Christianity and the LGBTQ Community

Since the publication of our coming out series, I have received many many emails and comments. They have ranged from people with similar experiences, to people who affirm LGBTQ persons and consider themselves allies, to people who cannot reconcile their faith with LGBTQ persons but are still accepting and compassionate. The other day I got my first email in a while that was judgmental and presumptive.
She said things like how I am rejecting god’s truth, and taking the easy path of the world, speculated about why I stayed in my marriage, discredited every question I had ever asked about faith in my writing because she now knows the whole story and therefore knows what I was truly thinking and feeling when I wrote, and ended by saying that she will quit reading my blog because I lack integrity.
It’s nothing I haven’t heard before, but I found myself feeling pretty cynical about Christianity as the morning progressed. People who tell me they have all the answers and that they know exactly what god has to say about my life and judge the entire person based on one aspect of that person start to grate on me at some point.
Even though I do not consider myself to be a Christian, I have many good friends who are, and one of them linked a post written by a Christian on LGBTQ rights, and I was reminded again that not every Christian is like the ones that send me nasty emails and comments. As the day went on I found more and more posts written by Christians in the wake of the first amendment vote in North Carolina, and so I go the idea for this post. I’ve collected many articles written by Christians on how they approach LGBTQ issues and rights from the perspective of their faith. Not all of them are affirming, but all of them are accepting. I hope that this post can serve as a useful resource for people of faith who are asking questions about how to relate to the LGBTQ persons in their life, or as a reminder to all LGBTQ persons that we are not abominations in the eyes of every person of faith.
There are 3 views that Christians seem to have towards LGBTQ persons.
1. God is fine with people who are LGBTQ and their relationships.
2. LGBTQ persons do not choose to feel the way they do. God requires them to live a life of celibacy and continue to fight against their understanding of themselves.
3. There is no such thing as a gay Christian. LGBTQ persons are choosing to feel the way they do and God is angry about it and will punish them in this life and the next.
Obviously I am not including anything from view 3. You will find some from view 2 though. These are people of faith who are asking questions, trying to accept and love all the people in their life, and who recognize that there is a difference between religious belief and government law. I have tried to steer clear of prescriptive or presumptive materials, and I feel like this is a good representation of the accepting, (affirming and non-affirming) Christian community.

Articles by Christians

Originally I planned on distinguishing between the LGBTQ affirming articles and posts from non-LGBTQ affirming articles and posts. But as I was linking these I found that it was hard for me to tell the difference sometimes, so I’ve linked them all together, they are all worth the read!

Trumped a beautiful post by Bethany at Coffee-Stained Clarity, talks about how our story affected her and how love matters most.

Justin from Crumbs at the Communion Table issues a Challenge to both sides of the Amendment One debate.

Glennon at Momastery talks about A Mountain she’s Willing to Die On, on what it would mean to her if one of her children were gay.

Rachel Held Evans made me cry with her post “How to Win a Culture War and Lose a Generation”.

Rachel at The Incorrigible Gingers asks if the Fight against Gay marriage undermines adoption.

Suzannah Paul at So Much Shouting So Much Laughter writes about how language has limits and half-truths can hurt in her post “Homosexuality is(n’t) a Sin”

Sarah Bessey is an Evangelical Christian, and explains why she thinks that same-sex marriage should be legal.

Blueberries for Me talks about how she supports Gay rights because she is a practicing Catholic, not in spite of that fact.

Lauren talks about how we are taught to fear the LGBTQ community in We Are Abominations.

Brooke Hammel at From Under His Feathers has a powerful post about how Amendment One is against what she believes as a Bible believing Christian.

Richard Beck asks how we can end the Non-Zero-Sum Conversation Between the Traditional Church and the Gay Community and start a real conversation.

Thought provoking posts that aren’t necessarily christian:

Dan at Single Dad Laughing is not a Christian, but he wrote this post “I’m Christian unless you’re Gay” which prompted the responses (Responses 1, Responses 2, Children home again response, Men in Uniform respond, Daughter home at last response, A teenagers response.) of many Christians as they thought through what their actions say about their faith. I think the original post as well as the responses are well worth the read, as people from all perspectives wrestle with what it means to love and accept someone even when they don’t agree.

