Murray Richmond, a Presbyterian minister, hospital chaplain, and current legislative aide in the Alaska State Senate, has a fantastic article up at Salon. The title: “I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong.”
But over the next five years, homosexuality not only became an issue — it became The Issue. Sides were drawn, and those of us in the middle were pulled to either end. I was a biblical Christian, of the “hate the sin, love the sinner” crowd. And so it seemed clear that I could not fully accept, ordain and marry gays. If I was going to be forced to choose a side, that was mine.
The truth is, I was put out that this was an issue. Feeding the hungry, preaching the gospel, comforting the afflicted, standing up to racial intolerance — these were the struggles I signed up for, not determining the morality of what adults did in their bedrooms.
He says there were three things that eventually changed his mind:
- A conversation with a gay Christian man who no longer wanted to hide his orientation
- Realizing that a parishioner who wanted an exorcism to get rid of the gay was really “not demon-possessed”
- Meeting a woman whose pastor-husband left her for a man because he no longer wanted to live a lie
These experiences shook my worldview. It became clear to me that none of these men had chosen to be gay, just as I had never chosen to be heterosexual. How could I condemn someone for something that was really not their fault? Meanwhile, I was experiencing the slow disintegration of my own marriage. Needless to say, it was hard for me to condemn anyone else for their relationships when mine was in such bad shape. I began moving closer to the center. If homosexuality was a “sin,” I wanted to add an asterisk to it.
If a pastor can be educated about this issue, maybe there’s hope for some of the other bigots in the church…?
For that to happen, though, people who are gay have to take the difficult step of coming out — to themselves, to people they know, and to people who might be opposed to homosexuality. And if you’re gay and Christian, you’re in a better position to make other people see the light.
(Thanks to Siobhan for the link)