published Monday, May 14th, 2012

David Cook: Give me that pro-gay, pro-family religion

There are plenty -- and I mean plenty, from the valleys to the hills -- of people in this area who believe fully and completely in God and also the truth within the following statement, whose time has come:

Gay and lesbian folks are fine just the way they are.

And they should not have to apologize.

Or feel afraid. Or ashamed.

Or worry about going to school, or coming out to their bosses, or whether they can hold hands in certain parts of town, or if their neighbors will welcome them, or which church.

Or fear that the God of love does anything but cherish them as long as the grass shall grow and sun shall shine.

"The furious longing of God is beyond our wildest dreams," writes Brennan Manning in his new book "Patched Together."

Those wild dreams have been reduced by Nashville lawmakers to a distorted, reductionist view where queer-ness is just slightly better than leprosy.

Religious conservatism has some good properties, but being on the side of history is not one of them. A conservative interpretation of God has been used to roadblock racial integration, interracial marriage, women gaining access to social and legal equality, and now, gay rights.

From the "Don't Say Gay" bill -- which has resulted in the state Department of Education forbidding K-8 teachers from discussing homosexual issues -- to preventing cities from passing anti-discrimination laws, there was a strong spirit of legislated homophobia.

But God is not afraid of gay people.

"Our mission: to equip Tennesseans and their public officials to effectively promote and defend a culture that values the traditional family for the sake of the common good," reads the mission statement of the Family Action Council of Tennessee.

Led by David Fowler, a former state senator, FACT has the ear of many politicians and influences legislation. Fowler and I attended the same church for years, and I remember him to be kind and generous in person. No doubt, he is working overtime, driven by his own faith.

But it is not the only faith that should get invited to the table. The Gospels I read describe a Christ surrounded by outcasts and misfits. Why? They were safe -- from the priests and bullies -- with him. Accepted.

The greatest family value of all is love. Love snuffs out fear and opens the door for people to be vulnerable with one another. Love reconciles, it is music like a symphony, not a clanging gong.

Love does not condone destructive behavior. But the threats to family I see most come from screen media, which at every turn send the messages of sexual promiscuity, pornography and consumptive materialism.

I'll stand toe-to-toe with FACT to support a screen decency policy, so that certain TV images are censored at certain times. Or a media literacy campaign in high schools, which will teach teenagers to see past the sexism and violence so widespread on the screens in their lives.

Joblessness wrecks families. The human heart does, too. Not gay couples.

"In my congregation, many gay people are involved. Some of the leaders of my congregation are gay," said Gayle Tyree.

Tyree is a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student who, along with student Kaitlin Cottle, recruited volunteers to call more than 100 residents of Wilson County, a suburban county of Nashville, asking them to support students at Wilson Central High School in their attempt to start a Gay-Straight Alliance.

"A group of students there, in response to teenager suicides prompted by anti-gay bullying in their area, wanted to start a GSA to provide a support system for gay students," Tyree said.

Phillip Parker, 14, in Smith County, and Jacob Rogers, 18, in Cheatham County, killed themselves this past school year. Both gay, they had been bullied at school repeatedly.

"The Wilson Central students had plenty of teacher sponsors. They needed one teacher sponsor and got five. They needed 25 student signatures and got 60," she said. "But their principal vetoed their application."

Tyree believes that young people across Tennessee are mobilizing on the side of the gay community.

"They're right, and justice is on their side," Tyree said.

God -- who can do nothing but love -- is, too.

David Cook can be reached at davidcook@hushmail.com.

16
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
mlynchtn said...

Thank you, Mr. Cook, for writing this piece. So often in this city we hear from those who are only too willing to judge and condemn in God's name - I often wonder where one must go to hear "Christ-like" Christians. I hope readers will pause and reflect on what you've written today, and perhaps consider the impact their beliefs may have on the lives of their neighbors.

May 14, 2012 at 8:08 a.m.
EmB said...

Mr. Cook, I look forward to your articles and this one is tops. What compassion and wisdom! Thank you.

May 14, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.
jrog said...

Often times Christians can be more anti-gay than any other sin. This is wrong. We're all sinners and are undeserving of God's love. It is amazing that God loves us in the first place. However, God's love is not shown with His acceptance of our sin, but with the sacrifice He paid because of our sins. Don't ask the question, "How can a homosexual be saved?", but simply ask, "How can anyone be saved?" It is the same for all people. Repentance and faith in Christ which are evidenced by a Christ-like lifestyle.

May 14, 2012 at 1:58 p.m.

I have yet to read a single verse from the Bible, it is not about what we feel, think or like. It is about Gods word that was given to us in the form of the Bible. God is compassionate, but he is also intolerant of SIN which is spelled out very clearly in his inspired word. If you read the following passages without the baggage of modern morals it should be very evident what Gods intent was and is. Romans 1:26-27, Corinthians 6:9-10, Genesis 2:24 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10.

May 14, 2012 at 3:29 p.m.
jimcarwest said...

