By Richard Boone
Recently actress/comedienne Ellen Degeneres “came out of the closet” about her homosexuality. She appeared on the cover of Time magazine with the caption, “Yep, I’m Gay” and was interviewed by Diane Sawyer on ABC’s 20/ 20 (April 25, 1997). In her sitcom, Ellen, aired by ABC on April 30, her character declared she was gay. All of these illustrate that homosexuality is more acceptable to our society.
My comments here, though, focus on the larger problem immorality and its acceptance. There are different mindsets in society following God’s will or following one’s own will (which is, in reality, a form of following Satan’s will). There are different lifestyles and justifications which arise from these different mindsets. While older generations may not face the battle as long, their children and grandchildren, my children and grandchildren will have to face the problem. It is not going away; we cannot ignore it.
I want to mention some of Degeneres’ remarks from the 20/20 interview and comment on them. I hope they will help to explain why there are still many people opposed to homosexuality and its promotion.
Ellen Is A Homosexual By Choke
I was surprised that Ellen admitted this. The current societal view is that homosexuality is not a matter of choice, but a product of genetics. Ellen mentioned that she could have, by choice, been a mayor’s wife right now, and greeted that former boyfriend by name. In reality, all homosexuals are such by their own choices just as the Bible has said all along.
In Genesis 19 two angels came to Sodom and Lot provided for them. However, the men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house and wanted his guests so they could know them carnally (v. 5). Lot refused and offered his two virgin daughters instead (v. 8). They refused his two daughters; they made a choice!
In Romans 1:26-27, Paul said that the Gentile women “exchanged” the natural use of the man, and that men “leaving” the natural use of the woman, burned in their lusts for one another, committing what is shameful. Did you notice these verbs “exchanged” and “leaving”? These words describe choices, not automatic processes due to genetic coding.
Ellen Was Hurt By Her Family’s Reaction
When they learned that Ellen was a lesbian, her father and step-mother asked her to move out of the house. She was deeply hurt by this. While I do not gloat in the fact that she was hurt, we can also understand why they asked her to leave by considering the biblical descriptions of homosexuality.
It is an “abomination” to God (Lev. 18:22), punishable by death under Moses’ Law (Lev. 20:13). God described homosexuals as “perverted ones” and “dogs” (Deut. 23:17-18). In Romans 1:24-27, notice this list of adjectives: “uncleanness,” “dishonor,” “vile passions,” “against nature,” and “shameful.” Not a pretty picture, is it? Jude 7 states that homosexuality is going after “strange” flesh. Should we be surprised, then, when people are repulsed at such behavior? I don’t think so.
Ellen Took A Stand Because She Couldn’t
Change Who She Really Was
She finally mustered the courage to stand, and in de-scribing her stand, compared herself to Rosa Parks who refused to relinquish her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama years ago. Parks was black and could not change who she was; Ellen is gay and, by her own reasoning, can-not change who she is.
I strongly deny the validity of this comparison. Race is unchangeable and not a matter of choice. Homosexuality a behavior is totally a matter of choice. Furthermore, just as she chose to be a homosexual, she can choose to cease being a homosexual. In fact, we have a Bible ex-ample of people who did just that.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul declared that certain ones will not enter heaven; among them are homosexuals and sodomites. But then note verse 11: “And such were some of you …” (italics mine, rb). Yes, among the church at Corinth were former homosexuals. The truth is they changed through the gospel of Christ! They heard and believed it, and were baptized (Acts 18:8). When they were baptized, they were washed, sanctified, and justified (1 Cor. 6:11). If the Corinthians could change and be forgiven then, Ellen Degeneres, other homosexuals, and sinners of any kind can be forgiven now!
Ellen’s Definition of “Normal”
Diane Sawyer asked Ellen if she understood why people objected to her behavior and announcement since homosexuality was not considered normal by many people. Ellen was very uncomfortable during this portion of the inter-view and did not like the term “normal.” I’m not surprised; if you admit that there is “normal” behavior, then you admit that “abnormal” behavior is also possible.
