The Rainbow Flag: A Post-Father's Day Reflection

[Editor's Note: the following was recently submitted by this writer as a letter to the editor of The Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper in Richmond, Virginia---the city that is home to Salem Web Network and Christianity.com.]

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Like any young-ish father these days, I am concerned about the kind of world that my children are going to inherit when they are adults. I have two boys: one is nine and the other is one-and-a-half. This Father's Day, there was a new concern blowing in the wind—a rainbow flag. Apparently, the decision makers at the the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Virginia—the city where I live and work—have decided to fly the flag of the gay pride movement.

In that same spirit of 'celebrating diversity' the Ricmond City Council also issued a proclamation not unlike President Obama's recent federal endorsement of June as LGBT month. I leave it to them and others to explain why. I am sure they meant well.  

At present, the United States is still a free speech society. While I may not have an opportunity to speak so freely in the future, here are some thoughts as to why it is not a good idea to advocate homosexuality in the name of workplace diversity or for any reason. 

Because such unprecedented (for Virginia) pro-homosexual statements have been made publically, a public response is warranted. You may not agree with my view. I may not agree with yours. But as Americans, we each ought to uphold and defend the other's right to publically and humanely disagree. No one should be shouted down or branded as a ‘hate criminal' simply for being true to the historic beliefs of his faith. Unfortunately, such branding is what I see happening all too often when the topic of homosexuality is discussed. 

The historic Christian faith was the worldview that guided many of the founders (warts and all) of this country, and that worldview still has a place in speaking to matters of public life. If someone is mean-spirited in the name of Christianity, that's obviously wrong. Such a person does not represent Christ. However, it is an act of love, kindness, and compassion to inform people of the truth. It's what we all most need to hear. A physician who withholds bad news for fear that it might make another person unhappy isn't showing compassion. He's committing malpractice. As for the non-physician who puts on a lab coat and offers a happy diagnosis of false comfort to the dying… well, that's another kind of crime. 

This may come as a shock to some, but the faithful and historic interpretation of the Bible still calls homosexuality a sinful act. That's not going to change. The New Testament lists homosexuality right alongside lying (1 Timothy 1:10), robbing, being greedy, swindling (1 Corinthians 6:9), gossiping and committing murder (Romans 1:25). Such broad lists like these are meant to convey one thing: we all have sin issues. It's bad news for all of us.  

Let me repeat that: we all have sin issues.

No one is arguing that it's now okay to commit murder. And the bad news about homosexuality does not go away simply by the spurious claim that somehow the Church has misunderstood these texts for centuries, only to be ‘corrected' by later revisionist scholars in recent decades. These New Testament Scriptures are perfectly clear and binding upon all people in all time periods. 

For readers who are, for the first time, seeing Bible verses that condemn homosexuality, I do not quote them to be inflammatory but to make clear what the Scripture says. Biblical standards of right and wrong have stood the test of time. If you want to ignore them, that's one thing. Changing them is not an option. 

People struggle with how the Old Testament fits together with the New. There's a lot that can be said about this, but a basic rule of thumb is whenever we see a moral principle from the Old Testament (such as the prohibition of homosexuality) stated again in the New Testament, it means that moral standard is still binding for today, not just for the first few centuries A.D. For those struggling to make sense of the Bible, proper hermeneutics can help. The book, how to read the bible for all it's worth, by Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart is a good place to start.  

People need truth. The Bible is the anvil of truth that wears out every hammer. We dare not, as the Richmond City Council and Federal Reserve leadership has done, turn the truth upside down and celebrate sin. Neither should we keep silent for fear of being accused of "hate speech." It is not kindness but cowardice that fails to point out that the true and living God identifies all sexual activity outside of male-female marriage as sinful. Each of us will face God in judgment. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," says Hebrews 10:31. Not saying anything about this matter, then, is really hateful non-speech. 

We Christians aren't out to judge others as if we're somehow better in and of ourselves. We're simply pointing out the fact that there's an unchanging standard of right and wrong. Christians have broken that standard just like everyone else. We're no better than anyone. The solution is not to change the standard though. Only false teachers try to do that. 

The truths of Christianity are public and universal, not private and parochial. Christ is the true way of forgiveness and change toward right living. The historical record of His life, death, and resurrection in space and time is incontestable fact. His message calls you admit that you're a sinner, confess your need for His forgiveness, and trust Him to rescue you from sin's grip. You can be transformed into a person who lives in a way that pleases Him. 

