If you care to, take a few moments to glance through the images and read this. It's a tract that we found at a local restaurant that someone had left there. We found a few of them that day in the restaurant in different places. We kept this one to blog about because it was particularly awful. So, without further ado, here are some thoughts about it.
First of all, the portrayal of homosexuals is incredibly demeaning, not to mention completely wrong - they are portrayed as having an agenda to take over society, to commit terrorism if society doesn't bend to their grand agenda (what grand agenda?), it is implied that homosexuals should be called faggots, dykes, queers and sissies, that they intentionally and consciously choose to live a life of sinful indulgence, and phrases like "God is love" and "hate is not a family value" are portrayed as simply being slogans for them to get away with their "wicked, evil behavior." They are portrayed as being full of hate for anyone who would contradict them, and willing to do anything to make their lifestyle the prominent one in society. Before even getting into anything regarding scripture, I can say from experience that this is a completely misguided, misinformed, heavily biased and weighted depiction of homosexuals intended simply to emotionally manipulate people who aren't willing to think about this issue, but simply want to believe what they are told by people who put out tracts like this.
I don't believe that homosexuals in general are hateful any more than any other human, have any grand plans to take over society, to kill people who disagree with them, that HIV is a disease isolated to the homosexual population - in fact, I know just as many, if not more, people who hate homosexuals than the other way around. Mostly the homosexuals I know simply feel that they have been rejected and shunned by others, by christians in particular. And that includes christians who are homosexuals. I think the people who put out this tract have much more of an agenda to manipulate society than "the homosexuals" do. I think it's ridiculous to portray homosexuals in general as having an agenda to kill those who don't agree with them. We are all humans, and certainly there are exceptions to any rule, there are people who are willing to kill abortion doctors and any number of other things, but we don't generalize and say all people are willing to kill abortion doctors. HIV is also just as likely to be propagated by heterosexual couples having sex as it is by homosexual couples.
I think it is incredibly pretentious that this tract makes the assumption that because a person is homosexual, they must not be a christian, because christians are much better than that. Certainly they wouldn't do anything as horrible as that. This is also completely ignorant. It is also categorizing homosexuality as the worst of things, which is again pretentious and I'm sure causes the person writing this to feel very good about themselves, because they are not as bad as those "evil" homosexuals.
Homosexuals in this tract are also portrayed as not wanting to know anything about God, which is again a huge generalization and a mis-portrayal in general, I believe, as is often done with post-modern society and just about any time a large group of people is labeled. Just because the label somebody puts on a group of people doesn't include a belief in God, it doesn't mean that the group of people itself have no interest in God.
Homosexuals in this tract are also portrayed as all being big, hairy, biker-type men, who have no desire for anything except to have sex with anything they come across. Anyone who spends any time thinking about this knows that this is a horribly wrong portrayal.
Ok, on to Bible stuff. This tract makes the statement that God destroyed Sodom strictly because of homosexuality. It states that the men (meaning the masculine people) of the city came to Lot's house to rape the men who came to visit him. According to the Bible, however, all the people of Sodom, young and old, came to his house, asking that the men come out, so that they might "have relations" with them. It never says anything else specific in this passage of Genesis at least, about what the great sins of Sodom were. So, to assume that God destroyed Sodom precisely because of homosexuality seems like a huge stretch to me.
The other thought I had regarding this tract is that the idea presented is that God destroyed them solely because of their sin. Now, think about this carefully. In many other parts of the Bible, Ninevah and Jonah, for example, God would destroy people not simply because of their sin, but because of their refusal to admit it and be changed. It doesn't say this particularly in this passage, but this seems to be a continual theme throughout the Bible, and therefore I find it hard to believe it wouldn't apply here. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that our sin causes disconnection in our relationship with God, however, I don't think He generally is out to destroy people simply because they sin. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any people left. I certainly wouldn't be alive.
Again at the end of the tract, the Christian is wanting to tell homosexuals what great judgement they are facing, again pretentiously assuming that:
- a Christian would obviously not be homosexual
- homosexuality is certainly a much worse sin than anything he has ever done
I, personally, would prefer to live with humility, endeavoring to work on what I know needs fixing in my own life (because I have some pretty good knowledge about that), and leave it up to God to change peoples' hearts, if and when He sees fit to do so. I don't want to hide the fact that I have a relationship with God from anyone, but I also don't want to presume that I know what anyone else needs and when, and I would prefer to walk with people on the journey they find themselves on rather than try to steer them into a journey I feel that they need.
Also at the end, the statement is made that "someone loved you enough to tell you the truth." Apparently this truth is that God destroys people like you (if you are a homosexual). There is nothing in this tract that would lead me to believe that God loved me, or that Christians (assuming they are like the Christian in this tract) love me in any real way. I would feel that Christians see me as a freak, that God is ready to destroy me at any minute, and I would feel rather indignant that I was being pressured to "accept Christ" (whatever that even means) simply so that God wouldn't destroy me.
I don't believe that God wishes us to feign love and obedience simply to avoid destruction, yet I feel like a lot of Christians are doing exactly that, and trying to get others to do the same.
Why not tell the story of Christ, when the woman is caught in adultery and is brought out to be stoned, and he looks at everyone surrounding her and tells them that anyone who has not sinned themselves is welcome to throw a stone, and they all turn around and leave. He then tells the woman, essentially, "you have my forgiveness. now, go and live better." There is no condemnation, no destruction, simply the point is made that everyone is equal in being at fault, forgiveness is given without anything asked in return, and the woman is encouraged to live a better life.
Ok, I think I'm done with this for now... I'm sure there is something important that I forgot to say, as it almost always happens when I try to write prose. So, feel free to discuss this and I might remember what it was that I forgot to write here. The only thing I would ask is that if you are going to criticize what I wrote, please don't do so angrily, and please make it something constructive. Ok, that's all :)