Christians and Gays Behaving Badly
There is a video making the rounds that shows an angry mob of California gays confronting and intimidating Christians over the passage of Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in that state. Michelle Malkin has a narrative of the event that sounds worse than the tape, which already sounds pretty bad.
Reportedly the Christians met once a week to pray and sing on the public corner. Whether they're hoping to "straighten out" gays or simply trying to facilitate encounters with Christ is unclear, but their method is problematic; it's not how Jesus would do it.
Jesus went to the people he wanted to meet and he ate with them -- or served them. He fellowshipped and got to know the community in personal and intimate ways. He attracted them with his love and his stability. He didn't stand around singing hymns and praying for them, which might have seemed both separatist and condescending -- and therefore off-putting -- to the very people he hoped to engage.
The Christians may have unintentionally come off as condescending. We may presume that they would not want a crowd of gays meeting on their curb each week to proselytize. As a Catholic I would take issue with other Christians, no matter how well-intentioned, standing at the curb praying for my redemption based solely upon their knowledge not of me, but of my habits or my religion. Their singing songs for my salvation would come off as sitting in judgment of me. Even if that's not how they meant it.
That said, the gay community is being rather cowardly in going after praying Christians and the always placid Mormons. People of faith have certainly made their share of public missteps and that gives some people a sense of justified loathing. But analysis has shown that Proposition 8 passed largely thanks to the Hispanic and African-American voters who turned out for Barack Obama and who, generally, do not support gay marriage. The gay activists -- ever politically correct -- are not targeting those communities; they're targeting the churches.
Or, more correctly, those parts of the faith community easiest to hammer, not the storefront churches in disadvantaged neighborhoods and not the mosques.
So, yes, these demonstrations and maneuvers are a bit cowardly, the outrage a bit selective.
Well, alright. In a secular culture, it is easier to browbeat the already despised, and Christ said Christians would be hated, so it comes with the gig -- and no whining. But the gay community needs to realize that harassing businesses into paying graft or intimidating a guy into quitting his job because he dares to think differently smacks not of liberality of thought, but of narrow thuggery.
A willingness to disregard established freedoms of expression and worship in pursuit of new freedoms will ultimately destroy more than it creates. Or, as Pope Leo the Great wrote, "Those who are not good to others are bad to themselves."
That sounds simplistic, but it is also correct. Tearing others down does not build up. Instead of bullying the electorate, the gay community needs to calmly make their case, ask for support, and bring it to a vote as many times as it takes. If the Christians are wrong to proselytize without actually getting to know their neighbors, well, the gays are also wrong to browbeat, intimidate, or ruin others, instead of working within the democratic process.
The Christians at Castro need to remember that Jesus joined others in community. Excusing nothing, he loved others, even in all their faults and -- only when asked to -- he healed them. He never just said, "Hey, I'm going to whip a little faith on you, whether you want it or not."
Meanwhile, the churches should reconsider their roles in authenticating marriage. Governments issue birth certificates; churches issue baptismal certificates. Governments issue death certificates; churches pray the funerals. Governments issue divorces; Churches annul. Both work within their separate and necessary spheres, serving the corporeal and the spiritual. It is only in the issue of marriage that church and state have commingled authority. That should perhaps change, and soon. Let the government certify and the churches sanctify according to their rites and sacraments.