The knee jerk reactions are all stepping up to the plate in response to Haggard's resignation from the National Association of Evangelicals.
"Homosexual activity, like adulterous relationships, is clearly condemned in the Scriptures," the evangelicals association says on its Web site. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin that "brings grave consequences in this life and excludes one from the Kingdom of God. ABC News
(As a Christian, I wish these declarations would use biblical citations when such interpretations of scripture are made. To my knowledge, the New Testament says nothing of the earthly consequences of intra-sexual practices and reserves judgment on who gets to spend an eternity in Paradise to the good judgment of God. In fact, it specifically prohibits humans from making such predictions. Romans 2:1Therefore you are without excuse, O man, whoever you are who judge. For in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things.)
Progressives who resent the hypocrisy of these people will be tempted by haughty "I told you so" responses. Jesus himself was quite vocal in his condemnation of hypocrites. Matt 23:33
But, the real lesson is much more human. Haggard was born into a generation of gay men who learned to deny themselves, even hate themselves, but they could never escape the reality of their sexual orientation. They pursue satisfying carnal relationships in secret, betraying vows and lying to themselves. Most closeted gay men in these churches have lived with such shame for so long that they are no longer able to make wise, honest decisions.
Evangelicals should learn one lesson from this if nothing else. Many of the people you know and love are gay. Most of them live secret lives out of fear and shame and guilt that eventually becomes hypocrisy. If you are truly straight, then you know it. What you should do is to start loving your brothers and sisters. Stop making them feel threatened by the religious traditions and start healing serious emotional wounds that lay just beneath the surface of the person in the pew beside you.
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