If Ralph Northam, the embattled governor of Virginia, is being asked to resign because of a yearbook photo in which he appeared in blackface, shouldn’t Mike Pence also resign for his bigotry?
That’s the question that Richard Cohen asked in an op-ed for the Washington Post.
To be clear, no photos have turned up from an old yearbook where Mike Pence is wearing a klan suit. There are no stories of Karen Pence putting on blackface. Both of those incidents are from the past of Governor Northam, not the Pence’s. So why would an established writer for the Washington Post accuse Mike and Karen Pence of bigotry and demand their resignation?
You guessed it. It’s because they hold to a biblical worldview of marriage and sexuality or, to put it another way, they have declined the culture’s subpoena to march in the gay parade.
Don’t miss Cohen’s assertion here. As he sees it, dressing in blackface is unacceptable. But holding to a traditional view of marriage and teaching at a private Christian school that shares that view is equally as evil. In Cohen’s view, the people who for thousands of years have held to a traditional view of marriage and sexuality are all bigots and their “sins” are on par with racism.
This shouldn’t surprise us. For years now, the left has been hijacking the civil rights movement. They equate their struggles in normalizing homosexuality with that of blacks being lynched and beaten. The leaders of the sexual revolution wish that they had a Selma moment. But they don’t. So they manufacture one. For them, the Vice President’s wife teaching part-time art classes at a Christian school that affirms the historical biblical view of marriage and sexuality is akin to the lynching of Emmett Till.
In his piece, Cohen cites instances of people being mistreated for their sexuality. This cannot be denied. Terrible crimes have been committed against people for their sexuality but nowhere near the degree that blacks endured during the days of slavery and Jim Crow. Cohen also brushes off the Pence’s religious beliefs as a basis for their so-called homophobic views, referencing the great injustices done while using the Bible for support.
The Bible was used to justify slavery, and in my own time, racists cited this or that biblical passage to assert that racial segregation was precisely what God intended — the “curse of Ham” or the “mark of Cain,” both used to add biblical authority to the rantings of bigots. The mark or the curse is now on the Pences, who share views that in our nation’s history have caused much suffering, including violence.
It is true that the Bible has been mishandled in order to promote injustices in the past. But a critical thinker would at least consider what the Bible says about sexuality when it is handled properly. Instead, Cohen gives in to the classic Progressive fallacy of assuming that because something has been used for evil, it must therefore have no use. Interestingly enough, Cohen doesn’t apply this same logic to the print media which now employs him but was once used to spread racist propaganda.
The Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality is not grounded in one difficult to interpret passage or an obscure verse from the Old Testament. Paul’s condemnation of women who have, “exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” and “men committing shameless acts with men” (Romans 1:26-27) is an argument that is rooted in God’s created order. It is an extension of Genesis 1 where we are told that God created all humans, male and female, in his image (Genesis 1:27) and that “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife” (Genesis 2:24).
Cohen and others like him would call such teaching, “torture.” In reality, it’s grace. Homosexuality is a sin but it is not a sin beyond the grip of God’s grace.
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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)
Sadly, even grace can be offensive to a culture bent on having its own way. That’s what Cohen’s argument basically comes down to. He wants his own way. His morality, rather that finding its basis in religious conviction, is rooted in cultural norms. That’s frightening because cultural norms, unlike true morality, always change. With no fixed standard, what one generation appalls, the next applauds. What one generation rejoices in, the next rejects. Even the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. aren’t immune from this insanity.
Cohen calls homophobia, “a staple of the racist right.” His overgeneralization is due to the fact that the log in his own eye prevents him from seeing that scare tactics, anti-religious bigotry, and even hijacking the civil rights movement are staples of the progressive left.
Love, truth, repentance, and grace are staples of Christianity.
If that makes us bigots, God have mercy on us all.