One of the reasons that we are so ineffectual in our resistance to the destruction of marriage is that we are running scared.
It must never be thought that it is about homophobia, or that we discriminate in any way against homosexuals... This fear, it seems to me, has eviscerated the Christian response to the assault on marriage, and left us looking irrational, hypocritical, and irresolute.
But the truth is that it is about homophobia, at least as that term is used by the gay rights lobby. (It's not only about that, but I shall come back to that in another post).
When I say it is about homophobia, I do not mean an irrational fear or hatred of homosexual people (still less a rational one). But I do mean a profound belief that the homosexual lifestyle is bad for them, for others and for society; that homosexuality is a disorder; that homosexual sex is a moral evil; that homosexual relationships are not morally equivalent to marriage, and so on. Such beliefs, I expect, are sufficient for me to be branded homophobic. But if I let the fear of that label prevent me from speaking the truth, then I really am scared.
I have a number of close relations who suffer from various degrees of autism. They have done nothing to deserve this, and it would be wrong of anyone to blame them for it. I certainly love them no less because of this affliction. However, it is an affliction, a disorder; to deny that is to do them no favours at all. Instead, we should seek to help them: a cure would be wonderful, but failing that, helping them to manage the disorder, and (of course) giving them love and support is the next best strategy.
However, occasionally the disorder may incline them to do things that are bad: bad for themselves and bad for others. We do not say: 'Oh, that's OK: it's an alternative lifestyle,' as they bang their heads repeatedly on the floor, or attack their siblings, or refuse to eat. We are sophisticated enough to recognise that these are bad behaviours, but they do not mean the person is a bad person, nor that we should withdraw our love and support. But part of our loving response must be to help them to see that these behaviours are not good, and help them find ways to live that exclude these behaviours.
That is the challenge to Christians facing homosexuality: we are commanded firstly to love, but not in the shallow sense of condoning what is bad; rather in the sense that is motivated by the good of the other, and the good of all. That good, we know, has been revealed by the God who sent His Son to live and to die for us, who sent His Holy Spirit to animate his Church, and who gave us Holy Matrimony as a sacred vocation, which we have a duty to defend and to pass on to our children in all its truth and beauty.
So we must oppose the destruction of marriage, confront the untruth that homosexuality is simply an alternative lifestyle that does nobody any harm, and tell the truth about these things clearly and without fear, but always in charity, seeking the good of the other.
And so far, we have been very poor at doing that.
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