Thursday, May 07, 2009

"Homosexual Christian"

I've been puzzling over the latest bandwagon evangelicals have been jumping on in criticizing the term "homosexual Christian." The phenomenon has been around for some years, but it seems to have picked up steam lately, especially in the more conservative evangelical crowds. "I don't call myself a Proud Christian or a Lustful Christian. Why should you call yourself a "Homosexual Christian"? they will say to fellow Christians who disclose their struggles with homosexuality.

My question in return is, "So, what should they call themselves?" I'm sure they would be happy to call themselves regular old "Christians" with no qualifications attached. The problem is when they remain silent on the "qualification" part, no one suspects they are homosexual, right? Then when they finally take the chance of revealing to their Christian friends that they have actually been dealing with homosexual feelings and attractions all along, everyone wigs out. There is no end to the accusations about how this person "lied" and "deceived" everyone, or to the hand-wringing about how "betrayed" everyone feels for thinking all along that this person was just like everyone else. That they were just a "Christian" with no qualifications attached.

Well, guess what? Homosexual people have feelings, and they also have a conscience. They don't want to be accused of lying and deceiving people. They don't want to feel like they've betrayed friends and family members. They've heard all the complaints. That's why more people are trying to be upfront about what they are dealing with. Calling oneself a "homosexual Christian" is a good, honest way to signal to everyone that no lying, deception or betrayal is intended on their part. But instead of receiving an appreciative, "Thanks for letting me know. I know it must have been hard for you to tell me this," they get shot down with, "Why would you call yourself that?" "Why would you label yourself according to your sin?"

I can only think of two reasons why anyone would make that objection. 1) You don't really want to know that a fellow Christian is dealing with homosexuality. 2) You want people who are dealing with homosexuality to say that, really, they are just heterosexuals who have somehow messed themselves up, but now they're on it, and if we would just give them a few more years in the local ex-gay program they can come back to us with all the yuckiness cleaned up--in which case they should never have bothered to take on the label "homosexual Christian" in the first place.

If your reason is the first one, then you're saying that you'd rather be lied to and deceived. So be honest about that and spare us all the lamenting about how "betrayed" you feel when someone does manage to deceive you for years on end, but was ultimately too honest to be able to keep it up forever.

If your reason is the second, then you're saying that homosexual people who claim that they have tried to change but couldn't are either liars or they are self-deceived. They should be able to overcome their sin, but they are somehow holding back and are only pretending that they've been putting out a monumental effort. But really, they like to call themselves "homosexual," especially in front of their Christian friends, because it's just so cool to come to church and have everyone glare at them and whisk their kids out of the very path they walk. And it's just so cool to know that even the "brave" people who do come up to shake their hand probably rush to the restroom afterwards and wash. Yeah, that must be the real reason why someone would want to call themselves "homosexual" at church. There are just so many perks.