Gay Marriage and the New Normal: Should Christians Judge Others?

by Maeve McDonald

When asked the general question, “Should Christians judge others?” many Christians quickly answer, “no.” Due to the endless fight against hypocrisy and legalism in our churches, and perhaps in an effort to disassociate ourselves from the antiquated “hellfire” approach of relatively recent history, many Christians today want to throw off their reputation for being judgmental and dogmatic. When hot-button, celebrity-studded stories of gender transitioning and violated LGBTQ[1] rights dominate the headlines against a cultural backdrop of political correctness and moral relativism, many of us are reluctant to speak up. The world has already pegged Christians as closed-minded, rigid, and bigoted (and in a few cases, rightly so). Why would we want to perpetuate this unflattering portrayal any further? Besides, isn’t it more Christ-like to love, and not condemn, our neighbors?

In fact, a growing number of Christian leaders are now discouraging a biblical discussion of such issues so as not to alienate people from the Church or be deemed insensitive. Megachurch pastor, Andy Stanley, for example, has called for churches to be the “safest” place in the world for gay people. Indeed, many practicing gay members attend his “seeker-friendly” church in Georgia (one of the largest megachurches in the country). Stanley’s approach in befriending the LGBTQ community, stands in direct contrast to his father’s, Pastor Charles Stanley, who has caused much ire within the gay community for openly calling out homosexuality as a sinful lifestyle. A similar outlook has been expressed by Jen Hatmaker—a pastor’s wife, reality TV star, and popular mom-blogger—who put it this way when it comes to gay marriage: “We do not need any more inflammatory soldiers in the culture wars; we need more thought leaders who are slower to publicly condemn their faithful [practicing gay] brothers and sisters and quicker to invite reason and dialogue to the table.”[2]

Admittedly, the Christian community itself is far from immune to sexual scandal. The Church has been dogged by story after debauched story of sex crimes and abuse…from former National Association of Evangelical president and megachurch pastor, Ted Haggard, sleeping with a male prostitute and taking crystal meth to countless sexual abuse and rape cover-ups such as those coming to light in Christian campuses like Bob Jones University, Pensacola Christian College, and Cedarville University, the list goes on. And on the heels of mortifying headlines involving the Duggars, any judgment from within the Church against the LGBTQ lifestyle raises the bright red flag of hypocrisy in the eyes of many. In the face of all this, who are we to judge?

And so, more and more well-intentioned Christians are setting out to be inclusive, unoffensive, accepting, and tolerant. They strive to love their neighbor without passing judgment. For isn’t this what Jesus meant when He said…

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Faith Actually: Gay Marriage and the New Normal: Should Christians Judge Others?