Married gay sex is sinful = failure of Christian logic

gods-love1“Is homosexuality a sin?” is the question that today is splitting Christendom like nothing has since Luther the Reformer asked (in so many words), “Indulgences? Really?”

What the question “Is homosexuality a sin?” is really asking—what anyone  actually means when they ask that—is, “Are acts of homosexual sex sinful?” That’s the question which the whole Christian debate about homosexuality invariably and necessarily boils down to. To discuss the relative merits of homosexuality is to discuss acts of homosexual sex; trying to treat the subjects separately is like trying to talk about breathing without mentioning air. The conversation about homosexuality is never about morally evaluating an abstract condition that never manifests in real life. No Christian argues that the homosexual who never engages in homosexual sex is sinful; in fact, those Christians who proclaim homosexuality a sin praise to the highest degree the chaste and celibate homosexual. They rejoice in his resisting the “sin” of homosexuality. No Christian would assert that a homosexual at home alone reading a book is at that moment guilty of the sin of homosexuality.

And so the thoughtful Christian naturally and logically goes directly from the question “Is homosexuality a sin?” to the question, “Are acts of homosexual sex sinful?”

Arriving at a clear and comprehensive answer to a question depends upon two things: definition and context. Before a question can be properly answered its terms must be defined, and the larger context in which the question has value, or exists at all, must be established.

So answering the question, “Are acts of homosexual sex sinful?” means first defining the phrase “acts of homosexual sex.”

What exactly is an act of homosexual sex? How do we know when such an act has transpired? At what exact point does a fraternal hug become a gay hug? How close can two women sit on a couch before they’re sitting lesbian close? At what moment does any interaction between any two people officially become not whatever it was before that, but an act of sexual foreplay?

A moment’s reflection reveals that determining what actions do and don’t qualify as homosexual sex is virtually impossible, because it insists upon distinguishing between shades of grey too subtle to distinquish where one ends and the other begins.

Which should, right there, completely invalidate the question of whether or not homosexuality is a sin. No fair pretending you can judge something you can’t even define.

But we’ll let that (major) point go. Instead of taking a single step onto that most slippery of slopes, we will step back from that precipice and plant our feet firmly upon the grounds of the famous threshold test for pornography: we will say that while we may not be able to define an act of homosexual sex, we know it when we see it.

Which leaves us with the question of context.

And here we can easily see the first step that needs taking. Discerning whether an act of homosexual sex, in and of itself,  is sinful, necessitates first isolating that act from any context which in an of itself could be considered sordid or illicit—or, in a word, sinful. Otherwise the formula for the calculation we’re trying to make will become too complicated to be useful. Trying to determine whether it’s sinful for my wife and me to have sex in the privacy of our bedroom is one thing. Trying to determine whether it’s sinful for us to have coke-fueled sex on the counter of a men’s restroom in a strip club is quite another.

It’s all about context.

All Christians agree that there is nothing sinful about loving expressions of sexuality between a married straight couple in the privacy of their home. It’s the fact that such expressions are happening within the context of a loving marriage that makes them sinless.

Loving straight marriage + consensual loving sex = sinless sex. That’s the rule.

So the question before we Christians is whether or not that formula would remain true if we substituted the word “gay” for “straight”:

Loving gay marriage + consensual loving sex = sinless sex.

Is that statement true or false? If done within the context of a loving, committed, monogamous relationship—if done, in other words, within the context of marriage—do acts of homosexual sex remain sinful? That is the $64 million dollar question.

If such acts do remain sinful—that is, if even the holy state of matrimony doesn’t render loving consensual sex between homosexuals sinless—then the Christian has solid moral grounds (whatever they might then be) for condemning homosexuality and being against gay marriage.

But if expressions of sexual love between two married gay people is not sinful, then the traditional Christian view of gays has long been egregiously wrong, and it’s no more sinful for a married gay couple to have sex than it is for a married straight couple to do the same.

So, to retrace our steps:

1. What the question “Is homosexuality a sin?” actually means is: “Are acts of homosexual sex sinful?”

2. Because “acts of homosexual sex” defy definition, that question simply cannot be answered.

3. No one can judge whether acts of homosexual sex are immoral.

4. But whatever.

5. Context is necessary for answering the question, “Are acts of homosexuality sinful?”

6. Because sex within the context of a straight marriage is not sinful, it’s more than reasonable to ask whether sex within the context of a gay marriage is similarly not sinful.

And so, finally, we Christians are obliged to look in the Bible to see what it says about the morality of a married gay couple having sex.

And what we find there is nothing whatsoever.

The matter never comes up. At all. Not once. Not even a little.

So, in lieu of anything more specific on that particular question, let us look to Jesus, and find his most strident, clear, and comprehensive statement of how we should consider, evaluate and treat others.

And that, of course, would be what Jesus himself called the most important law of all—what he very explicitly called the greatest commandment:

Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Rob B

    Thanks for this one, John… I must have been really busy not to have noticed you walking around inside my head.

  • Dekortage

    Thought-provoking post, John, as usual.

    However, you wrote: “No Christian argues that the homosexual who never engages in homosexual sex is sinful; in fact, those Christians who proclaim homosexuality a sin praise to the highest degree the chaste and celibate homosexual.” Except for the Westboro Baptist Church people, of course. Just THINKING homosexual thoughts is a sin, because THINKING is an ACTIVITY and therefore THOUGHTS == ACTION.

    No, really: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w35M8ViyNs

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Honestly, I don’t consider the WBC Christians at all. It’s like calling the Nazis democratic. But … yeah, I hear you. And of course there are always fringe exceptions to any generalization.

      • Michael C

        It’s actually not just Westboro. I was listening to Janet Mefford (because I’m a masochist) and she was arguing that the mere acceptance of ones homosexuality is a sin that requires repentance. While I consider her to be wackadoo fringe, she’s still a big voice in evangelical [wackadoo fringe] Christianity.

        • n.

          yeah i was raised in some WBC-lite ideas. i’m pretty sure i was told that even hetero feelings were wrong unless i was actually going to marry the guy.

      • ocryan

        I’m afraid there are many professing Christianity who believe that, and not just members of fringe groups like Westboro, either. I believe verses Matthew 5:27-28 and Proverbs 3:27 are typically used to justify their belief that attraction is equivalent to action. Celibate homosexual Christians who dare to speak honestly about their orientation are just as likely to receive suspicion, condescension, and scorn from the Church as they are “praise to the highest degree.”

