The Problem Isn’t Bullying

Title: The Problem Isn’t Bullying

Text: Psalm 32:3-5, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:18, 26-27

Time: February 18th, 2013

 

Last year I submitted the following newspaper article for publication in New York:

 

Anti-Bullying Measures Being Hi-Jacked

Opposition to bullying has been around for a long time, but what’s new today is it’s being hi-jacked by the gay rights movement for propaganda purposes. Bullying is indeed wrong, has always been wrong, and will always be wrong, because it’s a violation of a basic moral principle – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Nobody likes to be bullied, so nobody should bully. Everyone understands this. I applaud any and every effort made by schools to combat bullying, intimidation and abuse whether verbal, psychological or physical violence of students by others. But I oppose confusing anti-bullying measures with promoting the gay rights agenda. Homosexuality is considered a sin by Christianity and is morally offensive to even more people in society. Gay propaganda attempts to promote homosexuality by removing any barriers to its full acceptance. So the most recent attempt is to link anti-bullying sentiment to pro-gay tolerance – “If you’re against bullying, then you’re for the full acceptance of the gay lifestyle!” Wrong. These are two separate issues. Many or most people are against bullying, but they aren’t ready to accept homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle. If a so-called “gay” teenager – and how much stock to should we place in a teen’s self-evaluation of their sexual identity at such a young age anyway? – but let’s assume it’s valid, if this teen encounters peer pressure in school against expressing homosexuality, is that bad? Is that the same as bullying? Is public peer pressure against homosexuality bad? No. A sound argument could be made by parents of school children that healthy peer pressure against homosexuality is a good thing; it discourages young, immature and confused children from experimenting with immoral and deviant behavior. That’s a good thing. A healthy revulsion against homosexuality shouldn’t be labeled “bullying,” even if it is expressed verbally. Obviously, if violence is enacted upon someone, that’s wrong, in any case. But this effort to ban or stifle all opposition to the gay lifestyle borders on coercion. It has nothing to do with legitimate anti-bullying efforts and has everything to do with promoting the full acceptance of homosexuality in society. It would be nice for the homosexual community to be open and honest about what they are promoting, instead of hiding behind the false front of pretending to care about “bullying” in general. They care only about promoting homosexuality through any means possible.

 

As a Christian, I’m against bullying, but I’m also against homosexuality being promoted in society. It’s important for Christians to carefully separate legitimate anti-bullying campaigns in schools and society from the promotion of the gay agenda. There’s nothing wrong with society holding onto the basic stigma against homosexuality; it isn’t bullying. Here’s why.

 

First, homosexuality produces legitimate guilt and shame in individuals. Psalm 32:3-5, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Gay rights activists attempt to blame Christian morality for gay teenage depression, and even gay suicide. But Christians shouldn’t be blamed for gay teens getting depressed. It’s legitimate guilt and shame that is causing gay teen depression. It’s to be expected whenever someone, anyone, does that which is against God’s moral commands. It’s called guilt over sin. Now the thing about guilt is that it comes in two kinds – legitimate and illegitimate. False guilt is illegitimate. If someone feels guilty about something that they didn’t do wrong, if someone is blaming oneself for something that isn’t sin, something that isn’t wrong, then they are suffering false guilt. But a teenager who participates in the gay lifestyle is doing something that God has clearly prohibited as sin, and something the Bible spells out clearly as wrong. If a gay teen fells guilty over homosexuality then his or her guilt is legitimate. Society shouldn’t attempt to make him or her feel guilt-free in this case. Just as the passage in Psalm 32 says, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away, my strength was sapped” – that’s legitimate guilt that leads to depression, and if taken far enough, could also produce suicide in some individuals. But then the Psalm says, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity . . . and you forgave the guilt of my sin” – that’s forgiveness, the one and only cure for a guilty conscience. Now gay activists claim that Christians have no right in imposing their morality upon others in society, but it isn’t Christians who are making gay teens feel guilty, causing depression, or even suicide, it’s the Holy Spirit of God inside the individual sinner that is leading one to confession and repentance of sin. Conviction of sin is God nudging an individual to do the only sensible thing – confess and repent of sin. In the case of the teenager participating in the gay lifestyle, guilt and shame and depression and thoughts of suicide are all indications to do the only reasonable thing for relief – confess and repent of sin. Just like the Psalm says, one feels miserable and depressed until one confesses and repents of sin; then God brings relief by forgiveness of sin and restoration of peace. Because everyone, including non-believers, is made in the Imago Dei or Image of God, everyone experiences conviction of sin. That’s God’s prompting to seek forgiveness through confession and repentance. Homosexuals aren’t excused from this dynamic; they too suffer legitimate guilt and shame because of their sins. Conviction of sin is from God, not from Christians.

