Maybe I shouldn't have titled this "another view" so much as an expansion on Bill's last two posts and an answer to some of the comments on the first. I should also add that this is for Christians who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. Non-Christians don't base their views about LGBT rights on the Bible and Christians with a more liberal theology don't interpret the Biblical passages on homosexuality the same way.
After reading Bill's last three posts and the comments, I have been thinking about God's ideal for marriage (sexual purity with no divorce) vs. the laws He gave regulating divorce. These laws did not mean God had decided "oh they're going to do it anyway so I guess it's okay" but that God knew we were fallen and He wanted the rights of the societal lesser (ie, women in this case) to be protected. (See Deut. 24:1-4; Mt. 5:31, 32; 19:1-12; Mk. 10:2-12). I think this is an example of how those who believe in the inspiration of all the Bible should view LGBT rights.
Laws protecting the rights of others do not mean all of their sins are okay, just that others shouldn't be able to take advantage of them. There have been two recent instances in the news that show just how much is denied to them solely becuz they cannot get married; it's CRUEL and it certainly isn't Christian or Godly or Christ-like or following the Golden Rule (given in at least 22 religions that I know of) to treat people like that strictly becuz of their sexual orientation.
My main thought though is that if we're going to deny America's civil rights AND basic human rights to sinners, then we need to deny them to ALL sinners.
Which is everyone according to the Bible.
Including all the religious folks out there screaming about homosexuality.
But no one is proposing that; they just want to deny these rights to a particular group. This time because of their sin. Last time because of the color of their skin. You see, the church has a long tradition of turning a blind eye to the sins committed by those within and focusing on the sins of those without. Then once that sin is as prevelant within the church as outside (for instance divorce as mentioned in my previous comment) they shut up.
Jesus and Paul never did that. They never lambasted non-believers about their sin. Yes, on occasion they mentioned the sins of their unbelieving audience but with kindness and only to point out their need for salvation (see the story of the woman at the well - John 4:4-42). Jesus and Paul talked the most and the harshest about sin to religious people - either saying that their hypocricy kept others from God or reminding them what God had saved them from. Jesus made it clear in word and deed that He came to save those who are lost. And He paid a mighty high price for it.
I thank God that He is willing to forgive my sin.
And I pray that His people will start looking at sinners as God does:
as people in need of love and grace,
as people He was willing to DIE for,
as people who He LOVES.
If we're all sinners as the Bible says, if He loved us all so much He would die for us as the Bible says, then maybe I should treat someone who practices a different sin than I do with that same love and compassion as the Bible says instead of sinning myself by showing hate toward another. If instead we choose hate, then perhaps we need to reread the new testament. First John chapter 4 is a pretty good place to start: "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (I John 4:20). And of course there's the story of the good samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
And make no mistake about it, denying other human beings their rights as humans and as citizens, let alone as bearers of the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28) is not love.
It's not treating your neighbor as yourself.
It's not following the Golden Rule.
It's hate. If you're going to practice, acknowledge it.
And leave the name of my loving God out of it.
This isn't my first post here and some of what I've talked about relates to some of what I talked about in the previous post. You see, I believe if we loved people as much as God does, we wouldn't marginalize whole groups (in that post it was single moms & the poor, in this post (and the two posts this refers to), it's the LGBT community) but would bring them into our churches, our homes and our hearts. And until we love them that way, we are worrying about the speck in our neighbor's eye while ignoring the 2x4 in our own eye (Matthew 7:3).
Think that about covers that! Unlike Bill, I don't normally open up the scriptures to others -- apparently about once a year and only on his blog LOL. Thanks for the forum.
Now, to the person who accused Bill of teetering of the edge of apostasy, I have to say this:
Ever since I can remember, Bill has spent hours in the word on a daily basis, whether he was teaching or not. Since he moved up here, I’ve observed a real humble spirit towards learning what God wants him to learn, both from God's word and other sources (he probably had this spirit before, but now he's here for me to see it). While I know there is always the possiblity he could misunderstand something in the scriptures, I feel that it would be difficult due to the amount of time he spends studying and praying. The fact that he is willing to (1) apologize for his earlier legalism and/or judgmentalism and (2) fine-tune or even change his thoughts about subjects makes me believe God is answering him, not that he's falling into apostasy.
God is so incredibly liberal with His grace and what I see in Bill's theological progression is a move toward a more liberal grace as well. This is totally in keeping with Scripture.