Ellen went on to say that “normal” to her meant “what-ever makes me happy.” There are several flaws in her definition of normal! First, it is a subjective standard. One can determine what is right and wrong in his own eyes by such a definition (Judg. 17:6; 21:25). Second, it allows for one to have a clear conscience no matter what he or she does. Paul plainly says, however, that a clear conscience does not justify one before God (1 Cor. 4:4). Finally, while Ellen may be content to stop with her application of “normal,” others will follow who will not be content with that. Like error, sin never sits still it gets worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim. 3:13).
Ellen Prefers “Gay” Over “Lesbian”
She did not like the term “lesbian,” preferring “gay” instead. Why should we be surprised? Softening the description makes it more palatable and acceptable. If she didn’t like “lesbian,” she and others certainly don’t like the biblical descriptions of her manner of life previously mentioned.
We see this all around us. Homosexuality is no longer perversion; it is an “alternate lifestyle.” Drunkenness (a sin) is no longer acceptable; now it is “alcoholism” (a sickness). Abortion is not about murdering innocent human life; it is the “termination” of a “fetus.”
This happens among Christians, too. We don’t commit sin; we just have “bad judgment.” Local churches don’t have problems caused by sinful attitudes and actions; brethren just have “personality clashes.” Unity in understanding and application of Scripture is unrealistic; we just have “more than one possible interpretation.” We could go on and on with such Ashdodic examples (Neh. 13:23-24).
But again, we should not be surprised that Ellen prefers “gay” over “lesbian,” that the world prefers certain terms instead of biblical descriptions, nor that brethren sometimes change language to avoid biblical realities. Even among
God’s ancient people there were those who told the prophets to prophesy “smooth things” (Isa. 30:10-11).
Ellen Was Accepted And Applauded By Her Staff
After taping the episode of Ellen in which she “comes out,” Ellen’s staff applauded the completion of it and threw her a “coming out” party. They even gave her a cake which said, if I remember correctly, “It’s good to be gay!” What about those who, though not necessarily practicing homosexuality (or other sins) would approve of such?
In Romans 1:32 Paul spoke of the righteous judgment of God. Those who practice such things described in Romans 1 (homosexuality is included) are “worthy of death.” Not only are those who practice such things worthy of death, but those who “approve of those who practice them” are also worthy of death. That is why we must be so careful, lest we share in another’s sins and fail to keep ourselves pure (1 Tim. 5:22).
Ellen’s View Of Jesus As Loving
Frankly, I got “boiling mad” when Ellen said that Jesus was so loving and non-judgmental that he would never condemn anybody, suggesting that we ought to be the same. Counteracting my anger was the sadness in my heart at the ignorance manifested in that statement. Ellen is an example of one whose mind is blind and past feeling because of the ignorance of God’s will that is in her (cf. Eph. 4:17-19). While it is true that Jesus was loving, it is totally erroneous that he was non-judgmental.
Though I could reference many examples, I’ll use just one his last public discourse (Matt. 23). Here he delivered some of the sharpest rebukes ever known to man: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” This was stated several times. Jesus judged and was stern in his rebukes, but it was not because he was unloving. He did this be-cause of his great love for lost mankind!
In Matthew 7:1 Jesus warned disciples against making hypocritical judgments (see vv. 1-5), but in that prohibition he did not rule out making any judgments. In fact, in Matthew 7:15 we are warned to beware of “false prophets.” To do so requires that we make a judgment about truth and error. Jesus taught us to make judgments, but he also warned us to make “righteous” judgments (John 7:24).
To believe that we cannot make judgments of any kind logically leads to universalism where everything is right, and where nothing can be said to be wrong! Even those who say they believe that we should not be judgmental will not apply this principle to its ultimate end. They will certainly judge those who don’t approve of their manner of life! Truly, “the legs of the lame are unequal” (Prov. 26:7).
According to Ellen, all of the above points are true. Ac-cording to God and this is the most tragic point of all Ellen Degeneres will be lost unless she receives God’s forgiveness! This can only be done by obedience to the gospel of Christ she can purify her soul by obeying the truth ( I Pet. 1:22). Let us pray and work to the end that any person who has not yet done so will have more time and opportunity. Let us also pray that God will use us as mouthpieces to speak words which will prick their hearts to do so (Acts 2:37).
Guardian of Truth XLI: 14 p. 6-8
July 17, 1997