        • ocryan

          verses *like*

        • ocryan

          Proverbs *23:7* [Just shoot me now.]

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            Heh! You’re adorable. :D

      • http://www.patsediting.com Patricia Brush

        I participate on Huffington Post on the Gay Voices page. When people there say homosexuality is sinful, they aren’t talking about sexual acts. I always clarify it with them. Just identifying as gay means automatic condemnation to them. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many of these conversations I have had with self-identified Christians. And they are absolutely sure. No pointing out what the Bible actually says will sway them. They charge me with rewriting the bible to suit my agenda. They tell me that I am working for Satan.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          apropos of nothing, HP’s Gay Voices just today published (and then, alas, quickly buried–or at least have thus far) a recent piece of mine on polyamorous relationships. It’s here. And yes, they are talking about homosexual acts. They can’t be talking about anything else. That’s my point. They pretend they’re talking about anything else, but they literally cannot be.

  • Barbara Rice

    “All Christians agree that there is nothing sinful about loving expressions of sexuality between a married straight couple in the privacy of their home.”

    I’d have to argue with that one. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of Christians who put certain conditions on just exactly what a married straight couple can and can’t do.

    • Anne

      Good point. There’s a reason they call it “missionary style.”

  • Anne

    Love your neighbor as you love yourself. That gets to the heart, doesn’t it? Doesn’t that also mean “don’t make the rules for your neighbor more stringent or difficult than the rules by which YOU live.” I can marry the man I love? YOU can marry the man you love. I can dance with the man I love? YOU can dance with the man you love. I can express my love to the man I love? YOU can express your love to the man you love. The rules don’t change merely because I am a woman and YOU are a man.

  • Lynne Jacobson

    Enough already. Time to leave the haters behind. This debate is dishonoring the committed couples who have been through the fire.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I’m not talking to haters; I’m talking to people in the process of deciding. (And how does it dishonor gay people to argue on their behalf?)

      • n.

        because some people can just have a relationship and nobody has to argue about whether it’s allowed to happen or not?

        • n.

          but at least we’re arguing on the right side, no?

      • Mindy

        I was right!!!! LOL – see my response to Lymis above, which I wrote – I swear – before I read this.

        Great minds, and all . . . . :)

  • James Blake Boyd

    Excellent deductive logic! Too bad the most ardent, strident opinionated will not listen to a word of it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      But there are a lot of people in the middle. I write this kind of stuff for them.

      • James Blake Boyd

        Indeed, and thank you for the deft articulation. I will be using this as a reference for many folk.

  • http://www.wearebranches.com ryan

    Maybe it was you, maybe it was me, maybe it’s just the timing… but this is one of my favorite posts you’ve written.

    So thank you.

  • Lymis

    I’m sorry, but this one doesn’t quite work. Somewhere around the middle of the piece, the rules change, the point of the piece changes, and the question it’s asking changes, so that whether or not the final conclusion is right, it doesn’t actually end up answering the question that is asked at the beginning.

    Because as a gay man, yes, I am just as gay when I am sitting home alone reading a book as when my husband and I are making love to each other.

    In precisely the same way that I am just as right-handed when I am sitting still as I am when I am writing or eating. Or that I am just as male whether or not I’m doing … well, whatever someone would say is a “male” action – peeing standing up, I guess, or refusing to ask for directions.

    There is, and always has been, something deeply offensive about people who try to decide for me what does and doesn’t “count” about my own interior experience or my own fundamental identity. And as enlightened and tolerant as it may seem to say that all of the various things that go into my experience and my understanding of myself, my place in the world, and my interactions with other people “get a pass” if they don’t look gay to a casual observer, it’s demeaning.

    It’s exactly like telling a woman that her degree in biochemistry or her career in politics or her art, music, architecture, writing, or work in her community “don’t count against her as a woman” because they could just as easily have been done by a man.

    Or like telling a person of color that their life’s work, dreams, hopes, loves, fears, successes and failures aren’t actually “the experiences of a black person” because they could have been lived by a white person as well.

    Reducing my identity as a fully equal, fully realized, fully human, eternally beloved Child of God to my sex acts, even for the purpose of not condemning them is in many ways every bit as dehumanizing as defining me by my sex acts to condemn me to hell.

    No. I am not an “honorary straight person” in every other aspect of my life. I am a gay man every minute of every day. And while yes, a great deal of that is, as near as I can tell, pretty much similar to how other groups of people experience things, there are very real ways in which my experience AS a gay man deeply color other things in my life than just the sweaty parts. I don’t interact with women the way a straight man does. I don’t interact with men the way either a straight man or a straight woman does. I can’t. I don’t see politics quite the same way, or religion, or a hundred other non-sexual aspects of life.

    A lot of things in day to day life that straight people can take for granted or take as a given aren’t givens for me or settled for me. There are times and places where I am simply not safe where a straight man wouldn’t even consider his safety. Even things as relatively minor as having to decide whether to kiss my husband goodbye in public aren’t the experiences that a straight person would have.

    And while this piece may be a brilliant way to cause straight people to rethink their prejudices, it still doesn’t work – because there are all too many people who will flatly declare either that yes, gay sex in a committed marital relationship most definitely is still sinful, or that the whole question is flawed because as far as they are concerned, there is no such thing AS a living committed gay marriage because marriage is definitionally between a man and a woman.

    If I understand the point, you’re trying to dig down as far as possible to find at least one situation in which gay sex is not a sin, from which you can apply that leverage at just the right point and shatter the whole edifice – if there is any situation in which gay sex is okay, then it can’t be true the gay sex is always sinful, and from that, simply being gay can’t be declared universally sinful.

    But this isn’t the way to do it, any more than you can declare that women are not inherently sinful because of how much like men they are, or that black people are very nearly white, so that’s okay.

    To lapse into show tunes, I am what I am, and what I am needs no excuses.

    I am a child of God because God created me, because God loves me, and because Jesus died for me, not because if you squint just right you might think I’m straight.

    Once it has really sunk in that gay people are real people, that gay love is real love, and that gay lives are real lives, then it’s the point to start judging whether specific acts by gay people are gay sins – and for the most part, you’d do that using exactly the same standards as you would use to judge straight people for their sins. But you can’t work backwards from finding some non-sinful “gay act” and using it to justify gay lives.