Jason Littman at the Huffington Post points out that hateful treatment can go both ways and makes the point that we should respect everyone in “Can We Leave the Ex-Gays Alone?”

And Mikko Alanne also at the Huffington Post, asks Conservative Christian to put themselves into a Queer persons shoes for a minute.

Websites on this topic:

Canyonwalker Connections - A Straight Evangelical Woman writes about her journey to becoming affirming of the LGBTQ community and her continued work as a Christian Ally.

Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Alumni of Bob Jones University - This blog is filled with stories of what it’s like to know you are LGBTQ while being raised in a non-accepting environment.

The Gay Christian Network - Resources and Questions on the long-time debate between views 1 & 2.

Catholic, Gay, and Feeling Fine - A Catholic blogs about how he lives in full-communion with the Catholic Church as a celibate Gay Man. 

Crumbs from the Communion Table - A blog written by Gay Christian Man about faith and the Christian church. He also wrote this post at Rachel Held Evans Blog answering many questions about being Christian and Gay.

I also wanted to include 2 films that may interest you: Through My Eyes and For the Bible Tells Me So

Enjoy, be encouraged, and share!
A big thanks to Jessica at Faith Permeating Life for her resource page,
it helped me find a couple of older posts I was looking for but had saved on my old computer.

Re-post: I am Not My Parents
Brave New Life: Part 6: Never the same, and that’s OK
Rather Dead Than Queer
Re-Post: Lies we tell ourselves about abuse
  • Katy-Anne

    I LOVED Rachel Held Evans' post. It was amazing! Glennon's is great too. :)

  • QuicksilverQueen

    There's a good documentary (and it's on Netflix!) called Fish Out Of Water, focusing mainly on one young lesbian's search for what the Christian ooh of guidance says about homosexuality.

  • QuicksilverQueen

    *book of guidance

  • DMa

    If you haven't already you might also want check out He has many, many articles about this topic. He also receives letters from people in the LGBTQ community and posts them on his blog, usually, with a response affirming that person from him.

    I don't have to(nor could I possibly) understand what you are going through to offer you compassion and affirmation.

  • Michael Mock

    Here's one more article that may be worth including in your list: When Same-Sex Marriage Was A Christian Rite.

    "Contrary to myth, Christianity's concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual. Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the 'Office of Same-Sex Union' (10th and 11th century), and the 'Order for Uniting Two Men' (11th and 12th century).

    These church rites had all the symbols of a heterosexual marriage: the whole community gathered in a church, a blessing of the couple before the altar was conducted with their right hands joined, holy vows were exchanged, a priest officiatied in the taking of the Eucharist and a wedding feast for the guests was celebrated afterwards. These elements all appear in contemporary illustrations of the holy union of the Byzantine Warrior-Emperor, Basil the First (867-886 CE) and his companion John."

  • Sandra

    Michael, I linked that same page on my FB and got trounced for lack of research (to which I copped). It seems that the Catholics and the Orthodox both roundly if not definitively "debunked" John Boswell. While I don't think their debunking disproves his thesis, no one else with sufficient credentials seems to have come forward to further his theory. Do you have better sources on this idea? Because I would soooo love to be able to post them on my Wall!

    YoungMom, thank you so much for compiling this list. Sexuality has never been one of my hot button issues so I hadn't done a lot of research–after I left Christianity I just took it on faith that everyone was a person and deserved the same rights and courtesy as every other person. But with the recent political hullabaloo in various states, particularly Amendment One, I find myself stumping for "gay marriage" just as a civil rights issue and not getting anywhere with die-hard, knee-jerk Fundy-Lite Christians because I'm not Christian-enough or whatever. So I will definitely be linking this post and probably several of the individual links to everywhere that I have been having "meetings of the minds".

  • Basil.

    In response to the third "mindset" you have listed, from a christian woman who doesn't fall into any of the categories mentioned:

    According to Gods word, (which is where all my beliefs come) He sees right as right and wrong as wrong. A sin is a sin, no one less evil than the other. This is demonstrated as well when the bible says that even when someone looks at someone lust fully they have commuted adultery in their heart.

