[excerpted and adapted from First the Gospel, Then Politics …, 1999, Vol. 2, not published]
In 1998, I was interviewed on the radio in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by two talk show hosts, one of whom was avowedly homosexual.
He was piqued at fellow homosexuals whom he thought “whined” about rights. He wanted no more than a level playing field as a person, not as a specially favored homosexual. In fact, he pointed out how ironic it was that homosexual-rights activists were calling for “protection” in the housing market. He cited the want ads in the Miami homosexual newspaper where homosexuals advertise among homosexuals, like any constituency advertises among itself. And he said that there was always an abundance of available places to rent. He thought it was a shill issue. I do not know. But if we who are Christian model the power to give in all we do with the stewardships God has given us, we can accomplish far more in protecting marriage and the family than if we become defensive and descend into the power to take before being taken.
As well, homosexuals are free to compete in an equal marketplace for jobs and housing, as image-bearers of God. But a deeper philosophical dispute arises in the nature of property. According to the U.S. Constitution, private property is a right, unless a compelling state or national interest takes precedence (and even there are limits here, such as the nature of eminent domain and just compensation).
If a person wants to be selfish, stupid or bigoted with his money and property, he is free to do so. He can rent to whom or employ whomever he wants. The government should not be involved unless it is a governmental matter (e.g., government property or jobs). Some would say that to allow such “freedom” encourages racism, sexism and classism. But I feel it is the opposite. In other words, when someone is forced to hire or rent to people they do not wish, however bigoted they are, if it is their money, then their resentment against the law and against the people against whom they are bigoted only intensifies. Private censure against bigots is more effective – where they are thus excluded from social contracts among decent people.
I myself would be glad to hire an avowed homosexual if he or she were capable of doing the job I needed done (and I would only do so in the context of sub-contracting, as with all people). But there are certain jobs he would not be capable of doing for me, such as teaching theology. I would not inquire as to his or her sexual identity to begin with, so I would only know if he made it an issue. If the issue disrupted his work performance, then I would have cause to reconsider, not due to his homosexuality, but due to his disruption to a healthy work environment. Likewise with an alcoholic or an insubordinate person. And if I were renting an apartment to a single man or woman, I would not inquire about their sexual identities. They would have to make it an issue where it disrupted my business as a landlord. If a homosexual wanted to work for me, and he was qualified, I would be pleased, for then I can show him the love of God in tangible ways.
In Resolution #4 on “Human Sexuality and Civil Rights,” I have written it for the U.S. Congress and state legislatures to consider. One element states: “No punitive laws shall exist to restrict private association – whether heterosexual or homosexual.” The homosexual talk show host in Fort Lauderdale agrees, and such a biblically rigorous ethic honors the image of God in all people equally and advances the Gospel.