    What you end up with is a poetic piece of circular reasoning. Loving gay sex within marriage is only “not a sin” if being gay is not a sin, and all you’ve done is picked a particularly good example of that.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      If you could actually find the point where the reasoning/question/point changes, that’d be great. Because to my mind it’s a real consistent logical bit of reasoning. I think I walk right from the opening question–“Is homosexuality a sin?”–to proof that that question cannot be answered by turning to the Bible. If I have proved that here, that’s …. serious business. But of course in some critical way I don’t see I might have failed to do that. (Maybe it was just too much to say in such a short space.)

      • Lymis

        I don’t know that there’s a point where it changes quite so much as a series of shifts that results in the question changing, and along the way, a series of unanswered questions get treated as though they are answers to what comes before.

        For example, it isn’t the same thing at all to say that because there isn’t a neat answer to the question of what being homosexual is and to imply that all the moral issues of homosexuality can be addressed by only looking at homosexual acts. That’s a very heterocentric view – the only thing that matters about being gay is what a straight person can judge a homosexual for.

        Then, you make an excellent case for a different question entirely – what defines a homosexual act, and conclude that there really isn’t any clear dividing line for a nearby heterosexual observer, and then state that since such an observer can’t determine whether an act is gay or not, there can’t be any valid moral judgements about it – which, apparently “completely invalidate[s] the question.”

        But look at that. Morally, how would you judge a heterosexual on the morality of whether their hug is inappropriately lustful, or whether sitting too close to someone of the opposite sex is an occasion of sin? For a straight person, you wouldn’t conclude that since you can’t tell, there can’t be sin. You would, perfectly validly, say that the morality of it lies entirely in the heart and mind of the heterosexual in question – did THEY see it as lustful? Were THEY using it as the first steps toward illicit sexual contact, whether they “succeeded” or not? You would judge heterosexual sin in a case where there was no clear objective transgression by the intention and experience of the people involved. When gay people are involved, though, you default to what an outside observer could validly judge.

        We aren’t real people with real feelings and real souls and real moral judgement or real experiences. We are some sort of shadow puppet to be judged by outside observers based on what they can conclude about us.

        You don’t think that way, John, I know that. Deeply. You can’t think that way or you couldn’t do, say, and write everything else you’ve done, said, and written.

        But that’s what you’re saying here.

        A gay person knows when the hug they are giving is sexual. A lesbian knows how close she sits next to a particular person before it’s an intimate experience. Our intentions and our experiences HAVE to be taken into account in making any judgments about the morality of our actions. This piece completely ignores all of that as though it’s utterly immaterial.

        If the point of your piece was to dig into what right heterosexuals or heterosexual Christians have to judge us, and concluded that if they can’t tell, they should reserve judgement, (or shut the heck up and let us live our lives), that would be more in line. But you’re speaking objectively – which ends up with this coming across as just one more example of straight people deciding that they know better than we do how and why our lives work, and were we are to find value in our lives.

        You would NEVER allow someone to get away with this with any other group. Women are sinful because of how they dress? Black people are sinful because they don’t know their place?

        Straight people have every responsibility to talk among themselves on how they are best to love their neighbor, when it turns out that their neighbor happens to be gay. But expressing moral absolutes based entirely on observable behavior rather than giving a moment’s weight to our own experience? No.

        • n.

          i think he’s saying that most non-accepting christians are ok with people BEING gay in the way that you explain (although they absolutely can’t say so because they aren’t allowed to believe that anybody can BE gay actually) but they just aren’t ok with the actual sexual consummation of homosexuality.

          so then he makes a parallel with hetero sexual acts. in what context are hetero sex acts non-sinful? inside marriage. so what about same sex sexual acts inside marriage? what does the bible say about that?! because all the “clobber texts” are about other situations and have nothing to do with a loving, committed, married gay couple. so he’s proving that (even if those christians were right about the clobber texts) the bible doesn’t show anything wrong with married gay sex. because it doesn’t say anything about it at all.

          i dislike this piece of logic because i don’t think that it would work on the people that it’s ostensibly aimed at, because the logic is just SO tricky. BUT it might work on some of them… the ones that really love logic tricks. which reminds me that’s the kind of christianity i came from, the intellectual battering ram of “if you can’t change their mind at least you can shut them up” theonomic reconstructionism… and i really didn’t want to remember that…

          • n.

            (agree with the stuff you said about the whole gay reality, though. i mean how could i not. it’s your experience. but also the parallels with other groups’ experience of life.)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Yeah, you completely misunderstood this piece. I’m not talking about what homosexuality is; I’m talking about how (some) Christians persist in perceiving it–and then meaning to show how completely untenable that perception necessarily is. Two totally different kettles of monkeys. Anyway, that this piece failed you is certainly my fault. (And it didn’t fail only you, of course: the number of Shares shows it failed generally.) I’ve learned you can’t say too much in one post. Sometimes, though, I still try to. Anyway, no worries. Thanks for giving it the thought you did. U rocketh.

          • Allie

            I think it failed primarily because you’re attempting to define the conflict in a logical way, whereas the people who hate gay people are not logical about it. Your piece is valid for a tiny minority of Christians who WANT to like gay people as much as anyone else, but feel compelled to regard them as sinful because of the Bible. But it seems to me that the situation for most is that they want to regard gay people as disgusting and the Bible conveniently provides an excuse.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            It’s not been my experience that Christians who, as you say, want to like gay people as much as anyone else, is a “tiny minority.” Not at all. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that describes the majority of Christians today.

          • Allie

            Well… I live someplace considerably less liberal than where you live, so I suspect our daily encounters are quite different, which colors our perceptions. I hope you are right but it doesn’t mesh with my experience.

    • eric

      I’m with you on this Lymis. I’m gay… not just when my husband and I are “doin’ it”. I’m gay all the time.

      There are precious few straight married couples for whom the good bye kiss outside the office (or hello kiss for that matter) is an act of courage, or a political statement… even an implied DARE. That’s what it is for my husband and I. I still surrepticiously scan the environ for danger… though tbh, our kisses are often more fervent when potential danger is perceived.

      • eric

        er, that should have been “surreptitiously”. Doh!

