Friday, March 6, 2009

What is "Hate", who "hates" who?

I struggle with the word "hate" so much in my daily life because I, as a man of God, am called to preach the truth in love and to tell people about the good news of Christ. I would like to not only believe I have a heart for people but for them to see that I have the heart for them as well because without them seeing it my mission is meaningless.

I had a conference last year where we had several pastors come from around the country to preach the gospel message and the continuity of this message on our society- politically, economically and morally.

Scott Lively was one of the speakers at this conference. His expertise created some opposition in protest but only because I believe that no one cared or took the time to understand his position, his tireless effort and reasearch to claim this expertise and the lack of knowledge of the people in opposition on the true facts of this issue claming it as heresy.I found an essay worth sharing that may shed some light on the dilemma that faces Christians as they try to do change hearts and minds for Christ as He has called us to. He writes:

Is Hating "Haters" Hateful?Essay on the double standard being used by the Left in the public debate on homosexuality.

Hate carries a negative connotation in the world today. No one wants to be called a hater, especially Christians. Homosexuals are especially fond of calling people haters. They even invented the word "homophobia", which means hate and fear of homosexuals, envisaged as a mental illness (a phobia is an anxiety disorder). I hate being called a homophobe. It has such an ugly connotation.

Its especially unpleasant because, as a Christian, I’m supposed to have a reputation for loving people, not hating them. So I’ve worked really hard over the years to try to get the homosexuals to stop calling me a homophobe. I’ve pointed out the difference between hating people and hating their behavior (loving the sinner but hating the sin- not a biblical phrse, by the way). They hated that.

Then I tried “walking my talk” by taking an ex-”gay” man who was dying of AIDS into my family. My wife and I and our children loved and cared for him during the last year of his life. They hated that even more.

Then I began asking for guidance from homosexuals themselves: “Tell me, where is the line between homophobia and acceptable opposition to homosexuality?” I asked.

“What if I just agree with the Bible that homosexuality is a sin no worse than any other sex outside of marriage?” “No, that‘s homophobic,” they replied. “Suppose I talk only about the proven medical hazards of gay sex and try to discourage people from hurting themselves?“ “No, you can’t do that,” they said. “How about if I say that homosexuals have the option to change if they choose?” “Ridiculous” they answered. “Maybe I could just be completely positive, say nothing about homosexuality, and focus only on promoting the natural family and traditional marriage?” “That’s really hateful,” they replied.

After I while, I realized that the only way I could get them to stop calling me a homophobe was to start agreeing with them about everything. But here’s my dilemma: I honestly believe the Bible which says that homosexuality is wrong and harmful and that all sex belongs within marriage. I’ve also read the professional studies and know that “gay” sex hurts people because it goes against the design of their bodies. And I’m friends with a number of former homosexuals who are now married and living heterosexual lives. Do I have to give up my religion? Ignore scientific facts? Betray my friends? Is that the only way to avoid being called a hater and a homophobe? There’s no escape.

A homophobe is anyone who, for any reason, disapproves of homosexuality in any way, shape, manner, form or degree. This leaves me with just two choices: agree that everything about homosexuality is natural, normal, healthy, moral and worthy to be celebrated OR be labeled as a mentally ill, hate-filled bigot.

Am I wrong? Is there any way to openly disapprove of homosexuality without being a homophobe? “Gay” leaders, please set me straight on this. Because if I’m right, that means the “gay agenda” is to stop everyone from following the Bible regarding sexual matters. It is, after all, their stated goal to “stamp out homophobia.” No more religious freedom. It’s also to suppress scientific research that has reached conclusions they don’t like, especially if it helps people to change their homosexual orientation back to a heterosexual one (ask the doctors and scientists at what they’ve had to endure).

If it discourages homosexuality, even by implication, it’s homophobic and can‘t be used. There’s a queer reasoning behind all of this. Homosexuals call me names like bigot and homophobe, condemn my religion, mock my rational conclusions about social issues, impugn my motives, display intense hostility toward my actions, and curse my very existence, all under the justification that I’m a “hater.” But if I’m a “hater” for civilly opposing what they do, why aren’t they haters for uncivilly opposing what I do?

Such a double standard, in the context of a public debate on “civil rights,” is not just hypocritical, it is surreal. I admit I have some hate. I hate watching people kill themselves with preventable diseases like AIDS. I hate seeing children being steered toward unhealthy lifestyles. I hate having my pro-family views distorted by dishonest journalists, politicians and academics. And I hate seeing my God being treated like a homophobe for what He teaches in His Bible.

So if you’re not going to stop calling me a “hater” for wanting homosexuals to be saved and healed, or for opposing their political agenda, let's at least see a little more of that famous “American sense of fair play” in the public debate on this issue.

Hatred of “haters” is hateful too.

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