Manhattan residents and K-State students alike have been abuzz the past week about the City of Manhattan’s proposal to introduce a new city ordinance that would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the protected classes, such as race, national origin and ethnicity.
But perhaps what caught my attention the most in the Collegian’s Aug. 26 article, “City Debates Sexual Orientation Ordinance,” was the quotation from Manhattan Christian College President Kevin Ingram. When addressing the city commission, Ingram said he believed privately owned businesses should have the chance to consider hiring criteria, such as sexual orientation, based on the organizations’ values and purpose as reasons to deny applicants for positions.
I understand the reasoning behind this argument. I tend to consider myself strongly Christian conservative. But I think Kevin Ingram’s comments last week need to be approached with discretion.
Many people who are religious believe homosexuality is a sin, as outlined in the Bible in Leviticus 18:22, but I’m not here to debate that issue. The issue is that if you consider homosexuality a sin, then you would also consider it to have the same eternal consequences that lying, cheating, stealing and premarital sex has.
By traditional religious thinking, we are all sinners, as stated in Romans 3:23. I do not see a valid motive to turn away a person who is qualified for a job just because they are homosexual. If you as a Christian business person accept that homosexuality is a sin just as much as any other, would you fire the rest of your employees because they have sinned in some fashion? I don’t think so.
In my opinion, these comments seem to be somewhat contrary to the message of Christ. If we, as Christians, truly profess to be missional and evangelical as an aggregate group, then why should we discriminate against people who are homosexual? In God’s eyes we are all the same, are we not?
Rather, as Christians, we should love those around us, regardless of their life situations, and minister to them. That is what the Bible tells us to do.
I am not advocating that we accept the sin, but rather that we accept the sinner, similar to the old saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” which we learned in Sunday School. I, myself, profess to be a follower of Christ, but often times find myself frustrated with Christian organizations’ attitudes toward others in matters such as this. This case proves no different. If a business is Christian-based and has Christian values, the message that they send to the people they do business with and interact with should be one of love and service, not of elitism or discrimination.
My point is simple: too often, Christians go on tirades against homosexuality when, in God’s eyes, homosexuality is no more of a sin than lying or cheating. We need to examine the plank in our own eyes before we try removing the speck out of someone else’s.
Just because someone is homosexual and does not fit your mold is not an excuse to deny them a job, especially when it provides you with an opportunity to be truly Christian.
Instead, we need to be focused on our ministry to that person, regardless of personal struggles. That is what being truly Christian is about.