Christians in the Cultural Closet

Our society celebrates the openness with which it accepts homosexuality and transgenderism. It contrasts our present enlightened times with past eras when what are now called "sexual minorities," LGBTQers, were once consigned to the closets, forced to keep their "sexual identity" hidden. Now those who identify according to their sexual and gender preferences are "out of the closets" and have been mainstreamed. They have a place at the table. They have been normalized. Thus, the narrative is that we have a more just, fair, and open society. Except the closets remain. There always are closets. Every society ancient and modern has closets. What changes are those who inhabit the closets. Gradually we are witnessing traditional, orthodox Christians being forced into the closets even as the sexual minorities move out.

Let me explain. Why do people take to hiding in society's closets? They are shamed into them. Once upon a time society strongly disapproved of sodomy and associated sexual sins. If one admitted one was homosexual, or was "outed" by another, one's political future was over, or one's career was ruined, and one was shunned by society. As recently as 1997 when Ellen DeGeneres "came out," her show, "Ellen" was cancelled. Homosexual characters were not portrayed positively until the mid-1980's and 1990's and even then it happened infrequently. Gradually homosexuality came to be accepted in the mainstream media and normalized. Out of the closet they came, culminating in the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision mandating the legalization of gay "marriage" in all 50 states.

What becomes of those who on moral grounds disapprove of homosexuality? They are slowly being shunned into silence. Their views are being forced into the closet. Recently Senator Joe Biden called Vice President Pence "a decent guy." A furious backlash resulted. Cynthia Nixon, an actress and liberal activist responded, "You've just called America's most anti- LGBTQ elected leader a 'decent guy.' Please consider this falls on the ears of our community." Biden immediately retracted his comment and agreed with her. "There is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights," Biden responded, "and that includes the vice president." Then there was the response to the news that Mrs. Pence returned to a part-time job teaching at a Christian school. Like all Christian schools, it holds to Christian moral standards that have been around for 2000 years. The response was outrage. The propriety of a spouse of a public official teaching in a school that perpetrates ignorance, hate and bigotry was called into question. Then there was the Covington Catholic High School's participation in the Right to Life march on January 18. The list could go on, but you can see the point. The message that society is sending will not be lost on conservative Christians: your views are no longer acceptable in polite company. Express them, and you will be loudly denounced and shamed. If you hold them, better keep them to yourself.

The transition is not yet complete, but it continues apace. Some pushback is still visible. Yet of the major media outlets (NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, FOX, NPR, ESPN, etc.) only one still gives voice to traditional views. The consensus is clear: light is now darkness, and darkness light. All right-thinking people agree. The call is not "Christians to the lions" as it was in ancient times. We mustn't overstate the case. Yet make no mistake about it, the call is "Christians to the closets." We are not being melodramatic, rather making a rational assessment. Our society is now more "open" than it was in the dark ages of the 1950's. Except it isn't. It still has its closets. It merely has changed the groups which it pushes into them.

Nearly every morning, I listen to Al Mohler's "The Briefing." His ability to synthesize and evaluate current cultural and political events is nothing short of remarkable. One of the aspects of his approach that I most appreciate is his ability to assess the news dispassionately. He'll relate some appalling new anti-Christian development with a neutral introduction like, "This is where it gets interesting..." He then calmly and irrefutably dismantles the presuppositions and outlook of the sexual revolutionaries. He is a brave man. We need more brave men to do what? Coolly, reasonably, persuasively refuse to be confined to the closets.