Caveat: Five years have passed since I penned an essay titled “Gay Rights Movement vs Civil Rights Movement.” That treatise was written in response to comments that I had made in a discussion forum that I was participating in at that time. After reviewing what I wrote at that time, and taking into consideration some of the things that I have learned about gays and gay rights, I feel that a revision of my original thoughts are somewhat in order. I have borrowed several thoughts from the original essay to include as part of this treatise, while at the same time expounding upon those original statements based on new insights.
I will admit that there may be some slight similarities between the Gay Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Movement, but at the same time, they are two entirely different issues, with each having a major impact on society.
If by the term “Civil Rights” we are referring to those inalienable rights which we are all guaranteed by the Constitution of this great nation, then yes, everyone regardless of their sexual orientation are guaranteed those rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But that is where the proverbial line in the sand is drawn to distinguish between the active Gay Rights Movement of today and the Civil Rights Movement which was prominent in this country from 1955 until 1968. I believe that one of the main differences between the two movements lies in the concept and ideology of “choice.”
There are many homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who declare that their sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, but rather they were born with those types of sexual attractions and tendencies. As I am not a medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or a member of any like profession, I do not claim to be adequately justified in making a declaration as to whether or not what is being said is true or false. Nevertheless, I do emphatically believe that even if a person pronounces to be gay, they do have a choice as to whether they will be active partners in sexual relationships, or any other illicit activities which go with the lifestyle, or remain celibate and refrain from becoming involved in such activities. I further believe that regardless of a person’s sexual orientation, he or she are still children of Almighty God, and they are deserving of love, respect, and to be treated as human beings of dignity and self-worth.
There are some good-hearten Christians who have family members and friends who are gay and actively support gay rights. They strive to show the same compassion towards their gay brothers and sisters that the Savior Himself would have for each of them. However, we should not misconstrue their support as necessarily condoning the lifestyle, as Christ Himself would not condone the lifestyle, but rather their support should be viewed as acts of understanding and compassion.
As Christians, we must understand that the Savior loved all people equally and unconditionally. His atoning sacrifice was not only for the few or the select, but rather He willingly atoned for the sins of all humanity, and those who profess to be gay, bisexual, homosexual, lesbian, or transgender were by no means excluded as part of that wondrous atonement.
There are also some well-intentioned Christians who are extremely boisterous about their disdain for the gay lifestyle and anyone who claims to be a member of said lifestyle. Some of them even go so far as to disallow a gay person to cross the portals of their home. Although as Christians they should show the love of Christ in all that they do or say, there are those who unequivocally express their disgust through their words and actions.
The question that begs an answer is, “How are such actions and behaviors different from those of non-Christians?” If we are profoundly honest with ourselves, we would have to answer that there is no difference, but my dear brothers and sisters, there ought to be. We are to love all humanity, albeit that does not imply that we have to condone their lifestyle or behaviors. Instead of shunning a person because of his or her sexual orientation, we should find ways to build bridges of understanding, hope, and compassion. Yes, we may set our boundaries and limitations as far as what we believe and stand for, but we cannot allow those boundaries and limitations to become proverbial brick walls that separate us from any brother or sister. Nor can we live behind locked, impenetrable doors that shut any of our brothers and sisters out completely. Just as the Savior loves each of us in spite of our faults, we too must love one another, regardless of any and all differences, and that includes sexual orientation.
Now, my dear gay brothers and sisters, give me but a moment to expound upon why I do not believe that the Gay Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Movement are woven from the same fabric, all the while realizing that the ideology of “choice” was also a part of the Civil Rights Movement, albeit in a different perspective.
Let me begin by stating that I am a Black man of 56 years. When I was born on 17 October 1958, I was born Black. I did not choose to be Black, but rather, when my Heavenly Father created me that is what He decided. There was absolutely no choice on my part about the decision that was made. I am in no way ashamed of being the race that I am, nor have I ever argued with God about the fact that I am Black or made apologies to anyone for being Black. The bottom line is that for the past 56 years I have been a Black man and the day I leave this earthly life, I will leave as a Black man.
