Who Are the Hatemongers?

If you ski the slopes of Aspen this winter, you risk being labeled a hatemonger and a bigot. Why? Because several glitzy Hollywood stars—-Barbara Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Rivers—-have announced a boycott of their favorite Colorado ski slopes. Hollywood is out to punish the people of Colorado for passing an amendment to their state constitution, which outlaws special legal privileges to homosexuals. Contrary to what Newsweek magazine claims, the amendment does not "strip away legal protection for gays." Homosexuals still enjoy the same civil rights that are guaranteed to the rest of us. What the amendment prohibits is affirmative action for gays, which would override the fundamental rights of other citizens-—such as the right of Christian groups not to hire homosexuals. The referendum has sparked a firestorm. The ACLU has filed suit challenging the amendments constitutionality. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force denounced amendment supporters as "religious hatemongers." But are gay-rights opponents really hatemongers and homophobes? Of course not. The dictionary defines a phobia as an irrational and excessive fear. Being morally opposed to homosexuality doesn't mean we're afraid of it. In our ministry at Prison Fellowship, we often work with AIDS victims, making a point to show them God's love. Let's be very clear on the biblical teaching here. God calls us to hate the sin but love the sinner. If we have ever treated homosexuals uncharitably, we need to repent. But Scripture explicitly teaches that homosexuality violates God's creation ordinance. We must refuse to be bullied into condoning behavior the Bible calls sin. Charges of homophobia and hatemongering are not only wrong, they're dangerous—for they stifle the free exchange of ideas. You see, the very essence of democratic pluralism is that all citizens have the right to contend for truth in the public arena. In theory, the best ideas prevail and the debate yields a morally informed democratic consensus. But if certain ideas are ruled out of court—if certain positions are branded as sheer hatemongering—then the democratic debate collapses. Principled discourse is replaced by name-calling. And that undermines everyone's rights. For if the Christian point of view is ruled out of bounds, any other point of view can be ruled out as well. Ironically, no one talks about the hatemongering that rears its ugly head on the other side. A few weeks ago a news conference with Colorado for Family Values was disrupted by gay activists shouting and blowing horns. They heckled one of the speakers, a black woman. "You're a bigot," a gay activist screamed at her. "Tired of cleaning toilets, huh?" another sneered. Still others branded her a Nazi. These are the same people who turn around and accuse Christians of being hateful! The battle in Colorado is sure to spill over into other states. So be prepared. Call us here at "Break- Point" if you'd like information on groups you can contact for educational materials. It's up to each of us to make the case for what we believe intelligently and sensitively—without being intimidated by name-callers.


Chuck Colson


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