By Timothy Kincaid
One aspect of war is dealing with enemies, those who seek to do you harm. And we all know that in war, enemies are to be destroyed without compassion or hesitation before they do the same to you. Millennia of warfare have shown that the best way to keep your troops willing to fight is to dehumanize your enemy. Don’t let your troops sympathize or see theirselves in the enemy or they may not be so ready to slaughter him.
Sadly, these rules of engagement also apply to culture wars.
We can readily see this tactic of dehumanization in the language adopted by ex-gay ministries and their anti-gay political allies. They portray gay people as unhappy, unhealthy sex fiends incapable of love who operate under an agenda to destroy the family and Christianity. It is easy to deny the depraved the same rights and priveleges you share.
Unfortunately pro-gay participants in this debate too often employ these tactics as well. We may stray from criticism of the message (and there is plenty to criticize) and begin to criticize the messenger. Such an instance occurred recently when Wayne Besen discussed the comments of Chad Thompson.
Not only does Chad dress like a slob and look like he needs to take a bath – he also speaks out of both sides of his hypocritical mouth.
This is, unfortunately, not the first time that Wayne had gotten a bit too personal about Chad. He has also said,
In his world, God judges a man by his pecs, not his prayers. If you are too old, fat or not cool enough, it appears you can’t get in his Bel Ami Bible Club.
You know what irritates me about Chad? On the front page of his website he dresses like he is a teenager at a rave. But if you go deeper into his website one can view crowsfeet on his face. He clearly is no longer a teenager. His fake rave boi act is just a cheap and tawdry way to recruit confused young men into his troubling ministry.
I do not agree with Chad Thompson’s theology or his ministry. To me, his idea of Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would includes social/cultural activism that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus. And it seems to me that this “loving” consists of little more than putting a pretty face on hateful anti-gay attitudes and behaviors.
Nonetheless, this does not warrant attacks on Chad’s friends, person, or appearance.
Chad’s sense of style may be more grungy than mine, but comments about his clothing choices are not appropriate. And perhaps I’m reaching the age where such comment rankle, but jibes about crowsfeet are just tacky.
Perhaps it seems that I’m picking on Wayne here. That’s not my intent. Wayne has probably been no more guilty of this than I have been at times.
But in this ongoing discussion about sexuality, freedom, equality, religion, values, and how they all impact the efforts some people make to change their orientation, I believe we are best served when we cease warring and begin communicating. And that is better accomplished when we challenge the message, and not the messenger.