Give up the ghost of proms past

Homosexuality | Marvin Olasky

Give up the ghost of proms past

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How should Christians respond to the latest same-sex couples/high school prom battle?

The news: In Sullivan, Ind., after Sullivan High School principal David Springer said same-sex couples could go to the high school prom, some students and parents met to plan out a separate “traditional prom.”

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The views: “Traditional prom” supporters said, “We are not judging anyone. We are choosing to stand on the word of God.” Time referred to the “segregated” dance and publicized a “Support the Sullivan High School Prom for All” Facebook page, which on Monday had 6,000 “likes.” After the Time article, the total jumped to more than 27,000 (by this morning).

The law: In 2010, when a Fulton, Miss., lesbian learned she could not bring her girlfriend to the prom, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a discrimination suit. The school canceled the dance, coughed up a payment of $35,000, and agreed to enforce a nondiscrimination policy.

The gospel: Tim Keller and others have exegeted the parable of the prodigal son in a way that points out the problems of not only the younger, profligate brother, but also the elder, judgmental brother. Both are at fault: the younger for unholy living, the elder for being self-righteous. Both are equally distant from God.

The reality: Every person attending any school prom is a sinner. Why should one kind of sinner be excluded? Alongside principle stands pragmatism: No way Christians in 2013 America come off well in such an argument.

The perception: On the first day of comparative religion courses I taught at the University of Texas, I often asked my students what came first to their minds when someone said “Christianity.” The most prevalent answer was, “anti-homosexual.” That’s sad.

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