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Brad Trost’s missed opportunity is ours too

Conservative Party leadership candidate Brad Trost caught some heat recently, from the party’s interim leader Rona Ambrose, after he sent out an email to his leadership campaign supporter promising he would never walk in a gay pride parade. Ambrose responded the next day, saying she was upset at his comments, and she was proud to be the first Conservative Party leader to walk in such a parade.

Now, Trost’s email got people talking, but it was also a missed opportunity because it was so very brief. It gave no explanation as to why it isn’t a good thing to march in these parades.

Of course, we know the reason he didn’t go into detail. He really couldn’t explain further unless he was willing to talk about sin, which would have gotten him into even more trouble. But there really are only two reasons to oppose gay pride parades.

  • The first is because they take pride in something God condemns – homosexual activity. They celebrate sin. And since sin separates us from God, this is not something we should be putting our stamp of approval on – we are hurting homosexuals when we do so. There are also the right-now consequences of homosexual activity that shorten lifespans, lead to far higher rates of suicide, and result in higher rates of cancer, depression, drug use and an array of other health concerns. So the first reason to oppose gay pride parades is out of love for the participants.
  • The second is bigotry. This is the “they’re different than us – ewwwh!” response. It’s not attractive, and with good reason. This treats homosexuals not as fellow Image-bearers of God, who share our same need for redemption, but rather as something lesser.

We should acknowledge Trost’s courage in taking a stand that no other politician seems willing to do anymore. But we shouldn’t overlook the manner in which he has taken this stand. Here’s his complete email message:

In 2009, when a former Minister of the Conservative Government announced $400,000 in funding for Toronto’s “gay pride” week, I led the Conservative Caucus in opposing this announcement and went on the record with my opposition to any such funding. I have not marched in any “gay pride” parade. Further, I will NOT march in any “gay pride” parade as Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, nor will I march in or FUND any “gay pride” event of any kind as Prime Minister.

Then, in a follow-up, a Trost staffer, Mike Patton, released a video via Twitter (which seemed to have been taken down but is now back up here) which he began by saying:

“In case you haven’t noticed, Brad’s not entirely comfortable with the whole gay thing.”

Patton noted that while Trost is “not a big fan of the gay lifestyle” his problem here was the tax dollars going to these parades, and that they weren’t living up to community standards.

So how does this come off? Does it come off as concerned and loving? Or does it sound more like reason #2?

Now here’s our key question: why doesn’t it sound good? It’s what God wants. It’s the right answer. So why – even in our ears – does it sound so wrong?

Because it is standing there on its lonesome, with no real support and no justification. Tax dollars wasted? Well, when we consider the number of people involved at the parade, and how we spend money on events that have far smaller attendance, why is this such a big deal? And violating community standards? Can we even argue that’s true nowadays?

So it seems like Trost’s opinion and nothing more. While liberal politicians will reference God – last month California governor Jerry Brown argued it wasn’t Christian to build a wall on the border – we seem scared to do so. But something inevitable happens when we try to defend a biblical position without presenting biblical reasons. Then, because we have no firm foundation, we really have no firm argument.

We’ve seen this happen in the gender debate, where Christians are more eager to talk about bathrooms than that God created two genders. In the abortion debate, rather than talking about the humanity of the unborn – how they like all of us are made in God’s image – Christians find themselves defending the right to free speech. Instead of arguing for the unborn, we’ll get distracted into arguing that we should be allowed to argue for the unborn.

Then, when the attacks come, we’re not being attacked for defending God’s Word, and His position. No, we’re attacked for all sorts of side issues that don’t really matter.

And when we’re attacked for bigotry, it’s because we’ve presented God’s thoughts as if they are only our own personal opinions. Of course, getting attacked for bigotry is likely to happen no matter what we say. But how much better it would be if this attack came while we were being winsome and loving, rather than while we were keeping close-mouthed about what God has to say.

Brad Trost is a remarkable man. He has spoken up for the unborn when others Leadership candidates have not dared do so. Trost has helped get the plight of the unborn back in the public eye, and in doing so has forced even some of the pro-abortion candidates to make some small concessions that could help the unborn. So my point here is not to beat up on Brad Trost. He has more courage than 10 ordinary men.

But on this issue, he has taken a stand but offered no real defense. We can hardly fault the media for portraying this as simple bigotry – this is the only narrative they know, and Trost hasn’t given them any other.

So why criticize a brave man? Only because this type of partial stand – standing for God’s Truth without saying His Name – is a failing we all share. And in seeing how Trost’s public stand has been received, we can see how any defense of God’s truth that doesn’t actually stand on God as its foundation, is going to come off as far from godly and far from good.

The fact is we all need to be braver. The world doesn’t want to hear from God, but they need to. So we all need to speak about Him more, not less. We need to offer a clear witness to the world, not just in politics but over the back fence.

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?
– Psalm 56:3-4

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