08 Jan

Don’t Ever Stop Clapping for the LGBTQ Community

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian author and critic of Soviet totalitarianism.  He had great reason to be a detractor given his years of imprisonment in Soviet gulags and forced work camps after being charged with writing anti-Soviet propaganda during Stalin’s reign.  Later in life, Solzhenitsyn captured what it was like to live in those times in a book called The Gulag Archipelago.  Those were very dangerous days when anybody at any time could be arrested and sentenced or murdered for basically nothing.  Here’s one haunting story from his book :

A district Party conference was under way in Moscow Province. It was presided over by a new secretary of the District Party Committee, replacing one recently arrested. At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). The small hall echoed with “stormy applause, rising to an ovation.” For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the “stormy applause, rising to an ovation” continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin. However, who would dare be the first to stop? The secretary of the District Party Committee could have done it. He was standing on the platform, and it was he who had just called for the ovation. But he was a newcomer. He had taken the place of a man who’d been arrested. He was afraid! After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who quit first! And in that obscure, small hall, unknown to the Leader, the applause went on—six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly—but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them? The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter. . . . Then after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.

That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him: “Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding!”

What haunting words!  “Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding!”  Arrested simply for being the first to stop applauding.  What insanity!

Yet, in that story, I see a reflection of America in 2015.  We now find ourselves in an increasingly oppressive situation being foisted upon us by the sexual radicals in our midst.  No one can deny that the homosexual movement in America has been gaining power.  They have organized and fought very hard to bring about social tolerance for the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Questioning lifestyle.  They have been very successful.

However, it’s becoming clear that tolerance is not their end game.  The sexual radicals, it seems, will not stop until society celebrates their lifestyle.  Toleration is not enough.  We must say, they seem to be telling us, that what they are doing is good and righteous.  We must smile approvingly and march with them because those who are not with them are against them.  We must stand and clap for the LGBTQ community and never stop.  Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding the LGBTQ community!

Case in point is the recent termination of Altanta’s Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran.  This exemplary African American man had served the fire department with honor for nearly four decades.  Being a firefighter had been his dream since the age of 5, and he had worked his way up the ranks until he was hired as the Fire Chief of Atlanta in 2008.  He served there until 2009 when he joined President Obama’s office as U.S. Fire Administrator.  He did a fine job in that post as well, but in 2010, he returned to Atlanta where he was unanimously given his fire chief job back.

Everything was great until the homosexual movement got wind in 2014 that Chief Cochran had dared to state in a book he had written that homosexuality is immoral.  The entire book wasn’t against homosexuality.  Not even a full page out the 160-page book covered the topic of homosexuality.  In fact, his references to homosexuality might cover a half page.  But, it was way more than enough to put the Homosexual NKVD into action.

What exactly did he say?  In one spot, Cochram stated, “Uncleanness – whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”  In another section, he wrote, “Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex, and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body – temple and dishonor God.”  Cochran didn’t refuse to put out a fire at a homosexual’s home.  He didn’t terminate a gay fireman because of his gayness.  He didn’t stand in a staff meeting and berate the lesbians in Atlanta.  In fact, the mayor’s investigation found no evidence of discrimination from Cochran toward any member of the LGBTQ community or an LGBTQ member of Atlanta Fire and Rescue.  He, in essence, merely stopped clapping for them.

And the Homosexual NKVD were watching.  They always do, especially over public officials.  They quickly sprung into action, demanding that the chief be terminated.  Nothing else would satisfy them.  They demand tolerance for themselves but refuse to extend it to anybody else.  Anything less than celebration and approval must be punished.  They mayor promptly put the chief on a 30-day suspension WITHOUT pay and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.  I’m sure the mayor would have preferred a gulag, but the budget is just too tight here lately for that sort of facility.  A reeducation class would have to suffice.  At the end of those 30 days when Cochran was supposed to return to work, the mayor announced the chief’s termination.  According to the mayor, to simply believe that somebody is acting immorally is to discriminate against them.  The Ministry of the New Morality has spoken.

The revolution is almost complete.  If you know what’s good for you, comrade, you’ll keep on clapping.  Don’t ever be the first to stop!  Welcome to the new homosexual totalitarianism!

19 Sep

Yes, Indeed, God Loves “Gays”

“Why doesn’t God love gays?”  That was the question a teenager asked on a recent Wednesday during our youth ministry time.  To be honest, the question was sort of out of the blue since the discussion was on the return of Jesus, but clearly it was on the heart of at least one, if not many, of the teens there that night.  I appreciate this teenager’s boldness to ask!

This question is one this generation has had to wrestle with that previous generations did not.  In fact, the speed with which the topic of homosexuality has come to dominate the social and political conversation is staggering, aided along by what pastor Voddie Baucham calls, “a coordinated, well-funded, well-connected propaganda strategy,” (“Gay Is Not the New Black,” http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/19/gay-is-not-the-new-black, July 19 2012).  The entire movement has become like a snowflake that turns into an avalanche, demolishing any opposition in the public arena, and it’s still growing larger.

Gay Pride HeartWithout a doubt, many of our young people are confused on the subject.  They are hearing in pop culture and maybe even in their schools that homosexuality is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle and should not only be tolerated, but even celebrated and explored.  However, they then hear from faith communities (and not just Christian ones) that homosexuality is sinful.  The mixed messages cause a great deal of confusion in many people’s minds, especially in our young people, leading some to ask, “Why doesn’t God love gays?” with the implied addendum “when so many others do.”  It’s a question we will increasingly have to answer regardless of one’s stance on homosexuality.

