Welcome to Brian's Bits, where Brian gets to share at length about various topics stirring inside of him.
Homosexuality and Christianity
19 February 2014
Now that I've written eight articles in less than a month in the new category of Technology and Computing — which includes the last seven articles I posted — hopefully I have gotten that out of my system and can now turn my attention back to more serious, eternal matters.

Today's article is the fifth of a series. In case you missed them, you might want to read the previous four articles first:

Specifically, what I am discussing in this article is a direct continuation of Christianity and Homosexuality, as you can probably already tell from the nearly-identical, albeit reversed, title.

It was a year ago this month that I heard the news about a bakery just up the I-5 in the Portland area that was in trouble for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. In September of 2013 it was reported that this bakery was shutting its doors. Then just last month I read a report that the Christian owners of the bakery are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines from the Oregon government. Be sure to read these linked articles, as they contain important details about this situation which I will refer to below.

In recent years there have been similar incidents across the nation. These include:
  • A Christian photographer in New Mexico who faces fines for refusing to take pictures at a homosexual "wedding" — see article.
  • A Christian baker in Colorado who was threatened with fines for refusing to make a cake for a homosexual "wedding" — see article.
  • A Christian retreat center in New Jersey that was sued for refusing to rent their facility for a homosexual "wedding" — see article.
  • A Christian florist was sued by the Washington state attorney general for refusing to provide flowers for a homosexual "wedding" — see article.
There are plenty more cases, but I think you get the idea. I've been wanting to write this article for the past year, but I've been thinking long and hard about all these issues, because something has been troubling me about the Christian stance in these situations. Here's why — Christian businesses refusing to serve homosexuals were starting to sound a lot like...
  • ... the Pharisees of the New Testament, who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else (see Luke 18:9-11), rather than sounding like Yeshua (Jesus), who was called "a friend of sinners" (see Luke 7:34).
  • ... the hate-filled followers of Islam and its demonic impostor-god Allah, who persecute, arrest, punish and kill homosexuals (see Gays Under Islamic Law), rather than sounding like Yahweh, the God of Israel, the God of the Bible, Who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather wants them to turn from their evil ways and live (see Ezekiel 18:23 and Ezekiel 33:11).
  • ... those ideological soul-mates of the Muslims, the hate-filled "Christians" at Westboro Baptist Church who call for the death penalty for homosexuals, rather than sounding like the New Testament, which does not call for the death of sinners, but for their repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9 and John 3:16).
I've been wondering if perhaps American Christians are being so religious in their response to homosexuality that they end up misrepresenting the heart of Yeshua towards those whom He died on the cross to save. Maybe a new, different, non-religious approach in relating to homosexuals could help bridge the gap between where they are, lost in sexual immorality, and where God wants them to be, in purity and freedom from sin.

From what we see in the Gospels, I think we could safely assume that in our day Yeshua would hang out with, eat with, and be, to some extent, "friends" with homosexuals. Hanging out with people like this resulted in the shocked disapproval of the religious leaders of His day, as I referenced above: "John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' I, the Son of Man, came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'" (Luke 7:33-34)

Unlike most modern-day Christians, Yeshua did not fear being morally infected by the "sinners" that He spent time with. He wasn't even afraid to be infected with deadly, communicable diseases, as shown by His unheard-of willingness to touch a leper: A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, "Master, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Yeshua reached out His hand and touched the man. "I am willing," He said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:2-2)

If followers of Yeshua shouldn't be like Pharisees, Muslims, or Westboroers when interacting with homosexuals, what should they do? What would Yeshua do? For the first 10 or 15 years of His earthly adult life, Yeshua was a carpenter. If a homosexual "couple" would have come to Him and asked Yeshua, a "friend of sinners," to make a bed for them, would He have done so? This is a profound question worth pondering.

Or to make it more personal — I have had a lifelong passion for photography (see Brian's Photographic Journey). What if I myself were asked to photograph a homosexual "wedding"? Could I do it with a clear conscience? Or would that be going beyond a red line? This also is a profound question worth pondering.

So, after months and months of deep reflection, I've come to the conclusion that the Christian bakers, photographer, florist, and retreat center mentioned above have, in the end, done what Yeshua would do. I don't think He would have made a bed for a homosexual "couple." He would have loved them, talked with them, perhaps eaten with them, but He would not have encouraged or facilitated their sin. And I don't think I could, should or would photograph a homosexual "wedding."

From what I have read of each of these incidents, the Christian professionals who refused to support a homosexual "wedding" were kind and polite in their refusal. They were not violent like the Muslims, nor verbally abusive like the Westboroers, nor self-righteous like the Pharisees. They simply and calmly stood up for their beliefs, even though they knew it might cost them, without getting nasty about it. On the contrary, it's the homosexuals who are getting nasty and abusive, as we shall explore in further detail in my next article.

