[UPDATE: I edited some of the below to clarify my own position, separating it from some of the Christians whom I am criticizing.]
Especially with a certain television show’s antics, there have been recent flare-ups again in the culture wars, with some atheists (and unfortunately, some Christians) saying that Jesus wants His followers to use violence against gay people. Let’s put aside the question of whether Jesus views homosexuality as a sin, not because this is irrelevant to the broader culture war, but because it’s irrelevant to the very specific issue I am discussing.
The most obvious evidence is Jesus declining to cast stones at an adulteress, despite the Mosaic Law. Yet some people argue that this never happened, and was added later to the Bible.
OK what about the entire ministry of Jesus, in which He allowed a woman of dubious moral standing in the community to wash His feet (and then He forgave her of her sins), He ate with tax collectors, and when hearing the scandalized “upstanding” members of the community remark on His company, He replied, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And finally, Jesus welcomes the repentant thief on the cross into paradise. This guy was a convicted criminal and admitted his guilt. Does that mean Jesus is OK with theft?
What’s particularly ironic to me in this culture war is that there are many Bible-believing Christian who think homosexuality is a (perverse) choice caused by difficult life events, and acting on this worldview they wag their fingers at gay people and say, “You are violating God’s laws, you’re going to hell.” But this is absurd, since according to their own perspective this will just make things worse, by amplifying feelings of guilt, shame, and fear of social condemnation.
No, the proper thing to do is point out that all of us are violating God’s laws; there is nothing special about gay people in this respect. We are all in desperate need of a Savior, who loves us just as we are and can offer us peace and feelings of acceptance and self-worth that no group of peers or neighbors can possibly provide.