In the preceding post, I surveyed the positive evidence showing the Christian religion is not homophobic and that its core teachings contradict homophobic ideas and tendencies.
We defined homophobia as fear, hatred, aversion, or violence directed against a person because they identify as LGBT.
In this post, I am playing defense, answering some common objections I've encountered against the idea Christianity is not homophobic.
This was not an easy post to write, as I am keenly aware many will not find these answers satisfying.
However, I hope the reader will render judgment with an open mind and heart, focusing on the logic and coherency on the statements made, and not personal feelings or political leanings.
Here are the four objections:
In Leviticus 20:13, does not the Bible say homosexuals should be put to death, and is that not a clear example of homophobia?
Firstly, even if this passage could be understood as homophobic, the Levitical laws were never intended wholesale for all times and all people (e.g., 4:2-3, 7:28-29, 12:1-3, etc.) and have no intrinsic application to Christians today. For this reason alone, this passage is irrelevant until proven otherwise.
Secondly, the text attacks a behavior, not a class of people, condemning same-sex sexual relations, not those with same-sex attraction. So it is not "being gay" that merits death, but contravening God's laws.
Thirdly, pursuing or actuating capital punishment is not a Christian practice. As one Christian brother has noted...
Paul says:—"If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for, in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil; but overcome evil with good." [Romans 12:20-21]
Would it not sound strangely, for the Apostle to say, in the next words:—"You christians, hang all murderers! for you are God's ministers waiting continually upon this very thing." Such is the position of the abettors of capital punishment amongst christians. (Tolbert Fanning, "Capital Punishment No.2.")
Leviticus 20:13 is not an easy verse to wrangle with, but when taken at face value, it does not promotes homophobia (i.e., negative feelings or actions toward people because of their same-sex attraction).
You say Christianity refutes homophobia by teaching love, respect, and peace for all people, but the Bible in Romans 1:27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 condemn homosexuality explicitly. Is this not homophobia?
The passages in the New Testament about homosexuality are not homophobic because (1.) they do not promote fear, hatred, aversion, or violence toward LGBT individuals (2.) affirm the basic humanity of all people (3.) and are given with a view towards reconciling all people, gay straight, etc., to God through Christ Jesus.
For example, following Romans 1, chapter 3 says, "There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (23-24) (Emphasis mine)
Furthermore, while 1 Corinthians 1:9 prohibits homosexual behavior, verse 10 says, "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (Emphasis mine)
Therefore, we see the Bible does not condemn for the sake of condemning, and that all people are equal of sin before God.
God's judgments are based on truth for the sake of revealing to man his sinful condition, that he might understand his need for his Creator and come to know Him.
That is love, not homophobia.
The next objection goes as follows: "The hard reality that...all Christians need to face up to is that the Catholic Church along with every other church whether Orthodox, Protestant or Catholic has been horrifically, persistently and vehemently anti-gay for almost all of its history." (No Cardinal Dolan, the Catholic Church Wasn't 'Outmarketed' on Gay Marriage, Huffington Post)
It is true that throughout Christian history, homosexuals have not always been treated by the Church as Christ would have us treat our neighbors.
This is to our deep shame.
However, to whatever extent this is true, it represents a deep incongruity, not congruity with the teachings of Christ (for the reasons given in the other post).
When any Christian fails to show love, respect, and peace towards all men, they fail to represent Christ.
The final objection is as follows: "Those who oppose gay marriage drive the laws that inflict this daily humiliation unto gay couples and their children. That, put simply, is homophobia." (Yes, Opposing Gay Marriage Makes You a Homophobe, Slate)
The general objection here is that opposing gay rights legislation, which many Christians do, means one is homophobic.
This may be true, but the Bible itself never calls Christians to enact or repeal any laws, lobby government, or try to make the State "Christian".
As such, if a given position toward a law is deemed homophobic, it is or is not so entirely independent of the Christian faith.
I am not arguing here the Bible condemns Christians being in government (even thought that is my personal view), but if a Christian wants to enact or repeal any law, they cannot use the Bible as their support, as it does not advocate for such activity.
There are undoubtedly many more objections that could be raised, but I believe when we look at the positive evidence and negative defenses, it becomes clear Jesus Christ calls his disciples to be ministers of peace, love, justice, and reconciliation in the world, not homophobes.