1 Jn 4: 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot1 love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. [ESV]
If the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25 - 37) does not suffice to show that the core biblical command to love one's neighbour as oneself -- the golden rule of Jesus, Paul and Moshe -- extends to enemies, then perhaps we should heed this, from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus' most famous Sermon:
Matt 5: 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’These are indeed challenging teachings, but they are at the core of the Judaeo-Christian, scriptural pattern of ethics.
39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,8 what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. [ESV]
If we struggle with living up to such -- as we must -- and with applying the whole counsel of scripture to the context of government and the necessity of the civil authority bearing the sword to protect the civil peace of justice (also taught in Rom 13, vv. 1 - 7, indeed this is the context in which the civil authority is viewed as God's servant to do us good who bears the sword for that purpose, and so has a just power of taxation) that is because the tension is necessary for our individual and collective good. We must have a long hard struggle in the state to resort to the sword, lest we become callous over the taking of life.
So, plainly, the scriptures simply do not teach us hate, but just the opposite.
If Christians (as do other people) struggle with anger -- "in your anger do not sin!" -- in the face of the brazenness, deceitfulness and destructiveness of evil (let us beware, so that we do not imagine ourselves to have light when we have only darkness . . . [on this matter cf. here for key texts, here for a recovery model, and here for background]), that too is a necessary struggle. We must be sure we are not acting out of mere pique or pride when we must act in prophetic, corrective judgement, or as agents of justice to arrest or punish evil. We must seek and strike a balance of truth, love, purity and spiritual power.
In the classic case-study of the woman caught up in adultery, Jesus challenged those who would use her case to push him into either rebelling against Rome or contradicting the scriptures, thus blasphemy. The intent was to pose a deadly dilemma: yes, stone and you are a rebel against Rome. No, do not, and you are a blasphemous rebel against the Law of Moses. Either way, Jesus was being entrapped in a classic gotcha in public.
He seized the dilemma by the horns, and challenged her accusers, let him who is without sin cast the first stone at her. Convicted of their own sin, they slunk away.
But that was not all. He turned to the guilty woman: where are your accusers? There are none, Lord.
Nor, do I condemn you, go -- leave your life of sin.
Instead, we must call to repentance and reformation of life.
Nor should we fall into the trap warned against in Isa 5:
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight! [ESV]
Evangelical Christians have been labelled extremist, and likened to “totalitarian Muslims” by a senior government advisor.
Alan Judd, an advisor to the Secretary of State for Education, was commenting on recent free school applications by Evangelical Christians . . . .
To ban believers from setting up free schools would be to exclude a large number of able, well-meaning and experienced people who can do much to raise levels generally”.
“The trouble is, as always, when it’s taken to extremes, whether it’s evangelical Christians, totalitarian Muslims or segregationist Jews.“Such applications need careful vetting, not because there shouldn’t be far-out religious and ideological beliefs, but because the taxpayer shouldn’t pay to propagate them – and because children should be able to participate in a wider society without having their horizons narrowed by fundamentalism.”
It is wrong and worrying that a senior government advisor brands evangelical Christians as extremist.
There are approximately 2 million evangelical Christians in the UK, the fastest growing part of the church worldwide. They take their faith seriously, but that does not make them extremist.
Commenting on the news, the ConservativeHome blog highlighted that evangelical Christians were also often misrepresented by the media and portrayed as horrendous bigots or murdering lunatics.
In 2004 the Home Secretary at the time, David Blunkett, drew criticism when he equated evangelical Christians with Islamic terrorists.
Mr Blunkett was controversially proposing to create a new criminal offence of inciting religious hatred.
He argued society needed protection from “…those who would take our lives because they reject our faith, and it applies equally from far right evangelical Christians, to extremists in the Islamic faith.”
Not that the BBC listened or cared.
Most recently it has been taken broad-brush to denote IslamIST terrorists and their fellow travellers, and by some twisted notion of balanced and equal wrong, this kidnapped word is being used to smear Christians who take the scriptures seriously as being the moral equivalent of murderous terrorists.
Let's put that sort of misbehaviour in one word: slander.
There is an issue, that needs to be soberly addressed, and so if slander is substituted like that, that is utterly telling.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has also weighed in on the Chick-fil-A debate, noting that Los Angeles has a "vibrant" LGBT community.