    Bringing it back to the third point of yor three, hearing tht is the equivalent of someone saying a liar cannot be a
    Christian, or a theif cannot be a Christian, etc. which to me isn't true. Because we all do those things!

    I know that third point wasn't the backbone of your post, but it struck a chord with me nonetheless and I wated to share my two cents.

    Anyways, I always want to remind people of the way I believe Christ called us to be, and that is loving. While I don't agree with the lifestyle throughout this series, I don't believe God expects me to be anything other than loving, while offering up his biblical texts when the situation presents itself, all the while putting love first and foremost. God is the ultimate judge, and we will all be before him one day, and that is simply between you and God! Just like my shortcomings are between God and I.

    Lastly, I think it is always the most important I measure Christianity by what Jesus CALLED us to be, not what we ARE, because we all fall short! He "perfect Christian" is what Jesus was when he was here on earth, not what is flawed people attempt to be.

    Well, that's all. Please excuse the typeos, my phone can be tricky ;)

  • Michael Mock

    @ Sandra – Thanks. If the article isn't credible, then I don't want to be pushing it. Let me do some checking around and see if I can find any supporting material for it.

  • Bethany

    Thanks for putting this together! I'd already read a few of the posts, but I'm looking forward to checking out the others.

  • Bethany

    P.S. – Now that I've read through the list, I feel like some of my lagging faith in humanity has been restored. If it's this encouraging for *me* to hear from others who embrace love and acceptance above all, I can only imagine what a boost it must be for you.

  • Rach

    Thanks for the link, and for this list! I love finding new respectful conversations on this topic.

    What you said here really struck me: "Originally I planned on distinguishing between the LGBTQ affirming articles and posts from non-LGBTQ affirming articles and posts. But as I was linking these I found that it was hard for me to tell the difference sometimes, so I've linked them all together, they are all worth the read!"

    This makes me happy, because affirming or non-affirming, I believe that Jesus-loving Christians should approach this in a way that is so loving you might not be able to tell the difference. Also, I'd bet some of these bloggers (like me) honestly do not know where they stand on this issue, and are still on a journey to firm opinions on the subject.

  • Melissa

    Thats the other reason I didn't try to seperate them, because I did not want to speculate on a person position if they had not made it clear.

  • shadowspring

    Through My Eyes changed my entire perspective. I can't recommend the movie highly enough, it's that important for Christians to see!

    The Bible Tells Me So is also a winner, but the youth featured on Through My Eyes are what changed my perspective. I finally understood no one gets to choose their sexual orientation. You are born with it. End of story.

  • Peter and Nancy

    Thanks for the links. I am so relieved and grateful to find people having civil, kind-hearted conversations who don't necessarily believe the same things. I especially appreciated the links to Steve Gershom's blog and to Justin's post on Rachel Held Evans' blog.

    I am a Christian who has gay friends and relatives whom I love dearly. It's a relief not to be called a bigot because my religious convictions differ from some of theirs (some of my gay friends are also Christians, two of whom choose to live celibately). I hope and pray that my words and actions reflect the love Christ demonstrated to everyone.

  • Scott Morizot

    I wanted to note that those three categories probably don't really cover the whole range. For instance, in my case I've mentioned I was raised in a pretty pluralistic manner. We also had lots of different (sometimes very different) family friends and acquaintances around. While I probably wasn't truly conscious of "gay" vs. "straight" (much less all the nuance actually involved) until we lived in the Montrose area of Houston in the late 70s, I think some of those family friends were gay. At any rate, I wasn't raised with any bias in that regard.

    And later, when I moved to Austin and got remarried (and divorced again not too much later) when I was eighteen, many of my friends were out of the mainstream in a lot of ways (and the ones who were in relationships that I've read are called "polyamorous" today were more out of the mainstream than my LGBTQ friends and acquaintances).

    As an aside, I'll note that unlike many large cities, Austin doesn't really have an identifiable "gay" area. One of my friends and past coworkers (he's retired now) commented that he found that both a plus and sometimes a negative. But here you tend to encounter "non-traditional" families of many sorts in all neighborhoods and areas. The neighborhood pool. The grocery store. I know my kids also find nothing unusual about it.

