Friday, February 7, 2014

When Christians become a 'hated minority' PART ONE



(CNN) - When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.
During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.
“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’" says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.
We’ve heard of the “down-low” gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.
As proof, Sprigg points to the backlash that ESPN commentator Chris Broussard sparked recently. Broussard was called a bigot and a purveyor of hate speech when he said an NBA player who had come out as gay was living in “open rebellion to God.” Broussard said the player, Jason Collins, was “living in unrepentant sin” because the Bible condemns homosexuality.
“In the current culture, it takes more courage for someone like Chris Broussard to speak out than for someone like Jason Collins to come out,” says Sprigg, a former pastor. “The media will hail someone who comes out of the closet as gay, but someone who simply expresses their personal religious views about homosexual conduct is attacked.”
When is disagreement hate?
Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois, says Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.
“That isn’t so outrageous,” Litfin says. “Nobody is expressing hate toward homosexuals by saying that. Since when is disagreement the same as hate?”
'One of the most hated minorities?'
Intolerance may be difficult to define, but some evangelicals say they have become victims of intolerance because of their reverence for the Bible.
A blogger at The American Dream asked in one essay:
“Are evangelical Christians rapidly becoming one of the most hated minorities in America?”
The reluctance of evangelicals to speak out against homosexuality is often cited as proof they are being forced into the closet.
Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition, an online evangelical magazine, wrote a blog post entitled “Debatable: Is the Christian Church a ‘Hate Group’?" He warned that young people will abandon “orthodox” Christian churches that teach that homosexuality is a sin for fear of being called haters.
“Faux civility, embarrassment, prudishness and a fear of expressing an unpopular opinion has caused many Christians to refrain from explaining how homosexual conduct destroys lives,” Carter wrote.
Some Christians fear that opposing homosexuality could cause them to lose their jobs and “haunt them forever,” Carter says.
“It’s easier to just go along,” says Carter, who is also author of “How to Argue Like Jesus.” “You don’t want to be lumped in with the bigots. That’s a powerful word."
Edward Johnson, a communication professor at Campbell University in North Carolina, says we are now living in a "postmodern" era where everything is relative and there is no universally accepted truth. It's an environment in which anyone who says "this is right" and "that is wrong" is labeled intolerant, he says.
There was a time when a person could publicly say homosexuality was wrong and people could consider the statement without anger, he says. Today, people have reverted to an intellectual tribalism where they are only willing to consider the perspective of their own tribe.
“They are incapable of comprehending that someone may have a view different than theirs,” Johnson says. “For them anyone who dares to question the dogma of the tribe can only be doing so out of hatred.”
Sprigg, from the Family Research Council, says his condemnation of homosexual conduct does not spring from intolerance but a desire to protect gays from harmful conduct, he says. Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the council, wrote in a council pamphlet that homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are straight men. He also wrote that gay men are also afflicted with a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases and mental illness as well.
Sprigg says he does not believe homosexuality is a choice and that “personal testimonies" and "clinical experience” show that some people “can and do change from gay to straight.”
“Maybe we need to do a better job of showing that we are motivated by Christian love,” Sprigg says. “Love is wanting the best for someone, and acting to bring that about.”
'That's a lie'
Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, has little use for the love Sprigg talks about.
He calls it hatred, and his voice rose in anger when he talked about the claims by Sprigg and other Christian groups that gay men are more predisposed to molest children and that homosexual behavior is inherently harmful.
He says the Southern Poverty Law Center didn’t designate the Family Research Group a hate group because they view homosexuality as a sin or oppose same-sex marriage, Potok says. There are plenty of Christian groups who hold those beliefs but are not hate groups, he says.
A group becomes a hate group when it attacks and maligns an entire class of people for their “immutable characteristics,” Potok says. The Family Research Council spreads known falsehoods about gays and lesbians, he says, such as the contention that gay men are predisposed to abuse children.
“That’s a lie,” Potok says. “These guys are engaging in straight-up defamation of a very large group of people. There are not many things much worse than you can say in America about somebody than they are a child molester.”
Potok scoffed at Spriggs’ claim that the council and other evangelical anti-gay groups are victims of intolerance.
“That’s whining on the part of people who spend their days and nights attacking gay people and then some people criticize them and they don’t like it,” he says. “That’s pathetic. It reminds me of slave owners complaining that people are saying ugly things about them.”
By John Blake, CNN
END PART ONE






8 comments:

Anonymous said...

For those of us who think homosexual behaviour is wrong it seems best in a free and democratic society to adopt a live and let-live policy. The problem is that the more extreme elements amongst the gay community, and those who join their bandwagon, want the whole thing to be in-your-face calling all opponents homophobes, pushing for a completely non-traditional definition of marriage, and woe betide to anyone who disagrees with us.

Calling those who disagree "haters" is another ploy to cause division in society and disallow freedom of expression. And calling for "equality", especially with regard to marriage, is a misuse of the English language and is something which needs calling out for the nonsense it is.

Sydney

Kjell Edlund said...

