I generally try to avoid comments on topical issues because they are rarely productive. However, in some cases, topical issues point to more timeless issues that are worth contemplating, so I’ll break my rule and look at something that’s been going on for a while. In this case, it’s all the hoopla regarding LGBT– be it Same Sex marriage, rights, Chick-Fil-A, etc…
In particular, I’m interested in some of the theological ramifications of the attempts at signing religious beliefs into law. This view applies to a broad range of religious beliefs, but I will use LGBT as the most concrete and timely manifestation of this larger tendency.
Let’s assume legislation were enacted to hinder pursuit of LGBT. This would prevent at least some people from pursuing it and would seem to comply with certain religions. But is this true? In general, don’t religions want people to CHOOSE to act in certain ways for religious reasons? Would not legislating against certain acts make it impossible for people to CHOOSE? Wouldn’t this imply that LGBT should be allowed so people can freely choose whether or not to engage in them? This argument is nothing more than a variation of the theological justification for God giving people free will.
Then there’s the question of “religious” individuals who oppose these acts. More often than not, these people do not have LGBT urges and consider themselves virtuous for not pursuing LGBT. However, if they had no such urges, then they would not have pursued it even if it were allowed. In short, their avoidance of LGBT was not for religious reasons, so where is the virtue in that? What’s more, how can they criticize those who engage in LGBT when they never had the urge? Shouldn’t such a criticism make more sense coming from someone who has these urges and resists them on religious grounds?
Think about it. One needs no rules for things one doesn’t want to do anyway, so all meaningful religious injunctions must involve an element of sacrifice. What makes avoidance of X meaningful is that X is desirable and thus not doing it on religious grounds is a sacrifice. This in turn shows that one’s belief is more than lip service. After all, anyone can claim belief in a religion (and many do only that), but those who truly believe show it by conforming their lives to religion and not the other way around.
Which is exactly the opposite of what many LGBT critics seem to do. How many of them actually observe their faith? How many of them forgive others, help the needy, observe dietary laws, etc…? More often than not, what I see are people who don’t do a single religous thing. They just pay it lip service, and latch onto elements of the religion that supports their pre-existing views while tossing out anything that requires them to lift a finger. In fact, I get the impression that these people are simply anti-LGBT and used religion as the most convnient ammo to prop up their views and not people acting out of any religious convictions.