture and the disparagement of secular society, but even those within the Church speak only of men my age who are unmarried as supposedly having voracious sexual appetites and preying upon those young women who they seek to protect — then wonder why young men (aside from a few cases like me who take the hits literally daily) leave the Church in droves when we can’t even get an appointment to talk to a priest because he assumes that it’s for a confession (and he’ll just bluntly tell us what time each week that is).

      First off, lay celibates show us that one can follow Jesus WITHOUT being sexually active (despite what the ‘activists’ who try to play serpent will attest) — look at what gay celibate Catholic writers like Eve Tushnet are writing about community and friendship, in that Matthew 12:46-50 sort of way, which the Church has forgotten in its bunkering around the nuclear family (which is a great thing, but not the only thing — there’s a wider community of faith too, a reason we call religious ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ or the clergy ‘father’). Likewise, human rights versus sexual rights are a very different thing — those reducing people with SSA to sex organs aren’t doing very good jobs of treating them as humans either. Much as Christianity is called to give dignity to the poor when society doesn’t (even if we disagree on levels of government dole), we should give human dignity to those with different affinities (even when we disagree vehemently with the direction of those affinities) as fellow beings made in the Imago Dei. To play politics that “they” don’t like us so we won’t offer love in return is the least Christian possible response and the obvious hypocrisy of such a reply is both going to degrade our culture’s ability to convey our message AND be grievous sin on our own parts…

    • It is helpful to consider whether the push back is an attack on your beliefs or a response to your actions.

      To use a less emotional example. I have a family member who is a vegan for ethical reasons. He does not eat meat and considers it cruel and immoral to kill animals for food in 21st century North America.

      Our differing opinions do not offend each other. His choice not to eat meat does not harm my meal. He politely ignores my carnivore choices when we dine together. This is tolerance of different beliefs.

      Now let’s say one of us took action that impacted the other. Perhaps he worked – took action – to pass a law outlawing restaurants that serve grilled steak. Perhaps I tried – took action – to get a law passed that all elementary schools must serve meat and milk to every student every day. In this case, our forceful pushback on the other’s actions is independent of our respect for different beliefs.

      Gay rights are no different. I respect that people reach different conclusions on ethical issues. But I object to use of our secular laws to enshrine one view and prevent the other view. It is possible that the reactions that some people get are because their actions – attempts to use secular laws to promote a belief – cause harm to real people raising real children as a family.

  2. Absolutely agree. Other than SSM I can’t think of a single issue I would not agree with on the gay agenda. In the past I’ve even supported gay adoption, though given a few articles in the last year questioning the children’s development I’m a little wavering there and waiting for more studies. But the SSM issue has polarized everyone and made everything contentious. People with same sex attraction are God’s children and deserving of human rights. Period.

  3. Have you done any work that could help streamline the process of two people caring for each other outside of marriage? A durable power of attorney only can go so far in being able to care for another person when crisis strikes.

    • I had the ambition to write a statute that would do this, but when I say down with a gay rights advocate here in Oklahoma, they told me that there were existing statutes allowing everything I wanted to do. I got the same answer from staff attorneys. To be honest, I was very disappointed, as I wanted to pass a piece of legislation like this, This was in 2003, I think.

      • Thank you for considering the question. Can you say a little more about what you wanted to be able to do, and how existing statues covered those goals? Many people argue that a marriage license kicks off a series of automatic provisions while working within existing statues can require piecing together a complex quilt.

        • That was 11 years ago. I’ll try to remember what I can when I get the time. Frankly, I wish now I hadn’t let them talk me down because I agree that amending regulations one at a time is cumbersome. However, without the support of the gay rights advocate (and the human rights group) I was talking to, there was not chance I could have passed the bill. I do remember that my concerns involved retirement, inheritance, who the responsible party would be in illness. I was concerned that people who have long-term relationships be able to benefit from one-another’s retirement, have clear lines of inheritance and do not face legal complexities at a time of grave illness. What I wanted to do was pass a single omnibus bill to deal with all of this. It would have been very difficult to pass, and become impossible to do as the political climate in Oklahoma changed later.

          • I need to clarify. I could not have passed this bill as a gay rights law. That would have been impossible at that time. If I had tackled it, I would have cast is as a law about inheritance/health care/benefits for non-spousal relationships. I don’t know if I could have gotten it through or not, but I was pretty good at making laws. 🙂

            • We understand the clarification. We’ve often wondered if the public discourse would have unfolded differently if “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships” were not framed principally as gay rights legislation. While neither of us has any formal legal training, setting up “civil unions” to provide same-sex couples with all of the legal benefits associated with marriage seemed extremely likely to be deemed as a discriminatory “separate but equal” provision.

  4. I am not sure I agree that it is unjust for society to punish immoral sexual acts. Certianly the Tradition of he Church has not contended that it is.

    • So it is OK with you that a person who happens to be a homosexual and has bothered no one nor committed any crime against another person should be put in prison just because they are attracted to a person of the same gender?

    • Why should a secular society enforce religious laws?

      I am not questioning the right of those with a certain faith to follow religious beliefs. But why do you think it is appropriate to use a secular legal system to enforce those rules?

      Other examples of rules in the bible – should it be illegal to serve shrimp cocktail or ham sandwiches? Should eating cheeseburgers (meat with dairy) subject one to arrest? Should tattoos be illegal or hair salons for women or uncut hair on a man? Should charging interest be a crime?

      My question above is serious, not snarky. I personally do not want our secular government enforcing religious rules. The christian church has a long history of rules about sex. Personally, I don’t see that our society is better off as a result. YMMV

      It is right to have laws against harming other people, including prohibition of any form of sex without consent. But the government should not interfere with consensual adult relationships.

  5. Two notes: The Supreme Court in Uganda has struck down the homosexuality law. It has done so in a way that it can be put through again in Parliament, if the government decides to.

    Also, It is interesting that many of these countries passing these anti homosexuality laws have significant Muslim populations. There appears to be some correlation. See the Wikipedia article and map at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_by_country_or_territory

    also:

    “On December 10, 2009, the Vatican released a statement which opposing “all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons,” particularly “the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State.” The statement didn’t reference Uganda by name, but that last statement was taken as an oblique reference to the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Shortly before Christmas Day that year, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Uganda, Cyprian Lwanga, denounced the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill in his annual Christmas message from Rubaga Cathedral. That message was broadcast over several Ugandan television channels.”

  6. I cannot deny the right of Uganda to sovereignty and simultaneously defend the right of the United States to sovereignty. I cannot defend traditional marriage without noting that other forms of family are inferior.

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