"I'm proud to support them as we call on Chick-fil-A's leadership to reconsider their position and join the growing majority of Americans who support marriage equality," Villaraigosa said. "In Los Angeles and in America, love and liberty will always triumph."
what is at stake today is the destruction or survival of marriage, the foundational institution of stable families and communities alike. As Girgit, George and Anderson observe in the just linked Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy paper:We need to pause, stop the radicals in their tracks -- already a bad sign, and ask them to answer to our concerns with a modicum of respect and good broughtupcy; starting from the grounding of OUGHT, and of rights. If they refuse to do so, on the whole, that is a strong sign that we are dealing with a destructive agenda that is bent on power-games to push a divide and dominate agenda, not genuine reformation. For sure, the time has long since passed where we should be intimidated by shouts of "you are a theocratic, hateful, Bible-thumping bigot," especially when these come from the mouths of angry, patently hostile radicals.
[T]he current debate is precisely over whether it is possible for the kind of union that has marriage’s essential fea‐tures to exist between two people of the same sex. Revisionists do not propose leaving intact the historic definition of marriage and simply expanding the pool of people eligible to marry. Their goal is to abolish the conjugal conception of marriage in our law 10 and replace it with the revisionist [--> i.e. homosexualised] conception . . .
F/N 10: Throughout history, no society’s laws have explicitly forbidden gay mar‐riage. They have not explicitly forbidden it because, until recently, it has not been thought possible . . . [T]raditional marriage laws were not devised to oppress those with same‐sex attractions. The comparison [to racist anti-miscegenation laws that forbade inter-racial marriages] is offensive, and puzzling to many—not least to the nearly two‐thirds of black vot‐ers who voted to uphold conjugal marriage under California Proposition Eight. See Cara Mia DiMassa & Jessica Garrison, Why Gays, Blacks are Divided on Prop. 8, L.A. TIMES, Nov. 8, 2008, at A1.[Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, & Ryan T. Anderson, "What is Marriage?" Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol 34, No. 1, p. 250 of 245 - 287.]Already, the force of the homosexualist civilisational divide is at work, driving people on opposite sides of the issue farther and farther apart, and creating the perception that those who stand up in defence of marriage as it has historically been established are little better than hateful, racist bigots.
Alan Keyes, in responding to former US First Lady Barbara Bush, remarks:. . . isn’t love the foundation of marriage? Why should some loving couples enjoy legal recognition and privileges that are denied to others?But the plausible conviction that loving homosexual couples “ought to have…the same sort of rights that everyone has” immediately runs afoul of the simple fact that homosexuals are not the only loving couples without the legal right to marry. Parents and their children don’t have it. Siblings don’t have it. Children not yet of legal age don’t have it; and so on. In principle, all such people are capable of forming loving, committed relationships. By the logic Mrs. Bush relies on, “they ought to have… the same sort of rights that everyone has.”In short, once we see obvious exceptions to a suggested "rule" like that, something is fundamentally wrong with the rule. What is it? Keyes continues:Why are parents and their children forbidden to marry one another? Cut to the chase and the answer is simple. The right to marry includes legal recognition (legitimization) of the married couple’s right to have sexual relations with one another. But it is wrong for parents to have sexual relations with their children. It’s wrong for siblings to have sexual relations with each other. It’s wrong for adults to have sexual relations with underage children. Obviously, unless Mrs. Bush means to argue that these restrictions are unjustified, a committed loving relationship is not enough to establish that people “ought to have” the right to marry.He then digs in further, addressing the pivotal term, "ought":Mrs. Bush’s use of the word “ought” deserves further attention. The difference between what people do and what people ought to do is a matter of moral judgment. The word “ought” implies the application of a moral standard, a rule or principle that distinguishes right from wrong. People ought to do what is right. They ought not to do what is wrong. When people do what is right, they have the right to act (i.e., have right on their side as they act.) But can the same be said of those who do what is wrong?He then points to a key breakdown triggered by the modern confusion of liberty and license -- the abuse of freedom:In everyday parlance these days, we use the term “right” as though it is synonymous with the freedom to act as we choose. But if the choice is wrong, it makes no sense to assert that the chooser has the right to act on it (i.e., has right on his side as he does so.) What someone can do (has the physical capacity or opportunity to do) differs from what they ought to do. This is in fact the rationale for all criminal laws. It’s what allows us to recognize that simply having the opportunity and power to take someone’s life or goods does not grant the right to do so, does not make it right.In short, until the moral legitimacy of homosexual conduct is solidly grounded (and until the harmlessness of such a legislative -- or, these days, often, a judicial -- act is sufficiently shown), we have a perfect right to question the notion that our civilisation's states should take the step of legitimising homosexual relationships as marriages under the law. Which of course is a very big question indeed, and one on which all serious voices have a right to be heard. Including, those who look to the truly great religious teachers of mankind, as proved moral instructors.