    • Allie

      Your show tune made me think of something relevant. The original person to sing that tune was George Hearn. He’s from my town and my mom used to date him a long time ago. He’s straight. But he’s not welcome in Memphis because he once played a gay man on Broadway. Seriously, fr real, y’all, every time he visits his home town there’s an article in the paper about how various people hate him because of what he is and what he stands for and HE’S NOT EVEN GAY. That’s how much this is not just about the sex for some of the haters.

    • Tim N

      I don’t get the objection. Sure, you, I and others are gay at all times and in all places. But that does not mean people think that the state of being is sinful–or the acts that are non-sexual in nature are sinful. When people say “being gay is a sin” they largely mean the things John mentioned. He then asks people to stop and think about what it would be like if you treated a heterosexual like that.

      I also agree that for some people this is about Gender roles–the fact that this man is willing to act feminine or this woman is dominant in some way threatens the masculinity of the insecure straight man. It is kind of ironic how much of a laugh popular culture has at the idea of Lesibans that it isn’t willing to have at the thought of Gay men (the sitcom character who wants to see his gf or wife with another woman because that is so hot, but if his gf or wife wanted to see him with a man–Yuck! how could she ever think of that?)

      There is no one thing. Some people feel bound my the Bible, some people find it a convenient cudgel for their preexisting beliefs.

      • Lymis

        “But that does not mean people think that the state of being is sinful–or the acts that are non-sexual in nature are sinful.”

        Then you are not hearing the same voices I hear. Because a LOT of people argue exactly that.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          But that’s the point of the piece: that that argument is entirely baseless; that, upon inspection, it simply dissolves. That’s … why I wrote this.

          • Lymis

            I completely agree with that statement, John. It is baseless, and on inspection it does dissolve.

            And thank you for writing it. And it’s a wonderful insight into why this idea seems so obvious to you – gay people are people, and the same rules apply to us as they do to anyone else. Easy peasy.

            I love that about you.

            I think though, that the fact that gay people ARE people is so fundamentally obvious to you that you sometimes don’t realize how clear it is to many of us that a lot of people DON’T see us that way. We aren’t people like them. We’re monsters. Sin doesn’t apply to us the way it does to regular people. Whatever they say, it’s clear that what they feel is that our very existence is evil.

            Until you’ve been loathed by someone in a grocery store standing next to another man discussing whether or not you are out of sugar, that may not really strike home. We recently were doing just that, and the woman dropped a loaf of bread from her cart while staring at us, and then when I picked it up for her, she refused it and put it on the shelf – in the canned vegetable aisle. Every line of her body made it clear that she didn’t want it because I had touched it.

            Sure, that’s tangentially related, no doubt, to the fact that she objected to whatever it is she imagines we do sexually. But just the fact that she could take the fact that we were discussing the state of our pantry and sexualize it enough to be disgusted by it says that it has nothing to do with an intellectual objection to gay sex.

            That woman is never going to follow your logic into our marital bedroom to see the love and commitment we share. She was nauseated that we were allowed to shop. In public. Like people.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Ugh. How awful that happened to you guys. Repugnant.

            My whole point in this piece was meant to be (and I think I succeeded in making it, which is why I haven’t removed the post) that it’s not at all tangential to her disgust with you that she objects to what you do sexually. My point is that that’s in fact the entirety of her objection to you. She’s pretending it’s anything else; she’s pretending she objects to who you are morally. My idea here was to unveil that pretense as nothing but bullshit: that if she’s objecting to you because she’s a Christian–if that’s the morality call she’s making (and of course it’s a pretty safe bet it is)–then she hasn’t a fucking leg to stand on. To make that very singular point is why I wrote this.

          • Tim N

            Actually, the way I read it, it does. I mean, I once had a heterosexual roommate (who was engaged at the time) who got a quick education in that very quickly at my local grocery store once. It was actually hillarious to me. It’s like those Oprah/Tyra Banks episodes (go look them up, they are funny) where straight guys who are gay porn stars complain about being fired at Subway because a customer made a stink over eating a sandwich prepared by someone that had the temerity to have sex with another guy on camera (leave the moral argument about porn aside, that reaction is stupid to the point of funny).

            I know it must have stung more to your partner, but this simply illustrates that some people can’t separate sex from the rest of the person. It shows that they are even more small-minded than your average bigot. Still, I think the sex is what they see as polluting of you. It is what makes you disgusting.

          • Mindy

            Geez, Lymis, that sucks. It’s those little things, like that <> person, who really make life interesting. Or unbearable, as the case may be.

            Personally, I got the feeling upon reading this post that John is not writing it for the likes of her, though. The people who are so lost in their own hatred that they will not likely find a way out in this lifetime aren’t going to be reading about why being gay might not be a sin, after all. I got the feeling that what John might be doing here – and correct me if I’m wrong, John – is helping those Christians who want to jump OFF the gay-hating bandwagon and get on with the good work of being actual Christians.

            The ones who have had sneaking suspicions for awhile now that even though their pastor might get all up in arms over marriage equality, it probably isn’t such a bad idea. But they don’t have the words to explain why. They don’t know what to say to define this new-found understanding they’ve found, and they certainly don’t have the words with which to defend themselves, should they try floating the idea outloud that they’re OK with marriage equality.

            So John puts the words out there. Clarifies the argument, so to speak, in new and better ways all the time. Those who can’t stomach the idea of blending gender roles and living in the gray area aren’t going to come around any time soon, no. They wouldn’t buy into this any more than they’d favor their children dating people with <> brown skin. They cling to their ignorant, antiquated thinking and pray the demons out of their thrift store sweaters.

            But I’m pretty sure John already knew these ideas were too big for them. He’s aiming at those still capable of rational thought.

          • Mindy

            That’s weird. Inside the first set of I had typed “ahem.” Inside the second, “gasp.” Not sure why those words vanished when I hit “submit.”

          • Lymis

            I get who he’s aiming it at. And on one level, I’m delighted with any argument that helps someone get past a prejudice and stop oppressing others – especially when I’m “the other” who’s being oppressed. Having someone tolerate me for entirely the wrong reasons is definitely preferable to having them hate me for entirely the wrong reasons.

            I don’t think it should be the deliberate goal though.

            To use a metaphor as an example, it is wrong and sinful for someone to think all women are inherently evil because they are uncontrollable sexual creatures cursed with the sin of Eve, who Satan uses to tempt decent men into eternal damnation.

