Sex, Marriage, and Sexuality: August 2007 Archives

Way Out of Proportion

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A megachurch in Arlingon, Texas canceled a funeral service for someone when they found out he was gay, on the ground that they didn't want to be seen as endorsing that lifestyle. Since when does agreeing to host a funeral service for someone mean you endorse everything that person did? Should a congregation refuse to use their building to provide a funeral for the dead brother of one of their members simply because they guy lived with his girlfriend without getting married? What if the dead brother was a convicted thief or a greedy drunkard who slandered people fairly regularly? What if it was the rebellious son of members of the congregation or an arrogant and boastful member of the congregation?

Two of the most prominent passages that deal with homosexual sex in the New Testament list these other sins alongside same-sex sexual acts. No passage in the entire Bible elevates anything to do with homosexuality on a level that disallows showing love to the family of the sort that would be involved in having a funeral. Somehow homosexuality has become so evil to many evangelicals that we could refuse to do something for the family of a gay person that we'd probably do for the family of a murderer.

It's nice to see that this doesn't affect Dale Carpenter's attitude toward Christianity, but I think that's because he has direct contact with sincere, loving Christians who treat him as a real person with a lifestyle they simply disagree with. He understands that true Christianity is not like this. But when high-profile congregations do this kind of thing, it is all the majority of secular people will ever see. Most people who aren't Christians don't have a lot of significant contact with believing Christians who live out the Christian norm of love for neighbor in a way that demonstrates that gay people are part of that love. This isn't because Christians aren't doing that but because most secular people have little contact with evangelicals to begin with. So high-profile Christian leaders and congregations like this one have a much higher responsibility because of their visibility. Unfortunately, this congregation has utterly failed in that responsibility in this instance.

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