Can someone be Gay and Christian at the same time?
As most people already know, the current majority within the Christian Church, especially and to some degree exclusively the conservative Church, does not allow for homosexual relationships within the context of Biblical teaching. Anyone who disagrees with the presupposition that God does not allow for homosexual expression (whether emotional or sexual) is said to be biblically ignorant or refuses to take scripture seriously. Many liberal Christians who advocate for full inclusion of homosexuals into the Christian Church do in fact have a 'low view' of scripture, meaning the absolute authority of scripture is sometimes abdicated in favor of human reason and current cultural norms. Coming from an Evangelical background, I share with the conservative Church a 'high view' of scripture (the Bible is authoritative for a Christian's life and practice), however, I do not share the view that we fallible humans currently have complete understanding of scripture and that much of the conservative method of biblical interpretation and implementation is flawed. The problem isn't whether the Bible as the infallible Word of God, the problem is with we humans as we attempt to interpret the Word of God in our current social context. Thus, in the same way Christians throughout history have used the Bible to justify unspeakable atrocities done towards others they didn't like at the time, from the Inquisition to the attempt to justify the 'peculiar institution' of slavery, the conservative Church is now focusing on homosexuals and incorrectly using scripture to justify attacks on the homosexual condition and homosexuals, resulting in emotional, spiritual, and physical abuse.
In my attempt to 'Know Truth' and to not hold onto any particular theory or perspective except the belief that Truth resides with God, I desire to build a resource and develop an argument that takes a high view of scripture, yet does not allow current cultural blindness or prejudices to interfere with the discernment of God's view of this subject. In other words, I want to know what the Bible really says about this whole issue, even if that means swimming against the steam of current belief. At this point, I don't believe the Bible when correctly approached condemns homosexual relationships within a Biblical moral context -- the same context applied to all human relationships.
After much study and discussion, I do not believe scripture is being correctly interpreted and applied by much of the Church when dealing with the subject of homosexuality. I have come to believe, from a Biblical perspective, that God does not condemn gay relationships within biblical standards. From my study of scripture, theologians, sociology, church history, medical information, etc., I have come to the conclusion that the homosexual orientation is not something intrinsically condemned by God. Many people disagree with that assertion, and that is their right as long as they do not distort reality. Right now, many within the anti-gay camp distort the truth about gay people and homosexuality for their own ends -- sometimes I am simply amazed at what I hear and read. I'm afraid that the homosexual issue, since the demise of Communism, has become their primary means of raising money and political clout within the politicized Religious Right, and they are using gay people as a scapegoat for many of the woes of the world. I have no problem with someone believing homosexuality is morally wrong, as long as the arguments are truthful and informed. There isn't much of that coming out of the Religious Right anti-gay movement.
Many of their arguments are based on stereotypes that are generalized to the whole gay population, on misrepresentation of facts, distortions of experience, manipulation of scripture to bend around their whim, and accusation against anyone who disagrees with their ideology. It is interesting how their current political tactic is to claim victomhood because their 'God-ordained' beliefs, statistics, and theology are being denied a public hearing due to the all powerful radical gay lobby. Yet, they actively try to remove any information from the public domain that presents homosexuals/homosexuality in a positive light, and campaign against any attempt to guarantee basic civil rights. Listen carefully to what they say and how they say it! More to come on that later.....
Within these pages, I want to present information on both sides of the issue. It is up to all individuals, before God, to conclude whether God condemns homosexuality or not. I want to know truth, and considering all sides of an issue only adds to knowing truth. The many young people who are gay and condemned by many within the Church grieve my heart. The result is often the rejection of their faith and a giving over of themselves to the more negative social forces within the gay community, not because they want to but because they see no hope or no other recourse.
If you are struggling with this issue of being gay and your faith, you need to have all the facts from both sides of the argument to make an informed decision about what you believe and what you will do with that belief. Eventually, I will have lots of information and links for investigation. If right now you are struggling, feel free to contact me! I will encourage you to get the facts, pray for God's will, and go from there. It has to be between you and God, not according to what I or anyone else says. If you are a young person from an evangelical or fundamentalist Christian background, please contact me! I've been there, I understand. Always know, God loves you and accepts you no matter what other Christians or the Church says! He will not leave you were you are and He will always be there ready to support you as He brings you into your true self . That is the truth!
It is good to understand the arguments of your opponents!
The major thrust and power behind the anti-gay crusades within the US are derived from the religious anti-gay community. Whether Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Mormon, Jewish, or Muslim, opponents of equal rights and protections and marriage have their strength, money, and encouragement from this group of anti-gay crusaders. That is why it is of the utmost importance to understand the arguments of gay opponents, but it is equally important to realize that for most anti-gay people the problem is misinformation that must be corrected with patience and a sympathetic hand. This is where organizations like SoulForce are playing a vital role!
It must also be understood that there are as many different sub-communities within the gay sub-culture as there are within the straight culture. There are many gay people who relish as much sex as they can get, who want nothing to do with religion, who are anti-heterosexual, who are abusive, addicted to whatever, hateful, shallow, etc., etc. as within the straight population. Many gay people live up to the stereotype! There is a large and growing population of gay people who want basically the same thing most within the straight community want -- the American dream of home and family. They believe in monogamy and traditional conservative American values of hard work, restraint, moderation, honesty, and fidelity. There are also many gay people who have a strong faith and desire to serve God with their whole being. The way each group approaches gay rights and the advocacy of those rights will be very different, even though those who are the more radical and anti-social are the ones who normally get all the media attention. The anti-gay forces want all Americans to believe every homosexual is a sex-crazed hedonist who has turned their lives over to sin and the destruction of God-fearing American society.
The arguments that follow are sincerely believed by most within the anti-gay religious community. Most of these people simply do not have the information needed to make informed decisions concerning homosexuality and homosexuals, yet they draw conclusions from faulty scripture interpretation, faulty studies that support their opinions, and from ultra-conservative religious leaders who scapegoat, vilify, and fear monger around the issue often to do nothing more then raise money. Most truly believe that homosexuality is the final battle of the culture wars and if lost, God will rain down retribution for allowing Satan to have the victory. Homosexuality, if allowed to remain, will be the downfall of the US and Western Civilization! The tactics we use to approach them and to defend ourselves against this group are much different then the tactics many secular gay-rights group use when engaging American society in general.
There are many who truly have compassion for homosexuals, in their way of thinking, and desire to see them 'whole' in Christ's image. I know; I've been there! There is often a major difference between those who work in ex-gay ministries and those we hear in the media who rail against homosexuals as they use ex-gay ministry for their own purposes. For some gay people, ex-gay ministry may be a very good experience! God truly does heal us of our emotional baggage and truly does want us to be whole and healthy, and sincere ex-gay ministries can bring a person closer to that goal. The problem begins when God is healing us of so much garbage in our lives we equate that with being healed of homosexuality. This causes tremendous problems for both those leading the ministries and those being ministered to. The promise of true change from a homosexual orientation to a heterosexual one is not realized. Behavior may change, but orientation does not. I have yet to witness or hear of any true change from one orientation to another. A change in behavior does not equal a change of orientation, no matter what some may advocate.
I do not advocate for the demise of ex-gay ministries, but I do advocate for honesty! If a gay person wants help living a chaste life and overcome various addictions in a faith-based context, that is their right and in some circumstances an ex-gay ministry may be the best place for them, but there needs to be honesty. When someone comes into an ex-gay ministry, the promise that God WILL AND WITHOUT DOUBT heal ALL homosexuals and make them into heterosexuals is simply wrong and dishonest. The evidence for that idea being God's modus operandi simply is not there, no matter how much self-deception or thought-control is employed. It simply sets up the new member for failure, more emotional turmoil, and often an eventual repudiation of God and faith. Many see homosexuality as nothing more then behavior and when you stop having sex you stop being a homosexual. The evidence suggests that most ex-gay people, while denying being homosexual any longer (known as having a positive confession or speaking forth in faith a Godly healing), simply stop engaging in sex. They don't become heterosexuals, whether they marry a member of the opposite sex and have a child or not, they just stop engaging in homosexual sex. I have witnessed and struggled with many ex-gays who years later realize they have not, in fact, changed -- some of whom married and have families. It is a horrendous situation to be in.
An example is a man from Atlanta who became involved in an ex-gay ministry, became a Christian, and said he was so happy to be an ex-gay because now he can go to Atlanta Braves games without having sex in the bathroom stalls. He had a problem all right, but the reason for the problem was not simply 'being' a homosexual. He, as do most Christian ex-gay people, believes that to no longer be involved in sexual behavior means he is no longer a homosexual. That is simply not true! Many people are addicted to sex and need to be healed of their addiction, but even in chastity a homosexual orientation does not end. That is why so many people become disillusioned with ex-gay ministry and conservative Christianity after spending time in ex-gay ministries. What the ministries promise in terms of becoming truly and purely heterosexual just doesn't happen! It doesn't happen.
Some brief examples of anti-gay arguments:
Most of the following arguments and statements are easily refuted and with any bit of unbiased study are shown to be false when applied to the entire gay population. There are certainly major problems within the gay community, but those problems are human problems and are experienced equally among the straight population.
First off, according to the ex-gay movement, God desires no one to be homosexual and He created no one that way. God desires to heal everyone afflicted with homosexual desires and bring them into their true God-given heterosexual selves.
There are plenty of more arguments I will detail and will eventually respond to. The only thing I want to say is that from the above examples, all gleaned from publications, personal experience, and personal testimonials, there is a great deal of distortion of facts and experiences in order to force the issue into a very narrow strain of thought and belief. To many anti-gay people, the homosexual threat is so great that the end justifies the means and if they lie and distort truth to end the homosexual menace, then so be it. This is a holy war and anything is permissible to defeat Satan. This is the danger to us all, not only homosexual people but the very Christians who engage in this type of propaganda. Since their arguments are not really working, the more radical view will become more pronounced. The end result will be the advocacy of death for homosexuals, since that was the punishment according the ancient Hebrew Law. Watch and listen, this argument is gaining.
More to come.....
last update: 8/13/2001