Got in the letter below. I answer following it.
I am currently in a relationship with another female. We have been together for a year now. She comes from a very conservative Christian background. She is in a constant battle with God over being in an intimate relationship with a female. She has never been with another woman before; I am the only one.
Her sister, brother-in-law, stepmom and biological father think us being together is fine. But the rest of her family is not okay with it. Her mother likes me as a person, but believes that being gay is wrong doesn’t want my girlfriend to be with me.
We have talked about marriage and kids. The only thing stopping her is her relationship with God, and always being told that homosexuality is a sin. She is in fear of losing her mother, and her grandmother has already disowned her.
I have asked many questions, I have tried reading the Bible, but nothing makes sense to me. I tell my girlfriend that if God wants us happy then why is there a problem with homosexuality? She says that’s where free will comes in: that we have chosen to live this lifestyle, chosen to live in sin. But I don’t believe that.
I just wish she had some way of feeling comfortable in her religion and sexuality. You got any advice?
As it happens I do have some advice for your girlfriend. To be able to offer a comprehensive, there’s-no-arguing-after-it answer to her concern about homosexuality is very exactly why I wrote UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question. So … there’s that. (There’s also online an excerpt from that book, which you can see/watch at Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality).
My advice to you would be pretty much exactly what I imagine you’d guess it would be, which is for you to be, with both your girlfriend and those members of her family who believe that being gay is a sin, as patient as Jesus.
Everyone is prone to feeling guilty and wrong. The strain of Christianity which declares homosexuality a sin reaches out what feels like the finger of God and touches that self-condemning spot in gay people. That’s what makes it so difficult for gay people raised in or even around anti-gay Christianity to shake the feeling that those who, in the name of God, condemn them, are correct when they say that being gay—which is to say being who in their heart of hearts they actually are— is wrong. Gay people, just like everyone else in the world, are already hounded by the secret nagging notion that they’re inferior and wrong. But unlike straight people, LGBT people are forever being told that God agrees with them on that.
That’s so horrible. It’s so ridiculously, toxically, phenomenally wrong to substitute the hatred and fear men hold in their hearts for the love that God holds for all people.
Using the Bible to condemn gay people for being gay is like using a crosswalk sign to beat people into oncoming traffic. It’s just so … stupid. And criminally dangerous.
I’m so lucky. I’m straight. So that means I will never in my life sit in a pew and listen to a pastor talk about how deeply God desires for me to be sexually attracted to men. No one will ever declare that God finds morally reprehensible my sexual attraction to women. No one will ever say that the Bible explicitly states that if I’m too weak to stop being straight, then the least I can do is show my allegiance to God by remaining celibate my whole life.
No one will ever tell me that the natural fear or suspicion I have deep down inside of me that I’m in some significant ways less than I should be is actually the truth of God talking to me.
Too bad for gay people, though. Because while, just like literally everyone else, they have to struggle with self-esteem issues, they also have to struggle with (severely ill-informed) Christians forever telling them that God has a problem with who they are. It’s like we’re all swimming in the same race—but LGBT people have a 60-lb. Bible strapped to their back.
So completely unfair.
Anyway, best of luck to you and your girlfriend. Try, patiently, to help her understand that millions of good people subscribe to Christianity and don’t think being gay is a sin. Help her to understand that while being gay isn’t a choice, believing that the Bible condemns homosexuality is a choice. And it’s a terrible choice for anyone to make. Because it’s wrong. And the way your girlfriend, and you, and your girlfriend’s mother and grandmother and everyone else in the world can know it’s wrong is because it works to decrease, rather than increase, the amount of God’s love in this world. And that is the very definition of wrong.
I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question: