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4 Things Christians can Affirm about the LGBT Movement

Now before my Christian comrades think an extra-terrestrial has kidnapped me and replaced me with a faux Joshua, let me explain. 

In the last several years we have witnessed the rising of three significant, culture shaping movements here in the West. They are Islam, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans) movement, and more recently the Alt-Right movement. Though I’ve written on the other two as well, most of my focus has touched on the LGBT movement as there is a growing tendency to try and blend its ideology with Christian teaching – something that has not largely been done with the ideology of the other two movements.

Now our defence of Biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality may leave one with the impression that we think there is nothing good in the LGBT movement. But this is not so. Here are some things that we can affirm as good about the movement. If we want to effectively engage with any of the above-mentioned movements, we need to be able to affirm the good as well as point out the bad.

The Good

1. First of all, I wholeheartedly welcome all LGBT activism that has identified and confronted the bullying of children with same-sex attraction or ‘camp’ tendencies in boys. No child should face rejection for things outside of their control. Yes, some groups within the LGBT movement (the HRC for example) have used this issue to try and press their ideology within primary schools. And yes, I know some groups and big corporations (Apple, Microsoft, etc) have bullied smaller groups who hold to the traditional understanding of marriage. 

But the actual issue of the bullying of any child is one we can stand alongside regardless. As Christians we should seek to protect all youth from being bullied – be they atheist, Muslim, Alt-Right, Christian, or same-sex attracted. 

2. Secondly, we can appreciate that very few of those advocating LGBT ideology has resorted to actual violence. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but they are rare. Whereas many #BlackLivesMatter marches have resulted in cars being torched and shops looted (often shops owned by the black community itself) this is hardly ever the case in LGBT Pride Parades. 

3. Next, we can applaud the pursuit of intimacy. The Gay Rights movement has been partially fuelled by a resentment of a lack of healthy, intimate relationships among people of the same gender – particularly men. When I was young, if I went to the cinema with another boy, we often dumped our coats and backpacks in a middle seat between us. We never articulated it, but that middle seat was the ‘we’re not gay’ seat. 

I also remember when the first LOTR film came out and many gay jokes were made about the closeness and vulnerability that Frodo and Sam shared on screen. Jokes about ‘bromance’ reveal that healthy same-sex affection has been lacking in Western culture for some time. This is tragic. Contrast this model with the Middle East where men will often put there arms around each other and hold their friendship out as being sacred.

If a young man grows up in the Western culture with strong same-sex needs for fatherly affirmation or brotherly acceptance and support, it is hard to find. The 1950’s masculine image was emotionally constipated and vulnerable to none. The LGBT movement has sought to fill that void - even if in a bad way. For that reason, the above mentioned young man who is hungry for male affirmation and deep friendship may believe that his needs can only be met in a sexualised, gay relationship. We may disagree with that prescription – but at least the LGBT movement has offered his thirsty soul something.

As Christians, this is to our shame. We need to take the lead in celebrating close friendships of the same gender. I often write about the joys and need for friendship across the gender dividebut this is no substitute for being strongly affirmed and loved by people of the same gender as well. 

Do we celebrate close friendships like the one between Jonathan and David when David said of Jonathan ‘Your love for me was more wonderful than that of women’? We don’t talk that way because we’re afraid people will think we’re gay. And our lonely souls fail to find the joys of intimate friendship that many of us need and that the world around us needs to see modelled.

Though we may disagree with their ultimate, sexualised conclusion, we can at least applaud the LGBT movement for pursuing intimate relationships against an ultra-individualist cultural backdrop. 

4. Lastly, we can appreciate the room for some artistic expression within the movement. I say ‘some’ because as a poet who has worked closely with LGBT artists, I know that if your art contradicts LGBT ideology, you can be quickly shut down. However, as long as you’re not seen as going against the party line, there is space for the flourishing of many new and innovative forms of technology and artistic expression. 

God is an artist and our artistic itches ultimately come from him whether the artist recognises that or not. Artists are not naturally more ‘gay’ than others. But the wrestling and angst that comes with growing up with introverted struggles related to sexual identity do seek artistic expression – and hence there is a higher proportion of artists who are LGBT than other professions.

Engage Politely 

So Christians – when engaging the LGBT community, let’s do so in a spirit of friendship. Yes, integrity - and love itself - demand that we point out what we see as wrong or unhealthy. But if we fail to celebrate what is good – even in those we strongly disagree with – then we show our own lack of maturity. 

LGBT people - just like radicalised Muslims and Alt-RIghters - are made in the image of God and are therefore capable of producing wonderful things that aid human flourishing. We can affirm those elements while still upholding God's design for sex and marriage and politely say 'God has a better way'. 
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bkNeed help with a male-female friendship? Check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.

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