(First in a series of ten, from my new book Critical Conversations!)
Gay activists set out almost 30 years ago to make Christianity look immoral and wrong. In one key document they even called it a plan for “Overhauling Straight America.” (I tell that story briefly in Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality With Teens.)
It’s been a moral attack delivered from an immoral basis: hence the title of this series. Their idea was to cause believers to cower and hide from our own faith. I’ve identified more than two dozen challenges activists have raised against the faith. To their dubious credit, their strategy has succeeded all too well.
It shouldn’t have been that successful. We should have simply smiled and said, “No, either you’re misunderstanding us you’re misrepresenting us on purpose. Either way, the things you’re saying aren’t true. Here’s why…. ”
With this post I begin a “here’s why” series outlining brief answers to ten of the most common attacks leveled against Christian faith from within the LGBT activist community. For a longer list, more complete answers, and especially for guidance in helping young people stand strong for the truth and goodness found in Jesus Christ, I urge you to buy and read Critical Conversations.
Challenge Number One: “You’re against gay rights. That means you’re a hater.”
Sure, some people oppose LGBT out of actual hatred. I’ve seen people like that — but rarely, and mostly in the media. It’s extremely uncommon among Christians I’ve been with, and I’ve been with Christians all over the country. Still we all need to continually examine what God says about unconditional love in light of the gospel.
Commonly, though, LGBT activists will say you’re a hater just because you’re not on their side. That’s a clear case of stereotyping. Most LGBT people don’t believe in stereotyping; they just don’t recognize it when they practice it themselves. You could ask them about that.
If they say you’re a hater because you disagree with their moral opinions, choices, and chosen self-identity, then ask them whether they think disagreement on that level is all it takes to be a hater. If so, then gently remind them that they disagree with your moral choices, your opinions, and your chosen identity in Christ. If disagreement of that sort makes someone a hater, it makes them haters, too.
But I don’t think most LGBT people or their allies are haters, any more than you or I are. Rather they’re misusing the word. “Hate” doesn’t mean what they say it means. So that means that your disagreement doesn’t equal hate either. You can, smile, stretch out a welcoming hand and say, “Nope. Nice try, but I’m not ducking from my beliefs based on an empty charge like that one. You’re misusing the word ‘hate,’ and I’m no more a hater than you are.”
There’s more in the book!
In Critical Conversations I develop and extend the answer to this and other challenges, and I share practical relational guidance on how to share the answers in conversation. For parents, pastors, and other Christian leaders wondering what to say to children in their vulnerable years up through high school or even college, the book clears away the awkwardness and confusion. It clears a path toward conversations that can strengthen not only your teens’ faith but also your relationship with them.