This post responds to those who accuse conservative activists of having misplaced priorities in their preoccupation with LGBT issues, pointing out that Paul includes homosexuality among many other sins conservatives seem to hardly notice. For example,

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God — 1 Cor 6:9-10

percentages of gays vs. obese

A quote from former megachurch pastor Perry Noble exemplifies:

The world would change in an unbelievable way if the church would attack the issue of obesity as relentlessly as it attacks the issue of homosexuality! (It would also be way more relevant to the church!) Perry Noble, “Homosexuality and Obesity,” 29 Dec 2014.

There are lots of problems with the preceding statement:

  • The quote and the associated article attempt to offer a nuanced argument without clarifying terms. Homosexuality and being gay are not the same; but since the author doesn’t address the popular conflation of the two words, a reader can only assume he uses them synonymously — and therein lie some serious objections to the author’s premise.

  • The quote rallies folks to the wrong front. Battles are won by confronting opponents where they are — not where they are not. There is no ideologically sophisticated movement within the church or society dedicated to promoting obesity, saying obesity is a good thing, recruiting into obesity, obstructing treatment for obesity, misrepresenting the risks of obesity, etc., etc. All of those things, however, are true of homosexuality.

  • The quote demoralizes one’s own forces. Saul Alinsky’s fourth rule for radicals identifies a tactic for undermining the credibility of an opponent by getting him, her, or it (as in an organization) to elevate a lesser value over a higher value.

    * RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.) Best of Beck, “Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals.”

    It’s not uncommon for people and institutions to use Alinsky’s fourth rule on themselves, thereby experiencing a self-inflicted loss of credibility. Raising up the idea within the church that being gay is no different from being obese does just that by equating the fact of obesity with a particular ideology of sexuality.

  • The quote blurs the distinction between moral confusion and moral failure. There is a vast difference between (1) failure to live up to a moral standard and (2) ignorance (willful or otherwise) of what the moral standards are. The former is moral failure. The latter is moral confusion.


This post focuses on the last problem.

If you read the quote in context, you will see the author fails to take account of the cultural background of 1 Cor 6:9ff. The Corinthians were ex-pagans. Pagan religion (Greek and Roman) was totally barren of any moral component. The only thing that mattered in pagan religion was performing the required rituals exactly as prescribed. The pagan gods cared nothing about what a person did in the moral realm as long as he/she got their worship correct.

So coming from a pagan background, it was perfectly understandable for the Corinthians to think all kinds of customary Corinthian vices were totally compatible with their lives as Christians. In other words, the Corinthians were, with their cultural heritage of pagan ideology, morally confused.

The notion that being gay is no different from being obese totally misses that all-important point and conflates homosexuality (more precisely, being “gay”) with obesity, theft, etc. as if all of those things are simply instances of moral failure.

They are not! They were not for the Corinthians and they are not today!

You can cut through this confusion by understanding that homosexual acts and being “gay” (more precisely, being a proponent of gay ideology) are two different things. The former are facts. The latter is an elaborate justification of those facts.

With the preceding in mind, it should be easy to understand that homosexual acts absent attempts to justify them along the lines of gay ideology can in fact be moral failures alongside theft, drunkenness, etc.

That kind of situation though is not what the Church faces in regard to homosexuality. Instead the Church is confronted, not with moral failure, but with the kind of moral confusion characteristic of ancient paganism — with people who are calling good “evil”and evil “good,” trying to recruit people to that viewpoint and lifestyle, and beating down anyone who objects.

Truth is if alcoholics were to band together to justify alcoholism and recruit others into that lifestyle, the Church would have the same problem with them as it does with gay activists. Since they are not, it doesn’t. I don’t know anyone who’s championing the idea that being obese is a good thing either.

The idea that being gay is no different from being obese is seductive in justifying neglect of a crucial controversy by calling for consistency on matters that are not commensurable — gay ideology versus being fat are “apples and oranges.” Although the quote is part of a lengthy argument calling on the Church to be as severe on obesity as it is on homosexuality, in practice the author has got to know that the practical outcome would be for the Church to go as lightly on gay activism as it does on obesity — and that would be a huge mistake.

So “yes,” the world would change in an unbelievable way if the church were to attack obesity as relentlessly as it attacks homosexuality” — but not for the good.

For the bigger picture, see “We’re all Gay!” and “I was mistaken…”


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