Sunday, February 12, 2012

100 People Protest "Gay Is Not Okay" Church; Sermon Went On Anyway

I wrote yesterday about Fort Des Moines Church of Christ's "Gay is Not Okay" marquee and the resulting publicity that spawned calls for a public protest of the church and a bunch of harassment and vandalism against the pastor, his family, and the church.

The Des Moines Register now reports that roughly 100 people showed up to protest Pastor Mike Demastus' anti-gay sermon before, during, and after worship and that he still preached his sermon as planned:
The pastor quickly acknowledged that wasn’t quite the case by warning anyone who protested during the worship service itself they would be escorted out of the building and possibly arrested. No such protest took place during the hour-long service despite a handful of protesters being present for at least part of the service. Those who entered the church on Sunday were asked if they were either a protester or belonged to Westboro Baptist Church, which is known nationwide for its vitriolic demonstrations against homosexuality.

Demastus opened up his sermon by saying that Westboro’s tactics are not Christian in spirit and that the sin of homosexuality should not be singled out as unique or somehow unlike the sins of adultery and sex outside of marriage. “It is not an unpardonable sin,” Demastus said.

But a sin it is nonetheless, he continued, asking his audience of about 150 people if any “God-fearing” person can be gay. “Absolutely not,” he said. “You cannot be God-fearing and disobey God at the same time.”

For those who believe homosexuals are born that way, Demastus asked why the same approach to biology isn’t used to endorse alcoholism – which some also say can have a genetic component.
The difference, Pastor Demastus, is that alcoholism is an addiction. It causes physiological and/or psychological dependence. People who are actively alcoholic continue to drink alcohol, despite ongoing problems with their health and their social, familial, economic, and/or job responsibilities. GLBT people can have alcohol dependence, but not all people with alcohol dependence are GLBT.

Homosexual sexual orientation is not an addiction. GLBT people are no more addicted to our spouses or our girlfriends or our boyfriends than heterosexual people are addicted to their spouses or their girlfriends or their boyfriends. The lives and behavior of GLBT people are as varied as those of heterosexual people. Some lead virtuous lives. Others struggle. Some are poor. Some are rich. Some have families. Some don't. Some are great parents and some really suck at it.

People like Pastor Demastus might like to think themselves clever and equate our lives and loves to those who struggle with addiction, but they're really not. All it does is demonstrate how little they know about either sexual orientation or substance abuse.

Anyway, the sermon went on -- as did the protest -- and what was accomplished? Pastor Demastus still preached against GLBT people, our lives, and our place at Christ's table. He and his flock weren't swayed by the attention or the protest. In fact, his sermon -- which would have been limited to his congregation without all this attention -- gained a broader audience because of the protest and the related media attention.

The GLBT communities really need to learn how to cope better with the small stuff -- like a church marquee that says "Gay is Not Okay" -- and focus our time and attention on more important stuff -- like state congressional efforts to constitutionally destroy our families, as well as governmental efforts to treat GLBT parents inequitably compared to heterosexual parents. This church incident was a sideshow and accomplished little to protest our marriages, our families, or our place in Iowa society.

Next time, we need to ignore culture war bait like Pastor Demastus' anti-gay church sign. Let him do his sermon while we go about nurturing, celebrating, and publicly promoting what we know to be true about our lives, our families, and our faith. Don't offer him and others like him power over us. They're not worth the effort.


Anonymous said...

God is the ultimate and sovereign judge for sin. Homosexuality is sin by His order; it is not decided by public opinion or deceived/false clergy.
Changing societies do not dictate God's standards. Sin is defined by God for us in the Bible. It is the source for what God says is holy and righteous or sin and abomination.
Hebrews 13:8 states that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; he does not “go with the flow.”

Sexual sins were rampant in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. (This is the origin of the word sodomy.) Despite warnings, they refused to repent. God destroyed those cities and it was recorded as a warning to all future generations. (Genesis 18:20-21, Genesis 19:4-5, 2 Peter 2:6) Some additional scriptures on homosexuality are found in:

Leviticus 18:22
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Leviticus 20:13
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Romans 1:26-27
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

The price paid for homosexuality and other fornications are told in:

* 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
* Jude 6-7
* Romans 1:18

In spite of the growing secular humanist trend to think "it's ok to be gay," it's not a righteous lifestyle. Most vocal Christians are not homophobic, but are trying to share Christ's love for homosexuals and trying to keep them from horrific judgment.

Is homosexuality a sin? Is there hope for forgiveness?
There absolutely is hope for homosexuals. God can cleanse and purify all persons from sin. As many scriptures as there are that address sin, there are more that speak of forgiveness and redemption. He is able to give deliverance to any who sincerely desire true freedom and salvation. Such is demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 6:11 (KJV): "And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." This verse says “some of you were,” meaning they became past acts.

We are offered the empowering Spirit of God to help us turn from our sins. Coming out of drug addiction, homosexuality, pornography, or other sin isn't always easy but God will provide the way. Christians are to "love" into the kingdom, those who desire repentance and to live by His natural plan.

Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of our sins and rose again the third day. He desires that we repent and be forgiven of our sins by coming into a personal relationship with Him.

Jon said...

And yet Alan Chambers of Exodus Internations admitted just last month that it's pretty rare for gay people to achieve change from our sexual orientation. NARTH admitted the same thing just a week or two ago. Most people who are actually in the ex-gay business admit that they're parcing words when they talk about change. The people are still gay, even if they change some of their behaviors for a while.

Thanks for commenting, Anonymous.