Yes, "God is not afraid of gays, but God is not afraid of sin either, yet that doesn't mean He loves it.

Despite your "quasi-Christian" viewpoint, you reject traditional thinking on the subject of homosexuality as recorded in the book of Christianity, the Bible. In it we are not called to love practices which God has revealed are especially abhorrent to Him. We are not to accept or to love what God calls an "abomination."

Loving people whatever their lifestyle is Christian, but approving of their sins is not incumbent on Christians. Jesus loved the woman taken in adultery, but He told her to separate from her sinful practice ("Go, and sin no more.")

The family is a God-ordained institution as old as the human race. Many aberrations of the family are condemned in Scripture -- polygamy, divorce, bestiality, infanticide, homosexuality of both types, abuse etc. It is not just to gloss over these practices which God has forbidden in the interest of a false equality. Gays have freedom to practice their lifestyle as long as that freedom doesn't encroach on others.

The public school is not the place to force the gay agenda on students, especially when those who promote its expression are advocates for it. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are not of equal value to society.

It is true that Christ in the Gospels is surrounded by misfits and outcasts, yet He did not condone their sins. His whole mission was "saving" people from their sins and their hurtful consequences. Christ would not wish for people whose lifestyles produce harm to continue on the same path. Every statistic on homosexuality reports that this lifestyle creates more discord than heterosexual relationships, more sexual diseases with destructive consequences, a greater number of partners, much greater instability in the family, more harm to children, and more incidents of depression and suicide. Maybe the God of love wants to protect people from the adverse consequences of being gay.

It is exactly the screen media that is at the forefront of promoting the alternative lifestyle while ridiculing traditional marriage.

Joblessness may wreck families, but you will be hard pressed to show that joblessness, which has been a problem in all generations, has produced the damages to our Judeo-Christian culture that the modern promotion of homosexuality has brought.

Your statement -- "God can do nothing but love" -- is inherently false if you judge by the standard of Scripture. God is love, but God is also just. God is merciful, but God is also a God of wrath. The same Bible that speaks lovingly of heaven speaks with warning of hell. Romans Chapter 1 catalogues the downward path of a society that, having spiritual light and understanding, sinks by stages into the grossest forms of paganism, including homosexuality as an expression of a culture that "God has given up."

Truth is not always sentimental. Sometimes it is hard to swallow.

May 14, 2012 at 6:31 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

What a hodge-podge of unconnected and baseless thoughts.

Oh, I thought you meant jimcarwest.

Gays have freedom to practice their lifestyle as long as that freedom doesn't encroach on others.

Just how does the lawful activities of two consenting adults encroach on others?

May 14, 2012 at 7:37 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Every statistic on homosexuality reports that this lifestyle creates more discord than heterosexual relationships,

Hahaha...50% of straight marriages end in divorce before 10 years

more sexual diseases with destructive consequences,

as HIV entered the US in the gay male population, that is an abberration. Women actually suffer more STD's than men and get them through sex with men.

a greater number of partners

Something marriage is supposed to remedy, right?

much greater instability in the family,

Well, since society refuses to recognize these families that's not a surprise

more harm to children

False

and more incidents of depression and suicide.

Understandable when you are bullied or have to hide what you are or be ejected from your family and church

Maybe the God of love wants to protect people from the adverse consequences of being gay.

Maybe he should have thought of that before he made gays in the first place? Some god of love, that.

May 14, 2012 at 7:42 p.m.
jimcarwest said...

ikeithlu...

Many credible researchers report that gay hookups (casual sex) run from the tens to the hundreds during a lifetime. Divorce has no comparison.

Yes, HIV is highest among gays.

Casual sex is certainly destructive to a normal marriage if and when it happens, and the damage that it does to homosexuals cannot be denied.

Studies prove that children need interaction with both a mom and a dad for the best development. Gays who adopt children cannot provide that normal interaction, and they cannot model the roles that males and females are to play in life, creating confusion in the minds of children.

Sex is supposed to be related to permanent, loving relationships. Gay relationships with frequent partners rob the individual of the environment of stable love, causing many to become suicidal. Society in all ages has rejected homosexuality as normal.

It's always easy to blame God for one's own problems. The fact is, it is the God of love who helps people avoid destructive behavior. That is why Christ came -- to bring freedom to each of us who are bound in one sin or another.

May 15, 2012 at 6:47 a.m.

My problem is not with people who choose not to participate in the Christian faith, I get concerned when fact and scripture are replaced by feeling and justification without any solid biblical basis being brought as evidence of this NEW point of view. From a Christian point of view we have to wrap our minds around the fact that it is not about US, but entirely about serving God and ALL his demands, not just the ones we agree with. We will all fall short, but choosing to disregard things that offend us is not a biblically sound practice. If the Bible is read in proper context the answers are very clear, if you choose to accept that the Bible is Gods word, not just a book.

