Eric, from Ohio, is very upset with WORLD in general and me in particular. "I've been a reader for 12 years or more," he says, "and now I get the distinct impression that you are becoming more, not less, homophobic with every issue. Does gay-bashing really give you that much satisfaction?"
Well, no. But short of taking on an exhaustive, exhausting, and costly 12-year content analysis, through which we would review some 20,000 pages of WORLD, I'm not sure just how to settle such a challenge. We could devise a methodology, I suppose, to assign an "attitudinal" score to every single reference or allusion-and then calculate which direction we seem to be headed. But it would be a pretty massive project, and I'm not sure just what it would tell us when we were finished.
Eric complains that WORLD regularly implies that homosexual practice is the worst of all possible sins. I don't think we've ever suggested that-but the charge reminds us of at least two biblical cautions we've mentioned here before.
First, we should be careful never to be frivolous about homosexuality, and we should be careful not to poke fun at the sinner. Although it has been customary even in secular society (think late night shows) to speak crudely or condescendingly about homosexuals, Christians ought never to be in such company. We'll steer clear of the temptation to make light of what is a serious issue for a host of people, including believers.
Second, although Eric is right when he claims there haven't been many positive references to our culture's homosexual community in our pages during the last generation, that doesn't make homosexuality unique. Sin is sin; falling short of God's glory means missing the mark. Period. So readers will also look in vain for positive references in WORLD to heterosexual adultery, to grand larceny on Wall Street, and to lying by public officials. But if the tone of our coverage tends to drive a reader to depression because he sees little chance for redemption, then we have failed indeed. I believe, though, that if there has been a change in our editorial attitude through the years, it has been reflected in a heightened sense of hope for those with such inclinations and addictions.
Yet saying all that, we dare not lose sight of two other facts about the contemporary homosexual agenda. The first is that it is an extreme in-your-face challenge to God's order. We learn that both from the Bible and from common sense. As we've noted here before, if heterosexual immorality is like driving 85 mph in a 35 mph zone, then homosexual immorality is like going 85 mph the wrong way on a one-way street. Never mind what prompts you to drive the wrong way; just doing it is dangerous. We're no more judgmental saying that than we are when we encourage folks to avoid any behavior that is demonstrably destructive-spiritually, emotionally, or physically.
The other important aspect of the current homosexual agenda is its zeal to establish itself as normal. It's bad enough when wrongdoers work hard to keep their wrongdoing secret. When instead they flaunt what they do, and pull out all the stops to make it public, then society has problems of a different order.
For decades now, we've witnessed an all-out effort to portray homosexual behavior as typical and mainstream. It's pointless to worry about battles being waged in literature, the library systems, the entertainment industries, the information media, fashion, higher education, and most of the liberal churches-for the battles in those venues are long since over. When the armies of homosexual advocacy have nothing left to conquer but the kindergarten class down the street, you know you're almost certainly too late on the scene.
Homophobic gay-bashers? Not really, Eric. But realistic about what's happening all around us? Indeed, yes. And I hope we say that these days with a tear-and never anything you might mistake for a leer.