For Those Who Want the Death Penalty for Homosexual Practice
In a recent video, I asked whether America had the moral right to condemn Uganda’s strict new anti-homosexuality laws. While stating plainly that we do not have that moral right, I also stated clearly that I was not defending the legislation. Some viewers took exception to this, finding my position to be soft and indefensible. How should we respond?
First, let’s understand exactly what this new legislation did.
Coming Down Hard on “Promoting Homosexuality” and Abusing Children
As noted by John Stonestreet and Maria Baer, “Same-sex activity was already illegal in Uganda, as it is in several other African nations, and Ugandans convicted under the law already faced life in prison. Under this new law, people convicted of attempting to engage in homosexual behavior could face 10 years behind bars. Those convicted of ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ defined as sexual abuse of a child or knowingly spreading HIV, could face the death penalty. Anyone convicted of ‘promoting homosexuality’ could be imprisoned up to 20 years.”
What was Stonestreet and Baer’s take on the new laws? They wrote, “There is plenty wrong with this new Ugandan law, including the severity of punishment and the unrealistic level of police activity that would be required to ever enforce it. A pioneer and strong advocate for criminal justice reform, Chuck Colson believed that the goal of criminal law and enforcement should be rehabilitation and restoration whenever possible, not punishment for punishment’s sake. Unfortunately, in Uganda, as in many nations both Western and developing, the criminal justice process is more punitive than restorative.”
I agree with their assessment, which is why I am not defending the legislation (although I can certainly understand the Ugandan rationale for the death penalty for sexually abusing a child or knowingly spreading HIV, especially seeing how their country was literally ravaged by AIDS).
At the same time, I do not believe that it is America’s business to tell Uganda how to run its country.
I also agree with their efforts to push back against LGBTQ+ activism that seeks to indoctrinate children in particular.
And, more importantly, given our decadent state (as outlined briefly in the video), I do not believe we Americans have the moral right to condemn Uganda’s actions, however strongly we differ with them.
“Your Beef is With God, Not Me”
Still, some viewers were not happy with my commentary, posting statements like this: “Wonderful law — reminds me of God’s Torah.” And, “The law seems to be consistent with Biblical principles and I agree with the law.”
Others were more pointed: “Let’s cut the cute talk, we need anti-gay laws, your beef is with God not me. Vid doesn’t need to be 6 mins, 1 min vid.”
To this comment, another viewer wrote, “Wonderful said. I agree, Dr. BROWN please enough with this politically correct stance. The Torah cuts through flesh and spirit!”
Another wrote, “Why you not Defending Uganda! Y’all seen what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah the 1st time I don’t understand how Dr. Brown doesn’t condemn what God clearly CONDEMNS. That’s weird in my eyes.”
To all those, then, who desire to return to Torah laws (including Torah penalties), do you also advocate for:
- Putting adulterers to death?
- Putting Sabbath breakers to death?
- Putting to death children who cursed their parents?
- Putting to death persistently disobedient and rebellious children?
- Putting to death those who commit consensual incestuous acts?
- Putting blasphemers to death?
- Putting witches and sorcerers to death?
- Putting idol worshipers to death?
Returning to the subject of putting adulterers to death, should we also put to death those who commit adultery in their hearts? (See Matthew 5:27-30.)
The Torah laws were absolutely righteous and fully justifiable under Israel’s theocracy, where He delivered His people out of Egypt and appeared to them directly, giving them His commandments.
But we are not ancient Israel. And we are not under the Sinai Covenant.
And while it is absolutely crucial for us to have a righteous criminal justice system, and while punishment in this world and in the world to come is essential for true justice, it is wrong for us to seek to reinforce Torah law, especially with its punishments.
“For in the Same Way You Judge Others, You Will Be Judged”
Is homosexual practice still wrong in God’s sight? Always.
Is there ever a circumstance in which a same-sex relationship would be blessed by the Lord? Not for a second.
And speaking personally, have I ever been the slightest bit ambiguous or unclear in holding to these positions? The record speaks for itself.
I have been clear and unambiguous, to the point of being vilified, blacklisted, maligned, and slandered on a consistent basis by LGBTQ+ activists and allies. (I wear those attacks with joy, as a badge of honor, while at the same time praying for those who attack me, since I genuinely want God’s best for them.)
So, this has nothing to do with being “soft” or “politically correct” or “compromising” God’s Word or God’s standards. It simply has to do with taking issue with parts of the legislation, as noted by Stonestreet and Maier. That’s it.
And I would remind those who are quick to condemn others who struggle with same-sex attractions, let alone those who are involved in same-sex activities and relationships: you will be judged as you judge others.
As Jesus said, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Why So Many Christians Have Left the Faith. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.