Martyrdom, Sacrifice Do Not Absolve Wrong
John Sutter, a CNN columnist, recently repeated what has become a tired — and ultimately baseless — argument: The tragic murder of homosexuals means homosexuality needs to be accepted. He expressed his disbelief that the terrorist attack in Orlando hadn’t generated waves of conversions in ideology:
Even in the wake of one of the deadliest mass shootings in history, one that specifically targeted members of the LGBT community, politicians and religious leaders are unable to offer unalloyed support…
It’s a nonsensical proposition on its face. The death of a group of people who share a common characteristic does not suddenly legitimize that characteristic. When a man goes on a killing spree targeting sex offenders, for example, sex offenders do not suddenly become honorable, moral, or defensible. Their offense does not justify, warrant, or legitimize their murder — but neither does the murder legitimize their immorality.
Sutter goes a step further, though, and says American citizens who oppose homosexuality “branch from the same tree” as Islamic terrorist Omar Mateen:
Both sentiments branch from the same tree. They set a group of people — LGBT people — apart as a less-human “other.”
Besides being ludicrous, Sutter had to support it with a falsehood: Americans — primarily religious Americans — who oppose homosexuality do not view homosexuals as “less-human,” just as they do not view adulterers, philanderers, petty thieves, or vandals as “less-human.” Contrary to some extremist and politically correct views, it is quite possible to oppose an ideology or behavior without dehumanizing those who espouse the ideology or partake in the behavior.
That is an intellectual capability Sutter seems to lack, however, as he essentially participates in the very bigotry he derides by “dehumanizing” those with whom he disagrees:
That [rainbow] flag is anything but a “divisive symbol.” It’s part of what makes America great.
Most Americans realize that. It’s politicians and preachers who need to catch up.
Sutter’s argument, of course, isn’t new. He’s just seen it work with great success, which is likely why he’s appropriated it.
This is not unlike the response to Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, who had called for us to “grieve together” as a nation [emphasis added]:
Let’s call our congregations to pray together. Let’s realize that, in this case, our gay and lesbian neighbors are likely quite scared. Who wouldn’t be? Demonstrate the sacrificial love of Jesus to them. We don’t have to agree on the meaning of marriage and sexuality to love one another and to see the murderous sin of terrorism.
The response on the liberal website ThinkProgress used the same logic as Sutter: You can’t “grieve together” unless you change your theology and affirm those who were attacked. In fact, columnist Zack Ford claimed the homosexual community was just as scared of Christians as they are of what happened during the terrorist attack in Orlando [emphasis added]:
As terrified as we might be from the destruction wrought on our brothers and sisters in Orlando, we’re still just as terrified of Moore and those who follow the anti-LGBT beliefs espoused by the SBC and plenty of other Christian denominations.
He then went on to tell Dr. Moore and Christians like him that all Christians have to do is stop believing and expressing those hurtful Christian beliefs [emphasis added]:
If you want us to feel love, then do not tell us our sexuality is wrong…
If you want us to feel community, then do not tell us that you cannot condone our marriages…
Sympathy without affirmation rings hollow; it is unworthy of our gratitude.
Superficially, it may seem like a sick and twisted idea of what liberty, tolerance, dignity, and morality even are. But its actually an age old cry: Don’t tell us we’re sinning.
Sutter’s premise, supported by Ford, is ultimately a story we’ve heard for years in just a slightly different form: Because a gay Soldier died in combat while sacrificially serving his country, homosexuality should not just be allowed, but it should be celebrated — irrespective of morality.
Many special interest groups have picked up on, and are potentially capitalizing on, the success of the homosexual/military “sacrifice requires legitimacy” or the “victim” status that requires social acceptance.
And with the military increasingly seeming to have indefensible barriers to service — and with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter saying anyone who is “able and willing” should be allowed to serve, more groups are trying to prove they, too, should be allowed to serve — even if they’re deaf.
There is right, and there is wrong. Truth does not change because a person doesn’t like to hear it. Sutter, Ford, and others like them seem to want to create political capital out of the attack in Orlando, using it as a tool to demand Christians change their theology, as if Christianity even had anything to do with it.
The cry from the homosexual community used to be that they just wanted to be left alone to love who they wanted. Now, it seems at every turn they are demanding that others agree with, or even support, their chosen lifestyle — and anything less than unqualified affirmation is equivalent to a terrorist attack in Florida.
That is how far sin has grown in the United States. What was once called evil is now not only called good, not only celebrated, but now requires “unalloyed” societal affirmation.
And yet sin it remains.