            But, at the same time, knowing that women are fully equal human beings with the same full value in the eyes of God, it would be wrong to take the position that women are innocent, mentally dim, delicate flowers and it is the responsibility of all decent men to protect them, if necessary from themselves.

            Even if the practical effect is an improvement in the lives of women, and even if it’s a cynical tool knowingly used TO improve the lives of women by manipulating the narrow minded (and therefore, somewhat justified), it still isn’t the right answer.

            The fundamental sin of homophobia is straight people declaring that they have the right to judge gay people objectively, as outsiders and “other,” without taking our own lives, internal experience, and basic humanity into account, and therefore condemning us.

            Saying that straight people have the right to judge gay people as outsiders and “other,” but that instead of condemning us, they should come down on the side of tolerating us, misses the point – our lives are not for straight people to judge that way in the first place.

            We are not some weird alien species to be studied and evaluated. We are your brothers and sisters, and in many cases, fellow Christians as well. So often pieces like this come across as the latest update from Dian Fosse studying the gorillas in the mists, not as the perspective of someone pointing out their experience of genuine fellowship with other human beings. If we’re not part of that dialogue, you’re doing it wrong.

          • mindy

            I completely agree with you, Lymis, and I’m not advocating mere tolerance. I’m thinking of people who have come to the realization, just as you say, that judging gay people is as wrong as judging anyone else. They *feel* it, but they don’t know how to explain to their more fundamental brethren that using the Bible to justify that judging is not only wrong because you shouldn’t judge, period, but wrong because the Bible is being used incorrectly to do so. Those who might take John’s words and use them in order to “out themselves” as supporters of LGBT rights and marriage equality already, I imagine, understand that the whole judgy thing is flat-out wrong. They just haven’t been able to muster an argument they feel comfortable using against the more strident fundies. So John provides those words, those ideas. It helps them clarify their own understanding in their own minds, and allows them to distance themselves, at least on this issue, from the jerks, knowing they’ve done their best. The jerks are still jerks, but the ones who really weren’t jerks have been given a script to get out of an ugly mindset they didn’t really buy into in the first place. Not way deep inside where the real love resides, the real love that knows judging is just wrong.

          • gregory

            …I feel as you, Mindy, and actually applaud this post as brave, and timely. Yet I am constantly amazed at the depth, thoughtfulness, honesty and beauty of most all the posts here. Seems almost every post sheds an amazing light on truth.

            That said, John, I think your post not only succeeds in aiding those who, intectually – logically – and compassionately struggle to deconstruct the massive indoctrination both in Bible literalism -and mere social conditioning of many Christians – both heterosexual, as well as gay folk who may still be struggling with somehow reconciling that we(gay folk) are equal and worthy, and that even to those who approach the Bible LITERALLY – and what has been “fed” to them in the name of Christianity, and “God” – has been flawed by a more general social demonizing of anything “foreign” to thier own realities.

            Recently in a heat of disagreement, my 80 yr old mother, who I very actively care for daily, when a rare moment where the gay issue actually surfaced … made a very heated and passionate reference to a gay person as ” one just wants to screw another man in the ass” – this is from a strictly straight-laced conservative southern mother, who never ever in my life have I heard a “cuss” word – and more yet never a verbalization of ANY reference to sex in my lifetime. It shocked, angered and saddened my heart all at the same time. Some years ago, i determined in my heart, that while I may never ever be able to succeed in a Biblical debate with her, someone so close-minded, that indeed eventually showing complete love , compassion, integrity and loyalty in my life would “open her eyes”. Not so. Many of the folk are “dug in”. They refuse to be educated further, or consider some new truth. They also abjectly resolve that BEING gay is wrong, no “ifs, and or buts”. It is heart-breaking for me, an unconditionally loving gay son…and I feel certain it saddens the heart of God.

            Yet she certainly is not “searching her heart” on this matter, or accessing the internet to seek a discussion or some insight on her struggle.

            However, it is of monumental importance – that those who seek God’s heart to rectify the confusing messages being transmitted in today’s world, find such thoughtful and useful posts, understanding AND “ammunition” … as we actively change minds and hearts. We ARE winning, overall.

            Yet, as a gay community, I feel we cannot underestimate the vehemence and hate that will be spewed out as the last “battle-cry”, or essential point of justification by society in thier attitude toward gay people – as it is dismantled and in shambles. The marriage equality debate brings forward in the most comprehensive, basic and human level …. the entirety of the issues… for when we allow gay people can “marry” … then the old framework shatters. The entire imagined entity of “homosexuality” or “gay folk” as it has been formed in thier minds is blatantly invalid, and in fact, INHUMANE.

            I do think that it is imperative that discussions such as this are accelerating the positive change that is evolving.

            Still, while I feel this post is valued, there lies a much deeper truth, … that the mere idea of two people of the same sex sharing intimacy, and romantic love is engrained in thier thinking as repulsive. Therein lies the other issue, of promoting social change from a simply humanistic, open point of view, of accepting diversity, and where matters of the heart and soul transcend legalistic Biblical texts and inflexible ideoligies.

            So yes, John, .. in many ways you are our “evangelist”, and I shout “AMEN” and “Preach it Brother!” We need your voice! In fact, we need every single voice which has posted here.

          • gregory

            sorry for the grammatical errors, this post is rather “stream of consciousness” .. as it got submitted before my editing or “fine-tuning” in sharing my thoughts and my multitude of passions about this!

      • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

        *****…..I also agree that for some people this is about Gender roles–the fact that this man is willing to act feminine or this woman is dominant in some way…..*****

        STOP!! Stop right there. See, there’s the stereotype in action. Fact is, MOST gay men are actually quite unnoticeable. You would not be able to point most of them out on the street out of a “gay” context. Same is true of what we know as “lipstick lesbians”. I will agree that the dyke lesbians and “fag” gays can be pretty obvious. But again, those are the stereotypes, the minority of homosexual people.

        I think some of these ways of thinking will never die.

    • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

      Lymis, I love your voice and your integrity and passion. Thanks for everything you write…it’s always so good.

  • Sandbur

    If homosexuality is exploitative, then it is wrong;

    if homosexuality is rooted in idolatry, then it is wrong;

    if homosexuality represents a denial of one’s own true nature, then it is wrong;

    if homosexuality is an expression of insatiable lust, then it is wrong.

    But we could say exactly the same thing about heterosexuality, couldn’t we?

    • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

      Yep.

