The American Family Association recently called for a boycott of Pepsi because the company advertised during an episode of Family Guy: “On March 8, PepsiCo helped sponsor Family Guy, a perverted and sickening television program on FOX network. PepsiCo helped sponsor the program which pushed the homosexual agenda and denigrated Christ. At a ‘straight’ meeting, the speaker talks to gays about Jesus and tells them, ‘Jesus Christ, who hates many people, but none more than homosexuals.’”
I am not a fan of Family Guy, but I do believe it is meant to be satire, which means that the show is portraying an exaggerated version of Christians as many people see us. The problem isn't the show or the sponsors but the church itself, which is somehow communicating the message that God hates specific people – not that He loves each of us so much that He sent His son to die for us, as John 3:16 teaches.
The tone of the AFA’s email adds to this message – its loaded language suggests that Christians (and by association, Christ) are against everyone and everything. I cringe whenever I read statements from Christian organizations that portray homosexuals or other groups of people as enemies. Yes, I believe homosexuality is a sin, but it is no worse than heterosexual sex outside of marriage – or lying, pride, or greed, for that matter (James 2:10-11). Everyone would be my enemy if I hated anyone who ever practiced those sins! (Not to mention that Ephesians 6:12 teaches that people are not our enemies.)
Instead of worrying about the sins of unbelievers, we Christians should be taking care of the sins in our own lives. When we see Christian characters portrayed as spewing hateful anti-gay messages, we should look at ourselves rather than television producers and sponsors. Sadly, the church as a whole has failed spectacularly in showing the gay community the love of Christ. Rather than taking care of the physical and spiritual needs of the gays and lesbians we know, we sever friendships and hold up signs declaring “God hates gays.” (What a lie!) Could it be that our sin is worse than theirs?
As far as it depends on us, we are to live at peace with everybody (Romans 12:18). By treating homosexual people with respect and not acting as though their sins were worse than hers, Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner managed to live at peace with them – she was probably better loved in the gay community than in the church. Yet, several of her obituaries (including this one) point out that she always believed homosexuality was a sin.
It is possible that some of your gay and lesbian friends and family members will not forgive you for simply believing that what they are doing is a sin. But it is more likely that if you have broken relationships with the homosexual people in your life, you have somehow expressed that you believe their sins are unforgiveable.
Needless to say, I will not be boycotting Pepsi. Instead, I will be praying that God will remind me of any time that my actions have suggested to anyone – especially the gay men and lesbian women I know – that God hates them, and I will be asking forgiveness for that sin.