I’m not going to give a point-by-point disagreement with his interpretation of scripture. If anyone is interested, I’ll delve into it. But that’s not really what this blog series is about. We are all free to either believe the Bible or not. We are free to interpret it the way we choose. I don’t feel a need to convert Mr. Sanchez to my way of interpreting scripture.
Mr. Sanchez’s kindest and most loving character, a very mature boy who is secure in his homosexual identity and who also identifies himself as a Christian, tells the Christian boy who is confused and struggling with his sexual identity to go on the Internet and look at porn sites and see which one turns him on—heterosexual porn or homosexual porn.
And I find myself frustrated at the way the author has misunderstood Christians.
Christians wouldn’t urge a boy to go on the Internet and look at porn to figure out which pictures excite him more. For so many reasons, we wouldn’t do that.
The Bible teaches that porn is sinful, for one thing. There is no way that looking at a picture of someone’s naked body and lusting after it is OK with God. Porn is a filthy industry making men rich off the misery of young women and children. It’s not something that Christians believe is tolerable or useful.
But mostly we wouldn’t tell anyone to look at porn because we don’t believe we determine what’s OK with God by discovering what excites us. The Bible teaches that stolen bread tastes sweet. There is in us a desire to do naughty things and get away with them. There is an excitement in danger, often. Many exciting activities are neutral in God’s sight—roller coaster rides, for instance. Other exciting things are evil in God’s sight—a lap dance at a strip joint or robbing a bank. So a mature Christian, as Alex’s character was supposed to be, wouldn’t tell a boy to decide what sexual practices he was going to engage in based on what kind of porn excited him. Christians believe they are to deny their flesh and take up their crosses. They are taught to turn their backs on much that feels good to them. For the Christian there is only one place to look for answers about what is OK with God. That’s in the Bible. So the question for the Christian in regards to which sexual practices he should indulge in is not, “What do you most lust after?” The question is, “Will you follow your lust or will you crucify your desires when they conflict with what God has told us in scripture?”
Men have all kinds of sexual preferences. I had a friend who could only get sexually excited by spanking boys. Is this rare? Not as rare as you might think. There are sites on the Internet devoted to spanking. Google “spanking porn” and you come up with 4,480,000 results. So we know there is an audience. No Christian would suggest that sexual practices that excite us are bound to be approved of by God.
It is within the realm of possibility that a boy who thought he was both homosexual and Christian would tell another boy to go to homosexual porn sites and see if he liked them. But to have a boy who supposedly is an expert on the Christian Bible, and who supposedly loves the God found in the Christian Bible, offer such advice is dismissive of true Christian belief.
Right about now, you may be thinking about those preachers who have been caught visiting prostitutes or having sex with boys, and you may be thinking that of course Christians visit porn sites. I won’t argue that. I think that Christians are often hypocritical. My point is not that a Christian would never visit a porn site. It’s that a Christian wouldn’t suggest that visiting porn sites is healthy and a good way to determine God’s will for your sex life.
Another place where Alex gets Christians wrong is in his suggestion that Christians are mean-spirited if they believe homosexual acts are sinful.
This is a shallow treatment. Many Christians are not mean-spirited even though they hold that homosexual behavior is sinful. Many Christians would happily welcome down-and-out homosexuals into their homes and feed them and clothe them. Surely some Christians are mean-spirited. But not all.
Making all the traditional Christians in the book mean-spirited is like writing a book where all homosexual men are pedophiles settling for adult homosexual relationships because they don’t want to land in jail. If I did that, I’d be lying about homosexuals. I know many homosexuals who are wonderful, warm, compassionate people who have no desire to have sex with children. Some homosexuals believe that children are sexual beings and that they should be allowed to make up their own minds about having sex with adult men—that’s where the NAMBLA people come in. But it would be wrong for me to suggest that all, or even most, homosexual men want to see sex with minors legalized.
Finally, the one homosexual man in the book who turned his back on homosexuality for the sake of obedience to Scripture, was painted as miserable. This too felt unbalanced to me, probably because I’ve known homosexuals who have married opposite-sex partners and been happy with their decisions.
So, yes, I want to see more homosexuals in books, and I want to see them portrayed fairly and not as caricatures. But I also want to see accurately portrayed Christians in books. I want to see books about all kinds of different people because I think that it is good for us to get to know people who aren’t just like us. I think we should exercise our brains and think about what we read. I want more discussions on books—hopefully we can speak with respect for one another and consider what the other guy is saying instead of thoughtlessly spewing venom.
Which leads me to my next post…the reaction Noel gave to a book by Laurel Snyder and the way others reacted to her reaction.