“It isn’t just that we believe gay marriage is bad for Christians, the culture at large, etc. But it is ultimately bad for homosexuals if we really believe God has something different in mind for them. This is true for anyone who desires the fullness of joy and peace that God wants them to have.”
–Bob Stith, the SBC’s National Strategist for Gender Issues, following the passage of California Proposition 8.
Members of the religious right are well known for informing the rest of us about their love; they denounce because they care. Laws must be passed to curtail certain “sinful” behaviors and relationships (the less popular ones, at least) for our own good, or so they claim.
But is an act of compassion truly compassionate if the people it’s aimed at must be repeatedly told that the pain being inflicted on them is “for their own good”? Can one treat millions of intelligent, responsible adults like two-year-olds and expect to retain credibility? Even some conservative evangelicals would answer that question with a resounding “No!”:
Our comical insistence that we are loving, despite our reputation, is a bit like a man insisting he’s a perfectly loving husband when his wife, kids, and all who know him insist he’s an unloving, self-righteous jerk. If he persists in his self-serving opinion of himself, insisting that his wife, kids and all who know him don’t understand what “true love” is, it simply confirms the perspective these others have of him. This, I submit, is precisely the position much of the evangelical church of America is in. Until the culture at large instinctively identifies us as loving, humble servants, and until the tax collectors and prostitutes of our day are beating down our doors to hang out with us as they did with Jesus, we have every reason to accept our culture’s judgment of us as correct. We are indeed more pharisaic than we are Christlike.
-Gregory Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation
Whose definition of compassion is more credible? Is “love” an esoteric concept that a spiritual elite must continually explain to the rest of us (by whatever force necessary), or are they the ones who have missed the mark?