Question: Why do churches harp on homosexuality so much? Aren’t there many other sins they’re ignoring?
The short answer is, yes and no. A slightly longer answer is this: society has made homosexuality an issue, and the church has responded in kind to this new normalization. If the issue was some other deviation, such as adultery or incest, there would be little said about homosexuality, and much said about the other two.
But we need an even longer answer. It is a common conception that conservative Christians focus too much time and energy on homosexuality. But this isn’t fully accurate. Christians have the appearance of being unbalanced in this area for a couple of reasons. For one, the political aspect of gay marriage and same sex benefits has brought this issue to the forefront. Most Christians vote, and since they don’t find these ideas good for the country, they bring up the issue to their representatives, and also write and speak about them. It’s therefore in the news a lot and Christians seem only to be focused on this particular issue. Secondly, there are the extreme preachers and churches that do indeed put a great deal of time and effort into an anti-homosexual message. A few have even done outlandish things such as picket the funerals of gay people, and preach sermons about rounding up gays and killing them. Even though the vast majority of Christians abhor such behavior, and even though only a small percentage of Sunday sermons even mention homosexuality, guess who gets the media attention? So when a non-Christian or gay rights supporter hears a hate-filled rant from a pulpit, or watches the unbiblical antics of Westboro Baptist with their “God Hates Fags” signs, is it any wonder that they attribute these attitudes to most conservative Christians?
The truth is that the Bible teaches that we all have sinned and fall (continually) short of his glory. Everyone struggles with sin. Whether gossip, slander, pride, violence, unjust anger, lust, or the myriad types of sexual perversions – God requires us all to repent. Not only that, he has called believers in Jesus to teach others that we all must turn from our sins and believe in him. On the one hand, Christians must call out all sin, including, but never limited to, homosexual behavior, since all sin keeps us from God. On the other hand, when society experiences a tidal wave shift in thinking on a particular issue – in this case, homosexuality – it is perfectly reasonable, and should be expected, that Christians will respond. The questions for Christians are: How am I responding? Humbly or arrogantly? With love or condescension? And how much time am I focusing on this? Is there a lack of balance?
One other thing to keep in mind is the fact that every group has its “black sheep” who make life difficult for everybody else. There are millions of Christians and thousands of churches. Just looking at the mathematical odds, of course there are going to be Christians and churches doing and saying outlandish things. This fact really should go without saying, and I would have liked to have not said it, but I think it is easily forgotten, or at least ignored. It is simply unreasonable to judge Christianity by the rogues out there who are not in any way representative of the whole.
In summary, our modern culture has made homosexuality an issue by normalizing it more than any previous culture in history. Anyone who disagrees is often labeled “backward” or a “bigot.” Society has drawn “first blood” in this issue, and Christians have responded. Unfortunately, some have answered to fire with fire, and this has raised the ire of the pro-gay movement even more. Yet it must be understood that the Bible does condemn homosexual acts, and it would be a violation of the Christian’s conscience to sit idly by while others are saying it’s “okay.” We must call sin, sin, yet do so with gentleness, respect, and humility, knowing that we too are sinners. To do otherwise would be unloving.