    I say all that to say that I entered Christianity, somewhat reluctantly, with a different disposition. I knew about the "Christian" political stance against homosexuality, of course. And it wasn't long before I encountered and was disgusted and angered by the trope comparing homosexuality and pedophilia. But I didn't change anything about the way I treated my friends. And I did something I often do — especially as I've changed or explored a different belief system. I set it aside. It wasn't something I personally felt a need to resolve. (continued)

  • Scott Morizot

    (continued from previous comment)

    Over the years since then I've sampled here and there the "Christian" arguments for and against the issue. (Well, the arguments in positions you describe as 1 and 2. I've never had the slightest interest and have generally been angered by the sorts of things that fall in your position 3.) And my position after all these years?

    I don't know God's mind.

    There are holes I can poke in pretty much all the arguments and positions I've seen — for both 1 and 2. My mind just works that way. I've always been predisposed toward position 1, but there are gaps in the theological arguments. However I'm not going to change my attitude toward people I care about or new people I meet over a philosophical question. If I were personally faced with the issue in my own life, I suppose I would be forced to discern what I felt I should do. But I don't and if there's one thing the NT is utterly clear about, it's not my place to judge others. And though we all judge everyone all the time, I understand that as the root of many of our problems.

    If there is, in fact, something disordered about it (which is not an assumption I'm prepared to concede), God can sort that out in his own time. I am also clear that while we can let them consume us and destroy ourselves and those around us, passions of the flesh (food, alcohol, sex, etc.) are less destructive than greed, hatred, rage, and pride. It was, after all, the publican who went home justified in the parable and not the pharisee. So LGBTQ or straight, it's certainly less destructive and generally healing to be in a healthy, loving monogamous relationship rather than sexually promiscuous. And so on.

    So make room for those of us who simply don't know God's mind, don't have a philosophical or theological "answer" to the question, and are okay with that. I suppose in the way we speak and act, we look a lot like your group 1. But I find I'm unwilling to assert that I know God's mind on whether or not he's "fine" with it. But I do know that he loves every human being and is working always for our healing and renewal, but will not force himself on us. (That sort of force is antithetical to God's essence as love. That much I do know.) Our sin is not a problem for God, as many seem to construe it. It's a problem for us and for the world that God is working to "set to rights".

    And since God is working for the healing of mankind and not trying to condemn us, I think there are many fewer black and white lines than most of us would like to construct. It's often not a question of whether something is "right" or "wrong" but is it a step toward or away from healing. And it's my function to work with God as best I can and try to avoid working against him. Which means, among other things, I must always love. I fail miserably at my task, but at least I'm not confused about which of us is God and which of us is Scott.

  • Melissa

    Hey Scott, thanks for your comment. I thought about that after I had published the post, there are many people who don't really fit into any of the 3 views I tried to categorize. Thanks for pointing out that there are many christians who are willing to sit somewhere between 1 and 2 and admit that they do not know the mind of God. Being willing to admit one doesn't have all the answers is very admirable.

  • suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter}

    thanks for linking my post. i agree, it can be hard to tell who's who when reading these sorts of posts! i'd say i'm a lot more affirming (or at least i have considerable questions and doubts about how we've interpreted scripture and sexuality), but as i wrote, i tried to appeal to people from a middle sort of place. that could be construed as cowardly, maybe, but we have to start talking somewhere, wherever common ground may be found. once labels stick, so often those doors to dialogue slam shut.

    this a great gathering of posts. tides are changing, i feel it.

  • Emily W

    I posted this on my facebook several months ago. I love Sr. Margaret :)

  • Jessica

    Thanks for these, Melissa! I may add some of these to my resource page. Here's the link, if anyone's looking for it — I continue to add to it as time goes on.

  • Amethyst

    If musical comedy is more someone's style than documentaries, I recommend this video from the Gay Christian Network, "Straight to Heaven."

    This play, written and performed entirely by gay Christian men, tells the story of a young man trying to reconcile being true to his faith and honest about his sexual orientation. Both "ex-gay" ministries and the gay club/bar/dating/hookup scene are parodied. I think the writer and performers did a good job at taking a lighthearted look at a very serious issue.

  • Lee Ann

    Melissa, I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your blog. I've been reading it for a few months now so I thought it was time to quit lurking. You always remind me that love is the most important reality.

