Politics...The Bible…and LGBTQ
Yep...I’m “going there.”
May only the most courageous proceed and that at their own peril!
What got me thinking about this article and figuring it's time to address some things is seeing a recent Franklin Graham tweet that has a bunch of folks really up in arms. It's become kind of a big deal with both sides throwing their own salvos. That of course produces collateral damage usually in the form of good people on both sides being misunderstood and hurt.
Like that is something new, right?
His (Graham's) comments concern homosexuality and a certain presidential candidate believing and proudly declaring that being gay is a viable and God endorsed expression of Christianity. And more, this individual had no qualms challenging Mr. Graham's, and maybe even more our Vice President's Christianity, behavior, and Scriptural cognizance.
Basically, we have a politician that not only claims he abides by the Christian faith, good for him by the way, but has taken the position of equality concerning Scriptural terms and definitions with a seasoned minister of the Gospel. Additionally, he uses his religious interpretation as a political weapon with his sights on a sitting Vice President.
And me thinketh this certainly needs to be looked at carefully.
So, the reason for the article is to make a few observations and comments concerning what is going on in our national discussion that increasingly seems to want to bring God into the fray (it appears usually when it suits someones political position and voter base) and what these folks want us to believe He is cool with. Where the proclaimers of all that is just and good and right for mankind are political candidates and pundits convinced of both their reasonableness and their right to be such expounders, being convinced the Scriptures endorse their behaviors and rantings.
I'll save you the wait...this is not good.
God is the Creator. Not our favorite political parties' campaign manager, speech writer, or go to when some kind of ammunition is needed to prove how evil your opponent is.
And to set the record straight, and probably to the chagrin of some of my friends, in this specific context, I really don't care if the mayor is gay or not. That's between him, God and His Word, and his family. I have nothing bad to say about him. I don't even know him.
I am speaking up as a direct result of him speaking up first. Not that he is gay mind you, but that he has concluded homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable behavior as a Christian. Once you did that Mr. Buttigieg, you're in my territory with people I serve, and a God that is checking to see if His ministers have a watch on what is going on out there. And we need to mention over two thousand years of established interpretation and exegesis that has been so thoroughly studied and analyzed, there is very little grounds to reasonably challenge the understood conclusions. You and those who believe as you, must understand what you assert is a bold challenge to thousands of years of understanding what the Judeo Christian ethic clearly teaches concerning your behaviors.
And sir, you're going to need a whole lot of something to make any kind of reasonable case to counter that!
I'm listening, but man it better be good!
Let me give us a simple illustration that should help us understand in effect what is taking place in the national discussion concerning sexual orientation and its acceptability as far as the Word of God is concerned.
To be clear. I'm not talking "social" acceptance. I don't think that is even the argument. People who could care less about God are going to come up with all sorts of stuff. I support that actually. It's called a free society. The sooner some Christians realize that, they will save a lot of breath and expend their energies more wisely.
That's for another article.
Where the argument is, and in my opinion the line of demarcation which I certainly am willing to defend to the uttermost, is when said people want us to accept their non standard and extreme definitions and reinterpretation of the Scriptures. And worse, example after example can be given that if we do not go along, many will use multiple means to harm folks through verbal and even financial assault.
If that is not "hatred" according to their definitions, I do not know what else is.
So, to my illustration:
Imagine you were in a time capsule that shot you two thousand years ahead in time. You see a classroom in the highest halls of learning. You lean in and finally get a listen to what they are arguing about. They are arguing about a word in...what was that...English...and its root meaning. You're thinking "Hey...I'm from that time! What word are you arguing about...I know I can help. Let me listen in!"
Finally you hear the word all the commotion is about:
You're thinking "black" has meant "black" for thousands of years! Everyone knows what "black" is. This is a joke right? What's the argument about?
Yet someone is trying to argue that "black" really doesn't mean "black". That we are being too restrictive and old fashioned believing that could possibly be the definition. Enlightened minds know that it can't possibly mean that. They take on the position that they know better and that those who believe black is...well..black...certainly were only being cultural, phobic actually, and certainly immature and simplistic in their thought processes.
Then you notice those that are the most demonstrative in arguing the new definitions, are those who hate black and think it should have a new meaning. And what is worse, scheme to create a publicity campaign to get the entire society to reject what has always been known as "black".
Ridiculous you say?
This is EXACTLY what is going on in our discourses today. I am writing this article mostly to examine these things and let you decide whether this practice can hold up under serious scrutiny. Terms and behaviors...including homosexuality...have ALWAYS been known in the context of immoral behavior and something that is not pleasing to God.
"Black is Black". Los Bravos.
That was a really good illustration right there by the way. Hot off the press. Just out of the oven. I digress...
Also before we get started, this is not about people per se. It's about ideas. Certainly people espouse them, and specific examples by necessity should be given, but it is the ideas...the doctrines of faith mixing with politics I want to discuss...kinda at length. This subject cannot be dealt with in a one sentence meme.
I have friends that are gay. I have a great affection and respect for one gentlemen in particular. One conversation in particular with him has impacted me greatly and my ministry is different for it. I don't argue with him at all or get in his face about his personal life. He's a great guy and his intimate relationships are not my business. We are all people and we are all working things out.
