by Diane Lake
There is hardly a more hot-button topic than that of homosexuality and its place in society today. Rarely a day goes by without some form of discussion of it in the news media – whether in regard to debate surrounding legislation, letters to the editor, and on May 3, a column written by Leonard Pitts Jr. promoting a “Gay Debate” video of a speech by Matthew Vine posted recently online.
This video builds upon the premise that homosexuals “can’t choose, and can’t change.” And this is the crux of the matter, for who, as Vine says, would choose a life of pain, suffering, isolation, loneliness and being unaccepted? But what if it is a lifestyle choice? If it is, and no one says anything, then where’s the compassion in that?
It seems only reasonable to present an alternative video, as this is a relevant issue touching real lives. Truth ought to be tested, or it is no truth at all. A simple Google search will lead you to find a video our organization has recently produced on “Homosexuality-Political Correctness” which addresses the issue of choice in some depth, which space does not allow for here. But perhaps a word picture can best illustrate this conviction in light of the confines of this column.
Imagine a man sitting in a corner, legs stretched out in front of him. He is bound with thick, heavy rope; his arms are tight to his trunk. He of course does not want to be tied, and he is not enjoying his plight. Someone walks into the room and sees him there. Full of sympathy, this person exclaims at how tightly he is bound, how miserable he must be, and proclaims that legislation should be passed awarding him the same rights as those who are free to walk around. This, the passerby decides, is how best to help.
The person leaves the room and someone else enters. This next passerby perceives an unexpected truth about the situation. Although the man appears to be tightly bound, on closer examination it is discovered the ropes binding him are not secured behind his back. Armed with the knowledge of this discovery and with some help from this friend, the prisoner in our illustration can become free. Ah, but this knowledge comes with a price. There will be those who strongly deny that freedom is possible – just look at all that thick rope. And perhaps, too, the prisoner himself will disbelieve that freedom can be had, and will not appreciate the news. Remaining silent appears to be the most convenient choice.
And if freedom is not realized, should legislation be passed stating our prisoner possesses all the same benefits that those who are free to walk around enjoy? I see that as puzzling as extending the privilege of marriage to homosexual couples. Of course homosexuals should be free to pursue jobs, housing, lives, and relationships according to their choice. Of course gays deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, the same as anyone else. And of course they can receive salvation, if they believe in such a concept. If one had to be perfect to enter heaven, who would go? And why would Christ die? But to declare the right of marriage to gays seems as puzzling to me as declaring our prisoner has the same privileges as those who walk around. Many believe as I that marriage is between a man and a woman, an institution not subject to modification by debate.
Not all believe in God, in salvation, in scripture. While I do believe the Bible; pretty much anything can be said proved or disproved from it, as the video promoted by Pitts shows. Regardless of beliefs, there has to be something deeper than mere words on a page. Something beyond conviction – compassion. Something more than trend – truth. Even inconvenient truth.
I choose to share what I believe is truth, to make the inconvenient choice. There can certainly be tendencies toward certain things, be it sexual orientation, addictive behaviors, depression, or the like – but that is different from being born a particular way. Freedom is available, but only if we understand it is there.
Diane Lake is a Missoula-area author, ordained minister and President of Starfire Ministries.