While it is true that Yeshua hung out with people of ill repute and was friendly with them, we don't see any examples in the Gospels of Him condoning their sin. Yeshua told the woman caught in the act of adultery that He did not condemn her, but that she should leave her life of sin. (see John 8:1-11) To a man whom Yeshua had healed, He said "Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." (John 5:14b)

As imitators of Yeshua, we His followers can and should be friendly with homosexuals. At the same time, we can encourage them to leave their life of sin. And in nowise are we required to condone their sinful lifestyle by supporting homosexual "marriage" through professional participation in such a travesty — just as Yeshua didn't support sinners in their sinfulness, and He certainly didn't participate in their sin.

I have so much more that I want to say on this subject that what I imagined would be just one article will now have to become three. To bring today's article to a close, I want to share some quotes from the politically-incorrect bakers from Oregon, who are on the front lines of this battle:
"I'm free to exercise my religion however I see fit. I should not be compelled to violate my conscience. If I'm told I have to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, I feel that I'm violating my beliefs. I don't think I should have to do that."

"I'd rather stand up for what I believe in and what I feel is right and get totally annihilated when it comes in the end than to bow down to this and say 'go ahead.' Because that sets the standard for the next one, the next one and the next one."

"To all of you that have been praying for us, I want to say thank you. I know that your prayers are being heard. I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on. Even though there are days that are hard and times of struggle we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands. Please continue to pray for our family. God is great, amazing and all powerful. I know He has a plan."

"There's nothing wrong with what we believe. It's a Biblical point of view. It's my faith. It's my religion."
In the next article in this series, we'll take a look at the homosexual agenda, followed by the Christian response to homosexuality.

UPDATE — 1 October 2016 — Following up on Oregon’s Sweet Cakes By Melissa bakery story, today FoxNews.com ran this opinion piece: Family bakery closes after left-wing bullies finally get their pound of cake. Todd Starnes wrote:
In 2013 a small family bakery in Northwestern Oregon refused to make a cake for a lesbian wedding. The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa had no idea that their decision to follow the teachings of their Christian faith would lead to a multi-year legal battle. It’s a battle still being waged.

Aaron and Melissa Klein were eventually punished by the state of Oregon. The couple was fined $135,000 for refusing to participate in the lesbian wedding event. It was the price they had to pay for refusing to violate their conscience. They also made the painful decision to close their beloved bakery — for good. The left-wing bigots and bullies finally got their pound of cake....

To be clear, Aaron and Melissa Klein did not go looking to engage in a fight with the LGBT community. The fight came to them and to their business. Since that day more than three years ago, the Kleins have faced unrelenting attacks from the LGBT community. Their business was boycotted. They were bullied. Their children received death threats.

The Kleins were literally run out of business by an anti-Christian mob. It’s hard to believe that something like this could happen in the land of the free, the home of the brave. But we live in a nation that pledges its allegiance to the Rainbow flag — a nation where gay rights now trump everyone else’s rights.
This article is 27th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
9  Nov  2008
27  Nov  2008
12  Jun  2010
9  Sep  2010
10  Sep  2010
11  Sep  2010
12  Sep  2010
15  Sep  2010
16  Sep  2010
27  Sep  2010
2  May  2011
22  May  2011
4  Jul  2011
20  Aug  2012
20  Mar  2013
2  Jul  2013
3  Jul  2013
6  Jul  2013
7  Jul  2013
9  Jul  2013
10  Jul  2013
11  Jul  2013
17  Aug  2013
18  Aug  2013
20  Aug  2013
27  Dec  2013
Homosexuality and Christianity
19  Feb  2014
24  Feb  2014
25  Feb  2014
27  Feb  2014
19  Jul  2014
24  Jul  2014
25  Jul  2014
1  Aug  2014
19  Aug  2014
29  Aug  2014
30  Aug  2014
31  Aug  2014
1  Sep  2014
2  Sep  2014
3  Sep  2014
5  Sep  2014
6  Sep  2014
7  Sep  2014
8  Sep  2014
9  Sep  2014
10  Sep  2014
11  Sep  2014
13  Sep  2014
18  Sep  2014
23  Sep  2014
24  Sep  2014
25  Sep  2014
26  Sep  2014
10  Oct  2014
11  Oct  2014
13  Oct  2014
20  Oct  2014
15  Dec  2014
16  Dec  2014
20  Dec  2014
22  Dec  2014
27  Dec  2014
14  Jan  2015
15  Jan  2015
18  Jan  2015
26  Jan  2015
3  Mar  2015
19  Aug  2015
4  Sep  2015
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