The question itself—”Why doesn’t God love gays?”—presupposes that God does not love people who would label themselves “gay.”  Therefore, the initial response must be, “What makes you think that God doesn’t love people who label themselves ‘gay’?”  The truth of the matter is that God does indeed love those who label themselves “gay,” but He loves them in a way that is culturally strange to us at this point.

If we would press the person asking “Why doesn’t God love gays?” to tell us what makes them think He doesn’t, most likely the response would “because He doesn’t think their homosexuality is okay.  If God loved gays, He’d affirm their homosexuality because that makes them happy.”  Indeed, that is the popular definition of love in contemporary culture.  Love is seen as affirming people in whatever makes them happy.  Many have just enough Christian influence to know that the Bible tells us we are to treat others the way we want to be treated, and so they reason, “I would want others to love me by affirming me in what makes me happy.  So, I am going to love others by being in favor of whatever makes them happy.”  That’s fair logic, but is that love?

Is it loving to affirm others in whatever makes them happy?  Let’s see.  Little Rachel wants nothing more than to play in the middle of the interstate.  In fact, she tried it one time for just a few seconds and is convinced that her happiness depends on playing regularly smack dab on the dotted line between the driving lane and the passing lane.  Would it be loving to affirm little Rachel in her desire?  No?  But she really believes it’ll make her happy.

Bobby loves to shoot heroin.  Nothing in the world compares to the high he gets when that needle enters the vein and pushes liquid happiness into his body.  He’s certain that heroin is the key to his happiness and wants more all the time.  Would it be loving to affirm Bobby in his desire?  No?  But he really believes it’ll make him happy.

Sandra loves 12-year-old boys.  That would probably be fine if she was around 12-years-old herself, but she is 42.  Nevertheless, she is convinced that if she doesn’t find a romantic relationship with a 12-year-old boy, she will not be happy.  Would it be loving to affirm Sandra in her desire?  No?  But she really believes it’ll make her happy.

Further examples are abundant, but the ones provided suffice to clearly demonstrate that we have to be careful in affirming whatever makes a person happy because in this fallen world, that which a person believes will make them happy is often hurtful to themselves and others.  Someone may quickly rebut that homosexuality harms nobody, but that is counterfactual.  Medically, homosexuality is harmful, especially to men who practice homosexuality.  Socially, homosexuality is harmful in that it cannot provide what the opposite sex brings to a romantic relationship, including but certainly not limited to the potential of procreation and then the presence of a mother and a father in that child’s life.  However, most harmful is the spiritual harm that homosexuality brings.

The Bible is clear that practicing homosexuality brings great spiritual harm.  In fact, Romans 1:18-27 declares that the increasing presence of homosexuality in a society signals that God is bringing about judgment on that society due to idolatry.  God, as a function of His wrath against sin, simply withdraws His restraining grace from those who rebelliously pursue sin, giving them over to degrading passions such as homosexuality and all sorts of other destructive devices.

However, the spiritual harm in this life pales in comparison to the spiritual harm that homosexuality brings in the age to come for those who practice it in this present age.  The Bible is emphatic that practicing homosexuality will bar a person from heaven.  God tells us so in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”  It’s important to note here that homosexuality is not the only sin listed.  It’s right there with adultery and drunkenness and many others.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  Nevertheless, God is communicating to us that those who continue in sin, including homosexuality, will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In other words, they will be barred from Heaven and will experience Hell forevermore.  There is no worse consequence imaginable.

So, let’s play this truth out in a scenario.  Don is a man in his early 20s who has experienced same-sex attraction for years now and has finally given into the temptation.  He has been for several months seeking out homosexual partners, and it has been absolutely exhilarating to him.  He hopes to one day settle down with the man of his dreams but is just having too much fun right now.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he is convinced that his happiness hinges on living a homosexual lifestyle.  Given the harm practicing homosexuality has been demonstrated to bring, is it loving to affirm Don in his desires?  Absolutely not!  In fact, the opposite is true.  To affirm Don in his homosexuality would be as loving as affirming little Rachel in her playing on the interstate or Bobby in his heroin addiction or Sandra in her pedophilia, which is to say that it wouldn’t be loving at all.  All of these not only harm the individuals with the desires, but others as well, and to affirm them would be unquestionably unloving.

If a person’s definition of love is affirming whatever makes someone happy, then a redefinition is needed because that’s not love.  Love doesn’t just affirm whatever makes a person happy.  It seeks the well-being of its objects.  That’s why God indeed does love “gays” and at the same time doesn’t affirm them in their homosexuality.  Instead of unlovingly affirming them in an eternally harmful lifestyle, God lovingly calls them out through the gospel of Jesus Christ just like He does all sinners.  And yeah, we were born that way (sinners, that is)!  God lovingly says to all sinners, including the homosexual sinner, turn from your sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be forgiven, made righteous, increasingly freed from sin itself, and inherit everlasting life in Heaven.  Now that’s love!

“Why doesn’t God love gays?”  My dear friend, He does love “gays.”  In fact, God loves them so much that He calls them out of homosexuality and into Christ!