Macklemore’s misguided criticism

Whenever I hear Macklemore’s "Same Love" on the radio, I am continually amazed by the incredible quality of the song. The sheer musical beauty is enough to make its listener tune in and relax as the piano, violin and trumpet waft across the dial.

Add to that Mary Lambert's passionate vocals, Macklemore’s heartfelt lyricism and a direct social message, and you’ve got yourself a VMA award-winning production.

What really defines the song is its take on the treatment of gay and lesbian people.In the song, Macklemore indicts two formidable cultural forces, hip hop and religion, for what he perceives as their hateful attitude toward the gay and lesbian community.

In this regard, Macklemore makes a fair point.For far too long religion — Christianity in particular — has been perceived as treating gay and lesbian people as “synonymous with the lesser.”

Although the media tends to misrepresent Christianity as intolerant, modern times make for an opportunity for Christians to truly put into practice what they profess in word.

Identifying as gay or lesbian should never subject a person to prejudice and persecution.They deserve and need to be loved, as do all human beings.

I would argue that the onus falls even more heavily on Christians to uphold this virtue.

Macklemore’s indictment of religion, and undoubtedly the Catholic Church, is certainly indicative of the way some individuals claiming to be Christian have treated gay and lesbian people.

To ostracize and condemn someone for identifying as gay or lesbian is no way for anyone to behave.However, is the behavior of a few indicative of the Church as a whole?

In the song, it seems that Macklemore makes sweeping generalizations about religion, without truly acknowledging exactly what it is that the Church teaches regarding homosexuality.

For instance, he criticizes “right-wing conservatives” for believing that being gay is a decision.

The Catholic Church does not teach that identifying as gay is a decision.Rather, it teaches that actively pursuing homosexual desires is a choice that an individual can make and that to do so is actively sinful.

I agree with Macklemore that Christians need to do a better job of being respectful and compassionate towards gays and lesbians as people, but I do not agree that respect correlates to a passive acceptance of sinful behavior.

Such action is an offense against the type of love Jesus commends to his disciples. By tolerating homosexual behavior, Christians fail to obey Jesus’s commands.

On the other hand, condemning gays and lesbians as inferior is also a failure, and Christians who fail to love and respect those who struggle with legitimate temptation do a disservice to their faith.

In making a sweeping indictment of religion because of a few bad apples, Macklemore unfairly condemns those Christians who uphold Christ’s teaching.

Were he to look a bit deeper, he would find that authentic Christianity “paraphrases a book written 3,500 years ago” not because it hates gays and lesbians, but because it desires their true and eternal happiness.

 

Reach the columnist at mrrich2@asu.edu


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