An Open Letter to Religious Homophobes

Subject: An Open Letter to Religious Homophobes
From: A Christian
Date: 9 Sep 2015

“Talking with you is no different than talking with someone that denies God even exists!”

This was the comment somebody who claims to share my faith said to me regarding my condemnation of, and refusal to embrace, the politically charged right wing tendencies of many in the Christian culture who, quite gleefully it seems, cast about judgment and condemnation on the gay community.

Contrary to them I believe the message of the Gospel (Which translated literally means Good News) is one of love, and happen to believe Jesus actually meant it when he said,

John 13:34-35 NIV
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

See, I just happen to disagree with those who claim the name of Jesus when they lift up as a hero of the Christian faith people like Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis because she “takes a stand on the Law of God.”-Some twit on Facebook
Why don’t I agree? Why won’t I jump on that bandwagon? Well, in a word because Jesus wouldn’t, didn’t, and doesn’t. Let me unpack it for you.

Reason One- It Maligns The Name of Jesus

Recall those words of Jesus I just quoted? All that stuff about people being able to recognize Him in us because we show an authentic love for people? Well in todays climate brow beating, judgmental, and dare I say, hypocritical “Christians” have so twisted Jesus message that now to the vast majority of people who don’t know what Jesus is really about are bombarded with a message that reads more like this;

“A new command I give you: Judge one another. As I have judged you, so you must judge one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you judge one another.”

Tell me this isn’t true? I would love to hear the opinions of those outside of my faith. Please, I’m serious here, in fact I’m begging you, respond in this post and honestly tell me your impression of what it means to be a Christian. What have your experiences been like? What words come to your mind when you hear the word Christian? Bigot? Racist? Arrogant? Be honest, let’s hear it.

And so the first reason I despise this present judgmental movement is because it maligns the name of Christ. All the other reasons that will follow flow from this central reason; only I will be illustrating the biblical backing I have to make such a claim. If anything is clear it is that apart from what the Bible actually teaches about these things I really have nothing to say of any value at all. If these are merely my opinions..well you know what they say. Opinions are like buttholes..everybody has one and everybody thinks their’s don’t stink! So, here goes.

Reason Two – We’re No Better

Romans 3:23 NIV
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..”
Do I believe homosexuals are sinners? Yup. Do I believe that straight people are sinners? Yup. Do I believe Democrats are sinners? Yup. Do I believe that Republicans are sinners? Yup. Do I believe that drug addicts, porn stars, child molesters, prostitutes, thieves, and Mother Teresa are sinners? Yup. Do I believe Christians are sinners? Yup, you betcha, the worst of the bunch. And why do I believe that? Well, because of the verse I just quoted you. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The bible teaches we’ve all blown it, are presently to some extent blowing it, and will no doubt continue blowing it well into the future. Some accuse me and those like me of encouraging sin. According to the bible people don’t really need any encouragement in that department and were doing just fine before people who hold my views ever showed on the scene.
Some hold that it’s necessary to inform people of this fact that we are all sinners as if they wern’t already aware, I hold we are all already very aware. What person does not struggle with guilt from time to time? Those who don’t we label sociopaths. What person reading the atrocities that litter the news is not aware of this fact that people are sinful? The world is a very very sinful place in which to live. If any hold another position I would simply ask them, then why do you lock your doors at night? The world is twisted. According to the bible it is “fallen”.

We read of Isis chopping off the heads of little kids. We read of political corruption at home and abroad. We read of mass starvation. We read of genocide. We read of obscenely rich people becoming even more obscenely rich off the backs of the poor. We read of child prostitution. We read of greed, violence, oppression, gross injustice, and neglect. History is just a regurgitation of these same stories we read about today. It’s always been this way. Tell me that folks aren’t aware that things simply are not as they should be? Tell me you aren’t aware that this world is fallen? The bible isn’t proclaiming something here we don’t already know, rather it is simply confirming what we’ve known all along. This world is twisted..and guess what, you and I are a part of this world.

In first chapter of the book of Romans the Apostle Paul recounts the Fall. His list is rather exhaustive naming the reality and effects of a life alienated from God. His first move is to name all those behaviors which were quite visible and were already readily condemned by the religious people of his day. He is in fact spreading a net to entrap his religious contemporaries who would, no doubt by this point, be wagging their heads in agreement and tsk tsking the sorry predicament of these “sinners”. In that list homosexuals are named as among those effected by the fall. This is one of the sections that the hypocrites of our day love to quote, in effect joining the head wagging and tsk tsking. But, as I said, the Apostle was laying a trap for these people for just when they began to feel the smug self-satisfaction of judging all these people he goes on to drop a bomb on them.

Romans 2:1 NIV
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

You can almost hear the outrage. Whoa, slow down here Paul! You mean that we are all included in that list? Yup. He goes on to say-

Romans 3:9-10 NIV
What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. [10] As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one..”

