Of tolerance, truth, love, and cake

In all the news reporting about controversies involving homosexuals, you know what I’ve never heard nor read? A gay rights advocate expressing and encouraging tolerance for those who respectfully oppose homosexuality on biblical grounds. Have you? I would be interested to read about it and share it with others if you have.

Instead what I always see are accusations of hate and bigotry and demands of compliance with their views of fairness and morality. They preach tolerance as the highest good, yet fail to practice it even as it’s properly understood when dealing with those who disagree with them, and define it much more broadly when applying it to their opposition. Those who think differently about homosexuality are not simply to allow them their views but go along with their demands.

The Chick-fil-A brouhaha is a case in point, and more recently the owner of a Colorado bakery was the target of gay activists for his refusal to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple. His reason? “I’m just going to do the best I can do to honor Jesus Christ.”

Did the couple simply go elsewhere for their cake? Of course not, because they refuse to tolerate the differing beliefs of others, but expect others to not only respect their views but support them. Instead, an online petition was started on their behalf demanding the bakery owner change his policy and his shop was picketed. And they got themselves on the news talking about how hurtful and offensive it was to run into someone whose understanding of tolerance was different than theirs.

I confess, this kind of thing galls me like little else does. Their homosexual behavior doesn’t rile me up; their insistence that I condone it does. But as a follower of Jesus Christ myself, I know I need to love them anyway. It’s hard to love someone that hates you, and that’s what I feel coming from gay activists, though they promote themselves as the advocates of love.

I also need to remind myself of where they’re coming from. For most homosexuals and their defenders, this is simply an issue of civil rights, a cut-and-dried, no-brainer issue seen on the backdrop of a secular society. We just want to love each other and have exactly the same rights as heterosexual couples.

But secular society or not, for believers, our backdrop will always be an eternal one, with God at the center. He is the one we must obey. And He says homosexuality is a sin and should not be condoned.

So is this cake shop owner hateful and bigoted because he declined to make a rainbow wedding cake for a gay couple? Picture this: a responsible teenage boy is given permission by his parents to host a party in their home. Much food and soda is supplied by the parents, with instructions to make sure no one gets into the liquor cabinet. A couple of young guests, however, ask to help themselves to some vodka. When the son refuses to allow them, explaining that he can’t without disobeying his parents, they deride him for his hatefulness and bigotry because he won’t let them do what they want. Sound familiar?

These attacks by gay rights advocates on Christians who are simply trying to follow their conscience and obey God are serious First Amendment issues of freedom of religion and speech. And they are only going to increase unless enough believers and fair-minded humanists take the time to speak the truth in love. Both truth and love are required. It’s a package deal. Stand up for the truth of my right to deny you my services if in doing so I would be supporting what I believe is sin, but do it in love, respecting you as an individual created in God’s image.

There’s a lot of truth and pseudo-truth being exchanged, but not enough love. From neither side. I am as guilty as the next person of not consistently bathing everything I think and say in love. But at least I’m trying. Are they? Are you?