Yes, There is a Gay Agenda

And every confessing Christian should support it.

When Disney announced that their live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast would feature the first "exclusively gay moment" in one of their pictures, the flood of evangelical opposition came as expected.

Franklin Graham said that he hoped Christians everywhere would "say no to Disney". Al Mohler warned that entertainment has the power to "reach our hearts". And Southern Baptist professor Denny Burk lamented, "Disney has put me and many other parents like me in the position of having to explain to very small children why this movie is bad for them."

The liberal rejoinder was no less surprising. Jonathan Merritt, a senior columnist for Religion News Service, responded with a piece entitled "Flaming Hypocrisy in Evangelical Christian Boycott". In less than 700 words, Merritt takes evangelicals to task for boycotting Disney's gay promotion while supporting a sexually-exploitative president, which he likens to "straining out a gnat but swallowing a camel."

Unfortunately, Merritt's argument falls flat because he dismisses the evangelical fear of a gay agenda being pushed into "the hearts and minds of our children" by outlining the very things that they believe constitute an agenda. He claims there is no gay agenda in the film for the following reasons:

  • There are no explicit discussions in the film about gay rights, gay marriage or the morality of gay relationships
  • LeFou doesn't have a husband or a boyfriend or even an explicit same-gender love interest in the film
  • LeFou experiences a "subtle" moment when it seems he might (or might not) be attracted to Gaston

However, evangelicals aren't afraid of gay rights, gay marriages, or even gay moments. They're afraid of normalizing the LGBT community. They don't want their children to see gay people as husbands and fathers but as aberrations, and they fear that seeing them as anything else is the first step to social acceptance and theological acquiescence.

If there is a gay agenda, normalizing gay people is precisely what it is. For most of human history, homosexuality was relegated to cult prostitution, elitist fetishes, and celibacy furloughs. And those who actually pursued real, gay relationships were stigmatized as obscene, licentious, and pedophilic. Disassociating homosexuality from its ancient perversions was no small task, so it's a fairly recent development that gay people are considered men, not monsters.

Merritt says that the boycott makes evangelicals look like they "object to the mere existence of gay people", but that's not just an appearance. Despite their "love the sinner, hate the sin" mantra, they want gay people regarded as nothing more than rebellious and unnatural. Humanizing them in any way is cultural capitulation.

Perhaps Merritt wants to give evangelicals the benefit of the doubt as both sides have their blowhards, but the slippery slope of homosexual normalization is a frequent talking point in those circles.

Merritt is absolutely right that avoiding the subject of homosexuality won't prepare kids for the real world, but the reality is evangelicals want their kids to avoid the real world. As Denny Burk said, they don't want to have to explain their ethics to their kids. They simply want them to oppose gay people because they believe the Bible says to do so.

And many of us did. To my shame, I grew up thoughtlessly dehumanizing gay people as gross punchlines, not children of God. I was never confronted by their humanity because they were safely locked in their closets and gay jokes were still funny.

I wasn't prepared to meet gay couples who were together longer than my parents. I was told they were perverted nymphomaniacs enslaved to their appetites and always seeking the next hedonistic high. They were incapable of long-term, loving relationships because those were a blessing from God and a sign of his favor.

But the false narrative of gay monsters doesn't hold up in the real world. Kids today are growing up seeing happy, healthy gay couples in broad daylight because the gay agenda hasn't just normalized them, it's humanized them. Seeing all people the way God does may be caving to an agenda, but it's an agenda the church should've been behind all along,

You don't have to believe that homosexuality isn't a sin to treat gay people as human beings. Likewise, you can think that homosexuality is a sin and still support the gay agenda. If biblical integrity is dependent on marginalizing certain people, you're reading the Bible wrong. Sin or not, nothing can separate us from God's love. Let's treat others like we believe it.

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photo credit: torbakhopper the belt -- size adjustments and relational unions : castro, san francisco (2012) via photopin (license)

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