The heat in the Same-Sex Marriage debate just got turned up a notch.
Last week, a major conference of traditional marriage advocates that was to be held at a Sydney hotel had to be cancelled, due to threats of physical violence from SSM supporters.
The Weekend Australian broke the news:
The Accor Hotels group confirmed late yesterday that the function had been abandoned after a social media storm triggered phone calls that “rattled” employees and left the company concerned about the safety of staff and guests.”
It’s disturbing on a number of different levels. Violent threats aren’t the way civilised people are meant to sort out political differences. And yet, evidently some people – and thankfully it’s only a minority – are happy to resort to threats of violence to attain their political goals.
When I heard this, my first response was one of almost gleeful outrage: ‘there we have it! Proof of the hypocrisy of the pro-SSM side: we’re always being warned about potential bigotry against LGBTI people, but look at how bad their actions are!’.
But is that the right response? I mean, how do we as Christians respond to this ugly side of sexual politics?
A lot could be said, but here are 5 points that we should keep in mind:
1) From “Outrage Porn”, to Holy Prayer
Jesus’ counter-cultural response to opposition and attack.
We live in the age of ‘outrage’.
We love feeling both ‘right’, and ‘wronged’. Tim Kreider from the NYT’s describes this as ‘outrage porn’:
[Outrage porn] is a pleasure…selected specificially to pander to our impulse to judge and to punish, to get us off on righteous indignation’.
And like sexual porn, it’s easy to get addicted – especially in our increasingly polarised culture.
But Jesus gives a different way.
Sure, there’s a place for some outrage over injustice. But our anger – unlike God’s righteous anger –can lead us into sin (Eph 4:26). For me, such anger can turn into a condemning ‘aren’t I good, and aren’t you bad’ attitude toward my opponents.
But how different was Jesus! Speaking of Him, the apostle Peter says:
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)
Like Jesus, we mustn’t retaliate – not personally. Instead, we need to prayerfully trust in God. No ‘tit for tat’. No hurling threats in return. But trusting that God will bring justice – which He will.
But does that mean we shouldn’t seek justice now? That justice will only come when Jesus returns?
Not quite. We can – and often must – seek justice, but only through God’s appointed servants: The government.
2) Submit To Our Government, By Not Taking Vengeance
Instead, let them bring justice.
Instead of taking justice into our own hands, we need to let God’s servants – the government – do its work (Rom 13: 2-4). In other words, let the police, the authorities, the judiciary take care of the threats. That’s why God put them here (Rom 13:4).
We’re not to be caped crusader-like vigilantes, taking justice into our own hands.
3) Don’t Demonise, But Aim to Live in Peace
Christians need to get out of the sewers of social media.
Even if we let the government handle the injustice of these sorts of situations, it’s still tempting to demonise our opponents. And social media gives us an easy – and instant – platform to do so.
But that’s not what we’re called to. As the apostle Paul writes:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Rom 12:14-18)
I’ll be the first to admit this is easier said than done.
Especially when we feel justified in condemning our opponents. But we’re called to walk a higher road. A road following the Jewish Messiah – who blessed his enemies – who blessed us. We’re called to walk a road that steers clear of the sewers of social media.
4) Reach Out to The LGBTI Community
We need to love like Jesus loves.
The problem with sexual politics is that it’s so polarising. If you’re pro-traditional marriage, you’re automatically labelled a ‘bigot’. You’re assumed to hate LGBTI people.
And so, at worst, LGBTI people see Christian Churches as ‘anti-equality’, and as ‘unsafe spaces’.
That is tragic.
And so it’s not surprising that some Christians are calling for us to get out of the marriage debate, in the hope of reaching LGBTI people.
But that would be a mistake: contending for traditional marriage is a godly thing to do. 
Silence is not the right option.
Instead, genuine personal engagement of LGBTI family, neighbours, colleagues is the way ahead. It’s the best way to break down misconceptions and stereotypes. It’s the best way to share the love of Jesus. And it shows that we can disagree on fundamental issues, yet still be loving.
Speaking of his unlikely friendship with conservative businessman Dan Cathy, LGBTI activist Shane Windmeyer writes:
‘[B]uilding a relationship with someone I thought I would never understand mattered. Our worlds, different as they can be, could coexist peacefully… Gay and straight, liberal and conservative, activist and evangelist — we could stand together in our difference and in our respect. How much better would our world be if more could do the same? [emphasis added]
5) Keep Exposing the Truth by Asking Questions
It’s a great way to engage the difficult the issues.
Out of love for neighbour, Christians must engage the big issues our society is facing. Yes, we must engage with grace. But we must also engage with skill.
The best way – in my experience – is to do this is by exposing the underlying weaknesses of the SSM agenda. And to do this by asking questions – good questions.
Questions that challenge the underlying assumptions and worldview; questions that expose the foolishness of much of the sexual revolution. 
If we flush out the underlying worldviews and agendas, then the silent majority within our society are more likely to sit up and take notice. And oppose such radical – and ultimately harmful – changes.
With Challenge comes Opportunity.
If we care about our neighbour – be they Christian or non-Christian – then there will be times when we need to speak up. But it will be hard. It will be costly. But with every challenge comes opportunity. And in this case, it’s the opportunity to respond to our opponents in the same way that Christ responded to His.
 Just like with other godly actions (e.g. preaching the gospel), people will misunderstand our motives, and assume the worst of us. But silence in the marriage debate will only secure a short-lived reprieve. The LGBTI revolution that’s overtaking society demands affirmation of all things LGBTI, which means the Christians won’t have peace for long, unless we’re willing to give up our views of Biblical sexual morality.
 For a great resource on asking good questions, check out Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, by Greg Koukl.