Within the past week of writing, while many a chocolate Easter egg is still only part eaten or even intact, newspapers began to blaze out about an advert that was meant to be posted on London buses plying across the main city routes. For two weeks these words would have been blazoned across the world-famous red vehicles:
NOT GAY! EX-GAY, POST-GAY AND PROUD. GET OVER IT.
This ad was sponsored by two Christian groups - the Core Issues Trust and Anglican Mainstream. However, Boris Johnson, the current Mayor of London, blocked the ad from being posted. The fact that early next month Londoners will have the opportunity to either re-elect Johnson, or his main rival, Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London for the next term of office. As a matter of fact, the two main party leaders are heavily banking on the victory of their candidates. Conservative leader and current Prime Minister, David Cameron, is hoping that Johnson will win, while Labour Opposition leader, Ed Miliband, is relying on the victory of the socialist candidate. So we wonder exactly on Johnson's prime motive for the ban, whether it was to do with morality, a political vote-winner, or a bit of each.
The leader of Core Issues Trust, Mike Davidson, was aghast that, as he says, was unaware that censorship was in place, as the Advertising Standards Authority had originally passed the message for publicity. But here he is missing the point.
And the point missed by Davidson is the theme for this blog. And this may be a shock to any Christian reading this. But I believe that Boris Johnson was right in banning the ad from publicity. And this is coming from a committed Christian, who would desire all men everywhere to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
According to a poll conducted by the Daily Mail Newspaper, at the moment 65% agreed with Johnson's ban, while the remaining 35% disagreed, not so much for moral support, I guess, as for the right to exercise free speech. In other words, that Davidson had the legal right to express his opinion. But any reader can be assured that not a single homosexual or LGBT associate would have agreed with Davidson or any Christian group for that matter, it would have resulted in hostility against the faith altogether.
For example, the advert was the subject of the forum at a Gay Sports and Fitness website, which also has a section on spirituality. Checking the responses, hostility towards Christianity was inflamed and praise for Johnson's action encouraged. One commented that this kind of publicity against them causes a rise of suicides among Gays, with the usual enforcing of guilt, rejection, social isolation and loneliness. He then concluded his post with the words:
In other words, Christians are inadvertently murderers in my book.
In another post was written:
(I) guess the Christians just hate everyone as usual.
In the Daily Mail, one commented:
At least there's a cure for religion - it's called Education.
In the USA, Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps assembles his flock where ever there is a Gay Pride or festival, and even at the funeral of American servicemen who were killed in battle. Phelps makes sure that placards are held up high for all to see - all reading: God Hates Fags, God Will Judge America, and Homos will Burn in Hell, and so on. According to my knowledge, not only a single person was ever converted to Christ, but hostility spilled over into public ridicule. Phelps was the major contributor in bringing the Christian faith down to the level of laughing stock in the eyes of the LGBT. Cartoons such as the following may bring even a committed Christian to crack a smile - but it does contain a serious message:
There is nothing new in any of this. Those who advocate such advertisements are actually preaching the Law. And as Paul writes, that by the law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20.) Yes,I believe that there are proper times to preach the Law, particularly to any unsaved person sitting in Church. But the purpose of preaching the law is always to convict the heart of sin and thereby prepare the ground, so to speak, to receive the gloriously good news of the Saviour Jesus Christ, who was crucified to atone for those sins, and was resurrected on the third day. The Law, summarised in the ten Commandments, was meant to lead the person to Christ, and it had no saving power of it own. Rather the Law condemns, and without any saving faith, the condemnation would eventually lead to hostility and atheism. Paul himself writes:
For if those who live by the law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. (Romans 4:14-15.)
Wrath expressed here is twofold. First the Law brings the knowledge of sin. This resulting knowledge makes the sinner aware of the wrath of God, in turn, guilt leads to the sinner's hostility towards God, even denying his existence to cover his guilt. In the aforementioned Gay Fitness website, I have seen that the vast majority of homosexual men are hostile to God and the Christian faith. They are not afraid to express this hostility on their forums. The reason is always the same - constantly being told that homosexuality is wrong and Hell awaits those who practice it. This shocking sense of unfairness is further amplified by their belief that being Gay was from early childhood, often with the idea that such orientation originated from gestation in the womb. Adding to this is their awareness that other animal species having similar homosexual habits - but without the fear of Hell.
I am fully aware where all this is coming from. Reading through the Old Testament, one reads of the shocking apostasy repeated over and over by the whole nation of Israel. From almost immediately after crossing the Red Sea under the leadership of Moses, they quickly turned away from the true God who delivered them from slavery in Egypt to worship a golden calf. The sorry state continued, until at the time of the Prophet Jeremiah, their apostasy and hostility towards God had got to such a bad state, that the whole nation was first captured by the Assyrians to be led away to Assyria, then shortly afterwards, the remaining Jews were led away to Babylon, leaving their capital - Jerusalem, desolate. God himself knew this was set to happen. In Deuteronomy 28, Moses prophesied that the Jews were going to be subject to one particular nation (the Babylonians - verses 49-57) and then scattered across the globe (verses 64-68).
Israel was not able to keep the Law, and at the end the "wandering Jew" without a homeland was a byword to all other nations for nearly two thousand years. No one from any nation can keep the Law either. Nobody can keep the Law, for the Law condemns. Thus the advert on the London buses would have brought condemnation, not reformation as the ad would have implied. Because of this, the advert would have pushed more people into Hell, and saved no one at all. Furthermore, the advert would have brought the Christian faith and all the churches to disrepute, a self-righteous, hypocritical group committed to frowning on the Gay world, while bypassing the sins of others - not unlike the Pharisees of old.
The Law brings the knowledge of sin, and correctly used, meant to be a schoolmaster leading us to faith in Jesus Crucified. It is through faith in Christ alone that one is saved. And this so great salvation is free to all who believe. The heterosexual (straight) person and the homosexual (gay) person is saved in the exactly the same way - faith in Christ. I personally believe that the Gay person should not be told, "Stop that way of living or you will be judged." Nothing would crush his spirit and cause him to turn away from the faith as such a statement! Instead, the Gay and the Straight believer should be seen as saints, redeemed of the Lord, and loved equally by God. Both have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, and such it is up to God to work in their lives. Just as a devoted husband will do anything to please his wife, the object of his love, so likewise, the saint - whether gay or straight - will want to please God as best as he could. If that means quitting the gay lifestyle, then God will give him that power. It is not for us to tell him not to, unless he sincerely wants to know.
Every sinner, straight or gay, wants to be loved and accepted. To God there is no difference between the two - God loves them both equally and his wish is that both be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. We as Christians should not distinguish on the sexual orientation because God does not.
Well done Boris Johnson, for blocking that advert from being posted on London's buses. That action most likely had spared us from wiping our brow in embarrassment.