There is a maelstrom brewing around High Point Church in Arlington, Texas. Church officials had offered to host a funeral for a homosexual man, Cecil Sinclair, even going so far as to agree to feed 100 guests and create an elaborate photo presentation about the man’s life. However, the family neglected to inform the church that Mr. Sinclair’s homosexuality would be featured prominently, with pictures containing obvious homosexual content on display. Understandably, the church would not be party to the exhibition of sin, and its offer was rescinded.
The family is mad, some of the media is mad, and I’m mad too. What irks me, though, is an invidious double-standard: Homosexuals and their sympathizers often expect a special dispensation from rules that apply to everyone else, while Christians are expected to dispense with their rules.
I’ll first echo a point church officials have made, only my example will be different. It’s understandable that Christians may offer their services to known homosexuals, as we’re all sinners; however, most of us sinners don’t expect our characteristic sins to be on display in a church service held on our behalf. Why, if a man had been a compulsive philanderer, would we expect that a church shouldn’t have a problem displaying sexually suggestive photographs of him with gaggles of gals? It’s absurd.
If this would be readily understood if the individual in question were a fornicator, why not when he is a homosexual? Do they want to be treated like everyone else or don’t they?
This situation reminds me of the case of Rev. Eugene Robinson, the cleric who declared his homosexuality and was then was elected bishop by some Episcopagans. It was such a grand victory for inclusiveness, such a bold show of tolerance, allowing the Brave New Worlders to puff up their chests and boldly go where no half-man had gone before. Seldom pointed out, however, was that Rev. Robinson had left his wife and children upon receiving his netherworld epiphany. If a normal man had done so to be with another woman, would he be exalted and elected bishop? No, the attitude would be quite different, as he just might be labeled unfaithful and irresponsible – if not a pig. Rev. Robinson, though, well, was “brave.” I guess being a homosexual means never having to say you’re sorry.
Getting back to the church – the one that can still be called Christian – it’s time for some perspective. Let’s say that a mosque had agreed to host a service for a family but balked upon learning that the party would insist on including roast pork and bacon in its food selection. In our politically correct climate, I can’t imagine too many journalistic Jacobins placing the onus on the Moslems. Multicultural imperatives would hold sway, and the poseurs would disgorge platitudes about respecting differences and Islamic sensitivities. For that matter, would anyone find it anything but laughable if someone expected Moslems to brook homosexual displays? So, why are the religious convictions of Christians not similarly respected?
Then, you’ll have to forgive my lack of benevolence toward the bereaved, but just how dull are these people? Even if you’re a confirmed secularist, shouldn’t you at least suspect that a Christian church just might have a problem with overt displays of homosexuality? What are we to think of their failure to mention such a thing? After all, I can’t imagine there would be any expectation that Moslems should make a concession simply because you pleaded ignorance about their prohibition against pork. On the contrary, I think you’d be told to expand your cultural horizons.
Thus, who, if anyone, should be offended? A teacher is thought insensitive and offensive if he brings a crucifix and Bible into a public school and relates a religious message (although, homosexual content seems to be just fine); after all, it is said, some of the students may be of another faith and may take offense. Well, what are we to say about the act of bringing images into a church that will likely evoke the same reaction?
But I suspect that a sort of cultural ignorance is the issue, along with a certain kind of provincialism. Many people are so awash in relativism nowadays that they just can’t imagine anyone who embraces authentic Christian doctrine; that is, not anyone with whom they could possibly consort. Why, those snake-handlers may exist in some backwoods region of stills, spells, unkempt hair, rotting teeth and home-birthing, but the evolved people modernists such as themselves encounter would never subscribe to antiquated notions like sin or Truth. Of course they’d espouse the tenets of the times. Doesn’t everybody?
It’s funny, though, our askew conception of rights and responsibilities. I can hear it now, “Oh, those intolerant Christians! Always imposing their values on others.” So, before this refrain is regurgitated once more, let me say something. If the Christians entered the family’s house or business and insisted that photographs with homosexual content be taken down, they might be guilty of imposition of values (I would say “morals”). In this case, though, who was invading what with whose values?
The issue here really is what fashions dictate is the greatest value: Broad-mindedness. Many people treat prejudice as if it’s the first and last Deadly Sin, and through their impugnment of their age’s unpalatable variety convince themselves of their sanctified state. Prejudices, though, are funny things; being a reflection of the bearer’s deepest, most ingrained feelings, they often are noticed by him no more than a blind man sees his own blemishes. And the prejudices that will truly influence one are seldom those everyone warns of, but those constituting dark shades that remain unseen by a color-blind world that’s afraid of the light.
One prejudice nowadays that characterizes those on the left involves a certain assumption. It is the idea that anything they choose to remove from the closet must be accepted by all, and no objection to the disposition of the junk is to be respected. In their philosophical chauvinism, however, a very important principle eludes them. You have a legal right to empty out your closet as much as you want. This right ends, though, where my property line begins.