On the other hand, a person who professes to be gay at this time, does not have to die living the gay lifestyle. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all humanity has an opportunity to be set free of any earthly chains that bind them. However, it is a personal choice for the person. A person has to have the want to be set free from the gay lifestyle. Those who choose to refuse the precious gift of the Atonement are bound to suffer the consequences of their decisions.
Furthermore, during the Civil Rights Movement, Blacks were fighting to get the same rights which their White counterparts already enjoyed. They fought for the right to ride in the front of the bus instead of the back of the bus. They fought to be able to enter through the front door of an establishment instead of through a rear entrance. They fought to be able to sit at a lunch counter and enjoy their meal in peace. They fought to be able to have their children receive the same quality of education and be taught in schools that were comparable to what White children had. They fought for equality in the work place – to be paid the same wages for the same type and amount of work. They fought to be able to drink from the same water fountains and use the same public restrooms as Whites. And yes, they even fought for the right to vote.
Blacks were denied these rights not through any choice of their own, but merely because of the color of their skin. None of these rights, my dear gay brothers and sisters, to my knowledge, are being denied, or ever have been denied to any person because of their sexual orientation.
Do not misunderstand me for Blacks at that time did have choices which they could make, but very often they had to weigh their choices carefully as the consequences for what might have been deemed a wrong choice were dire. And so, many of the choices that they made were for the sole purpose of surviving to see another day.
Those who proclaim to be a part of the Gay Rights Movement are in essence fighting to have laws passed that will support their choices, and not necessarily their civil rights. Their struggles rest in the fact that the laws that they wish to see passed such as same-sex marriage, go against the “norm” of most societies, and more importantly against the very laws and nature of God.
God gave the commandment to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth”. Those who live a gay lifestyle cannot naturally follow that commandment – two men or two women together cannot produce offspring. They can certainly adopt children, but that is another topic of discussion. The very reason that God instituted the sacred ordinance of marriage was because He intended for the marriage union to be between a man and a woman. Therefore, for two people of the same gender to fight for the right to be joined together in marriage goes against the laws and commandments of almighty God. Albeit, the laws of the land are in constant flux, and many states are now allowing same-sex marriages.
Nevertheless, may I remind us all of the words recorded in scriptures in 1 Corinthians 6:6-10:
But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
With all that has been said, the question remains as to whether God hates gays? The answer is a resounding NO. God does not hate any of His children. For Him to do so would be contrary to the fact that He is a loving and just God. It is the sin that He abhors. God is no respecter of persons. If we willingly choose to disobey His laws and ordinances, then we must suffer the consequences of our choices.
Finally, can a person who is now involved in a gay lifestyle be forgiven and brought back into the full graces of God? The answer is a resounding YES! The words of John 3:16-17 come to mind here:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
That is the beauty of the Atonement. When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died upon that cruel Roman cross on Golgotha, He died for all of our sins — past, present, and future.
Dear friends, the Gay Rights Movement of today and the Civil Rights Movement from 1955-1968 cannot be looked at in the same light. Blacks did not have a choice in having their rights stripped from them. They fought to earn those rights that should have already been theirs to enjoy. They were not fighting to be anything different from what God created them to be. They were born Black and died (or will die) Black. A person who lives a gay lifestyle on the other hand, makes the conscious choice to live that particular lifestyle. Their “Civil Rights” as it were have never been denied. The “civil rights” that they are fighting for are those “rights” which they feel they are entitled to because of their personal choices.
Be it known to all who read this treatise that I hold no malice, contempt or ill will towards any man. The choices that a person makes in life are his or hers alone to bear the consequences thereof. And so, I see all humanity – regardless of race, culture, national origin, or sexual orientation – as my brothers and sisters. And as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, I offer my love to each of them, just as the Savior would love them.