  • Jim Marks

    You, and many other people who speak out on these topics use the word "accept"/"acceptance" more than almost any other word.

    Sometimes this word seems to suggest that to "accept" LGBT persons is to disregard that their orientation has any moral meaning of any kind. Sometimes this word seems to leave open the possibility that one can consider sexual acts to have moral meaning so long as one doesn't treat the sins of LGBT persons as somehow special, unique or worse than those of anyone else.

    What does the word "accept"/"acceptance" mean to you?

    The "secular" LGBT community seems to be adamantly insistent that the first use of the term is the only valid one. That the only way to "accept" LGBT people is to conclude that their sexual behavior is morally neutral. What troubles me about this perspective is that it leaves open the door for Christians to think anything they please about the moral weight of "straight" sex acts. In a sense, rather than this idea of "acceptance" making LGBT people into "just people" whom we treat no differently than we would treat anyone else (which is my notion of acceptance), instead this use of the term essentially forces us to treat LGBT people as different, special, unique and forever "other" — which is supposed to be exactly what they don't want.

    For Christians, everything in life has moral weight. Everything we think can lead to action and every action has consequences. Those consequences determine the moral weight of that action. There are no "special" parts of life that somehow fall outside the boundaries of this process. While I believe whole heartedly that the overwhelming majority of Christian voices in the Western world are advocating a distorted message which seeks to take certain moral convictions and on the basis of those convictions treat certain people as second class citizens — and that any such movement to segregate and differentiate people on purely moral grounds not only distorts our faith but also distorts the intent of our Constitution, the problem that I face is that the counter-position to this one is in essence an over reaction. That to ensure LGBT persons are not made second class citizens, there is now a drive to force persons of religious conviction to cease to consider certain sexual acts to have any moral weight.

    Since you appear to be calling for thoughtful, dispassionate, thought provoking and well reasoned voices, I'm curious where you stand on this notion of "acceptance". Do I "accept" my LGBT friends, acquaintances and colleagues by simply ignoring their orientation treating them the same way I treat everyone else — which includes adjudicating the moral weight of everything that everyone around me does — or can I only "accept" them if I make them into special and unique people who engage in the one kind of behavior in human existence which has no moral aspect — including "straight" sex about which the faith has many very dogmatic opinions?

    I've written several blog entries in the past week and near as I can tell they don't fit into any of your three "Christian views" because your three categories all specifically isolate LGBT persons in some way either as uniquely morally exempt, or uniquely morally bankrupt. Where are the voices articulating what is the actual traditional, ancient view of the Church which is that sexual sins _of any kind_ are certain sin, but are not the kind of sin about which the entire community needs to be actively "policing"? Sexual sin is between the sinner and God and their confessor.

    I would be very curious to understand where you categorize these ideas.

  • Melissa

    Jim- I found your comment somewhat confusing, and your blog as well. I use the term "acceptance" to mean that LGBTQ persons are the same as anyone else, and should be treated as such and have the same legal rights. I choose to use the term "acceptance" as opposed to "tolerance" because I feel like "tolerance" is used as an excuse to mistreat people. It sounds like you are pretty firmly in the camp of view 2, although I would argue that view one also places moral limits on sexuality, so I am not sure what you are trying to argue there. Anyways, I replied to your comment to say that I am planning on writing about "acceptance" vs "tolerance" in the near future.

  • Anonymous

    I don't feel I fall into any of the 3 categories and I do consider myself to be a follower of Christ. It might be interesting to see what other categories might be suggested.

    I am glad you included the link about not discriminating against former gays. I think 'hate' trends go in spells and right now it is popular in some camps to dislike strongly folk who claim to be ex-gays as well as folk who are ardent and even possibly obnoxious and hurtful fundamentalists (IFB's, etc.) I am married to the latter and while I definitely do NOT agree with the whole IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist/BJU, etc.) mindset and theology in most respects, I am having to learn to have compassion and acceptance for my spouse as a person. I have even struggled with PTSD after coming out of said spouse's church but am recently being convicted on making sure I don't have the same non-acceptance of spouse and spouse's church as they had/have for me. It is a tough thing to grasp at the heart level, this disagree with the beliefs/actions but love the person thing, isn't it, sometimes?! I have to respect or at least accept where each person is on their journey regardless of what that journey is or whether I like some of the aspects of that journey.

    Defining acceptance (vs. tolerance) could be a helpful thing.

  • Amethyst

    "Sometimes this word seems to suggest that to 'accept' LGBT persons is to disregard that their orientation has any moral meaning of any kind."

    Jim, in regard to both straightness and non-straightness, you seem to be confusing sexual orientation and sexual behavior. A person who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may have a sex life based on the principles of commitment, monogamy, and mutual respect. A person who is straight may have a sex life based on infidelity, promiscuity, and personal gratification. A person of any orientation may chose a life of celibacy.

    I am a Christian, and I take this position based on the Bible, not in spite of it: sexual orientation, in and of itself, *does* have no moral meaning of any kind. Straightness has no inherent morality, and anything on the LGBTQ spectrum has no inherent immorality. People of any sexual orientation are capable of immoral practices, sexual or otherwise. That is what carries moral meaning. And I just don't see any Biblical evidence that a loving, faithful sexual partnership between equals is immoral simply because both parties happen to be of the same sex, or because one party identifies as a different gender than indicated by the body parts he or she was born with. I'm not going to go into detail, because other Bible-believing Christian writers whose works Melissa has provided have already done so. Please take the time to read their words with an open mind.

  • Michelle Hughes

    I continue to read your blog in the hopes that I can learn more about LGBTQ issues, concerns and worldview. I get so confused on certain aspects about responsibilities in the legal realm vs responsibilities on the faith realm. But I find that I get confused on that on many issues, not just LGBTQ issues. I really appreciate reading your perspective and hope to continue to do that. I think fear plays a huge role in what people vote for and against with regards to LGBTQ issues. I'm not sure what can be done about that other than people who are fearful to face their fears, ask their questions and move on with life. Easier said than done, I would suppose.

    I hope that I haven't ever offended with any comments I have posted here because I truly value you and your family and your perspective. I know I am confused about some things and I know I need time to process and learn so that I can become un-confused.

    I know your perspective on things is different from mine, but if we were all the same, the world would be boring. And I still think your spouse and my spouse would get along great (I mentioned that in a comment on one of your posts). :)

  • Nerdiah

    I read this a few days ago and it left me feeling uncomfortable; it's taken a few days for me to put my finger on just why. Forgive me for writing an essay but I wanted to say something about it because I think is important.

    (And look at me now, feeling towards an Internet blogger like I would towards a close friend – a tribute to your writing ability I think :-) )

    Melissa, I think you're making a dangerous mistake to make a distinction between Type 2s and Type 3s.

    Sure, they differ in which aspect of same-sex orientation they consider a "choice", but they are no different pragmatically speaking. The judgment and ignorance and intolerance is in both, it's just one step removed for the Type 2s.

    So what happens if you tell a Type 2 that you hear what their God says, but you're going to choose to continue having a physical same-sex relationship anyway? Won't they then respond in EXACTLY the same way as the Type 3: that by choosing to continue to disobey their God, you are angering Him, and He will justly punish you for it? For Jesus didn't merely forgive the adulterous woman, did he. He said "Go, and SIN NO MORE"; but you and your spouse are persisting in

    Ultimately then, pragmatically speaking, there is no difference between what the God of the Type 2s and the God of the Type 3s thinks of you – which is to say, what those Christians *themselves* think of you – that you deserve to be damned. That extends from you to your spouse, to your family, to your friends who affirm you, probably eventually even to your own children… The only difference is that Type 2s are cunning enough to hide their beliefs under a tonne of prattle about "how we all sin" or how it's about "love", which makes them all the more insidious.

    I really wouldn't indulge the opinions of any Christians except the Type 1s if I were you. Or if you must, please let their bullshit wash off you, like the proverbial water off a duck's back. For it IS bullshit, make no mistake about it, nature is against them, the latest science is against them, the moral Zeitgeist is against them, _love_ is against them. The only reason they persist in this bullshit is apparently because they are unable to reconcile their emotional need for a God with the fact that their Bible got it wrong. And that's their problem, not yours.

