The following represents more of an exchange I had recently where some grad students who were making the claim that Christians need to consider the greater breath of social justice and human rights and move beyond the issue of homosexual marriage etc.
Grad Student: “Four years ago, you couldn't have convinced me to vote for a Democrat if you tried. To me, the issues of homosexuality [etc.] were too big to ignore and to support a candidate that was … pro-gay marriage was inconceivable… However, I have come to realize that legislating against these things is not the solution…We have to operate within the framework that we are in…The solution is not to legislate against it…Furthermore, as Christians, we must do such a great job loving homosexuals that they see the light of Christ through us and want to make good choices.”
Piper Response: You have mentioned or implied several issues ranging from legislation to love. Let me try to touch on a few of them with some very brief comments.
First, on the issue of gay marriage I just have to start by pointing out a major flaw in the logic of the contemporary pro-gay agenda. Homosexuality should be a discussion about behavior pure and simple. It is not about personal identity or human rights. Those who use genetic predisposition or human psychology or physiology as a pretext to justifying homosexual behavior and consequent minority status are, in my judgment, employing a non sequitur fallacy to the extreme. A non sequitur is an argument of non-connection where your conclusion does not logically flow from your premise. In laymen’s terms it is a fallacy of “So what?” Let me offer a couple examples. Isn’t it natural for you to respond to illogical connections by rightly asking the question “So what?” If my actions are hateful and I cite my family heritage as justification for my hate your logical response should be “So what?” If I cheat on my wife and I justify it by saying that all males are genetically predisposed to infidelity your common sense my lead you to ask “So what?’ If I am angry all the time and I say that biologically I am predisposed to this emotion you would be well within your rights to respond (or at least think to yourself) “So what?” You see, it is behavior that is in dispute not one’s rights or identity. Minority status has have never been about one’s proclivities, instincts, desires or consequent actions but to the contrary it has always been a matter of who you are not what you do (or what you want to do). Actions can never be the pretext to one’s claim of any human rights. Behavioral choices can never by the justification for anyone’s claim to minority status. Otherwise, why wouldn’t those who practice polygamy, bigamy, interspecies sex, pedophilia, prostitution and a host of other behaviors be as justified in demanding minority status and human rights as any other sub-group?
Next, I would like to respond very briefly to your claim that “We have to operate within the framework that we are in…The solution is not to legislate against it.” I guess the simplest way for me to respond to this is to ask this question. Should Wilberforce have responded the same way to the British slave trade? How about Martin Luther King Jr.? Should he just have accepted the given framework of the day and not sought any legislative solutions to injustices of his time? How about
Finally, I would like to comment about what I consider to be an underlying assumption to your argument. You seem to imply that the traditional Christian restrictions on sexual behavior and the Church’s enforcement of those restrictions are synonymous with being “unloving.” Here is my first blush reaction. Aren’t you are being just a bit cavalier regarding the principles of physical health, personal responsibility, selfless respect, and social accountability that have served as the underpinnings of socially acceptable sexual behavior for literally thousands of years. Human sexual expression has always been weighed on the scales of morality and virtue. Sexual behavior, in all its manifestations, has never been considered to be ethically or legally neutral, even within a secular culture. Agnostics, atheists, Christians and Jews all agree that the use of another person’s body for your own sexual fulfillment is wrong - selfish at best and criminal in its extreme. The history of civilization is filled with arguments against sexual immorality. Minimizing the moral weight of such traditional sexual standards doesn’t seem to be the best way to elevate your argument to one of love, social justice and civil rights. To the contrary, you might actually find that the time tested values of sexual restraint as represented in the Judeo-Christian ethic have actually provided the framework for unprecedented love and justice for women and children and all others who were in danger of being subjugated to the passions of the powerful and the prominent. Without such rules and standards is it possible to envision human exploitation and depravity without boundaries?
So – my point is this: If, indeed, you want to argue for “love” then isn’t the rock of tradition, reason, experience and Scripture worth considering over and above the shifting sands of political fads and popular opinion? On one foundation you can build a house of justice, dignity, respect, and freedom. On the other foundation you find a crumbling shack of jealousy, depravity, fear and the appalling bondage that comes from the consequences of personal as well as corporate sin.
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About Dr. Everett Piper
Dr. Piper is the President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Associated with Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint and Centurions programs, Dr. Piper is the author of "Why I am a 'Liberal' and Other Conservative Ideas" http://www.whyiamaliberal.com/. He has also authored "The Wrong Side of the Door: Why Ideas Matter. Piper is a frequent speaker on Christian education, Biblical worldview, and applied apologetics in both regional and national venues. For more information go to www.okwu.edu or go to www.everettpiper.com .
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