The above image appeared on a Facebook friend’s page. The conversation that ensued (which I did not participate in) was predictably as spirited as it was misguided.
The two basic recurring premises were these:
1) The church should stop harping on the sin of homosexuality, treating it as worse than all others.
2) Because of rampant divorce in the church, the church has lost its moral authority to speak to the issue of gay marriage, and to continue to do so is the height of hypocrisy.
Let’s consider the assumptions in both positions.
First, is the church “harping” on the sin of homosexuality? Maybe some churches are. I’m not aware of them, but it’s possible. Yet it seems that those churches or denominations which do from time-to-time focus on homosexuality (though not necessarily on Sunday mornings) aren't exactly monolithic.
That is, when the subject comes up in such churches or synods—say at a national convention or something—those who speak the most are often preaching for the acceptance of homosexuality not the sin of it. Thus, if the church is indeed “harping” on the issue, it’s harping out of both sides of its mouth.
Even so, is the church driving and framing our national conversation about homosexuality? I don’t believe it is. The church is far from the only cultural shaping institution. And it’s nowhere near the most influential.
At best the church is attempting to be responsive. But make no mistake, the driving and framing forces of our societal obsession with homosexuality are the institutions of media (news/entertainment), government (politics and the use of force [law]), and education.
The church isn’t controlling the conversation. It’s awash in it. It’s not “harping.” It’s swimming. Many would prefer the church’s drowning to its swimming. Others, not so angry, would rather see a “dead man’s float” than an actual dead man. But when it comes to a national conversation, this may be a distinction without a difference.
We’ll consider the assumptions of premise number 2 next time.