 

Second, homosexuality produces legitimate social stigma. Leviticus 20:13, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” In ancient Israel, in the early years of the building of the Jewish nation, God commanded the death penalty for the crime of homosexuality. The social punishment for engaging in homosexuality was capital punishment. That is the strictest of all punishments, and it was imposed by God in order to discourage this perverted practice, should anybody even think about doing it. Now today, the laws of society are much more tolerant and lenient. Nobody in the Christian Western culture is put to death anymore for the sin of homosexuality, although some places in the Muslim world they are put to death for homosexuality. Nowhere in the New Testament does God command the death penalty for the sin of homosexuality, although some Western Christian societies over the last two thousands years have used capital punishment to discourage gay sex. But strictly speaking, the New Testament doesn’t teach capital punishment for homosexuality the way the Old Testament used to teach. But that doesn’t mean that homosexuality is any less of a sin, or that it in any way is any less wrong. The New Testament is clear that gay sex is still a sin, is still wrong, and should still be discouraged. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God,” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. The Christian community, in obedience to the Word of God, has always discouraged gay sex through a number different means – teaching against it, confronting and rebuking those involved in it, practicing church discipline against those caught in it, and most importantly, exercising tough love through social and peer pressure against it. There’s nothing wrong with a predominately Christian society maintaining a healthy peer pressure against homosexual activity. Of course, such pressure won’t be as strong as within the Christian church community itself, simply because not everyone in general society is Christian or follows Christian moral teachings. But still, there should be a general stigma against homosexuality in society simply because of our common Christian heritage and roots here in the United States and the West. And also because Christianity is still the predominant religion and moral code of society. Even in an increasingly secular society, it’s still legitimate to maintain peer pressure against homosexuality. This bothers gay activists who seek to overthrow Christian morality; nevertheless, it’s still wise to keep a stigma in respect to homosexuality, despite what gays themselves say.

 

Third, homosexuality produces its own judgment. Romans 1:18, 26-27, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. . . . Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the saw way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Here’s a brief New Testament summary of the sinfulness of homosexuality. How anybody, especially Christians and Christian churches, can be confused about the sinfulness of homosexuality is baffling. But I won’t spend any time teaching about how sinful homosexuality is – I’ll just assume people know the Bible enough to concede this point. What I’d like to focus on in this passage is the last part. “Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions.” What does this mean? It can mean a lot of things, some of the things we’ve already discussed. For one, there are the psychological problems that homosexuality causes in an individual, such as guilt, shame, depression, suicidal thoughts, and so forth. But there are also physical problems that homosexuality causes. The first passage we looked at, Psalm 32, speaks a little of this: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” Psychological problems become physical problems when sin is left unconfessed and unrepented. And then, of course, there are even worse physical consequences coming from the sin of homosexuality. STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) are possible. Finally, there is the big homosexual fear, AIDS. Is AIDS a punishment from God for the sin of homosexuality? I don’t know in all cases that it is, but perhaps in some cases it is. Should that shock us? Is there no precedent for God punishing sin in the Bible? Yes, there is precedent. And is homosexuality a grave enough sin that we might imagine God punishing it? Yes, we can. So then the idea that AIDS is a punishment from God for gay sex isn’t really so strange. Maybe today, in an age of skepticism and doubt, in a secular, godless age it might seem strange to be talking about God punishing anyone for any sin. But from a biblical and Christian perspective it makes perfect sense. So then why would we ever want to remove the stigma of sin from homosexuality in society? It doesn’t make sense.

 

If anything, for the good of individuals and society, we should be increasing the stigma attached to gay sex. For the sake of the mental and physical health of individuals in society we should increase the stigma attached to homosexuality on purely practical or pragmatic grounds apart from any spiritual, moral or religious grounds. But this is exactly the opposite direction society is moving today. Instead of recognizing a legitimate threat to the health and stability of society homosexuality poses, we are experiencing a movement, fueled by gay activists, away from any restraint and any stigma attached to homosexuality. Instead, government and influential forces within society are seeking to remove any stigma connected with homosexuality. In fact, any word, any thought, any expression of any kind of objection to or resistance towards full gay acceptance in society is labeled “hate” or “bullying.” If a homosexual feels the least bit offended or bothered or pressured or hurt in any way by someone who doesn’t accept the gay lifestyle, then he or she cries “bully” and pressure is put on that individual or organization to back down, or bow to the politically correct pressure. We see this happening right now with the Boy Scouts, as they seek to withstand the gay activist attack against them for holding to traditional Christian moral standards against homosexuality. Are the Boy Scouts bullies? No, they just don’t want to encourage gay sex. This is perfectly reasonable. Are Christians who oppose the spread of homosexual acceptance hate-filled? No, they just don’t want to see basic morality thrown aside in society. They’d rather not have society move into a phase of moral anarchy. If a pastor preaches or teaches against homosexuality from the Bible is he “anti-gay” or homophobic? No, he just wants people to know God’s Word in respect to morality. If another teenager frowns or shakes his head when a homosexual teen tries to promote or assert the gay lifestyle in school, is that “bullying?” No, it’s just a young person objecting to his school or society becoming another Sodom and Gomorrah. A teenager might also verbally express opposition to homosexuality in public. Is that bullying? No. There’s still free speech in America, constitutionally protected. So we need to be careful about all this anti-bullying rhetoric going around these days. Bullying as a problem in schools isn’t anything new. Teachers and administrators have been trying to deal with this for a long time. And they have dealt with it, and will continue to deal with it. Bringing gay rights and promoting the gay agenda into the mix only confuses the legitimate work of combating bullying. We should combat real bullying, but also at the same time make sure that we aren’t being used by gay activists to promote homosexuality.

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