What will hate crimes mean to the church?
BY MCKRAE GAME–SPARTANBURG, SC (November 06, 2009) – Dr. David Manning recently had a video of a sermon he preached on homosexuality pulled off of YouTube. According to Manning, YouTube cited the recently signed Hate Crimes legislation as their reason for pulling the sermon; they had always allowed his previous sermons. I did not see the pastor’s original sermon; however his video explaining his outrage at the situation was very strongly worded and full of emotion.
YouTube posts some of the vilest things out there, including pornography. This pastor’s sermon was over the top on many levels, but that is not the point. YouTube has the right to choose who they publish, so this post is not aimed at YouTube. This serves as an example, that if a small group of individuals, such as gay activists, decide that they do not like what is said they will turn to such legislation as Hate Crimes to silence alternative viewpoints. This is why many fighting against this legislation called it “Thought Crimes” legislation.
As a former homosexual, those of us on a “Christian post-gay journey” are very sensitive to “hate speech”, and root it out and confront it wherever it raises its ugly head. Unfortunately, the Pastor’s address was way off on a number of issues. Pastor Manning actually called for the media to be shut down. which would be a textbook case of censorship since they are protected by the Constitution under “Freedom of the Press.”
But the most important thing that Pastor was mistaken on is that God has a redemptive and loving heart toward the homosexual. That God sacrificed Himself for all of us, including those who have same sex attraction.
Two years ago when the Hate Crimes legislation first came up, I took the time and resources to read the bill and get involved. I saw the implications of such legislation being used against the church and altering speech. Scripture says in 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” NIV
In Obama’s signing ceremony of the Hate Crime’s legislation he said,
“Through this law we will strengthen the protections against crimes based on color of your skin, the faith in your heart, or the place of your birth. We will finally add federal protections against crimes based on gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. And prosecutors will have new tools to work with states in order to prosecute to the fullest those who would perpetrate such crimes. Because no one in America should be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love. No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are because they live with a disability.”
The statement that Hate Crimes legislation was passed supposedly to protect not just homosexuals but people of faith is extremely questionable. Especially when the morality of both groups collide it would seem that the current Washington political correctness would favor gay “equality” at the expense of Religious liberty. YouTube shows us one way of how this is already manifesting—through public policy justified private censorship.
Do we know how far this will go? All we can do now is sit back and see what happens.
Meanwhile, we will be continuing to share the unpopular message that sexual behavior outside of marriage is “sin.” Yet, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross there is the payment for sin. Not only that, His resurrection assures us of God’s love and grace. That love and grace will empower repentance toward something much more whole and satisfying.
How much longer will we be able to share the above paragraph without being silenced, fined, punished or even imprisoned? We don’t know. What we do have is today.
I am thankful that the truth was not shrouded while I was living as a gay man, as it is now—that’s why I named my ministry Hope for Wholeness. The Scriptures tell us, “…know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The truth, unvarnished, but shared in love, will set us free. My story is that of a life set free by truth. There is freedom from homosexuality. It is not a popular message and one day may be illegal, but they will have to lock me up to shut me up.
My prayer is that we will not shy away from the truth. I pray that we will learn to share the truth as Jesus did. Jesus shared the truth in love; He had an uncanny way of drawing men and women to Him. Regardless of how strong God’s teaching is, it should be presented in such a way that it draws us to God rather than pushing us away. This is the correct use of teaching sound doctrine, but it won’t be tolerated forever. Perhaps if the church had learned this lesson long ago, we might not be here today.
Speak the truth, no matter how unpopular; speak the truth, no matter the consequences. Speak the truth.
This blog was writen for Exodus Internation in concert with Randy Thomas, Exodus’s Executive Vice President. To comment on the blog visit the Exodus site in addition to contacting McKrae.