street preachers and homosexuality

Hannah and I were out with friends on Friday night. Passing by the local moviehouse, we saw a small group of protesters standing outside. I’ve seen these men (and boys) before: dressed in coat and tie and carrying placards of the “God hates fags” variety. Things like “Three gay rights: AIDS, hell and salvation.” Now there’s an evangelistic outreach!

Anyway, all of this made me think. I haven’t been following the Brokeback Mountain controversy, but apparently it is pretty heated and this little protest in my town is a part of that. It all seems so misguided though. Conservative Christians should have realized a long time ago that Hollywood isn’t necessarily ‘on their side’ and never will be (unless, of course, there is money to be made — witness The Passion or The Chronicles of Narnia). And yet, these protesters really seem to believe that this one movie is the cause and effect of a great societal slide into depravity and antinomianism.

Check out these lines from Stanley Hauerwas (with thanks to Captain Sacrament):

Discrimination against gays grows from the moral incoherence of our lives; people who are secure in their convictions and practices are not so easily threatened by the prospects of a marginal group acquiring legitimacy…

Gay men and lesbians are being made to pay the price of our society’s moral incoherence not only about sex, but about most of our moral convictions. As a society we have no general agreement about what constitutes marriage and/or what goods marriage ought to serve. We allegedly live in a monogamous culture, but in fact we are at best serially polygamous. We are confused about sex, why and with whom we have it, and about our reasons for having chidren.

This moral confusion leads to a need for the illusion of certainty. If nothing is wrong wth homosexuality then it seems everything is up for grabs. Of course, everything is already up for grabs, but the condemnation of gays hides that fact from our lives. So the moral “no” to gays becomes the necessary symbolic commitment to show that we really do believe in something.

– Stanley Hauwerwas, “Why Gays (as a Group) Are Morally Superior to Christians (as a Group),” 1993 in The Hauerwas Reader (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001), 519-20. [Emphasis mine.]

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