Al Mohler writes an alarming piece today on the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act” that President Obama signed into law yesterday.
The bill, named for two men killed in vicious attacks, extends the definition of federal hates crimes to include attacks “based on a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or mental or physical disability.”
What sounds good on the surface is actually one more step toward eliminating all moral and sexual boundaries in society. If God does not send revival soon through our nation, we may be seeing only the beginning stages of moral decay. This new hate crimes law is another tumble down the slippery slope. Mohler observes,
The logic that leads to the celebration of gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships cannot stop with those sexual categories. In an age that elevates “consent” as the only meaningful moral and legal issue, any effort to refuse similar recognition to any consensual sexual relationship, lifestyle, or practice is doomed to eventual failure. It is all just a matter of time.
Think polygamy, incest, polyamory, and bestiality, just to name a few. Who has any “right” to say any of these are wrong if parties consent? Such a hate crimes law is bound to affect what children’s textbooks will teach; what lifestyles TV and advertising will present as normative; what churches and pastors can legally say, etc. We are in a moral tailspin. And this is precisely the decline and judgment promised by God in Romans 1.
For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper… (Romans 1:25-28)
How should Christians respond to people with “degrading passions” and a “depraved mind”? Certainly, the answer is not to spew anger and threaten violence. It’s so sad that a “hate crimes act” is even deemed necessary. Hate will never draw a person to Christ.
We must speak the truth in a context of love (Eph. 4:15). Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, like all other sinners, are tasting the bitterness of sin and are being held captive by its will (Acts 8:23). Through our words and actions we need to show compassion and convey the gospel — that all of us are sinners who can be saved by grace.
We are not here to “judge” sinners, if by “judge” we mean condemning or persecuting them for their immoral thoughts and behavior. We should show others the same patience God has shown us. But God’s patience should not be misunderstood as tacit approval of immoral behavior. His patience is temporary, and it is for the purpose of repentance.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
We should be patient and loving toward those with degrading passions, calling them to repentance and forgiveness, while celebrating a biblical view of sexuality (Heb. 13:4), and avoiding laws that will endorse immorality.
While it is never right to commit a hate crime toward someone with a different gender, religion, ethnicity, or “sexual orientation,” this law is built on a false premise and is a dangerous step in the wrong direction.