G.K. Chesterton was a 19th century poet, journalist, essayist, novelist, and apologist of the highest order. In 1943 Time magazine said of him, “He was a man of colossal genius.” In 1910 The London Times posted a question for public response in its editorial section with this question.  “What is wrong with the world?”  Chesterton’s response is beautiful: “Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ I am. Yours truly, G.K. Chesterton.” (I might add Chesterton was also a Catholic and displayed such a noble witness of true Christianity it would put many Evangelicals to shame.) Why don’t I jump on the, “Let’s bash the homo’s!”, bandwagon? Because I am what’s wrong with the world.

Reason Three- It’s Beyond Our Pay Grade

Further, even if people weren’t aware they were twisted I still don’t believe it’s my job to prove to them otherwise. Why not? Again because of what “Jesus said;

John 16:8 NIV
“When he (The Holy Spirit)comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment..”
Get that? It’s God’s job to convince people they need forgiveness, not mine. Running about correcting people is simply too far above my pay grade. My job is to lift Jesus up (ya know, via that whole unconditional love thing) and then Jesus says,

John 12:32 NIV
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Further the Apostle says that even those who don’t know the Ten Commandments don’t necessarily need someone to preach it to them, but-

Romans 2:14-15 NIV
(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. [15] They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

As I said I think people who are honest about it already know they are messed up.
And then, of course, there’s also all that stuff about,

“Let any of you who is without sin be the first to throw the stone.” – John 8:7 And,

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. [2] For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” -Matthew 7:1-2

Reason Four- It Completely Misses The Point

Alrighty, moving along. I was also accused of not taking the Law of God seriously. Seriously? I think the schism here is that I take it even more seriously than those who would use it to bash others. Those who judge others think that by correcting people they can somehow “Win back America for Christ”, and that by, “Taking a stand for Jesus!” They will perhaps fix whats wrong with society. I hold that, according to what Jesus and the Apostles taught regarding the Law, the Law is there to illustrate that society is quiet beyond fixing. The law of God wasn’t given to show people how to be righteous. The ten commandments were not a 10 step plan to holiness. Rather the Law was given to show us that what we need is not social reform, but a heart transplant.

Romans 3:20 NIV
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”
The only advantage we who know and agree with God’s law have is this: We have been given the advantage to know deep in our heart that we are even more screwed up than those who don’t know it.

Romans 3:19 NIV
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”
It should be a whole lot harder for us who understand the scope and purpose of God’s law to fake it before others, and then believe our own charade.

Why is that? Well that brings me to my fourth reason. Sin, according to Jesus is not simply the things people do, rather it is much much deeper and focusing on judgment just makes it easier to hide.

Reason Five: Focusing On Judgment Makes Lying Easier

Matthew 15:10-11, 18-19 NIV
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. [11] What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” [18] But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. [19] For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

If the external bad things people say and do are the symptoms, says Jesus, it is the internal reality of sin in the heart that is the cause. We are not sinful simply because we do sinful things, rather it is because we are sinful that we sin.
Some of us have a much harder time hiding our issues than others. For many of us our lives are a spectacular reminder that we are fallen people. This seems to make us easy targets for others who are much more adapt at faking it. Religious people are no better than the rest, but because we think we know all the rules, we can fake it better. Jesus will have none of that.

This was the main teaching that really ticked off the religious hypocrites of Jesus’ day. And I suspect what still ticks off the religious hypocrites of our day. In Jesus’ day they were called the Scribes and Pharisees. They were the religious professionals, the teachers of the law. Outwardly these people really looked to have their act together. They obeyed the Torah with impeccable strictness. They could quote bible verses really really good. Because they all looked so good on the outside to others, and because they believed their own press, they felt very justified in pointing out just how sinful everyone else was. They believed they were God’s gift to others and were put on earth to set other people straight. They were the teachers, everybody else those who needed taught. They could make ya feel guilty just by looking at you, and because everyone including themselves thought they “were all that”, nobody dared question or mess with them. Until Jesus came.

Matthew 23:25-28 NIV
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. [26] Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. [27] “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. [28] In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Dang Jesus! Why don’t you tell us what you really think? So much for gentle Jesus, sweet and kind. Obviously when it came to these kinds of people Jesus didn’t mince words. That brings me to my fifth reason.