But...if someone wants to bring in God and the Scriptures and make claims about this or that...that is another story indeed! Now I need to get involved as a Pastor...Christian...citizen.
It stinks that I even have to say this upfront but in today's world its necessary.
I vehemently reject the idea that presenting the following observations and ideas and potential discoveries are hateful, discriminatory, or out of touch in anyway! Disagreeing with a person and challenging their assertions is not hateful or phobic!
I...we...must object when someone, the mayor in context with the article, attempts to expound and defend their lifestyles with Judeo Christian Scriptures when at the same time it quickly becomes obvious he/they are without understanding as to their context and meaning. Incompetence makes it tremendously difficult to take someone seriously.
We will get specific here in just a moment.
Simply put, he is commenting about things of which he has no clue. He certainly is not the only one doing these things. The national conversation is replete with examples of folks from actors and political leaders, to theological discussions over tequila shots while watching the Pats (New England Patriots for the uninitiated), citing the Bible while not having any idea what it really says.
What is dangerous about this is the masses of people that will listen to these short comments about God and His Word, and take them as gospel without a single moment taken to test the viability of them!
OK...let's get going.
The initial statements I'm about to make will be focused on the cited interview below. Further on, I want to take a detailed look at the rationale used by the noted candidate for president and those who believe as he does. I want to analyze their suppositions and evaluate whether they are intellectually, let alone spiritually, honest or valid.
After looking up a number of resources to make sure he/Franklin Graham was being quoted properly (forgive me if I don’t take the word of today's media at face value), and listen to the various reactions, I had a few thoughts I want to share.
Let’s start with this verse as a standard and description of some things we are instructed to constantly be vigilant concerning. Much of what I comment on will hinge on this and the many other verses that have the same warning:
“But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.” Jude 3-4 NLT (italics mine)
And let’s repeat for emphasis that last sentence:
“…some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches SAYING THAT GOD’S MARVELOUS GRACE ALLOWS US TO LIVE IMMORAL LIVES.”
Folks, this very thing that Jude, most of the writers of the New Testament, and Jesus Himself personally warned against; we are seeing increasingly more of in both secular and religious discussions concerning ethic and moral behaviors as endorsed by those proclaiming the "Christian faith". Progressively, the most extreme behaviors are touted as acceptable because of their view that God's unconditional mercy and grace is permissive and their behaviors inconsequential. This idea is increasing at an alarming rate.
It seems more than ever, from both the political stage and an increasing number of pulpits, we hear the thundering of...
"God is OK with me and how dare you judge! God loves me and He is all forgiving. And to my opponents, your quoting and believing the words spoken by the very authors of those writings I claim to draw my faith from, are phobic and hateful!"
Maybe it's me. But isn't it kind of strange that the very writers in the New Testament these "illumined ones" quote defending their behavior, clearly condemn the exact same behavior...and that... many times...close to within the next sentence or certainly paragraph? Hhmmnn.
These things are being touted around the clock and around the globe.
Below is just one example of the rhetoric and assertions of those convinced of their own and their political parties' persuasion of progressiveness and humanitarianism.
The following is from an NBC article concerning the Democratic candidate (Mayor Pete Buttigieg) for President and his opinion of Franklin Graham and Vice President Pence's beliefs concerning homosexuality:
“Buttigieg has, however, criticized Vice President Mike Pence's record on LGBTQ issues.
“I wish the Mike Pence’s of the world would understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me,” Buttigieg said in a speech on April 7 to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” (emphasis mine)
The day after his speech, Buttigieg reprised his critique of Pence.
“Just because you are LGBTQ doesn't mean it's OK to discriminate against you,” he told reporters in Las Vegas. “I think most people get that, I think most Christians get that, and it's time for us to move on toward a more inclusive and more humane vision of faith than what this vice president represent."” (italics mine)
So…what say me? Better yet...what say the Scriptures themselves?
note: None of us today had anything to do with the content of the Bible. Nor did Mr. Graham...or Mr. Pence. What's the saying...don't shoot the messenger? As a secondary note. Mr. Buttigieg wasn't there either. So then, should he have the right to re-write or re-define what was authored by someone else? When would he and those like him have been promoted to general editor of the Bible?
Enough for now...we will get to that in a bit.
The above referenced article and declarations by Mr Buttigieg represents two very serious…egregious may be a proper word…misrepresentations of both what Mike Pence and Franklin Graham believes, and what both the New Testament and the Hebrew Scriptures clearly teach about morality and the veracity of the Word of God. Specifically, that which concerns creation, Christian behavior, and whether we have been given the authority/responsibility to decide our own “vision of faith.”
So, how about we go "all in" to get the ball rolling shall we?
-BTW, I think Walmart may be having a sale on "prophet rocks" you may be inclined to throw at me after reading the next statement. But as I just mentioned...don't kill the messenger! And how about before the emotional apocalypse..."emotional apocalypse"...that's a keeper right there... if you are going to have one, you read and follow the discourse before you come to a conclusion. "Shock value" is a great tool to get attention. I've been using it regularly up till now if you haven't noticed.
I'm about to again.
Aaaaaanndd...here comes the pitch: