Focus on the Family Exec Shuns Gay Daughter: She Breaks Her Silence

Focus on the Family Exec Shuns Gay Daughter: She Breaks Her Silence March 5, 2016

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Amber Cantorna didn’t date any boys growing up, but she didn’t think much of it. She had taken her purity vow and even sealed it with a ring– after that, she just assumed that God would simply place the right man in her life, at the right time.

Except, he didn’t. In fact, at 23 she looked back and realized why she had never actually dated a guy: she was gay. 

She was also a devoted Christian (of the conservative flavor) and the only daughter of a Focus on the Family executive. This, understandably, created a personal crisis of sorts.

Amber recently began telling her story publicly, and writes:

“I knew I couldn’t just sweep this “problem” under the rug, but I was terrified. I was terrified that in studying and digging deeper, I might find what I had been taught all my life to be true: God disapproved of homosexuality and, therefore, He disapproved of me. Focus on the Family teaches that marriage is strictly between one man and one woman and I was equally as terrified that in digging deeper I might find that belief to be false. Because if God did indeed make me this way, I would become part of a minority that is stigmatized, especially in Christian circles, and that too would be life-altering. So either way, my life would never be the same.”

Realizing who she was, Amber began a long journey of self discovery, affirmation, and rediscovering her Christian faith. At the end of that chapter, she realized it was time to come out to her family:

“I was 27 when I had finally mustered every last bit of courage to have “the talk” with my family. I had been pondering, planning and praying for months. My heart weighed heavy and anxiety took my mind down every possible outcome. I knew, as the daughter of a Focus on the Family executive, the results of my truth could be devastating. But I had reached the point where living a lie was worse than whatever lay on the other side of truth. After much counsel, preparation and prayer, I felt the time had come to tell my truth. So on April 14th, 2012 I invited both my parents and brother over and we all took a seat in the living room of my split-level apartment. I told them the journey I had been on over the past several years and then, spoke the 3 short words that would forever alter my future…

Only in my worst nightmares were the consequences as drastic as what they proved to be in real life.”

Amber’s story is powerful, and one that I think needs to be heard.

We were honored to have her as a guest on That God Show for our most recent episode, where Amber tells her story in full detail. To her love for God, the heartbreak of being abandoned by family, the healing that took place in a welcoming church, and the love she now has for her wife, Clara, Amber is someone who will inspire you.

She certainly inspired us.

Catch the full episode, here!


You can also get this episode and more by subscribing to That God Show in iTunes, here.

To follow Amber, you can like her FB page or visit her website.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • liberalinlove

    I am glad we cannot be separated from the Love of God under any circumstances. Perhaps her voice will begin a work within Focus on the Family. Would that not be a Divine Miracle.

  • otrotierra

    Once Amber’s parents stop their Focus On Other People’s Genitals, they can begin following Jesus and The Greatest Commandment.

  • Maggie

    Thank you for sharing this Benjamin.

  • waynemwarner

    Why do people in this state of affairs have to maintain the traditional male-female roles, as the clothing suggests. Seems tome it makes a farce out of this whole thing.

  • otrotierra

    Shockingly, neither one of them asked your permission while getting dressed.

  • Herm

    This jumped out at me when I first went to Amber’s place ( http://ambercantorna.com/ ):

    While skirting the pit of murky over-generalizations, I think about the thirty-two LGBTQ young Mormons who took their lives just since November 2015; a significant upsurge only a few months after the Churches reiteration of unsupportive stances on gay issues.

    For any who believe our benevolent creator God, full of grace, would shun a merciful child of Theirs for open and merciful honesty, please, listen to this podcast and go out to Amber’s heart and mind opened for you! Please!

  • PinkyAndNoBrain

    If what you’re saying is that you wish that we didn’t have such a strict male-female binary when it comes to gender roles so that people could express themselves without feeling like they have to conform to one or the other, I do agree with you, though I think that this is an inappropriate place to discuss the topic, and especially in such a tone.

    However, if you’re suggesting that these women are making a farce out of traditional marriage by getting married in “traditional” (from the 20th century) garb, then I really disagree. They are getting married in the clothes that make them comfortable and happy and feel fitting for their celebration. Where’s the farce in that?

  • disqus_545xCQoqmE

    Okay, whatever. Christianity is the problem, not the solution. Take it out of the equation, and this young woman could get along with her family just fine. Pre-Columbian Native American societies often valued their members with same-sex attractions. The Christians sure beat that out of them. Let’s go back to the old ways.

  • I wish it were that simple. There are plenty of non-religious bigots out there and many Christians support marriage equality. Sadly, hate seems to know no boundaries.

  • disqus_545xCQoqmE

    Nice try. Christianity has so fundamentally informed the culture for so long that you pretty much have to take responsibility for all of it. I know lots of Christians who support marriage equality, but I know of no one who opposes it loudly who is not a Christian. My point stands.

  • JR

    The suicide of thirty-two LGBT youth can not be substantiated. Many have tried. Many Mormon blogs investigated the story, wanting to address the suicide problem. Alas, the story is not what it seems. The article on those suicides is very misleading.

    I don’t care one way or another about gay marriage. It does not bother me. But I am for truth in reporting which seems to be in short supply.

  • E.C. Iwata
  • Bud Commish

    Your point is that you are what you hate. A person so fueled by a hatred of a group that you (despite self admittedly knowing “lots” of those folks who agree with you) prefer to stick with your intent to damn the whole group. Pot meet Kettle. You are BFFs.

  • Brandon Roberts

    poor thing

  • Bones

    One is one too many……..

  • Oh no, a person you don’t know whose wedding you were not invited to wore clothing that they felt comfortable in.

    Will these assaults on Christianity never cease?

  • CCurlee

    because that is what they were comfortable with. We had people put us down for the same reason. Im comfortable in a dress. My partner was not. Simple.

  • CCurlee

    so simple.

  • Hata H. Zappa

    I don’t really care what people in a gay person’s family think about that family member’s choice. What I care about is that they would shun that person for being honest about their orientation. You cannot shun your child for being their natural self and call yourself a parent at the same time.

  • This truly exposes FOTF for what it is. It cares only about rules and self-righteousness, it has no concern for people at all – in fact it hates people unless they affirm the cancerous organisation and its fierce dogma.

  • Your point only stands in your own mind. Christianity is a vehicle for this evil but its not the root. Yes, the culture is wedded to the Judeo-Christian faiths but when someone comes to you with cancer you don’t attack the patient.

  • ZionArt

    Amber Cantorna situation is kind of similar to that of Patrick Bradley, a gay blogger who had written an open letter to his Christian parents and posted it online, taking them to task for refusing to attend his wedding in 2013.

    When his parents said that they wouldn’t attend their son gay wedding citing their deeply held Christian beliefs that marriage was between a man and a woman Patrick Bradley instead, put forth an ultimatum saying: “I explained to you, simply and calmly, that if you (both) did not attend my wedding, you would not see me again after the wedding: no holidays, no birthdays, no hospitals, no funerals,” he writes.”

    And yet there Patrick Bradley was back in his parents face, since he sent the letter, and more than likely still pouting and throwing a hissy fit over his parents not feeling sorry about not attending his wedding because it violated their deeply held religious convictions against gay marriage and I am in 100% agreement with them.

    My mother is a lesbian and there is no amount of shaming she could do that could ever get me to attend her and her life partner Debbie wedding. I sincerely believe what the Lord Jesus himself says in Matthew 10:37-38 and Luke 14:26-27 that if I love my wife, children, father or mother, brother or sister and my own life more than my Lord and Savior Jesus; the Lord Jesus say that I’m not worthy of him and I prefer to love Jesus over my mothers life choices.

    http://bethevenyc.tumblr.com/post/134344479267/gay-sons-open-letter-to-shameful-parents?bcmt=comments-postbox

  • I was struck by the recommendation not to seek Christian counselling. I completely agree. I have so much experience of abuse by the church in the form of control and pressure to conform – so much so that it is generally encouraged and seen as virtuous. The church cannot be trusted to self-regulate neither should it consider those outside the church as lacking wisdom. As a body of sinners the church should be first to recognise its continual need of redemption.

  • jjdoe

    To anyone thinking the only way out is suicide… Remember to trust in yourself – not some hateful words, written by hateful, controlling men! Love, sex, and orientation are all products of the incredibly complex human brain. You are doing fine. Stay true to yourself, and all will be well.
    At least as well it is for other human beings.

  • Realist1234

    So your view of the church is a ‘cancerous organisation’? Nothing much else to say then.

  • Realist1234

    no it wouldn’t if you mean accepting gay ‘marriage’ as legitimate in God’s eyes.

  • Realist1234

    Yes I read Patrick Bradley’s account – if you don’t submit to my wishes, you will not see your son again. Not exactly reasonable behaviour.

  • I didn’t say the church was cancerous. The church itself is not an organisation as such.

  • Realist1234

    Whilst it is sad how her parents reacted to her, I would agree with them in not attending her ‘wedding’. I’m afraid there was nothing ‘sacred’ about that ceremony as described on her Facebook page. I find it telling that in talking about her childhood, she talks a lot about ‘performing’ and living up to the family’s reputation, but nothing about love. Perhaps that is the heart of the problem.

    She states ‘I was terrified that in studying and digging deeper, I might find what I had been taught all my life to be true: God disapproved of homosexuality and, therefore, He disapproved of me’. She confuses God’s condemnation of particular behaviours, and God condemning her as a person. If she is a child of God, she will never lose that status with her Father, she is no longer condemned, and at the appropriate time she will be welcomed into His kingdom. Its depressing that she doesn’t seem to understand basic theology.

    ‘ Because if God did indeed make me this way…’ – another assumption with no real evidence and ignores the reality of the effects of living and being born into a fallen world.

    ‘I talked to people on similar journeys and, in doing so, found those who were both completely in love with their same-sex spouse and also completely in love with God, without any conflict between the two. That was when I began to realize that there didn’t have to be a dichotomy between my faith and sexuality, as I had been led to believe. Finally, after a long and difficult climb, the Scriptures in question settled in my heart, I found the answers I needed…’ – The impression given, but perhaps I’m wrong, is that the only people she spoke to were Christians who were gay who also believed God approves of same-sex relationships. Did she speak to any Christians who were gay who believed God did not approve of gay sexual relationships and who therefore remained celibate? I suspect not and therefore did not listen to an alternate view from people with similar sexual feelings to her own. She could have read, for example, Jeanette Howards’ ‘Into the Promised Land’. ‘I found the answers I needed..’ – I’m not sure that is the best way to understand Scripture. She no doubt read some books that try to dismiss the biblical teaching (such as that teaching is not relevant today) but no others, including those written by other gay celibate Christians. It shouldn’t be forgotten, that ‘love for God’ which she mentions a number of times, often simply means obeying Him as the apostle John taught.

  • liberalinlove

    Can you please show me in scripture where God stops loving us under any circumstance?

  • To be fair, that’s not what Realist1234 said. (S)he said that Focus on the Family coming to accept gay marriage as legitimate in God’s eyes would not be a Divine Miracle. One needn’t believe that God’s love ceases in order to believe that.

  • liberalinlove

    Focus on the Family has a lot to learn about how families should treat each other. They almost destroyed mine. When I find them promoting loving one another as God loves us, then I’ll believe there is a divine miracle happening. Not a gay issue for us, but years and years of counseling to undo the damage.

  • Origen17

    thank you for voicing my thoughts exactly!

  • I think I can get behind that. Although I do believe in the traditional sex ethic, I’m certainly weary of Focus on the Family myself. There may indeed be a need for a divine miracle in that organization. I just don’t think that adopting gay-affirming theology would be a sign of that.

    Anyway, I’m genuinely happy to hear that, whatever was going on, things turned around for your family.

  • I know, right? All these people are doing all these things that Christians don’t like, and not caring one bit what those Christians think about it. It’s just shocking, I’m sure. Someone fetch the smelling salts!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAuRRdzCeC8

  • Realist1234

    I dont understand what you are saying – I didnt say God stops loving us?!

  • josh80

    I am afraid that you are simply unable to turn around on this issue because you are afraid of being wrong. If you admit that you are wrong about gay people than you will have to admit what a cruel person you have been to us for your entire life. It is very sad.

  • Realist1234

    I am gay myself and haven’t been cruel to other gay people. Unfortunately it seems if anyone disagrees with certain things one is labeled ‘cruel’ or full of hatred. That is what is sad.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Obviously, you did not say so… But, like so many, it seems you are attributing to ‘sins’ what the Bible is either silent on, or which have different cultural meanings and cultural history than those currently interpreted.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    It’s a symptom of the hard-core presumptious attitude of so many in the “church.’

    Presuming to know the mind of God, and attributing ‘sin’ to those who only intend love is typical, today, and, to me, will entail many uncomfortable interviews in the afterlife.

    So many are all too willing to presume to know God’s thoughts, at least as such apply to any other human but the individuals doing the presumption.

    Good to see you, friend Herm! Hope life is good and very joyful!

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Any hurt based upon a judgemental attitude and rejection of a fellow human being, especially when seemingly justified by a set of impersonal clobber texts, is one too many, IMHBCO

    And the suicides? I don’t believe in hell, but those that inspired those tragedies by their words and actions bear a very special and harsh karma (in whatever way one wishes to interpret that word).

  • Paul Julian Gould

    Unfortunately, in the current rhetorical climate in which we live, I have to emphasize my use of the word ‘seems.’ If I have attributed to your words a meaning not intended, I do apologize.

  • Realist1234

    No need to apologise – I think the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is clear on the matter – I have yet to see any reasonable argument against such an understanding.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    You are basing your assumptions on an English translation of Hebrew, Greek and Chaldaic, which translations cannot help but reflect the biases of the translators, and the particular paths from which the translators originate… That’s not derogatory – rather it’s quite human.

    But the original concepts cannot be shoehorned into an American Protestant set of dogma, as they are reflective of the original cultures of the writers.

    Of course, although I am quite familiar with the Book, it is not the sole rule and guide for my faith… that may seem blasphemous, but I’m not a Christian, so there’s that.

  • liberalinlove

    Can you agree that most gays already know how their “Christian” family members believe. If anyone has wrestled with and studied and prayed about their gayness, made genuine and concentrated effort to change, they already know that there will be little to 0 change in theology on the part of family members.
    However, for those parents/families who have insisted on change-or- get-out parenting as tough love, and have subsequently lost their child by suicide or absenteeism or death, the lessons of loving others as God does is sometimes discovered too late.
    Adult children are no longer under the parent’s authority. I am of the opinion that God is faithful. If he can’t begin a work in each of us, and complete it, then we have placed our faith in a false gospel and a false Jesus.
    For me, as a Christian, the Civil rights of a free country, along with the freedom God gives us to come to Him with open hearts and minds, trusting that HE alone can do that work is far more important than the coercive, manipulative, fearful, message that Focus on the Family metes out.
    My family would kick anyone out, who went to movies, wore make-up, pierced their ears, plucked their eyebrows, failed to go to church three times a week. They had scripture to back them up on all of it. Wasn’t a Jesus I felt loved kids or pretty much anyone.

  • JamieHaman

    Parenting fail. Hope Amber’s life exceeds her wildest expectations, and her parents, I hope they realize what was lost (or thrown away) can be found.
    A prodigal daughter in their future is my prayer for the parents.

  • Wesley Edwards

    I couldn’t imagine being gay and remaining religious. I’m so “blessed” to be rid of the superstitious dogmatic BS. I do know that my own “Holy Matrimony” ended dramatically and painfully in a lawyers office. There is absolutely no reason to pack a bunch of ridiculous excess baggage into the commitment that two people make to each other – nor to pretend that their commitment means less because they are homosexual. Good luck to the couple.

  • Garrison

    The father chose perception over reality, and ideology over reality.

    What a pitiable person he is…

  • Jennifer A. Nolan

    What are these “family values” anyway? J. Edgar Hoover once saw the American suburban family as a “bulwark” against the Nazis, then the Soviet Communists. Baloney! The family, as we usually conceive it, is too small to hold out against much of anything, never mind existential threats like Hitler’s — or, right now, the Donald’s. It is almost as small and weak as the individual; without corporate-provided wealth or connections, it will fold like a house of cards.

    An additional, Gospel-based objection to the family is the lack of patience with family ties shown by Jesus. “‘For, whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven, that is my brother, and my sister, and my mother,'” as a direct rebuke to his literal mother and brothers (Matt. 12:50). “He said to another, ‘Follow me;’ and the man replied, ‘Lord, let me go first and bury my father.’ But Jesus said, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, and as for you, go and announce the Kingdom of God.'” (Luke 9.59,60) “‘If someone comes to Me, and hates not his father, mother, [spouse], children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.'” (Luke 14:26)

    Sorry, but it’s all in there! And I can cite a few more examples. The point of these is not absolute hatred or rejection of blood relatives; it’s merely to say that bigger things must come before the personal agendas we have wrapped up in the teddy-bear fur of our personal relationships. We treat housemates too much like possessions, and we allow our personal wants to blot out the rest of Creation.