Reason Six- Jesus Reserved His Harshest Criticism For Judgmental Religious Poser Types

It’s important to notice that this is the only group of people that Jesus ever took such a harsh tone with. To the recognizably sinful, those who couldn’t hide behind the polished facade of well honed religiosity, we hear him say things like this;

To the traitor thief-
Luke 19:9-10 NIV
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. [10] For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

To the prostitute who slobbered all over his feet-
Luke 7:48 NIV
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

To the apostate adulterer at the well-
John 4:10 NIV
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

To the prostitute who was about to get stoned for being caught in the very act. (This may seem offensive to some but consider, she was caught in the very act, and it’s likely she still carried with her the lingering scent of her deeds)-
John 8:10-11 NIV
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” [11] “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

(Hypocrites love to jump on the tail end of this scripture to justify beating people up with the law, “See! Jesus told her she had to leave her life of sin!” I just want to point out that He freely forgave and refused to judge her first, and not on condition of her cleaning her act up. Nor did He say she had too. Rather he said, or better showed, “Hey I love you. I don’t judge you. Nobody else has the right to judge you either. Go and make better life decisions.” I mean, she was a prostitute and that’s just not healthy. He loved her, what was he supposed to say? Hey, keep up the good work? No, because he loved her and had restored to her a sense of dignity, and defended her dignity before others, he could then encourage her that there was yet hope for her to embrace a brighter future.)

And it wasn’t simply that He didn’t judge us obviously screwed up ones, or that he was way too liberal with his forgiveness, He actually seems to enjoy hanging out with us as well.

Here we see Jesus at a cookout with a whole bunch of first degree sinners, where he not only seems to be enjoying their company, but defends them rather than join in judgment of them-

Mark 2:15-17 NIV
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. [16] When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” [17] On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

This so ticked off and offended the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law that they began talking smack about him behind his back, which prompted Jesus to reply-

Matthew 11:19 NIV
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

So I ask you, based on all I’ve shared if you think I am correct when, way back at the beginning of this essay I said;
Why won’t I jump on that bandwagon? Well, in a word because Jesus wouldn’t, didn’t, and doesn’t.
Can you picture Jesus doing that? I can’t.

At last this brings me to my seventh and final reason for not jumping on the “lets bash the homos” bandwagon, and my condemnation of those who do.

Reason Seven – Jesus Died For Them

Isaiah 53:6 NIV
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
1 Peter 3:18 NIV
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus of the bible had to die? Have you ever wondered why the cross is at the center of Christianity?

The reason is this. The Law of God is serious business, and we all stand guilty before it. You, me..all of us. If you’ve never stood afraid before God, there is a pretty good chance you’ve never actually encountered Him at all. Yes He is loving, oh yes, but He is also holy and just, and He is the only Judge.

Revelation 20:11-13 NIV
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. [13] The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.

Psalm 96:9, 13 NIV
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. [13] Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Psalm 9:19-20 NIV
Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence. [20] Strike them with terror, Lord; let the nations know they are only mortal.

Not only is God the Judge, but as the whole point of this essay reveals, we are all guilty.

Romans 3:10-12 NIV
“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; [11] there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. [12] All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

So now comes the question. How can a just judge let guilty people off scott free and still be considered a just judge? If somebody commits a crime and are found guilty, would you consider just or good a judge that just decided to let them go without penalty? Nope. Unless they have to pay for their crime justice cannot be served. In fact justice defined is having to pay for crimes committed. Where there is no judgment, there is no justice.
So, again I ask, how can God who is just, in love let people off the hook without penalty? How could Jesus without condition or reservation welcome sinners and dole out forgiveness and love as freely as one cent balloons at a county fair?
In a word because our judgment fell on him.

Romans 5:6-8 NIV
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. [7] Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. [8] But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Josh McDowell shares a lovely little story to illustrate what has happened here. Some had asked him, if God is so loving why doesn’t he just forgive people. His answer? Forgiveness always comes at a price.
“At this point many people ask the question, “Why couldn’t God just forgive?” An executive of a large corporation said, “My employees often do something, break something, and I just forgive them.” Then he added, “Are you trying to tell me I can do something that God can’t do?” People fail to realize that wherever there is forgiveness there’s a payment. For example, let’s say my daughter breaks a lamp in my home. I’m a loving and forgiving father, so I put her on my lap, and I hug her and I say, “Don’t cry, honey. Daddy love you and forgives you.” Now usually the person I tell that story to says, “Well, that’s what God ought to do.” Then I ask the question, “Who pays for the lamp?” The fact is, I do. There’s always a price in forgiveness. Let’s say somebody insults you in front of others and later you graciously say “I forgive you.” Who bears the price of the insult? You do.

This is what God has done. God has said, “I forgive you.” But he was willing to pay the price himself through the cross.” – Josh McDowell, “More Than A Carpenter” Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (1977) p. 111-116.
Make no mistake about it God loves homosexuals. He demonstrated it with his own life.
So, if you reading these words sense in your heart a desire for and need of this love that is so richly poured out to those who could never deserve or earn to Him. He doesn’t care who you’ve been sleeping with, or what your smoking. Run to him. I promise He won’t be mad at you, He won’t judge you, but He will embrace you with tears of joy. He loves you more than you can possibly imagine and has paid for you the ultimate price; his very life. Run to Him. He is waiting.