  • Robert

    Hi John…

    I enjoyed you attempt at creating a logical argument to help some christians deal with their legalistic use of the bible… and I hope it will be benifical to some. I think that there is an underlining issue which your argument misses a couple of big points…..

    1. The aversion that most christians have for “gay people” has nothing to do with “gay sex” and have more to do with maintain rigid gender roles and the devaluing of “feminine” qualities in our culture.

    When I was six, eight, ten… I was attacked not because I was having “gay” sex. I was attacked (and pretty regularly) because I was a sissy… or I had some feminine characteristics. I was less competitive and more co-operative; I didn’t like to fight; I was not rough and tumble. But mainly, I was not conforming to the rigid gender roles that my family and my community required.

    The “sex” issue is and always has been a smoke screen. It is a hot button issue… but since most gays boys are being targeted with homophobic attacts long before “sex” is an issue… it logically is not able the sex.

    2. Most Christians appear to have a need to protect their “specialness”. I endless hear that only they understand the “true” meaning of the god’s message and their church is the only path to salvation. (Blah, blah, blah and kind of narcissistic.)

    This need to be “special” and to be better than everyone else… seems to be inherent in most religions. So condemning gays… is just another way to protect themselves. They did/do it with Jews and with Muslims. Gays are just the “flavor of the month”. Their arguement now is that gay people’s relationships can never be equal to their’s… because they are the “special” ones. So, how dare those fags believe that their gay love is equal to straight love. (Blah, blah, blah and again kind of narcissistic.)

    It must be terrifying for them to accept the idea that different experiences may be equal to (or god forbid – better than) theirs. These are the kind of people that seem to want to limit their choices to either plain or vanilla and are afraid of sushi. I see these legalistic literalists as being people who live in fear, need lots of rules and likely have major control issues. Because without all these rules and control… then they would _________________ (fill in the blank).

    I just remembered something… I was working with Homeless Teen, had been doing it for years… and I was kind of known for being calm, patient, caring, but firm. A staff, who was a christian, came up to me and said “I am really surprised that you are as nice you are.”

    I was a little dumbfounded. And then she said, “Well, you are so fair and you’re an atheist and gay. But you’re also really nice.” It dawned on me… she thought that the only way to be “nice” was to be christian.

    I told her that my morality and ethics were based on me wanting to be nice… not based on me burning in hell or going to heaven. She seemed confused.

    So for me, the real issues confronting Christianity is this sense of entitlement and narcissism.

    Robert

    • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

      ******I told her that my morality and ethics were based on me wanting to be nice… not based on me burning in hell or going to heaven. She seemed confused.*******

      Oh man!! I’ve seen that look on my evangelical type siblings faces when discussing my moral outlook about being gay. They just can’t grasp how I could possibly be anything but lustful about my being gay. Surely there is no such thing as gay Love. It just CANNOT be Love. It does not compute. Confused expression ensues. Spring, boing, bleep, spark, fry and shut down.

      Oh well. We’re winning that culture war battle now. Kinda like the Jaguar speeding past the Model T. They have become irrelevant. But they have made a conscious refusal to even make an effort to learn anything about it beyond what their church has been telling them, so I can feel only pity for their confused ignorance.

      • robert

        Hi Soulmentor…

        I also have pity for them… but I something nags at me… it has to do with their arrogance… and narcissism… it all maybe be based in ignorance, chosen isolation and fear… but it also shows a lack of empathy… I am not sure that you can be both arrogant and empathetic.

    • DR

      As a Christian (I will speak for myself), I have a tremendous respect for atheists. Atheists aren’t motivated by eternal punishment or reward, being moral, kind and loving is just the right thing to do. How many Christians put on “loving words” to create an impression of being loving so they look loving? It’s often a neurotic mess.

  • Allie

    With all due respect, a substantial chunk of Christians consider loving but non-procreational sex within the context of marriage sinful. Primarily old-fashioned Catholics, but also a lot of your more puritanical Protestants, such as Westboro, and also most of the “modesty” groups. I’ve even talked to a Catholics who had been told by his priest that masturbation was sinful because it “wasted seed.” And while that’s a bit unusual, it’s not at all uncommon to encounter Catholics who have been told that sex is the Original Sin that Christ had to die for. Catholics are not exactly a fringe group within Christianity. Starting from that perspective, your argument falls apart, since gay sex is by definition non-procreational.

    But hey, I guess you start by tossing the lifesaver to the people in the water closest to the boat.

  • spinning2heads

    Well thought out, and pretty reasonable response to the Christians who ask all queer folk to just stop actually doing the things they want to do. But that’s not true of all Christians, although it is true of a growing majority. For years and years people have been told to “pray away the gay.” Not that they should hold themselves in check and be celibate, but really and truly that they should not be gay anymore. I know, I know, that’s unreasonable. It’s impossible to do. And that’s why (I think) you, John, don’t even admit it as something that people would think. But some people really do believe (mostly out of ignorance, sometimes out of fear) that to be gay is to have chosen something, and chosen wrongly. That’s where the “ex-gays” come from. Just as left-handers were once told to learn to be right-handed. Only worse because it’s about love.

  • anakin mcfly

    I’ve wondered – is it a sin for a gay person to have straight sex? Either because they’re pressured into it, or are unable to accept themselves, or want to see what the big deal is, and so on? Because if sexual sinning is about going against your nature, then it would seem to qualify as wrong. I’m extremely lonely, for some reason a lot of people think I’m straight, random girls occasionally hit on me, and while I’m committed to the traditional Christian path of no sex before (gay) marriage, I’ve wondered about this in a hypothetical way. It’s possible that I’m slightly bi, but I can’t imagine myself in a loving relationship with a girl; anything I can imagine enjoying seems horribly shallow, short-term, exploitative and sexual, rather than the warm fuzzy loving feelings I get when I think of being with a guy. But I’ve got enough internalized homophobia to think that maybe the former option is the ‘right’ one, after all, and the fact that I do occasionally think about girls that way suggests that maybe I’m not that gay after all. :/ I’ve never dared mention that to anyone outside the Internet, because my mother might get too excited and encourage me to find a girlfriend, but I’m terrified of the dehumanising, almost violent, love-less lust that seems to accompany the thought, and I can’t see that ending well for either of us.

