This past weekend in the Saturday paper I found a lovely article that reports that both the House and the Senate approved a bill that would make violence against gays simply because of their sexual orientation a "hate crime." This bill, if it became law, would put anti-gay violence on the same level as religious or race motivated violence. Punishment for official "hate crimes" tends to be more severe than for just random acts of violence. So, the law would help protect gays. Not surprisingly, the newspaper article said that George Bush is receiving PRESSURE FROM EVANGELICALS to VETO the bill. Some Evangelicals are apparently afraid that the passing of this bill is a step in the direction of making it a punishable crime to refer to homosexuality as a sin. And, of course, we need to protect our rights.
Now, followers of Jesus are called to imitate Jesus, as I recall (Eph 5:1-2). In this light, taking this public stance makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, Jesus does this sort of thing a lot in the Gospels, doesn't he? Passing laws not only against gays and prostitutes and tax collectors, but against protecting these sorts of people. Surely this sort of religious-political behavior is all over the place in the Gospels, isn't it?
That's probably why sinners like gays and prostitutes and tax collectors avoided Jesus like the plague -- just like they do the Church today (e.g. Mt. 11.19; Mk 2:15-16; Lk 15:1). This was also probably how Jesus kept his reputation so untarnished, especially among religious folk like the Pharisees (e.g. Lk 7:34). Not only this, but this was no doubt why Jesus was so well known for his political posturing against various sin groups. He had his followers putting pressure on Caesar and Pilate all the time to make life tough on these select groups of sinners (Jn. 18:36). Paul certainly made judging those outside the church a high priority in his ministry (I Cor. 4:3, 5; 5:12). This is also undoubtedly why Jesus told his followers that, even though they may not be perfect, at least their own sin was a mere dust particle in comparison to THESE sorts of sinners, whose sin is a big log by comparison (Mt 7:1-3). No wonder Jesus talks so much more about homosexuality than greed or self-righteousness or the need to love our enemies.
Beyond this, its obvious that Jesus spent a lot of time involved in politics to protect his own rights -- especially the right to call certain kinds of people sinners (Jn 8:3-11, 15). Let us follow his example. He was, after all, just being practical. Why should he have to go to prison for exercising his right as the Son of God to call some group of people sinners, for crying out loud? Probably the only reason he eventually got crucified, despite his persistent interest in defending his rights, was because the government of his time wasn't as good as ours and didn't give him enough power to defend himself. If only he'd had the means of protecting himself, he'd surely have taken it (Mt 26:53)!
All of this totally explains why religious people loved Jesus so much and why those worse-than-other-sinners groups of people despised him so. I've always wondered about that.
So -- let us who call ourselves Evangelicals imitate Jesus' example and rise up in our superior righteousness and fight for our rights while blocking laws that help protect gays!!!
Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war. It's worked so well in the Inquisition and Crusades. Why stop now?
For they'll know we are Christians by our laws, by our laws. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our laws.
ps. If you didn't check the proof texts I cited in my little essay, you might want to. It will clarify a few things.