Saturday, June 25, 2011

Created this Way

I'm going to begin this post by being 100% honest in admitting that its a subject I have no pleasure in writing about. It's one of those controversial, heated, constantly misunderstood, constantly misrepresented, dividing subjects and to be perfectly frank I prefer to stay away from those as much as possible.

The only reason I am writing about it is for clarity's sake and because I think it's important that real Christians have a voice in this. I say real Christians because it's also important to make that distinction between those who understand God's forgiveness and grace and those who use the label of Christianity to be in-your-face loudmouths.

A brief backstory

A few weeks ago I was having a casual conversation with some friends and during the course of that conversation, for reasons I can't even recall, the subject turned to the "born gay" t-shirt with the brightly colored rainbow on it. It occured to me that I had never seen a "born straight" shirt so I decided to create one. I did it mostly for fun (for those who like wearing things like this) but also as a sort of flip-side answer to the "born gay" shirts.  After all, if it's okay and culturally acceptable for folks to wear the "born gay" shirts, it should be perfectly acceptable to wear a shirt with the opposite message.  Right?  Right??

I published the design to the store and that was that.  Last night then when the NY Senate voted to approve gay marriage in NY state I simply tweeted this:

The link in the tweet was a direct link to the shirt mentioned above.  The unspoken message was obviously, that I don't agree with gay marriage.  I'm a Chrisitan, and that means I believe what the Bible says about men and women and how and why we were created. Unfortunately, just saying that outloud was enough for at least one person to be highly insulted and launch into some pretty hard core accusations of judging and some other things.  I found the exchange quite fascinating as it's really a barometer of the culture we live in today and how it's perfectly okay to say anything you like UNLESS it's to promote Biblical, traditional, conservative views.

I was accused of being judgemental, a gay-basher, wrong, cruel and hurtful.  I was told that it was essentially okay for me to believe whatever I want, but to keep it to myself.  You see, if you oppose the gay lifestyle you're a horrible, judgemental, bashing, cruel person, who must be silenced so that you cannot hurt anyone's feelings.  Isn't it interesting how that works?

After this exchange went down last night I received an email asking why there is such an obvious double standard.  To be clear, the person asked why it's apprently okay for pro-gay advocates to march, rally, lobby and campaign publicly for their agenda, but if you disagree with it you should just shut up. It is actually expected in our day that if you do NOT agree with the pro-gay message, you should not be allowed to voice your thoughts.  It most certainly is a double standard and one of the most irrational, illogical, inconsistant and ANTI-free speech arguments I've ever heard in my life. Yet it happens every single day and has become the norm in 2011.

To be clear, I'm the last person you'll ever meet who would be a gay-basher and I have never (even when unsaved) to my knowledge participated in such a hateful discourse.  While I obviously do not agree with their lifestyle, I have no reason to bash them or hate on them.  They are created in God's image and need to hear God's truth just as much as anyone else does.

As for judgement goes, I've said it before and I will say it again: there is a critical difference between judging a thing, and judging a person.  Every single human being makes judgement calls every day on things such as lying, cheating, stealing, murder, etc.  We all do it, and we all base those judgements on our moral compass (which admittedly is different for everyone).  My morality is centered in God's word and His word clearly teaches that homosexuality is wrong, and not what we were created for.  I agree entirely with that teaching.  So yes I do judge the lifestyle itself, but I do not judge the person.  That's God's job and He is more than capable of judging souls.

Unfortunately, Christians have to beat down the sick and twisted reputation that we've all been labelled with due to certain loud mouth so-called Christians that run around the nation picketing funerals and holding rallies where ugly signs declare everyone damned except them.  Allow me to be PERFECTLY clear, those people are not Christians.  They know nothing of grace, humility, compassion, forgiveness or anything else Jesus ever taught.  They do however know how to get the media's attention and to make absolute fools of themselves using Christ's name.  Those people are in fact a minority and they do not represent what most Christians believe at all.  I wish more people understood that.

This isn't a subject I like to talk about, but it also isn't one I shy away from just because what I believe is no longer the mainstream belief held in western culture.  I am not at all ashamed of what I believe, and I will state it, teach it to my kids, and defend God's truth any time the need arises.  I know full well there are many many people that completely disagree with me on this (many of whom I'm related to) but that also will not stop me from speaking truth (with as much grace as I know how to give) as I know it.  If I lose friends or family relationships over this, then so be it.  I wont like it, but truth matters enough to me that it comes before patting someone on the head and keeping my mouth shut.  

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe