On May 9, 2013, in the Russian town of Volgograd, Vladislav Tornovoi was raped and mutilated with beer bottles and then beaten to death with a brick. One of his friends confessed to killing him because Vlad had allegedly disclosed he was gay.
How can this sort of thing happen in the twenty-first century? I can only observe that the crime took place amidst an increasingly anti-homosexual climate in Russia.
Also in 2013, Uganda is coming close to passing “one of the most punative anti-gay measures in the world” — a law that is known as the Kill the Gays Bill because an early version mandated the death penalty for repeat offenders.
Russian president Putin casts his anti-homosexual campaign in moral terms. In this he has the support of the head of the Russian Orthodox church. Uganda is a Christian country and a plain-text reading of certain Bible passages (e.g., Leviticus 20:13) would seem to place their proposed law squarely in the center of God’s will.
However, I would like to propose to my morally conservative and Christian friends another way of looking at this. I’ll introduce it with a parable that I heard more than once in evangelical circles. The original meaning of the parable pertained to dating behavior, but I will suggest how it could apply here.
A wealthy man wanted to hire a chauffeur. His house was sited high on a mountain, and was only accessible by a narrow, treacherous road. He told each prospective chauffeur that if he could demonstrate great skill driving on that road, he would get the job.
The first candidate drove up the mountain maintaining a distance of only three inches from the down-mountain edge. “Not good enough,” said the wealthy man.
The second thought he could do better. He piloted the car a mere two inches from disaster all the way up. “Sorry,” said the man.
The third was so skilled that he could maintain a distance of less than an inch from the edge all the way up and down. “You’re not the man for the job,” said the rich man.
The fourth man drove the car slowly and as far from the edge as possible, both up and down the mountain.
“You’re hired,” said the employer. “You’re the only one I trust to keep me safe.”
Intolerance is like trying to drive close to the edge. We think we can participate in an intolerant sub-culture without any real harm, but that may not be true. In Russia and Uganda (and, yes, in the United States), we have seen how a climate of intolerance can lead to murder.
I now pose a question to all pro-life Americans: Which do you think is the greater threat to life: homosexuality or intolerance? In light of your answer, where should we focus our energy?
If you’re still not sure, you might want to watch another video:
For the chilling result, skip to here.