Monday, October 25, 2010

Christians and the Bullying of Gay People

I don't soapbox too often, and I generally don't bring up huge emotionally charged topics in my blog, but I read an article today that really hit a nerve.  It's by Jim Wallis (commentator for The Huffington Post),  and it's called Christians and Bullying:  Standing With Gays and Lesbians.  It's not an article accusing or defending Christians who believe that homosexuality is against the Word of God revealed in the Bible.  Rather, it's an article reminding us that Christ defended the defenseless, and we should too.  The spate of suicides by bullied gay youth and teens recently is a terrible reminder that words can kill just as surely as physical blows.  We must teach our children to stand up to bullying, and to show compassion to those who are hurting and are the target of abuse, just as we would hope others would stand up for us and our children if we were being bullied.  We must show the same forbearance and respect that we hope to receive ourselves, and model that for our children.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

I believe this verse applies not only to specific opportunities to discuss Christianity with others, but to any conversations we have with people who are not Christians.  Why should they believe we love them or that Christ loves them if we speak with hatred or disrespect to them?  Whether or not we agree with the choices made by gay people of all ages, bullying them is wrong.  When we disagree with the LGBT community we should never become bullies ourselves to get our point of view across.  Trust me, they already know what the general Christian point of view on homosexuality is.  Nor should we give the appearance of agreement with those who do resort to bullying, by our silence or inaction.

Showing compassion and respect is not the same as showing agreement or giving assent.  We can stand our ground morally and disagree with the LGBT community, and still stand with them to defend those who are being bullied for their choices.  For that matter, as Christians we should stand against bullying of all kinds, toward all people, for any reason.

I hate trite catch phrases, but truly, faced by a bullying situation,
what would Jesus do?