Thanks for Clearing That Up

Yet another celebrity argument on the issue of homosexuality.

This time, Rosie O’Donnell is calling Kirk Cameron “un-Christ like”.  
This is hardly newsworthy in itself, but a couple of things struck me as interesting.  First, I viewed the embedded video of a snippet of the original Kirk Cameron interview that O’Donnell is taking issue with.  I think it’s interesting that when asked whether he thinks homosexuality is a sin, Cameron doesn’t give a clear answer.  The interviewer is asking him a theological question, and Cameron wants to answer in a non-theological way, or at least in a less theological way than the question frames it.
I’ll admit – I haven’t watched the full interview because these sorts of things invariably make my spleen explode.  Why did the interviewer ask that particular question?  Was he being intentional with his verbiage?  Was he attempting to ask a theological question specifically or try to draw Cameron down another path?  I don’t know.  Nor do I have the energy to care this morning.
The more straightforward Biblical answer to the question, which would be appropriate for Kirk to give since he is a Christian, is “Yes, the Bible teaches that homosexual practices are sinful.”  This answer is very specific and to the point.
“Yes” – you asked me if I believe that homosexuality is sinful, and I do.
“The Bible teaches” – I am not simply stating my unqualified opinion on the subject.  I am not an authority on the subject beyond what Scripture tells me.  Left to my own devices, I would undoubtedly side with the more sympathetic argument that says let people do what makes them happy.  As a sinful human being, I want to favor this argument in regard to my own life.  But I don’t have that luxury.  If I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, I need to try and honestly accept it and apply it to my thinking, doing, and believing.  As such, my thoughts on the issue of homosexuality are formed and normed by the Word of God, not by my preferences or opinions.
“Homosexual practices” – the Bible forbids the homosexual practice.  This would mean not just the physical acts, but the internal thought processes that either lead up to them or substitute for them.  Verses in Leviticus and Romans deal with the actions themselves, and Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 deals with the internal sinfulness.  Homosexuality as the non-interest in members of the opposite gender and interest in the members of one’s own gender is neither sinful or non-sinful.  What matters is how this situation is dealt with.  I believe that it is possible for someone to have homosexual inclinations but who chooses to abstain from thoughts and actions which indulge or inappropriately foster that state of mind.  Just as it is equally necessary for a heterosexual person who is not married to have a firm grip on the thoughts and actions that lead their sexual practices.
This seems esoteric, but I think it’s an important distinction.  The fact that a man may not be attracted to women is not in and of itself sinful.  What is sinful is if, recognizing or suspecting this, the man then decides to foster thoughts and even actions based on a Biblically forbidden sexuality.  There are plenty of people who would say there is no actual distinction here, but that’s the mistake of a society that is hyper-sexualized and views everything in terms of sexual expression.  These are the same people who find it ludicrous to think that we should attempt to teach our children of any sexual orientation that sexuality is something that needs to be tempered within the bounds of a lifelong monogamous relationship.  Sexuality is something that needs to be expressed based on emotion, not on calculated self-control, our culture teaches.  Regardless of sexual preferences, this is dangerous and sinful.

“Sinful” – I’m assuming that Cameron’s chosen response is an attempt to avoid making the issue into a religious one.  That’s very reasonable and appropriate.  Objections to enforcing homosexuality as the fully equal lifestyle choice to heterosexuality are not strictly religious in nature, though advocates of homosexuality often paint it that way.  The fact is that in no culture – religious or secular – has homosexuality ever been treated as the fully socially and legally equal and viable option to heterosexuality.  Cameron is attempting to lead the argument away from religion and back to the realm of natural law – I think.  Which is fine.
But the question was theological.  Specific to religion and particularly to Christianity.  Cameron could have quickly acknowledged this before trying to move the question back to natural law.  Yes, active homosexuality is sinful according to the Bible.  It contradicts the created order as demonstrated throughout Scripture.  It is one of the myriad ways we rebel against God.  Whether we decide to legalize it or normalize it amongst ourselves does not change this fact.  It only confuses it.  
I’m curious what O’Donnell means by saying that Cameron is un-Christ like.  If she’s critiquing Cameron for being inadequately pious, on what grounds is she doing so?  Is that a fair charge?  Is the goal of the Christian to be pious, and what does O’Donnell mean by that?  The word is highly charged both in and out of religious usage.  And what aspect of Christ is Cameron not emulating adequately?  Was it’s Jesus’ willing acceptance of any behavior whether it was in keeping with God’s will or not?  Hmmm…the money changers in the temple probably experienced something different.  As did the woman at the well or the woman caught in adultery.   There was no question in these people’s minds that Jesus loved them deeply, but not their behavior.  
God loves you and I, but he detests and hates our sin.  Sin that separates us from him, and ultimately would do so eternally had He not sacrificed his Son in our place.  The response to this is not the endorsement of whatever we feel like doing, but rather the humble (pious?) acknowledgement that we are demanding things contrary to God’s will, the humble (pious?) process of confession and the equally humbling (pious?) act of being reminded that we are absolved of our sin, leading to the thankfulness that seeks to live in accordance with God’s will.  
That would be truly Christ-like behavior.  But I doubt that’s what O’Donnell is thinking of at the moment.

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