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FIRST-PERSON: An open letter to Howard Dean

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Dear Dr. Howard Dean,

Please stop. Stop trying to fool American Christians into thinking you know the Bible. You are embarrassing yourself, even though I am sure you are convinced you are executing a savvy tactic by coming out of the Christian closet after all these years of acting like you are a committed secularist.

If you are serious about your newly expressed Christianity, please take some time and learn a bit more about it before spouting off startling theological statements. Case in point: In a recent interview, you said, “From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people.”

Though you may think us Christians are dumb, we are not THAT dumb. Your statement was so off-base I am sure even many liberal Christian ministers would take umbrage.

You assume that “gay people” are a group of people with a pre-determined, innate characteristic called “homosexuality.” To the ears of many Christians, it is as if you are saying God created three genders — male, female and gay. While there might be a predisposition to same-sex attraction in some people who practice the homosexual lifestyle, that is far from saying people who practice homosexuality have no more choice to act that way than a man has a choice to be a man, or a woman has a choice to be a woman.

You imply that God created people who are gay to be gay. In saying that, you have fallen for a common, yet false, conundrum: How can a holy God create an unholy person?

It is obvious that years of keeping up a secular front have clouded your “religious” point of view. As a newly “outed” Christian, if you want to get the votes of Christians, you must get a clue about the basics of their beliefs.

God created man and woman. God did not create “gay.” Man and woman were created to worship God, fellowship with Him and glorify Him. In order for man and woman to do those things, God had to give them free will.

The first man and woman were persuaded to use their God-given free will to disobey God. As a result of the first man’s disobedience, all his descendants (including you and me) inherited the disobedience characteristic. As a medical doctor, you may understand it if I say it’s as if the seminal man’s sin caused humans to become genetically programmed to disobey God.

This disobedience caused a breach between God and His creation. All kinds of disobedience — sin — showed up. Lying, stealing, committing adultery and having sex with partners of the same gender were just a few activities that evidenced humankind’s disobedience. This grieved God.

God still loved men and women, even though they had become hopelessly corrupted by inherent disobedience. Eventually, men and women would die and experience eternal separation from God. This would never do. So God set in motion a plan to get men and women out of their predicament.

Jesus was the manifestation of God’s plan to reconcile disobedient humans with their holy Creator so they could know Him in the way He originally intended and have a chance to experience eternal union with Him. Jesus did not have the gene for disobedience because He was not a descendant of the first man — His father was God. Yet, Jesus was human because He had a human mother.

Tragically, the only way Jesus could make up for the disobedience of humans was by taking on the full liability for it and then fully and completely discharging that liability. How, Dr. Dean, did Jesus do that? He did it by submitting Himself to crucifixion. On the cross, Jesus took on the full weight of the disobedience of every man and woman. When Jesus died, this whole burden died with Him.

Then came the event that separates Christianity from every other world religion. Jesus resurrected. In doing so, He defeated disobedience and its natural consequence, death. Now God’s plan for people’s restoration is complete.

But people still have free will. So by submitting their wills to Jesus Christ, men and women may enter into the perfect relationship with God that He has always desired. Christians call that “salvation” or “being saved.”

People who are saved are not perfect, though. Perfection will come only in heaven. Saved people still occupy bodies and minds that are predisposed to disobedience. However, salvation gives people the power of God to overcome all forms of disobedience, including homosexual urges.

Dr. Dean, that is how classic Christianity works. It is catalytic. It can change your message. It can change your campaign. It can even change your life.
Brent Thompson is associate director of communications at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Thompson practiced law in Alaska and Texas before coming to seminary and has taught government and politics at the college level.

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  • Brent Thompson