In the wake of significant gender, sexual, and racial movements in the United States, a growing rhetoric of slander and disparagement has emerged. This bombastic campaign calls anyone with a Biblical worldview and religious adherence a bigot. Since the 1960s, the liberation from social “norms,” family traditions, and moral conviction has been deemed as the currency of the day. If one rejects such an idea, they are immediately assumed to be sexist, racist, and homophobic. Are Christians really bigots? Do they hate the gays, the oppressed, the marginalized and outcasts? If we really looked, I think a clear picture of the Church and those who follow Jesus would surface, and it’s not one you might think.
The House of God loves deeply, forgives quickly, and embraces openly. No other movement in the history of the world has afforded more opportunity, fought for justice more fiercely, and defended the oppressed and marginalized more strongly than the Church. The Christian religion revolutionized the place and prestige of women in society by elevating sexual morality and conferring upon women a much higher social status. The early Christians established healthcare in Roman and Greek society, laying the foundation for western medicine and healthcare. While the classical world was too busy murdering it’s children and elderly (oops, sound familiar?), Christians were caring for sick, hurting, and destitute people. The early Church’s opposition to abortion, along with its condemnation of infanticide and child abandonment, has been a major factor in institutionalizing the sancity of human life in the western world. Inclusive public education first came from the Protestant reformers. Genuine democracy of society, equality, and human rights stem from the Christian religion. The abolition of slavery and the rejection of segregation are rooted in the early teachings of Christianity. The Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical movements have spent nearly $50 billion on charity and social philanthropy, with 17% of all social services funded by the Catholic Church.
Be that as it may, no matter how much good the Church does in society, Christianity is still just a bunch of dogmatic zealots because they believe in absolute truths and not experiential reality. Absolute truth bases itself in the understanding that truth exists – that there is a defined social, moral, and spiritual understanding of the world that gives clear boundaries and a framework for how to live and behave. It’s not an oppressive registry of rules, but a lifestyle that unshackles man from the enslavement to depravity, self-indulgence, and immorality. It fights for the good in all people and builds a society of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It advocates for the hurting, lost, and broken. It celebrates success and gives lessons in failures. It plants itself deep so that when times are tough and the world seems shaken, you have a foundational understanding that will see you through the most devastating of times.
Since the Church is so welcoming to all people groups, the reality is this: not everyone who attends Church lives a life that represents the teachings of Scripture. A popular trend seen in the 21st century is Cultural Christianity as shown by President Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. It’s popular to publicly identify as a person of faith, but unpopular to live a life that honors that commitment. Even though culture won’t admit it — maintaining good morals, sound judgment, and a love of God and country are all critical assets to a thriving, healthy society.
In order to identify as a follower and disciple of Jesus, one must believe and adhere to the teachings of Jesus. No, not just the passages about loving thy neighbor and helping the poor. It’s the ones about how to live a life that is respectable, tranquil, righteous, and God-honoring; the ones about marriage being between one man and one woman; the one about God’s heart for gender and sexuality; the ones about repentance and righteousness.
You see, culture is fine with tolerating Christianity as long as it’s watered-down, affirming of immorality, and welcoming to a depraved and defiled doctrine. Culture hates the kind of Christianity that follows the Bible because it calls all men to deny carnal desires, temptations, and impulses, all of which require significant sacrifice to exercise. They’ll be damned if they let some Bible thumpers get in the way.
So, why is culture determined to create a narrative where Christians are the bigots? The answer is simple: secular culture has a depraved worldview that says if Christians do not affirm a certain lifestyle or behavior, then Christians hate those that participate in those activities. Christians that follow Scripture would say that marriage is between one biological male and one biological female. That doesn’t mean those that choose other lifestyles are less valuable and don’t deserve the same love, grace, and kindness as others. However, it does mean that those individuals are living a life contrary to the desires of God, and it is the responsibility of the Church to reconcile those issues in public policy, culture, and families. The Church desires everyone to experience the transformative, healing, and redemptive presence of Jesus. No matter your creed, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender – God has a plan and purpose for your life.
A bigot is someone who strongly dislikes or hates a group of people. When you peel back the curtain and look at it through a lense of truth, it seems to me that those that call Christians bigots… are actually the bigots themselves.
The Gospel of Jesus is one of transformation, and for the Church to pursue such holy endeavors doesn't make them hateful, it makes them disciples of love itself — Jesus.