June is a month of “hot takes” because it’s gay pride month. By “hot takes,” I mean short, snappy social media posts that are not intended to start meaningful conversation, but rather to earn the admiration of those who already agree and annoy or vilify those who don’t.
In June there are two types of hot takes I see most. There are those from progressive, affirming Christians (also called “Side A” Christians), and those from non-affirming, conservative Christians (“Side B”).
Side A June posts come down harder on the point that if you don’t affirm a person’s sexual or gender identity, you are a bigot – full stop. Side B tends to come down harder on making sure everyone knows that homosexuality is sinful. And anyone who celebrates it is a deviant (yes, I’m purposely focusing on the extremes here. I know there are Christians on both sides who can agree to disagree civilly. But that generally doesn’t happen on social media).
Both sides get it wrong.
“Hot Take” 1: God Hates Bacon
From Side A, it’s common to argue that the same God who condemns homosexuality also condemns eating non-kosher foods, clothing of mixed fabrics, and says menstruating women are “unclean.” In other words, Side B Christians who consider homosexuality a sin but also love bacon and cotton-polyester blends are hypocrites who pick and choose.
This argument is not as clever as people think. Rather, it shows theological ignorance. These examples of “forbidden things” are based on cultural and civic laws rather than moral ones – unique to a specific time and place.
What Jesus is concerned about is moral laws. That is, the ones that carry over into the New Testament (and therefore the new covenant). These include laws that have to do with sexual ethics. That’s because lust is first and foremost a heart issue before it becomes a behavioral issue. It’s why Jesus said that anyone who lusts after another commits adultery in his own heart.
“Hot Take” 2: God Hates Homosexuality More Than Any Other Sin (so it seems)
The second hot take is from Side B Christians who double down on how much God hates homosexuality. Many will also call LGBT people “deviants” or “perverts.” This makes it seem like homosexuality is the ultimate sexual sin, if not the worst of all sins. That isn’t true.
We can’t point a finger and call people “deviant” without applying that label to ourselves. We can’t talk about homosexuality without also addressing the rampant problem of porn use, adultery, divorce, cohabitation, premarital sex, and sexual abuse in our own congregations. The optics look especially bad in light of the sexual abuse cover-up in the Southern Baptist Convention. It tells the outside world that our priorities are not in order; we have no solid moral backbone to speak from.
Less Hot Takes, More Humility
I think the cure for much of this division is not to compromise orthodoxy, but to double up on humility. Pride month is a big deal largely because of how cruelly LGBT people have been treated in churches. Christians can’t dismiss that.
We can’t isolate homosexuality as the worst of sins. Nor can we teach that it’s a good thing to center our identity on anything outside of the cross. We also need to repent of making idols of marriage and family, which makes celibacy that much more difficult for those who are called to it. Discipleship always costs something. No one, gay or straight, is entitled to sex, marriage, or children. Nor are those things the ultimate fulfillment of love — Christ is.
If more Christians lived like they really believed that, perhaps the divisions we see would not be so wide.