Homosexuality, transgenderism, and the whole marriage equality debate have dominated headlines off and on for years now. Christians have been on opposite sides of the fence, unsure sometimes of where to stand in regards to these issues. We’re told to love people as Christ loves people, but we also know we’re not supposed to support sinful behavior.
And I’ve noticed that this conflict – as all other conflicts inevitably do – spill into the world of our writing. Just like many of the other ‘rules’ of Christian fiction, we are told not to include homosexual characters, events, or behavior in our stories.
I’ll be the first to say that homosexual behavior bothers me. It bothers me because it’s sinful behavior, and it bothers me just like any other sinful behavior would bother me – sin is our falling short of God’s plan for our lives. The issue is, many have made homosexuality out to be in a category outside other sins. I think it may be easy to do so because it is a sin that is more accepted by our society. Society praises gay pride at parades, but they don’t praise murder, guile, or thievery. But they’re all the same, aren’t they, in terms of sin? Maybe they have different consequences, different effects on our lives, but they are all still sin according to God’s word.
That being said, we can’t take up our mantle and provide arguments to include other elements of life into our fiction without also allowing elements of homosexuality in. Why? Because the world needs to see homosexuality in the context of redemptive fiction. The world needs to see that we aren’t afraid to broach this topic, to write about real characters with real struggles.
But to broach this topic, we have to be careful. As with all ‘edgy’ content in Christian fiction, there’s a line between writing fiction to bring across real-world content in a Christ-centered fashion, and glorifying sin just to be ‘edgy’. Maybe we don’t necessarily write an ending that sees a homosexual character abandon their lifestyle by the end of the book, but we shouldn’t glorify the behavior by showing that they lived a blessed life by refusing to repent of their sin.
A few weeks ago, Elijah David presented a great post on our blog that approached this subject from a very simple perspective: we should write about homosexuality if the story calls for it. No more, no less. We shouldn’t write in LGBT characters because we need a token placeholder to represent some inconceivable sin. We shouldn’t write in LGBT characters because we want to be the next ‘edgy’ author who pushed the boundaries of Christian fiction.
Much of our argument as to why real-world content should be included in Christian fiction isn’t because we want to push a sermon. It’s simply because our stories are more real, more raw, more true-to-life when we include these types of content. Real people struggle with sexual sins – homosexual or straight. Real people struggle with drug addiction. Real people struggle with rage, malice, gluttony and any other sin you can possibly imagine. We write these struggles into our stories to build realism into our fiction, to showcase hurt with healing, sin with redemption, perfection with imperfection. But to also make our fiction real, we have to include ‘real’ people.
Should we have homosexual characters or events in our stories? Only your story can tell you that. But if you do include them in there, use wisdom. We don’t write these stories to glorify sin, but to show sin’s contrast against a perfect, loving God.