This series of articles will be one of the more interesting ones to follow.
What happens when the persecuter becomes the persecuted?
We must, in the name of Honesty, recognize that it's all about a group of people that over hundreds of hundreds of years benn forced into secrecy manly because of Church Authority.
If you do express views like

"homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are straight men. He also wrote that gay men are also afflicted with a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases and mental illness as well."

Well... then you wouldn't be surprised if you are faced with anger from others, don't you think, really?

Gallileo Gallilei faced Ban from the Church when he presented a quite different view of cosmos.

When a Christian, like my self, claim a different view of homosexuality because of Knowledge of the nature of the topics, and in accordance to that, searched and tryed to dig in to what the Bible has really to say about it.
Well folks... I may tell you that it's not that easy to withhold my position Hallways and under all circumstances.
But I try to, and I try to do it in a way that don't victimize my opponents. It's not easy though...

Anonymous said...

Sydney

Absolutely - it is a symptom of the skewed values we have today - anything we say in opposition to LGBT is seen as bigotry when it is anything but that. To voice anti LGBT opinions is practically impossible these days without the threat of litigation, and, as you say, it's easier to keep quiet. Anyone with a modicum of common sense knows that 'equal' marriage is not, and can never be, equal, but now that LGBTs have the bit between their teeth they'll stop at nothing to achieve their demands, even down to dividing the church of God, as we can see. Conservative Christians will have to make some soul-searching choices in the near future, as more and more churches are caving in to these demands for inclusion. Submission to these demands do not make them right.

Anonymous said...

From what I can tell, the surveys are completely anonymous. Why don't you post a survey asking salvos if they are gay/lesbian? Also, ask them straight out if the army doesn't change our doctrinal-positional stance on full membership for LGBT active persons will they seek membership elsewhere?

Cambridge

Anonymous said...

Cambridge

Do you honestly think a survey on LGBT on this site would prove to be a litmus test of salvationists worldwide, given the many articles written on this subject, the LGBT bandwagon of supporters it has attracted, and the fact that this site is open to everyone, including non-salvationists? How many salvos actually visit the site? And what does it matter anyway? If we have convictions not to accept any changes that may be brought in, we will have to decide if/when the time comes.
If that day DOES dawn, it will be a sad day for TSA, which is already in what I see as terminal decline on the evangelical front. It may hasten the day when the Army flag will only fly over the social services content of its work. Already corps are closing, many are on mission support, and congregations are ageing, with no similarly committed succession in sight.
The last couple of articles stating the alleged hypocrisy of singling out the homosexual Bible verses and not looking at the other faults misses the point - this LGBT issue is fundamental to the way family life will run in the future. It's not all about condemning people to hell, or hate, bigotry or homophobia - it's the contribution that this 'inclusion' will make to the further fragmentation of society as we know it, especially the church - already up against it and reeling from secular attacks alone, without this attack from within. As I see it, there will be two types of churches - the church which holds to the tested tenets of Bible times and writings, and the church which embraces philosophies, interpretations of scripture to suit what people want, and a more worldly membership - as the Good Book says - having a form of Godliness, but denying its power. No doubt I will be vilified for these comments, and I may be wrong, but I have this feeling...... discernment is needed by everyone in these troubling times.

Kjell Edlund said...

There have, lately again, been a poll on this blog where you can vote anonymous about those questions.
To ask a soldier/officer to be frank and clear about there status...
I don't see that it is possible if you want to remain in the Army...

Anonymous said...

It all boils down to hypocrisy in my mind. People defend their views saying they are protecting the concept of 'family', yet LGBT folk can simply point out how the Christian community has 'evolved' its feelings about divorce, and feel rightly aggrieved.

A couple of of weeks ago, someone referenced Jesus saying "sin no more" to the adulteress, as a mandate for homosexuals to remain celibate. I made a comment, noting that Jesus was clear on divorce:

"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

My question was: how would you advice a man re-married under the above circumstances to "sin no more"?

No one answered, which was an answer in itself, as the only conclusion I could draw is that this is driven by phobia, rather than a concern for maintaining Biblical standards.

In some respects, you have to hand it to our crazy Islamic fundamentalist friends: they aren't hypocritical. They don't have to deal with the nuances of homosexuality and adultery, because the parties involved have been stoned.

That's our choice: we either go full Taliban, or we accept that society corporately is going to modify it's understanding of the Bible, and that homosexuality is the next topic for readjustment.

The Army Barmy blog spent some time this week digging into the historical context of Paul's remarks for women to remain silent in church. Of course, the conclusion was that we shouldn't take that literally and women, of course, have every right to take part in Church, and that this is, of course, a non issue.

Tell that to homosexuals arrested, bullied and killed largely in part to Paul's words.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading this blog, but do not read it consistently. I do have a question, is one of the main topics this blog talks about the Gay/homesexual/Lesbian lifestyle and the relation to the Church/Army?

I am sure that I miss topics in between my visits, but it does seem that each time I return, that this is what is being discussed.

May God bless each of you.