    Though, I’ll be cursed forever if I disregard real moral debts to those near and dear to me — because those obligations DO exist! There is still such a thing as common decency, for near and far, and for people of ANY belief or unbelief.

    But worst of all is the obvious moral failing of Daddy Cantorna in rejecting this daughter of his. Disagreeing with her on the place of GLBT’s in church is all very well, but I would have just prayed for patience and wisdom and tried to live with these differences, the way Roger Williams decided to live amicably with the thoroughly un-Christian Narragansett people as nearby neighbors and buy their land at a fair price, letting God be the judge of them all. Being disappointed is understandable, if you subscribe to those conservative views, but I wouldn’t dream of turning my child away like this. It demonstrates a sheer disloyalty and a lack of compassion. *Compassion being most of the law laid down by our Messiah.*

    On this point, FOTF fails completely to promote family values of any kind, “Christian” or pagan.

  • Yes, I can agree unreservedly with all of that. I should probably disclose that I’m gay myself (it’s complicated). As I mentioned, I’m quite weary of Focus on the Family, and I’m not interested in defending them. I just think that adopting a gay-affirming theology wouldn’t be an example of a miracle as much as shifting from one kind of wrong to another. I imagine you disagree, but I also gather from all else that you’ve written above, that their views on gay marriage weren’t the essence of what you had in mind with that statement.

    I’m happy to know that you escaped all of that with your faith in tact. That, I think, we can call a divine miracle.

  • liberalinlove

    Yes, I don’t believe people have to change their theology to love someone else the way Jesus calls us to love.

  • John Evans

    I’m interested why you think God would create romantic love between men and women, and decree that that should be celebrated in ceremony and holy lifelong commitment, and that he should also create romantic love between men and men, and between women and women, and declare that pursuing THAT in the same way is a grievous sin; is homosexual love intended as some sort of bizarre parody of heterosexual love, in your opinion?

    Or do you consider the sin of sodomy to apply to all non-procreative sex? That at least is consistent, however disconcerting it might be for infertile couples.

  • I’m very glad that she didn’t resolve all this by suicide, which the route L. Ron Hubbard’s poor LGBT son ended up at. I hope she finds peace throughout her life.

  • RonnyTX

    I discovered I was gay, when I was 12 years old and at the time, I didn’t even know there were gay people or gay couples. For such people wouldn’t of been out in the open, in 1967 rural, small town NE Texas. Then shortly after that, I over heard some of my church elders talking about those homosexuals. The were spoken of with scorn, said to of chosen to be that and that such was the worst of sins. Then I had to look up the word homosexual in my Mom’s medical dictionary, to find out they were talking about people like me! :-( Then at 16 years old, I was born of God. At that time I found out how greatly God/Jesus Christ loved me. :-) But in the 4 years before that and for years after that, I lived in fear, that anyone would find out I was gay and then go and tell other people about that. And I had been taught in my church, that whatever my church elders said, was the same as my hearing from God. And I also believed that lie. I was 40 years old, before I found out about other people like myself, who were Christian and gay. Read a book by one gay Christian guy, who had a male spouse. From what he wrote, I could see their relationship wasn’t sinful; but I still thought my being gay was. But I wondered about that too? What to do? I searched the scriptures for myself, that I had been taught condemned my being gay. And as I did, I asked God to guide me and show me the truth of the matter. I started in Romans chapter one and was shocked to see, that didn’t condemn my being gay. I went through the handful of scriptures, that I’d been taught condemned my being gay. I could see none of them did, except for maybe the last one? It surely seemed to condemn my being gay. I despaired from every knowing the truth for sure and had a thought of suicide. Thought it would be better to be dead, than to not know for sure, if my being gay was sinful or not? When I had a thought of suicide, God immediately put this scripture in my mind. “And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 :-) So God reminded, me of how greatly God/Jesus Christ loved me. :-) And I just stopped and prayed and asked God if my being gay was sinful or not? And God immediately answered my question/prayer and that with a no. That shocked me, both the answer and how fast God gave such to me. This shocked me so much, I simply prayed the same prayer again and again, God gave me the same answer. :-) So, that is how I came to find out directly from God, that no, my being gay was not sinful at all. Later on, God had to help me too, with the anger I developed, at the people who had taught me to believe for years, that yes, was being gay was chosen and was sinful.

