10 Ways Gay Activists Shifted Culture—and What the Church Can Learn From It
Whether you are a proponent of same-sex marriage, homosexuality or not, you have to respect the way gay activists have fundamentally transformed American society in one generation. The plans and strategies of gay activism and how they went from being an oppressed minority to an elite protected status in mainstream culture is written in a book called After the Ball.
The following are some of their strategies:
1. They successfully redefined words.
Since Adam gave animals names, it is a known fact that the person who defines the words controls the dialogue. Since the 1970s, gay activists have successfully taken their official scientific terminology of homosexual and replaced it with the word gay. This was a brilliant move because the word gay has emotional and cultural connotations of being happy and carefree as opposed to the word homosexual, the very name of which emphasizes something different from the (heterosexual) majority of the population. (The homosexual community was once also referred to as “queer” because of this.)
If the church is going to regain cultural influence, it has to work on its branding and better leverage words to convey its message.
2. They infiltrated high levels of culture.
From President Obama to the Pentagon; from rock stars, celebrities, movie producers and athletes to psychiatry, education and the Republican and Democratic parties; from business leaders like George Soros, Tim Gill and Michael Bloomberg to mainstream Protestant denominations like the Episcopal church—gay activists have successfully infiltrated and influenced the highest reaches of mainstream culture. As long as the evangelical church stays on the fringe of society, merely concentrating on local church activities instead of getting involved in the public square, they will be at a disadvantage in the culture wars. The area or realm of society the church fails to influence will turn around and attempt to trample it!
3. They put their monies behind candidates who espouse their views.
In the 2011 fight for same-sex marriage, both Mayor Bloomberg and Tim Gill gave millions of dollars to support state senators who would vote in favor of gay marriage. In my political efforts, I have been told numerous times by political leaders that the deep pockets of gay activists influence how they vote simply because candidates feel they need that money to get re-elected—even if privately they may disagree with homosexuality. The evangelical church has to do more than preach its views on Sunday; it has to galvanize its businesspeople to put their monies together and form political action committees (PACs), which are legal entities formed to finanancially support certain candidates.
4. They successfully shifted culture from tolerance to celebration of homosexuality.
I remember that in the 1990s, the word that was constantly used in the media regarding the treatment of gays wastolerance. Now I very rarely, if ever, hear that word. This is because gay activists have successfully converted mainstream culture into a celebration of the gay lifestyle. Of course, this so-called “tolerant” culture was very intolerant of alternative views like conservative Christianity. Now Bible-believing Christians are probably the ones who have to start pushing “tolerance” toward their views because they clearly now hold the (persecuted) minority view in our society. It’s hard to believe, but there was once a time not that long ago (pre-1967 to 1969) when Christian values were celebrated in mainstream society. The church probably has a long way to go before that happens again!
5. They have infiltrated the church.
Gay theology has infiltrated many evangelical and Roman Catholic colleges, seminaries and churches. (This is a theology that reinterprets Scriptures that speak against homosexuality in such a way that its practice is no longer forbidden, because of the notion that it was based on past cultural nuances that are now outdated.) Now there are even gay denominations, like the Metropolitan church. Furthermore, there are organizations, like Soulforce, that visit prominent evangelical churches and engage in dialogue with their leadership and congregations for the purpose of making friends and converting them to gay theology.
As long as the evangelical church treats the gay community like lepers and merely resorts to preaching against homosexuality instead of attempting to befriend that community and meet its spiritual and physical needs, the gay community will continue to gain Christian converts while the Bible-believing church will continue to lose converts because of its lack of practical and loving engagement. In the same way the gay community has engaged and infiltrated the church, the church should reach out and serve gay people and infiltrate their organizations with authentic Christian love and truth. Also, we have to realize there is a real hunger for spirituality and Jesus among gay people, which is why so many of them visit our churches and desire acceptance. I believe the harvest is ripe among every people group, including the gay community.
6. They unify annually in major rallies and events.
Every year in major cities across the world, the gay community unites by the tens of millions and celebrates that lifestyle. In NYC, well over 1 million people march the last Sunday of every June. These parades are a celebration of the life, lifestyle and achievements of the gay community and are attended by most major political and social leaders. These millions of people who converge annually show incredible clout and global unity!
Unfortunately, I remember 15 to 20 years ago, when there was an attempt to have global Marches for Jesus. At first there were tens of thousands in many cities, but after several years it dwindled to merely a few thousand, which, when compared to the gay pride parades of the past several decades, is an embarrassment! Even though the number of people in Bible-believing churches far outnumbers the amount of homosexuals in our nation, those numbers mean nothing if we do not learn when and how to come together in unity to celebrate our God and King Jesus.
7. They are winning the war of propaganda.
When it came to same-sex marriage, the gay agenda successfully changed the name of its fight to “marriage equality”—who can fight with equal marriage? They successfully connected gay rights to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s—for instance, the Stonewall uprising in the 1960s is now a symbol of civil rights movement, to the chagrin of many African-Americans! And they successfully branded those who disagree with same-sex marriage “homophobes” and “bigots.” This group has been so successful in creating the right sound bites to convey its message that anybody in mainstream media or in the public eye who utters a gay slur or disagrees with homosexuality will likely be fired from their job or fined. (To be clear, I am opposed to name-calling mistreatment of gays.) However, it is very fashionable for the media, such as Bill Maher, and celebrities to regularly bash Christians and Christianity with impunity!
