Secular gay activists have worked for decades to remove the taboo from homosexuality. “Loud and Proud” is their motto, and now Christian gay activists are doing the same work in conservative churches. Eve Tushnet writes in There’s a Place for Us: Revoice and Gay Christian Futures
There is a future for you in the Church which is not isolated, silent, and shamed, but rich in love and fruitfulness. Whereas almost all the advice and theology I’d heard up until that point had two components: 1) Here’s what you can’t do; and 2) Have you tried being straight? Have better desires!
Rachel Gilson at The Gospel Coalition is preparing a space for loud and proud gays in the conservative church. The first step of course is to give gays trusted access to our children:
Lily was crushed. She’d told just a member of her church her secret, and the member warned her that if anyone else found out, she would probably lose her position teaching the youth. What was this secret so deadly that she would be warned to hide it?
Lily is same-sex attracted.
Neither the struggle nor the terror is uncommon. How, then, do we create an environment in our churches, small groups, and families where we can even have this conversation, where Lily can share her struggle without fear?
We must also repent of seeing homosexuality as taboo:
Ask the Spirit of God to help you identify false stereotypes you may hold. Read a good book like Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach [read TGC’s review], or check out the excellent materials at Living Out. Repent and confess anything the Lord brings to mind.
…You may be the key to helping other Christians recognize ways they’ve been (wrongly) off-putting while trying to (rightly) hold to Scripture’s truth about sexual morality.
Notice that she is linking to familiar names. The Living Out organization is run by Pastor Sam Allberry, and the book review she links to is by Rosaria Butterfield:
Messy Grace threw me back to another time and place. After the first paragraph, I realized I am a stakeholder in this story. Many years ago, if my lesbian partner and I had adopted or given birth to a son, we would’ve raised him the same way Caleb’s mom and partner raised him. We would’ve wanted the best for our son, and we would’ve committed ourselves to raising him in the egalitarian norms of the LGBT community, teaching him to keep a wide and watchful distance from Christians, those people who despised us. We would’ve taken him to gay pride marches so that he could’ve experienced the fun, humor, culture, and political commitments of those who attend. And if our teenage son had “come out” to us as a Bible-believing Christian, we would’ve feared for his life and ours. Our sense of rejection and betrayal would’ve been acute. How could the child we raised turn against us like this? How could he become the worst of our enemies?
The unspoken assumption in all of this is that taboos are unChristian, and if we destroy them nothing bad will happen. As Larry Kummer says, social justice warriors are like monkeys at the controls of a nuclear power plant, furiously spinning the dials with little understanding of the machinery. But are Christians really forbidden to treat homosexuality as a taboo and shameful? Ephesians 5:3-12 tells us that it is shameful to even speak* of sexual immorality (ESV):
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
Romans 1:21-27 makes this even clearer (ESV):
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
The other unspoken assumption is that taboos don’t serve any useful purpose so we can safely dispense with them. But this is foolish. Taboos aren’t just punitive, they are protective. I think the real assumption is that we can pretend to destroy the taboo but young people will know we aren’t really serious. Either way, this foolishness is compounded by our foolishness in encouraging women to delay marriage. We expect young men to patiently prepare a decade or more for their daughter of the king. Most probably will, but in the internet age with both secular and Christian culture in agreement that homosexuality isn’t taboo, there is a great deal of mischief that will snare at least some of them (NSFW).
It is worth noting as well that homosexuality isn’t the only taboo Christians will be pushed to erase. In our new world the only taboo is the idea of a taboo. Today the push for conservative Christians is to be more open minded regarding Same Sex Attraction (SSA), but as we’ve seen each SJW victory sets the stage for the next one. If gays need a safe space to be “not ok” in our churches, clearly those who experience other unchosen attractions will deserve this as well. How long before conservative Christians need to apologize to the GSA community for our current hatefulness?
A taboo too far?
This phenomenon is known as GSA – Genetic Sexual Attraction Syndrome…
Some of the public conversations now turn to whether incestuous unions – where they are consensual and between adults – should be tolerated and decriminalised. Indeed, in Sweden half-sibling marriage is already legal and the jurisdictions of some other countries, too, do not penalise such acts.
Media stories only portray heterosexual familial partnerships, however, so there’s precious little coverage on brothers or male close family relations who’ve experienced GSA after a period of separation. That’s not to say it hasn’t happened, of course, but the coverage says a great deal about such being a cultural “taboo too far” for us. By contrast, popular cultural representations of heterosexual sibling incest is often eroticised, with the woman frequently portrayed as a feminine ideal: beautiful and sexy. In such story lines, incestuous relationships function to add an extra thrill of the illicit.
H/T Ace of Spades.
*As commenter Paul notes, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t rebuke such immorality.