I am an unhappy member of the Religious Right. While the ideals and intentions of our current family-values agenda are good, the tone is not. In our attention to three A’s, the battlegrounds of family values, we miss the biblical balance between morality and compassion and between sin and the opportunity for forgiveness. In so doing, we may be sacrificing humility for a fourth A—arrogance.

Alternative lifestyles is the first A. The Bible is clear on homosexuality. Genesis 19 calls Sodom and Gomorrah cities of moral degradation. Their homosexuality revealed a deep, moral fall. Paul also condemned such alternative lifestyles as the outworking of human rebellion, exchanging the one-fleshness of the marriage bond for a mismatch.

The Bible is likewise clear on another matter. Jesus reached out to tax collectors and sinners not with condemnation, but with an invitation. His explanation was, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.… For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Moral truth is moral truth; it cannot be redefined. Those who choose an alternative lifestyle are accountable for their decision. But accountability ultimately rests with God, not with a government and not with us. Gay bashing is not how we should respond. Where is our invitation to receive grace alongside our warning against sin?

• AIDS comes next. The public reacts negatively to the disease because many people who have AIDS have chosen to engage in the first A or because they are drug abusers who have used infected needles. No doubt abstinence, monogomous marriage, and saying no to drugs are the most effective ways to stop the spread of AIDS. But “innocents” are also infected: health-care workers through cuts and needle ...

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