Advocating homosexuality is wrong because such an approach enables people to remain in their sin. Clearly, that's not in their best interest. The Christian's hope for homosexuals is not heterosexuality, but holiness. We're not trying to make gays straight but take them straight to Jesus, just as we would anyone. Once they trust Him, He transforms their life from the inside out. 

Neither is Christianity a homophobic religion. It is news that God came to earth to rescue sinful people. We don't fear homosexuals. We fear for them, just like we do for people enslaved in sin of any type. We know the judgment that awaits all those who will not turn from their sin and turn to Christ. What Jesus accomplished in His sinless life, in His work on the cross, and in His rising from the dead saves sinners. Christ sets people free from enslavement to sin in this life and judgment for sin in next. 

Instead of meeting God someday in condemnation, you can meet Him now in blessing. Your desires will be changed so that you love the things He loves: His salvation, His people, His Word, and His will. Although, I have been personally guilty of numerous sins, I stand forgiven because Christ died and rose again for sinners like me. Through faith in Jesus Christ I have been made clean (1 Corinthians 1:11). The same offer extends to you as you read this.

It's become common to hear that homosexuals are "today's oppressed people group." People who have same-sex attraction feel as if they are heirs of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. On the surface such a claim might appear to be true, but deeper analysis proves otherwise. Broadly speaking, the Civil Rights movement was a welcome corrective to a pernicious evil—one that many professing Christians today are unfortunately still blind to, namely racism. Authentic, historic Christianity was the moral authority behind the triumph of the Civil Rights movement. But authentic, historic Christianity does not uphold the gay pride movement in the least. 

The moms and dads I know in the African American community are deeply offended at the comparison that the homosexual community makes by hijacking the Civil Rights cause for their agenda. The Bible clearly affirms the dignity and worth of all people, regardless of skin color. Conversely, the Bible condemns homosexuality because it is rebellion against the created order of male-female marriage (Romans 1:18). God blesses male-female marriage (Hebrews 13:4, but is completely opposed to all sexual activity outside of that sacred covenant relationship.

Another contention heard in the discussion today is that ‘science' shows that people are ‘born gay.' To that I respond: even if it could be proven that homosexual inclinations are genetic, one would still need to explain why, if a tendency is genetic, it must be accepted as right. Some are unfortunately born into families where anger is a tendency. That does not make one's own expressions of anger okay. Inherited sinful tendencies must be overcome, not justified, hidden behind, or used as an excuse for sinful words and actions.

We are all sinners. We all have temptations that we struggle with. Some people struggle with homosexuality. Others struggle with different sins. Christians still sin too. Christians ought to sin less and less the more we know and love God, but that's a life-long process. As the saying goes, Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven. 

Trying to get the whole world to celebrate the opposite of biblical truth is not the solution. Kindness mandates that we rescue people from drowning, not open the floodgates and drench the city. Apparently, the City Council and the leaders of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank think that opening the floodgates is the right idea. They have made a bold move to shape society with their "bully pulpit" building in downtown Richmond. 

Regardless of whether it changes anything, I call for the flag to be removed and never be raised again. I'm not the only young-ish dad in Virginia who believes this way. Not everybody has a tall building at their disposal by which to make a public statement. I'm just a dad. And—like most American dads—I don't have a clue how to remove myself from the Federal Reserve System. Maybe the leaders of the Fed thought that everyone would just go along with their "forward thinking" and not say anything. Maybe they thought it would just be the older crowd to raise objections. Not so. 

In America, the freedom to state these things peacefully and publically seems to be under severe threat. If printed, I fully expect this letter to see the typical mantras offered in rebuttal: ‘Hate is not a family value' or ‘Commonsense is the first casualty of ignorance,' etc. People have the freedom to state such non sequiturs if they so choose. A greater concern to me is that the discussion will be muzzled. Hopefully, though, this letter will resonate with fair-minded, honest souls and with others like me who want to do and say what is truly in the best interest of people—including those who, in their confusion, distort the God-ordained beauty of human sexuality. 

If biblical truth does resonate and take root in this generation, brothers and sisters will be rescued from the snare of sin and better changes will be blowing in the wind for America's children and grandchildren—to the glory of God.  

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