Thursday, July 9, 2015

Webcomic Artist Adam Ford Doesn't Love You...

This is a response to this webcomic (or, actually, just one tiny piece of it) which you may have seen in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision that essentially legalized marriage equality. If you haven't already, go look at it; this response won't make much sense, otherwise. But, if you want to skip that and continue, one panel in the comic says:
"The liberal 'churches' which are now saying, 'Oh hey! God changed his mind and is totes cool with the gay stuff now 4 real!' do not really love you. They want your approval."
As someone who grew up in one of those liberal churches, this is about six different kinds of infuriating. First of all, Adam Ford, I’m not aware of any church, anywhere, that’s saying "God changed His mind." That message just isn’t out there. So either you’re not looking — you’re making unwarranted assumptions about what those liberal denominations are saying and not bothering to do even a cursory check of the facts — or you’re lying outright. Either way, you’re bearing false witness against your neighbors. So that part where you keep protesting that you’re not super-perfect, and even with God’s love and guidance you screw up regularly? Well. You’re doing it again. You’re doing it again right here.

Second of all, Adam Ford, pointing out that those churches "don’t really love you"? Nobody loves people they don’t know. So this actually applies to everyone in your "[fill in the blank here] doesn’t really love you" list. You know what? That includes you. That little red circle at the bottom of your comic with "There’s love here. Lots, actually."?? Yeah, that’s pretty much bullshit. Maybe you have some sort general good intentions and friendly feelings towards gay people, but until and unless you really know them, those feelings are abstract, theoretical, and essentially useless. That’s not love. That's duty, or obligation, or maybe just theological policy.

Third, Adam Ford, if you’ve just finished listing all the people who are, y’know, actually supportive, and explaining why they don’t really love gay people, why on Earth would you expect gay people to think any differently about you? You don’t really love gay people; you just want to tell them the Truth Of God’s Word(tm). Or maybe we should all just nod along, and think No, it’s okay, this guy sketched this out in a cute little cartoon. He couldn’t possibly have any ulterior motive. Is that it?

Fourth, Adam Ford, did you just put scare quotes around the word "churches"? Do you really mean to imply that liberal denominations aren’t real churches, don’t really worship God, don’t do their limited human best to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ — just like you do? Do you really want to get into the "who’s a Real True Christian(tm)?" contest? Are you really that threatened by differing viewpoints? And, if so, why should those of us who don’t share your particular theological views assume that you have anything useful or even interesting to share with us?

The general line from those liberal churches you so blithely dismiss isn’t that God changed His mind. It’s that our understanding is limited, and as far as we can tell we have now come to a better understanding of what God wants for and from His people on this particular issue. In particular, arguing that gays shouldn’t have (committed, consensual, and — yes, a thousand times yes — sexual) relationships does real, measurable harm, and is therefore in conflict with Matthew 22:39, and is therefore immoral and in fact sinful.

They are treating this as a moral issue, just as you are. And they are arguing that you are on the wrong side of the issue.

What, in all of that, sounds like "They just want your approval"?

As you can see, this is a rebuttal to one panel. Just one. For responses to the whole thing, check out Jarred's Open Letter (where this comment was originally published), or Jonathan Nichols' extremely well thought out answer.

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