“Whenever, wherever, however it happens—your first shave is special.” This is the caption of a Facebook ad by Gillette. It features a young person shaving while a father offers encouragement.
What makes the ad unusual is that the person is transgender. The ad has received more than a million views as of this morning.
A strategy that changed America
As “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month” begins later this week, we can expect many more messages like this in the media. They are part of a strategy that has been advancing in our culture for more than three decades.
In 1987, a neuropsychiatry researcher named Marshall Kirk and a social scientist named Hunter Madsen (using the pen name Erastes Pill) wrote an essay titled, “The Overhauling of Straight America.” Their strategy later became a book.
I encourage you to make time to read their article in its entirety. It is a fascinating and troubling window into the LGBTQ movement that has swept our country in the years since its writing.
Kirk and Madsen framed a six-part strategy:
- “Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible” to desensitize the public.
- “Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers,” leading society to assume the role of protector.
- “Give protectors a just cause” such as anti-discrimination and civil rights.
- “Make gays look good” by elevating prominent homosexuals and celebrities who endorse them.
- “Make the victimizers look bad” by associating them with Nazis, KKK members, etc.
- “Solicit funds” for a massive media campaign.
Their advice for countering conservative churches was especially prescient: “First, we can use talk to muddy the moral waters. This means publicizing support for gays by more moderate churches, raising theological objections of our own about conservative interpretations of biblical teachings, and exposing hatred and inconsistency.
“Second, we can undermine the moral authority of homophobic churches by portraying them as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times and with the latest findings of psychology. Against the mighty pull of institutional Religion one must set the mightier draw of Science & Public Opinion.”
Kirk and Madsen note: “Such an unholy alliance has worked well against churches before, on such topics as divorce and abortion. With enough open talk about the prevalence and acceptability of homosexuality, that alliance can work again here.”
My responses to their strategy
My purpose this morning is not to undo the last thirty years of cultural history. Rather, it is to do what I can to keep Kirk and Madsen’s remarkably effective strategy from influencing those who read this article.
Let’s respond to their six steps in turn.
First, we must not be desensitized to what the word of God describes as sin. Scripture clearly teaches that homosexual activity is outside God’s will for us (for more, see my article, “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?”). Repeating a truth claim doesn’t make it true.
Second, we must never victimize gay people, but we should not consider homosexual activity to be more acceptable because some homosexuals have been victimized.
Third, we should note that the civil rights of evangelical Christians are now being suppressed by those who would force us to act in ways that violate our biblical beliefs and religious liberties.
Fourth, we should not confuse the popularity of a position with its truthfulness. The crowds who welcomed Jesus on Palm Sunday condemned him on Good Friday (Luke 19:37–38; 23:21).
Fifth, we should not conflate the indefensible actions of some so-called evangelicals with biblical truth and morality. Those who ridicule LGBTQ persons do not represent the spirit of Jesus or manifest the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22–23).
Sixth, we should be careful to separate media messages, no matter how ubiquitous they become, from biblical truth.
Our purpose in defending and proclaiming biblical truth
Our culture would have us believe that we must choose between loving LGBTQ people and standing for biblical sexual morality. The opposite is actually true: the more we love someone, the more we want God’s best for them.
Our purpose in defending and proclaiming God’s word is so others can know our Father’s “good and acceptable and perfect” will for their lives (Romans 12:2).
Would you pray by name for the LGBTQ people you know, asking God to show them his love and reveal to them his truth? Then, would you ask him to make you an answer to your prayer?