  • Melissa

    Thanks Nerdiah, I appreciate you taking the time to write your comment. I agree with you in many ways, the essential beliefs of salvation vs hell are the same with views 2 & 3. However, I think that there is a difference depending on the person. I have many friends who say they are view 2, and some of them sound more like view 3 and some of them sound more like view 1. The distinction I am drawing, is that even though many of these friends may believe that I am going to hell if I do not repent and change my ways, they are willing to behave in a respectful way towards me. Most christians believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and some of them can still be friends with Jews, agnostics, hindus etc. Is there a frustrating aspect to someone believing (even somewhat reluctantly) that I am going to hell? Yes. And I am not about to join one of those churches. But, I realize that moving from view 3 to view 2 was a huge step for me into learning compassion and respect and acceptance toward people who were different from me. View 2 can also leave room for people to stop making civil rights dependent on religious beliefs, more able to live and let live. View 3 is utterly incapable of that. I feel that view 2 also allows for people who may not yet have made up their mind or feel uncomfortable making projections of the mind of god which they feel is unknowable.

  • Melissa

    :) Sometimes you make my day. :)

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I'm glad you brought this up, Nerdiah, and glad you responded, Melissa. This is an issue that has been plaguing me as well.

    The truth is, I am personally made very uncomfortable by "view 2." Expecting people to completely deny themselves romantic and sexual intimacy just because of the orientation they were born with seems cruel to me, even if it is, on its face, more palatable then the fire-and-brimstone of view 3. And LGBT individuals who themselves buy into view 2 break my heart. To me, they are accepting a second-class status, allowing themselves to be told that they don't deserve as much as others deserve. And when "view 2" straight, cis people boast about their celibate gay friends, I can't help feeling a little angry. To me, they're basically saying that they don't blame gay people for being gay, as long as they know "their place" and their place is to not have as much happiness as straight people have–at least not in this earth. Other groups have been told things like that before. "Black people, they're not meant to have it good on this earth, but if they know their place and serve their masters well, they'll be rewarded in Heaven. I, on the other hand, I deserve every happiness I can find on this earth."

    I can't accept it. People are equal and that's that. Saying that some people get to love and others don't will never be okay with me. It is bigoted and that is the truth. And I don't like not being able to say what I see as the truth just because it hurts people's feelings to be told that their views are bigoted. If you don't want to be called bigoted, don't be bigoted. That's how I feel on the one hand.

    On the other hand, I know it's not that simple. I truly do believe that a lot of "view 2" people really are trying and a lot of them do seem to be conflicted about where they stand. I respect people who are willing to reconsider things they've been taught and willing to be open with others about the conflict they feel, even if what they currently believe still kind of makes me want to hold my nose. I will take someone believes that all people should be treated with kindness at the very least, over someone who doesn't believe that any day. I believe that you have to take people where they are, not where you wish they were and that doing so is often more productive anyway. Plenty of people do move from view 2 to view 3. I can believe that keeping the dialogue open to them instead of just saying "Keep out, bigot" probably helps them do that. If more people get to a place where they can affirm LGBT people, my personal discomfort with some of the things they believe when they're on their way to that place is a small price to pay. I don't think that LGBT people should feel obligated to act like a worldview that doesn't, in the end, affirm who they are is just as a-okay as a worldview that does and organizations like the Gay Christian Network sometimes seem like they do that. But maybe, strategically, that is the best thing for them to do.

    I guess in the end, the central question for me is, what helps people more? I guess I'm a bit conflicted myself!

  • Melissa

    I LOVE what you said about all people being equal, my spouse has been putting the finishing touches on a pos for over a week now, that makes that very point. And I can so resonate with what you said about view 2 people bragging about their celibate gay friends. It's like there is (once again) a heirarchy of people who are pleasing to god more than others, and that hurts a lot of people.

  • Vixi

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My husband recently came out to me as trans and we are happily pursuing her transition. If you are interested, I wrote a post about it on my blog (

  • Marg Herder

    Wanted to point the way to an amazing group of affirming Christian people with lots of articles, book reviews and blog posts. (the Christian Feminism Today website). EEWC has been on the right side of this GLBTQ issue since the eighties! Also, read the writings of Virginia Ramey Mollenkott at She is featured on the Bob Jones website listed in the article.