Unfortunately, Bible-believing Christians have become more known for what they are against then what they are for. The evangelical church has to change this if it ever hopes to ascend to regain its desired cultural influence.
8. They have successfully humanized their lifestyle through sympathy and victimhood.
There have been countless movies, novels, plays and sitcoms that have desensitized culture from its former abhorrence of the gay lifestyle through the depiction of gays as oppressed victims or as normal people with normal lives and problems. (To be fair, many conservatives need a dose of reality in regard to this, since many of them think every gay person is a child molester, an uncontrollable sex addict or someone who will inflict people in proximity with him or her with the AIDS virus.) Thus, through the media, homosexuals have won the hearts and minds of America by connecting with masses of people emotionally. For example, the movie Brokeback Mountain succesfully showed how two rough-and-tumble cowboys can be romantically involved, thus breaking another sterotype regarding gays not being masculine.
The church desperately needs to humanize itself in the eyes of the nation; instead of the ignorant Bible-thumping, hateful, bigoted image the media depicts the church to be, Christians need to create films, novels, plays, music and theatre that characterize them as normal human beings who hurt, cry, experience pain and are the most charitable, creative, forgiving and loving people on the earth—an opinion I have from observing the Bible-believing church for the past four decades in many different cultures, countries and contexts.
Christianity may not be perfect, but since the advent of the Resurrection, Christ followers have positively affected the world more than any other movement. They started hospitals and the greatest universities. They educated whole nation nations and produced the greatest scientists (Isaac Newton) and composers (Bach, Beethoven, Handel). They abolished slavery (William Wilberforce), reformed child labor laws, led the fight against AIDS and prison reform (Chuck Colson), started relief organizations like the Red Cross and World Vision, and presently lead the charge against global sex trafficking, to name just a few things. The church has over 2,000 years of history to fall back on that can be used to positively depict Christianity to the world!
9. Their curriculum is taught in public schools.
GLBT groups have been authorized to give sensitivity training in most major professional sports, in the military and in public schools. Gay activists have successfully joined many community boards, political clubs and school boards and have successfully placed gay-friendly curriculum as required reading in many public schools, with books such as Heather Has Two Mommies and the like.
After America was founded, it soon initiated public schools primarily for the purpose of religious education based on the Bible. Not only that, but evangelical churches started most of the Ivy League universities, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia Universities, for the purpose of educating the next generation of cultural leaders with a Christian worldview. If the evangelical church doesn’t once again equip the next generation to be cultural leaders through education, it will continue the cycle of losing cultural influence. Furthermore, we not only need more pastors, but also we need to nurture future professors of law, history, philosophy, sociology, science and politics with a biblical worldview to teach in world-class universities—because the heart cannot worship what the mind rejects.
10. They successfully changed the laws of the nation.
The book of Esther teaches us that sometimes its not enough to have a prayer meeting and repent—we need to change the laws if we are going to save our people. Gay activists have infiltrated and influenced every strata of society, including the Supreme Court. Most of the states that have legalized same-sex marriage have done so through either legislation or adjudication; only a few have done so through the popular vote. Not only that, but California defeated same-sex marriage by popular vote through Proposition 8, and even that was recently overturned by a court of law.
For the church to sustain cultural influence, it will need to nurture the next generation of the smartest and most qualified judges, lawyers and political leaders this nation has ever seen. Our children should be sent to the top universities in the world equipped with a biblical worldview so they can turn both their schools and culture upside down. If we only send Christian youth to Bible colleges to become pastors or full-time missionaries and neglect the public square, we will continue to be marginalized, in spite of the fact that conservative Christians may outnumber every other special-interest group. It's not about numbers; it's about influence, and gay activists have done an incredible job of gaining the ascendancy of cultural influence in ways the church can easily replicate if we are honest, self-aware and take our heads out of the sand!
I do not blame the gay community for same-sex marriage. I love and respect each gay person as I would any other human being. In regard to the decline of traditional marriage, I blame the high rate of heterosexual divorce and the failure of church the past several generations to function as salt and light.
In a world that is based on the laws of sowing and reaping as well as merit, the gay community deserves the influence it presently wields in culture because it has worked hard for decades to achieve cultural acceptance and celebration. Also, a narcissistic church focused on escaping rather then engaging the earth will also get what it deserves—more and more irrelevancy!
In closing, there are now incredible signs of hope that the global church is now beginning to embrace its cultural mandate (Gen. 1:28) and will once again nurture a generation of the greatest thinkers, writers, composers and cultural leaders the world has ever seen. I also believe God is looking for Bible-believing Christ followers who will do the works of Christ and actively engage and love gay people instead of keeping them at arm's length and ostracizing them. We will never reach those we don’t really love in words and deeds!
Joseph Matterais overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church, Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can read more on josephmattera.org or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.