The Gospel of Hate

Many suggest that if Jesus walked the earth today, instead of ministering to lepers and tax-gatherers, He would pour out His love on drug dealers and AIDS patients. But the producer of a new Broadway play has a different-and more blasphemous vision: His new play depicts Jesus, not as teaching and healing these lost souls, but having sex with them. It's the latest-and one of the ugliest-cultural attack on the church. The play is called Corpus Christi, written by award-winning playwright Terrence McNally. The play depicts a Jesus-like character, called Joshua, and his disciples. But this Jesus is a homosexual who preaches a gospel of sex; and in the end, is crucified as the "King of Queers." Of course, attacks on Christianity are not limited to the arts community. Just recently we heard presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal label an assistant to Independent Counsel Ken Starr a "religious fanatic" because he leads Bible studies, prays daily, and goes to an evangelical church. And then there's Michael Eisner, CEO of the Disney Company, who recently referred to Southern Baptists as "Nazis." Why? Because they're boycotting Disney theme parks in response to the company's promotion of gay rights. Insensitive comments about minority groups usually set off firestorms of controversy, and our natural reaction is to protest and to picket. But let me suggest that these recent attacks may give us a wonderful opportunity for the Church to show the world what the Church really is. When we find ourselves subjected to abuse and slander, instead of crying "unfair," let's remember that Christ told us that we would be persecuted. And He told us to love our enemies-to pray for those who mistreat us." Consider the example of persecuted Christians in ancient Rome. So powerful was their example of speaking the truth in love that many pagans were converted to Christ. The story is told of St. Cecilia, a Roman woman whose Christian faith and good works were renowned. Cecilia was commanded to give sacrifices to pagan gods, and she refused. As punishment, she was burned and beheaded. But the way Cecilia peacefully submitted herself to the persecution prompted witnesses to say "we believe Christ to be the very God [Who] hath such a servant." Throughout the ages, there have been many similar stories of people who responded to hatred with love and forgiveness-and brought about as a result a wave of conversions. All too often, all the homosexuals know of Christians is our opposition to gay rights-of our insistence of identifying homosexual behavior as the sin that it is. And we need to keep doing that, of course. But we also need to make certain homosexuals see and experience Christian love. One way to do this is to encourage churches to minister to people dying in AIDS hospices. I've seen how powerful this witness is when we do it in prison after prison. If we modern Christians are faithful in our witness, the alternative we present to a hostile world will stand out distinctly as a light in the darkness. It's often been said that our lives may be the only Bible that the unsaved will read. Well, we need to be certain that our neighbors are getting a reliable translation.  


Chuck Colson


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