May 15, 2012 at 6:54 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

My problem is not with people who choose not to participate in the Christian faith, I get concerned when fact and scripture are replaced by feeling and justification without any solid biblical basis being brought as evidence of this NEW point of view

you have just contradicted yourself. You really do have a problem with people who are not Christian.

May 15, 2012 at 7:52 a.m.
eMan said...

We are called to love all people in the world. We should not treat anyone in an unChristian way. It sickens me that homosexuals have been bullied so badly they would actually kill themselves. What's worse is when people who do that invoke the name of Christ.

When discipling a gay person, I would not even get into the sexual lifestyle until later on. Everyone sins all the time. A good way to connect with someone is to tell them what sins you struggle with. Be open and honest and humble. God hates sin. It is counter to His nature. Homosexuality is a sin. It is a more public sin. A gay person who truly comes to Christ is like any person who comes to Christ; he will want to get rid of all patterns of sin in his life.

Verses are often taken out of context. People will mistake imagery and metaphor for absolute standards. However, nothing in the Bible is wrong; it will never be proven wrong. It is the perfect Word of God. An example of this is "Judge Not, lest you be judged." He is calling us to love one another in humility. We need to judge things all the time. Should I abuse my child or abuse heroin? Obviously not. Is the way I am treating someone who is different, who is gay, the way Christ would treat this person?

My point is yes, being gay is a sin. But we need to love the sinner like Jesus did. Part of loving someone is sometimes (not right away in this case and not in a non-loving manner) reproving that person. Helping them in their process of sanctification to become who God wants them to be.

I know this is a very touchy subject. I want people to know that if a person who claims to be a Christian denigrates a homosexul, that person is not doing what God wants them to do. They make Christ followers everywhere look like judgmental, joyless, jerks. Loving someone often involves accountability. Don't put them down; point them to Jesus.

May 15, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.

lkeithlu said...

My problem is not with people who choose not to participate in the Christian faith, I get concerned when fact and scripture are replaced by feeling and justification without any solid biblical basis being brought as evidence of this NEW point of view

you have just contradicted yourself. You really do have a problem with people who are not Christian.

May 15, 2012 at 7:52 a.m

Let me clarify, my concern is with the distortion of the Bible and what it has to say about life and morals. I have friends that choose not to participate in a Christian lifestyle and I treat them no different. My convictions are mine and mine alone and I have no right to push them on others who are not inclined to listen. Having said that, I try to witness to people by actions, they are far more important than just words. It is about God not us, I let Gods word do the talking, I just try to point people to it.

May 16, 2012 at 6:58 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Fair enough, but I am not talking about lifestyle. If you are not a Christian, the bible is not a source of truth. A non-Christian doesn't replace "fact and scripture" with "feeling and justification". A non-Christian doesn't care two whits what the bible has to say about anything. I think you really don't fully understand that there are people in this country that simply don't believe as you do. It is not a matter of how they "live".

May 16, 2012 at 7:12 a.m.

I'm fully aware of the diversity of opinion and beliefs when it comes to "Religion". The reason this post caught my eye was that the Author made claims about the "Christian" faith, without using the primary source material that is the basis of the "Christian" faith. If he can show me in the Bible how he came to his conclusions I would be more than happy to listen. Many people have beliefs, but they don't know why or cannot explain the basis of their beliefs. In a nutshell what I'm trying to say is if you make comments in reference to what God thinks it would be more credible if you had substantial evidence to back up your claim. especially when your opinion is divergent from the norm. I know what I believe and can tell you why and that is applicable to all parts of my life, not just my faith.

May 16, 2012 at 11:52 a.m.
May said...

jimcarwest..

You're saying that the ratio between gay casual sex hookups and divorce rates have no relation to each other? Tell me, sir, do you understand why so many heterosexual divorces take place? Perhaps you forgot to include the small detail that men tend to cheat on women constantly, and vice-versa, in our society. Also, you have the gall to talk about the sanctity of a heterosexual marriage? From your standpoint, you're only going for women because of what they have between their legs instead of the values they have within their hearts. That sure sounds a lot like lust to me. I'd rethink your viewpoints.

And to JUSTREADTHEBIBLE,

I wish you'd do what your name suggests. You're pointing out that the Bible spoke about how being homosexual is a sin. Sure, great, how dandy. Do you realize all your sources come from the Old Testament? Do me a favor, would you? Would you tell me where in the New Testament Jesus utters a single word about homosexuality? It was to my Christian understanding from what I READ in the Bible that Jesus came to form a new covenant. Also, can you direct me to the 10 commandments where it says being homosexual is a sin; I mean it should be there, being such a big sin and all, right? Perhaps I'll just visit the local jail and talk to a heterosexual priest who molested little girls about it.

Don't even get me started on Leviticus law, if that's what you're truly following.

Have a good day and rethink your close-minded lives, perhaps if you open up one day God will show you the way.

PS: Thank you for the article David Cook. I am a huge fan of your articles. Keep up the good work.

May 25, 2012 at 12:03 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.