    • anakin mcfly

      As an addendum, I started out being exclusively attracted to guys. But I’m also trans and it seemed that the only way people would take me seriously as a guy would be if I was attracted to girls (some psychiatrists were explicit about this), even though I had always saw myself as a gay guy to the point of being afraid to let homophobic people know I liked guys, even if they saw me as female. So I embarked on a serious psychological effort to invoke said attraction. It had negligible effort until I went on testosterone, and then it picked up a little, in mostly scary ways that made me feel like a horrible person.

      • Jill

        I do not know all that you’ve been through anakin, but I wish that I could just take away all the confusion and self-doubt you’ve endured just trying to be exactly as intricate and wonderful as God intended you to be.

        All I can say is that I have never not believed that sexuality is fluid, so is gender, so is how we relate to the fluid nature of it, in our identities with it all. Meaning, the human ego puts everyone into categories and boxes, with pretty little labels and says, There! That’s WHO YOU ARE!

        The spirit has what I would say is the opposite story: You are fluid, in motion, constant in that you are constantly changing. You are beautiful in every form, in every possible combination, in each moment you breathe life.

        Some have more clearly defined lines in these terms you speak of, and some have less definition, which speaks of no mistake but rather of divine beauty and wonder. We were not born of cookie cutters, despite what the egos around you might want to convince you. Peace.

      • Matt

        I’m so sorry you’re going through this, Anakin. I’ll say it again because it needs to be said, from one trans guy to another: You do not need to pretend straightness to be a “real man.” It’s horrific that medical professionals still have a trans hierarchy in their heads, deciding which of us is “more” male or female, who “deserves” gender-related treatment more than others, based on how long we’ve “known,” how well we pass, how straight we can act.

        You are well, fine, and perfect just the way you are. Don’t make yourself (and a girl) suffer trying to run away from who you are. You are already walking a difficult path being trans, and you are taking one difficult even by trans standards as a gay trans man. It’s loneliness that’s making you doubt yourself, and deny yourself. Don’t let it. Is there a LGBT scene where you live? Where I live, it’s quite underground, but accessible if you know the right people. Is there anyone you can reach out to?

        • Matt

          And I also wanted to add, you’re not alone in wanting to cave to the pressure of having straight sex. I am not on hormones yet, and I make a fairly attractive woman. Straight men still catcall at me on the street and catch up with me, asking the time but really wanting to know if I have a boyfriend. I have no shortage of interest, is what I mean. Even if it were okay with my life partner, I know it would just be me wanting to satisfy a sometimes-intense craving for normalcy. Wanting, for just a moment, to “feel” what it’s like to be an ordinary straight woman on the arm of a handsome guy, not having to worry about a thing.

          You are not alone, my brother. It gets so difficult sometimes, for all of us.

    • Lymis

      Well, personally, I wouldn’t necessarily see that as sin, but then I don’t see sin the way a lot of traditional Christians do, so my opinion isn’t likely germane.

      The real way to address the question is the same way all these things should be addressed – which was my objection to the way John wrote the piece in the first place – which is to take the sexual orientation question out of it entirely, since it’s a complete red herring.

      When you reduce the question to its fundamental moral issue, it doesn’t come down to orientation at all – it isn’t a question of whether it’s moral to have sex with someone you aren’t oriented toward, it’s a question of having sex that you see as “horribly shallow, short-term, exploitative and sexual, rather than the warm fuzzy loving” type of sex you might have with someone you love.

      A 100% heterosexual man considering having “horribly shallow, short-term, exploitative” sex with a woman he can’t imagine settling down with faces the same question. It’s just that in your case, your orientation is one of the factors that makes it feel to you that it wouldn’t have a loving future in it.

      The sin, if it exists, has to do with your intentions and motivations, not with your plumbing or your orientation. If having dehumanizing almost violent love-less sex is a sin, it isn’t justified by having a partner of “the right” gender, nor is it wrong because of the gender of “the wrong” partner.

      Using people is bad. That would seem to be the important moral issue here. The gender of the person you are dehumanizing is pretty immaterial.

      Whether two people who freely choose to come together sexually for reasons other than the intention of a long-term marital bond, especially if they are both single, lonely, and open to letting the encounter(s) be a sharing of their humanity with each other is always automatically sinful is a separate issue.

      • Don Rappe

        Amen.

    • James

      My answer to this is that it is not a sin to have sex. Period. To me, the sinfulness of an action is determined by whether it interferes with Jesus’ commandments: 1) Love God and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. In and of itself, having sex cannot violate these commandments. It’s when sex is used for something that isn’t loving that it becomes a problem, like when someone who is married or in a long term relationship seeks sex outside that partnership.

      I feel that we often put the “sin” question in front of other questions we ought to be asking ourselves regarding our actions. The primary question, to me, ought to be whether the action we’re considering is loving. Loving behavior is moral and ethical behavior. If we focus on acting positively in a loving manner, then we will naturally and without much effort reduce our “sinful” behaviors.

    • DR

      What a great question!

  • Jesse

    This is that saddest thing I have read in a while. Justifying sexual immorality and sinful acts through the lens of a secular filter. The problem here is that I see lots of I believes, and in my opinion’s. Quite frankly that does not matter. What matters is the truth of the Gospel. Read and study the word of God and see if this will pass through the filter of the written word; it does not.

    God loves us all, that includes you. Sin is sin, no sin is greater than the other, man put weight to sin, not God. God said if you have broken one, you have broken them all.

    To many people get hung up on Levitical law. The point of the law is to show you how incapable you are of keeping it. The law is simply a mirror reflecting your unrighteousness and can do nothing to cleans you of your sins. That is where the blood of Christ comes in!

    The world in many ways is guilty of living a part from God, but using pieces and parts of his message to justify what that they want to do and how they want to live is somehow okay by God.

    The good news, God is more patient that all of us, and he is long suffering. He will tolerate our unrighteousness when no one else will!

    • Cathy

      Jesses, I’m lost with your comment. You critize the article because it contains a lot of words, but you give not one citation from “God” which shows that sex between a loving, committed gay couple is “sin.” The only verses in the bible that mention same-sex love is that outside of a committed relationship.

      • DR

        Apparently there are a lot of people “hung up” on Levitical Law – the same Christian people who use Levitical Law to kick their gay kids out of their loving Christian homes.

