Heterosexism: An “ism” in an attempt to shame Biblical Truth

A movement has arisen within the LGBTQ activism that is very insidious in it’s presentation.  I received as a note from a person for my thoughts and thought I would share it with edits to keep identities confidential other than names, places, and other identifiers this is the entire email:

Hi you guys!

I am writing to let you know how much I miss you all – and send some important information your way.  I saw the link I am including at the end of this e-mail and I knew I had to share it with people I love, as it has affected me in the past.  Please watch it.  Recently (in the past few weeks or so) there have been 4 teen suicides that have resulted from bullying.  All of these teens killed themselves because they were constantly berated or had been “outed” by their bullies.  All of these teens were gay, or questioning, or just different.  They were living a world that constantly told them that they were inferior, disgusting, unnatural, against god, and hated for differences (or supposed differences).  Growing up, during my teen years, I was lucky to have been only bullied a few times.  But then again, I made sure to hide who I was discovering myself to be.  LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Questioning) teens are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers.  I remember in my middle school years, praying to god nightly to change me – make me straight or if that wasn’t possible, to kill me, I am so happy neither of those things happened.

I moved to NYC to attend NYU because I knew it was a LGBTQ friendly city.  Who knows, maybe one-day XXXXXXXX could be just as friendly.  We are living in a time of great change and progress in LGBTQ civil rights.  And those who would like to keep us from attaining equal rights will be on the wrong side of the history books (just as those who opposed the Civil Rights movement for people of color are today).  That said, just as it was during that period of time – visibility of those who are different/advocating for themselves is increasing, and so instances of violence (verbal or physical) is son the rise.  I know that some individuals who believe that LGBTQ folks are doing just fine.  That we are becoming more accepted into society.  While we are gaining more equality (slowly but surely), this high visibility creates a backlash.  Bashing is on the rise again.  Just last year, at a movie theater in NYC tow men (a gay couple) were cut by a group of teens after their movie as managers and employees looked on doing nothing.  The men, cut because they were cuddling up & holding hands (something straight couples do without fear), had to phone the police themselves.  (My friends & I have since stopped seeing films at this theater).  This world is still a  dangerous place for us – but to have allies, to have the government say “LGBTQ people should not be treated this way” this is my hope for the future.  A future without blatant heterosexism that currently is accepted across the nation.

heterosexisma term that applies to attitudes, bias and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships.  It includes the presumption that everyone is heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the norm and therefore superior.  It is the belief that everyone is or should be straight.  Heterosexism is a broader term than homophobia in that it need not imply the fear and loathing the latter term suggests.  It can describe (but is not limited to) seemingly benign statements or questions, such as asking a young woman if she has a boyfriend, or asking a manwhat his wife does for a living based on the assumption that heterosexuality is the norm (personal note: I like to ask people if they have a partner/someone special).

My hope begins with you.  As the family of a gay man, you all have impacted my life in wonderful ways – as I am sure I have impacted yours.  Perhaps you have become more tolerant, and ideally, accepting of LGBTQ people.  I am asking more of you now.  Not only am I asking you to accept me (and others like me), I am asking you to advocate, to speak up when you see heterosexism and bullying.  I feel responsible to share this activist side of me with the people I love most and am hoping that because I am in your life, you find a responsibility to share as well.  In the summer of 2009, Mom shared a few DVD’s with me that have shaped how I feel about homosexuality and the Christian faith.  When I cam out to her in 2004, she immediately began seeking resources to balance her faith and her love for her son.  She took classes, shared with my Father – and together they made steps toward accepting their son for who he was.  Mom was such an amazing ally to have.  She taught me that all to often the bible is not looked at within its context, and all too often Christians get it wrong.  The bible frightens me (I wish it didn’t) because it is often used as a weapon**-if you search through history, you will see that people used it to oppress people of color as well (one can always use biblical literalism/fundamentalism to harm others).  To me, Christianity is and should be centered around love, Jesus would have a ton of LGBTQ friends if he was around today.  Faith is a personal experience – and while you have every right to believe however you believe, I ask that you question what you know and what you have been raised to know.  It is my belief that God is every changing, ever present – and God is love, God does not judge/condemn love.  God celebrates it.  I am hoping that you will all choose to do the same.

I know I must speak up – and I am asking you to do the same, I am not asking for flag waving or parade marching.  I am asking that you support me and all LGBTQ people in their search for equality.  All of you can have a wonderful impact on someone’s world.  Stand up as an ally, become a mentor, teach/show love and acceptance – share your story, share my story – our story.  I am asking you to please speak out when you see or hear the slightest message of heterosexism, transphobia, or hate.  Somewhere there is a teen who, living in the sound of ignorance and disapproval, desperately needs to hear that they are loved for whoever and however they are.  They need to hear that it gets better.  I hope that all these teens stay alive, and that you might be the one to reach out if they need it.  Tell them the world is better and far more interesting for having them in it.  Tell them they are loved.  Give them hope.

