I’ve heard it said that people who become bullies were often bullied when they were younger. I’m not sure if this is true or not, but it appears to me that we are seeing this theory validated by the behavior of the LGBTQI community and its political allies.
For many years people who were sexually “different” from the mainstream felt as if they were ‘bullied’ by the “heterosexist” culture. Those who identified as gay or lesbian began to ask for tolerance and equal rights. They asked to no longer be treated as outcasts or as less-than-human. Our culture has heard their plea and responded by seeking to right past wrongs and to treat LGBTQI persons with respect, dignity, understanding, acceptance, and love. We are thankful that our culture has sought to put an end to bullying in all of its various forms. No one likes to be bullied. Bullying is just plain wrong.
In junior high school and high school I witnessed boys and young men being called hurtful names because they were effeminate or because they did not seem ‘macho.’ I always felt bad for these people because the teenage years are hard enough without being ridiculed or put down by others. I am ashamed to say that since I was struggling so hard to ‘fit in’ I didn’t dare speak up when I saw people around me being put down. At least not in junior high.
But things changed for me as I matured. In my second year of high school I went through a pretty dramatic change of heart and mind. I committed my life to Jesus Christ and this conversion helped me to see others with a greater sense of care and compassion. Cain’s accusatory question to God in Genesis 4:9 “Am I my brother’s keeper?” rung in my ears with a resounding “YES” from God. My loyalty to Jesus meant that I had a responsibility to my fellow man. As I grew more confident and less timid I began to stand up to the bullies who seemed to have no mercy for guys who did not fit the macho mold which was held up as the norm for teenage male identity. When some thug would say “that guy’s a f__g” I would say “how do you know that?” It would often result in a kind of stunned deer-in-the-headlights expression since bullies are often somewhat shocked when people stand up to them.
Fast forward from 1976 to 2015. In 41 years things have changed pretty dramatically in this area. Those who were picked on and made fun of and teased and humiliated for being sexually ‘different’ from the heterosexual mainstream are the new powerbrokers of our culture. They dominate the cultural conversation. They have power over the media and pop culture (See Modern Family and Ellen and any major newspaper or news broadcast). They have the power to put children’s books about boys and girls with their two mommies or two daddies in our public libraries and our public schools. They have the power to dictate a revision of our public school textbooks to include the contributions LGBT persons in our state and national history. They have the political power to destroy the careers of people who raise questions about the rightness of the new sexual ethic (recall Mozilla’s termination of CEO Brendan Eich after revelation that Eich donated to Propostion 8). They control the conversation about sexuality, dating, and marriage in just about every school of higher education in the nation where students are taught the great evils of homophobia which were possibly promulgated by the student’s parents and religious institutions back home. They control the courts of the nations where it appears that the redefinition of marriage is just about complete across the nation. They have made it against the law for any counselor or psychologist to help a young person if he/she is interested in avoiding a homosexual lifestyle. The success of the LGBTQI community in dominating the cultural institutions is stunning to those of us who have witnessed its ascendancy it over the past four decades.
But now the question for the LGBTQI community is whether the group who felt bullied 40 years ago will become bullies themselves. As I listen to the debate regarding the laws seeking to protect religious liberty in Indiana and Arkansas this week, it has become apparent that the LGBTQI community and its partners have embraced the tactics of the bullies who treated others so badly in my high school. I am part of the minority group who questions the wisdom of redefining marriage. I am part of the minority group who believes with religious conviction that marriage is an institution established by God to be one man, one woman, one flesh, one covenant, one lifetime. This is the definition of marriage which has served as a foundation for human civilization for thousands of years. It traces back to Genesis 2 and it was affirmed by Jesus and the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. I have honest questions about whether or not it really is the same for a child to be raised by two dads or two moms as it is to be raised by a mom and a dad who are married to each other. I have questions about whether we humans have the authority to create a new definition of marriage when God is the one who is the author and creator of this historic and time-tested institution.
Sadly, my questions and my convictions will not be met by thoughtful or respectful dialogue. Instead I am instantly called names. “Homophobe,” “bigot”, “hate-monger,” “Neanderthal,” “fundamentalist-extremist” are just a few of the names that are hurled with righteous indignation at people like me who dare to raise questions about the complete dismantling of the traditional model of marriage. People like me who think that people with religious objections to homosexual behavior should not be forced to go against our most sacred beliefs.
The LGBTQI community is morally outraged at the idea of a Christian photographer refusing (on the grounds of his/her Christian faith) to serve as a photographer of a “gay marriage.” The photographer must be coerced into this job through bullying tactics of boycotts and lawsuits. Nevermind that there are plenty of photographers who are more than happy to take on this task – that’s not good enough. The one Christian photographer who refuses MUST be beaten into submission.
I can understand the moral objection against a Christian restaurant owner who would refuse service to someone with a gay or lesbian sexual orientation. Or a Christian tire salesman who refused to sell tires to a gay or lesbian customer. This is obviously a kind of discrimination that would be unethical in a just society. But the photographer is in a different situation than the restaurant owner. The Christian photographer is being forced to use his/her artistic gift to validate, elevate, honor, and portray an event which he/she may, on the basis of his/her religious conviction, believe to be against God’s design for human life. To be a wedding photographer is to be part of the event itself. The photographer who finds homosexual behavior to be sinful is forced to portray it through her/his craft as beautiful and good and honorable. To be forced to do this against one’s religious convictions is to be bullied in a particularly reprehensible way.
One would hope that a group that perceives itself to have been ‘bullied’ by others would avoid the same tactics when it comes into power. Now that the LGBTQI community has won the day and dominated most of the institutions of our society, it appears that those who were bullied have become the new bullies – attacking the rest of us with lawsuits and boycotts and labeling us as homophobes and bigots and haters.
Sadly – the LGBTQI community which battled for years under the banners of ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ has no room for those who refuse to call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20).
The rainbow flag waves proudly over all the institutions of our culture (including the denomination in which I was ordained – the PCUSA). But it is becoming apparent that your rainbow flag may not really be about having all colors together in our society. It has morphed over the years to become a symbol of domination and repression. It strikes fear into the hearts of those who disagree with your agenda. Those who wave the rainbow flag are fighting hard to silence and eliminate any colored stripe of the American society that does not submit to the LGBTQI community’s agenda of redefining the family according to their vision for human life.
My word to the LGBTQI zealots: your true colors are shining through, and they are not as pretty as you think they are. Sadly, those who were bullied have become the new bullies. Now that you have pinned us down with our faces against the playground asphalt, I’m wondering if you might show us just a little bit of the tolerance you have been talking about for so many years.