    • DR

      Jesse dear, guess what? Your “truth of the Gospel” is – wait for it – your opinion on what the Bible is telling us! All of us – including you – rely on someone’s interpretation of what these words mean. So I know you don’t want to accept it but you’re in the same boat as all of the rest of us. And your interpretation doesn’t trump anyone else’s, it’s not you tapped from the scripture maple tree and the pure, unfiltered sap is being poured out. You are applying a filter of interpretation that you’ve chosen to put your weight down on, and that interpretation is man made. We’re all dealing with that.

    • Bill Steffenhagen

      ****** “Read and study the word of God……” *****

      If that means only reading the Bible and doing “Bible study” with other “Bible Believers” who read only the Bible while not actually doing any real study of that Bible’s cultural, political and interpretive history, and blindly believing what you have been told by others to believe, others caught up in the same circular non-thinking, then you are NOT genuinely “studying” the Bible and you remain sadly ignorant of your own religion. Which makes you undeserving to comment on the gay issue.

  • John

    [comment deleted]

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Um … never say “The ball is in your court” to someone who has zero idea who you are. Unless your goal is to come off like an arrogant dufus. The definitely do say that.

    • Mindy

      John, nice try. There are inherent dangers with getting out of bed in the morning. MANY dangers come with driving in rush hour traffic, yet the majority of Americans, including Christians, do it every day without a smidgen guilt, even without one bit of Biblical explanation, justification or defense. You posted a lot of words, but nothing new under the sun. I believe Rev. Shore made a very clear case here, regardless of your attempt to muddle it.

    • James

      John, there are specific health risks involved in straight couples having consenting monogamous sex within the context of a marriage even if both partners were virgin prior to their first experience and always faithful afterward. Sex usually involves penetration and that can involve sensitive areas of the body being exposed to foreign matter for biologically significant periods of time. No sex is perfectly safe. None.

      The good news is that the sinfulness or non-sinfulness of a human action is not determined by whether or not it is “safe”. It is determined by whether or not that action expresses the kind of love that Jesus instructed us to show.

    • Christy

      Re: “If gay sex is a gift from God, why would these dangers be inherently tied to such a gift?”

      If pregnancy is a gift from God, why can it kill or seriously maim women and cause long term problems?

      Ectopic Pregnancy, Pregnancy Induced Hypertension, Pregnancy Induced Cardiomyopathy, Gestational Diabetes, Uterine Rupture, Placental Abruption, Placenta Previa, Sepsis, Perineal Laceration, Vaginal Laceration, Hemorrhage, Cephalo-pelvic Disproportion, Fistula, Prolapsed Uterus, Rh Factor Incompatibility, and Death – to name a few.

      • Jill

        Ah Christy, my favorite voice of reason!

        • DR

          I love it when she uses that example. BOOM.

      • 1GoldRunner .

        (For all you guys apposing homosexuality) Uh, if gay sex was such a gift why would their be dangers to straight sex that as well? Anyways God only states same gender SEX is a sin. Same gender love and attraction is not a sin. Don’t put your HUMAN assumptions into my Gods words because its only spreading what your doing right now. Hate, a trait the Satan loves to use to attack people from reaching the Kingdom of heaven and disappoint God.

    • Lymis

      Darn. Missed the party.

  • TruthSayer

    Homosexuality is sinful.

    “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” (Leviticus 20:13).

    “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.” (Leviticus 18:22-24).

    “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” (Romans 1:26-27).

    Jude testifies about God’s fiery destruction of Sodom for “sexual immorality”:

    “As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7)

    Exactly what type of “sexual immorality” and “strange flesh” had the Sodomites “gone after”? It was homosexuality:

    “Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” (Genesis 19:4-5)

  • 1GoldRunner .

    I’m REALLY sick of people claiming that homosexuality is a sin. EVERYTHING God talks about when it comes to homosexuality is that *same gender SEX* is a sin. That is his definition of homosexuality. Same gender attraction and love is not a sin at all. The Bible speaks NOTHING about that and all you sinners know this. Stop putting your human assumption into my Gods words. Its disgusting and only causes trouble. I’m glad many 1st and 2nd world countries are realizing that many Christians are only preaching hate instead of what they were actually suppose to preach, Gods LOVE!

  • RosePhoenix

    This was something I struggled with when I was in high school. I thought, “Well, if they don’t have sex, then it’s not a sin, right?” Then I thought, “Well, if they get married, then it wouldn’t be premarital sex, at least.” Then one day, my eyes were opened. I found out that modern science had proved that homosexuality was something a person is born with. I accepted the truth, and no longer thought of it as a sin. I have also accepted that evolution happened, though I believe God directed it.
    Sadly, my best friend that I have known since I was about 4 or 5 years old, who is like a brother to me, did not tell me he was gay until I was out of college. He’d told my parents, but not me. He hadn’t realized that I’d changed, and had been afraid of rejection. I was hurt. I’d thought we were closer than that. I mean, I know he went off to the Air Force and our conversations were limited to the phone and the Internet, but still…all those years…I felt horrible.
    I was almost pulled into the trap of Fundamentalism in college, because those programs promised healing. I have Crohn’s Disease, and I was lured by their lies, desperate for God’s healing. But then my eyes were again opened when they began saying that a natural disaster happened because the people were sinful. I began to realize that they were “false prophets,” and that sending my money to them and having them pray for me would not make God heal me. Nor would He magically make all my problems go away if I forgave all the people who bullied me over the years. They insinuated that if I just believed harder, and that if I believed my disease was gone, I would be healed. But did the blind men believe they were healed before they could see? No! They simply believed it was possible. Only when they were truly healed did they proclaim, “I can see!”
    One day, I simply told God, “I cannot walk anymore. You will have to carry me,” referencing the poem in which a person sees footprints in the sand and asks why at some points there was only one set.
    I went into remission shortly after.
    Now, this does not mean that God will take away all my problems. I still struggle with other issues, such as anxiety. But after all that–all I did was ask…
    Now I am struggling with the fact that I may be asexual, or “gray” asexual. I am attracted to me, but have no interest in sex. It is hard, because I feel like no man would want a woman like me, a woman with underdeveloped breasts who does not want sex. I don’t feel like a full woman. It almost feels shameful, as if there is something wrong with me because I don’t want intercourse. If this is anything close to how gay people feel, then I am so sorry that anyone feels this way. They shouldn’t be made to. They shouldn’t be made to feel that their sexuality is wrong, or that they are somehow less of a person. It is just not right.


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