A Revealing Sign

While driving today I passed by a billboard. It had a definite message that it meant to convey, but it also said some things that it was clearly not intended to.

On a background of bright rainbow colors it said, “Protect Yourself. Protect Your Pride. Get Tested. Know Your HIV Status.”

There can’t be much doubt as to which group of people the message was targeted to. And I’m sure it was no coincidence that the billboard was placed just a couple miles down the road from the local “gay” resort.

But what the billboard actually said was less interesting than what it implied, for it implicitly admitted certain things that don’t often seem to get directly admitted.

It admitted, in effect, that certain behaviors are highly risky, and that a specific group of people is inherently far more likely to engage in those behaviors than other people are.

Wait, weren’t we once expected to believe that HIV could strike pretty much anybody, regardless of age, gender or “sexual orientation”? Hmm, I haven’t heard that one in a while; it’s hard to imagine that anyone ever bought it.

But aren’t we still supposed to believe that “gays” are all about “love” and “commitment?” Aren’t we still told that their relationships are typically as stable and faithful as everyone else’s? If what we’re told is true, why would they be significantly more at risk for HIV than other people?

Something’s wrong with this picture, and what’s wrong is that we’re told lies about the lives of “gays.” And, as the billboard demonstrates, those who tell the lies know at least part of the truth: that men with same-sex attractions typically live an unhealthy and risky lifestyle as a direct result of those attractions – a lifestyle in which “love” equals sex, “commitment” is superficial and true faithfulness has no place.

There’s another interesting message implied by the billboard: that the riskiness of the “gay” lifestyle is known and acknowledged, but this lifestyle is encouraged anyway. There might as well be a billboard telling alcoholics that they need to wear seatbelts when they drive drunk. After all, they’re going to drive drunk anyway, right? And being alcoholic is part of “who they are” and can’t be changed, right? So, while they’re driving drunk, maybe they should try to minimize their risk a little, don’t you think?

That, of course, would be utter nonsense. And so is encouraging men to keep living the typical “gay” lifestyle.

Is it hard to get away from that kind of life? Of course. There are many deep-seated, life-dominating issues that are hard to get away from, and even hard to want to get away from. But they can be – and often are – overcome by way of the radical, positive change that comes through submission to the Creator.

If the people responsible for the billboard really cared about “gay” men, they’d have put out a very different message: Forget your pride, get to know your Creator, find a new life where your HIV status will always be “clean,” and stop looking for the missing peace where you’ll never find it.

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