Beloved let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)  **When used properly the bible can be used to spread hope and love too. 🙂

Thank you so much for reading this and for loving me.  I know this was a long message, but it is such an important one.  I hope it becomes important to you as well.  Feel free to share this as you see fit (I hope you send this to many people).

The youtube link to Ellen’s message: click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br7nbQSIyhg

With love, hope, and much gratefulness,

Your XXXXXXX

The spelling and capitalization is as it was in the email.  The note I received said this, “When you love someone who is gay, it is easy to want them to have the happiness of marriage and family happen to him as it happens to a straight person, if that is what he wants.”

Since receiving this I have pondered the implications of this stance and view.  As a pastor, I am against bullying or violence perpetrated against anyone for any reason.  The greater danger I see is the use of this term “heterosexism” which ties biblical truth on the definition of marriage as being a relationship set apart for a man and a woman and the like to be “hate speech”.  It also makes it difficult to minister acceptance when what is truly being asked for with this mindset is approval.

As the Church, I agree that we have engaged in shameful behavior in the name of God.  Of concern is this, is it a loving to response to approve of what makes one happen even though it is unhealthy and life-endangering, not to mention the harm to the soul?  I am sure that Jesus would be with modern LGBTQ people just as he was with the tax collectors, prostitutes, and other fringe people because that was how he ministered.  Like the woman at the well in John 4 he did not speak approvingly of her sin, but still offered her the promise as He does to each and everyone of us.  The normalization of LGBTQ is also dangerous since by statistics it is not the norm, most numbers place it at most two to three percent of society and the ten percent figure often given refers to the Kinsey studies of the 60s and postulated that ten percent of society has experimented in their sexual relationships with people of the same gender (this study has been discredited by most scientists because of a tainted pool).  How do we give the loving truth of our Lord that speaks against fornication because of the spiritual damage that it does?

It is sad to lose anyone to suicide for any reason, bullying or otherwise.  I have lost gay friends to suicide for reasons other than bullying.  The reality is that we are called to speak not this Law of Love that is being spoken of which is based more on the “worldly love” which is more focused on what brings one pleasure for themselves, but we are called to be in the Gospel which extends a love that comes with the truth and the revealed God as found within Scripture.  As a father, I want my sons to always know that I love them and will always love them unconditionally.  My love is not based on what they do, but on who they are.  This is the love that God gives.  It isn’t a love that ties together acceptance and approval.  I will always accept my sons, but I don’t and won’t, I can be sure, approve of everything they do or will do.  Just like my wife accepts me, but doesn’t always approve of me.  If we were to approach the “whatever makes them happy” in every aspect of our children’s lives what would we approve of?  Drugs, heavy drinking, serial dating, the list could go on and on and yet we do set standards and we do make judgments.  To love is to establish boundaries, to love is to set standards, to love is to teach, and to love is to be able to say “No”.  To love is also to be available even when things are being done that you know to be wrong, not to enable, but to be there to help out without judgment but truth.  It is not something to be utilized as abuse, but it is to be utilized as a method of shining Christ’s love in the world and his acceptance of broken people.  We mustn’t uphold our brokenness as being something in which we find our identity, but realize that God accepts us where and how we are, but He loves us far too much to leave us there.

We all should stand against any violence committed to another while at the same time standing firmly on the foundation of biblical truth.  For it is said in 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NIV), “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

Let’s not take away from the Word of God, but struggle in the midst of it and allow God’s Word to interpret us.  How do we extend the love of Christ while standing on the truth? Unlike the young man who wrote this letter I believe in a God who is unchanging, ever present, all knowing, and all powerful.  God does not make mistakes, but our sinful natures drive us to do things that are against God.  Our sinful condition is inborn and manifests itself in all of us.  Our sinful nature drives us away from God into a great variety of sin and we have a Lord, Jesus the Christ, who died to redeem us of those sins, but if we are not able and willing to confess and give them over to Christ how can those sins be redeemed?

About revcbyars

Pastor and founder of A Church Rated Ministries focusing on helping Christians in our mission to reach out to those that don't know Christ and be transformative in our communities. I am an orthodox, evangelical, charismatic, Lutheran Christian desiring to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all and loving to watch the Holy Spirit transform lives! I am a husband and a father that seeks to be the spiritual head of my household in the position which God has called me. I am the pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (LCMC) in Washington, IN called to faithfully lead in the Gospel to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Heterosexism: An “ism” in an attempt to shame Biblical Truth

  1. Robert L. Hopper says:

    Heterosexism: An “ism” in an attempt to shame Biblical Truth

    Dear Pastor Byars,

    Thanks for posting this. Your pastoral care and Christ-like love is evident in your repsonse. There is a great book by Fr. Thomas Hopko entitiled Christian Faith and Same Sex Attraction (http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Faith-Same-Sex-Attraction/dp/1888212756) that I think you would find to be a fantastic resource on this issue.

    I found your website because I was actually trying to get your name for a Christmas card. My mother, Mildred Hopper, was a member of your church until she moved up to Illinois in December of 2008.

    Thanks again and Merry Christmas,

    Robert L. Hopper

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s