Woody Zimmerman’s article of February 16 stirred up a veritable “hornet’s nest” in response. While not agreeing with every aspect of Woody’s discourse or his methodology, I was surprised at the depth of vitriol it evoked. Though very straight myself, I empathize with folks who are, for whatever reason, ostracized, or feel they are, from any aspect of the society of which they are part. However, I do believe that a private organization, such as the Boy Scouts of America, or any religious group, should be able to establish the criteria for membership or leadership in its group.
Some of the responses to the Zimmerman article showed influence from the relativistic Enlightenment, such as the appeals to history or to the “this is 2013” argument. It is pretty much indisputable that this is 2013. But it is equally irrelevant. People made the same appeal in 1980- or 1880! Unless you hold an untenable position of moral relativism, as time moves on (which it inevitably does!) that it is 2013 is a vacuous, meaningless statement. Robust argument stays with facts as the presenter understands them, and avoids hurtful and ad hominem statements, on both sides, that add nothing of value and enlightenment to the discussion, but only deepen fractures that exist in human relationships and psyches.
As for substantive argument, there are good theological-biblical reasons to oppose homosexuality, though not homosexual persons. For example, in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible), Genesis 1:27 informs us, “So God created the man in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” In Hebrew literary form, “male and female” elaborates the first phrase, explaining what it means to be created in God’s image. Not that maleness and femaleness are part of the Deity, but unity in differentiation is. All male personality qualities and all female personality qualities are resident in God, but not physical sexuality. But differentiation is the point, and this would seem to be negated by homosexuality. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are not a simple unity, but a complex, differentiated plurality in unity, beautifully illustrated by human maleness and femaleness, with the interpenetration and perichoresis (the “dance around”, describing the dynamic mutual life of the Three), , while not vitiating their distinctness. Which is to say, simply, that a substantial basis exists in Scripture for the heterosexual relationships begun in creation and continued throughout history.
The argument that it is promiscuous homosexual relationships, not homosexual relationships per se that are negated in the Bible cannot be sustained by unbiased exegesis. One is free to accept or reject the Bible’s directives regarding sexuality, but one cannot with intellectual honesty deny its heterosexual orientation. But it’s another subject relative to the treatment of heterosexuals toward the gay community.
Jesus did not condone arrogant willful violations of his created order. Neither did he tolerate (a good word when properly used) singling people out for mistreatment. My heart goes out to any precious person (and every one is precious!) who is made to feel like human trash. We can disagree civilly with others without resorting to name-calling and vilification, on whichever side of an issue our belief or opinion falls. I have good friends who are gay persons. Our sincere and pure love for each other is incontestable. If persons who are gay choose to see me as biased, bigoted, prejudiced, hateful, despicable, or whatever, because of honest and thought-out difference of belief and conviction, I sincerely regret it and feel deeply the loss of their friendship, actual or potential, My convictions, as with many of my colleagues, are informed, honest, and held with love and respect for those who disagree. In the last analysis, we are all sinners, you and I- straight, homosexual, moral, immoral, religious, irreligious, atheist, agnostic, whatever- in need of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who took all our sin, so we, by faith, could take all his righteousness. Many other issues surfaced via the subject-column and responses, but further elaboration is impractical given space-time limitations. I am open to further dispassionate discussion with anyone.
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Rev. Dr. Richard Shaw, PhD
Calvary Chapel of Monmouth County, Inc.