  • RonnyTX

    Good question John! :-) And in my teens, I knew a male cousin of mine, had a male spouse. When they came to his Mom and Dad’s to visit, I was fearful when my Mom would get me to take her over there. Well, I was scared to death, that I would be outed as gay. Then at 17 years old, my aunt said her son couldn’t be a Christian, because he was gay. My Mom disagreed with her and said she had been there, when he was saved. And the year before this conversation, between my Mom and her sister, God had saved me. So I knew a person who was gay, could be a Christian; but I dared not say that to my aunt. And what my Mom said about her gay nephew, that was the one positive thing I heard said by a Christian heterosexual, about a gay person and that from the time I was 12, till I was 40 years old! That was it. Only that one positive thing heard, in 28 years!

    Later on, when I was 40 years old, I came out to my Mom. Now I’m 61 and a couple of years ago, a niece of mine met, fell in love with and married this other girl. :-) Back then, I think they had to leave Texas and go all the way to New Mexico, to get legally married.

    And the cousin I spoke of, he was with his male spouse, until cousin died. So they were together as a couple, for over 20 years. And I surely know they loved each other, just as my niece and her female spouse, love each other. :-) But my sister, nieces Mom, she wrongly thinks that people who are gay, choose to be gay. No doubt, she probably got that lie, from some of our early church elders. And the same lie taught today, in the church she’s in. Amazing how those guys went bananas, when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage! (ha) I wouldn’t want to be a kid today, growing up in that church! :-(

  • Realist1234

    The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, condemns gay sexual behaviour. I cannot agree with your understanding of Scripture, though you seem to confuse ‘being gay’ and actual sex. The two are not the same – as I said Im gay but am celibate. I would also discourage you from assuming God spoke to you to confirm your understanding of Scripture. That is the problem with subjective experiences, they are subjective and lets be honest, we tend to ‘hear’ what we want to hear. Though in one sense you are right, being gay is not sinful, having sex with another man is. God’s love for you is not affected by you being gay – you seem to have received a message of either/or – God’s love or being gay. Thats just not right. You and I are the ‘beloved’ of God the Father, you and I being gay is irrelevant.

  • Realist1234

    Sorry I misunderstood what you said.

  • Out of curiosity, what was that last one you got stuck on?

  • The condemnations in those verses were for specific kinds of male homosexual behaviour. Given the historical and textual context those laws were created in, as well as the specific Aramaic/Hebrew/Greek words used, the kind of homosexual sex they had in mind was of a clearly sinful nature – it was sex in the context of rape (like in the Sodom story), cult prostitution (Leviticus, Romans) or abuse (the arsenokoitai and malakoi in 1 Cor 6:9, likely referring to exploitative pederastic relationships: malakoi is the Greek word for catamite, male youth who allow themselves to be sexually misused by older men, often in exchange for favours; the meaning of arsenokoitai is uncertain, but it has appeared in heterosexual contexts and is interestingly always condemned alongside not sexual sins but economic ones: theft, bribery, extortion, swindling and the like; the general consensus is that it was sex of a transactional nature, particularly between males. Martin Luther translated it as ‘boy abusers’. The latest NIV translates it as ‘men who have sex with men’, which is technically correct – these *are* men who have sex with men – but only in the same way that men who rape women are men who have sex with women.)

    There is no record in ancient Greece of the age-matched same-sex romantic partnerships that we have in mind when talking about gay couples today. They presumably would have existed, but they would have made up a tiny, almost invisible fraction of the homosexual activity going on back then. Apart from pederasty, which was common enough that it was regulated by the government, the majority of homosexual sex observed by the ancient Israelites would have been that of pagan sex rituals, particularly those done in service to fertility goddesses – which, given the frequent mentions of and direct cause-effect link to idol worship in Romans 1:26-27, is likely what Paul had been thinking of.

    The concept of sexual orientation did not exist until the 19th century. Until then, it was assumed that everybody was straight. Homosexual activity was believed to be the result of deliberately overriding one’s natural sexual inclinations in the pursuit of new sexual highs, or because (as various ancient Christian writers have opined) those men had had so much sex with women that they were bored and wanted something new. (The brief mention of women in Romans who had exchanged natural for unnatural was meanwhile not thought to refer to lesbians until very recently; for centuries, the dominant interpretation was that they were women who engaged in non-procreative sex with men. Without this, there are zero condemnations of female homosexuality in the Bible, no matter how conservative the reading.)

    So yes, those were forms of homosexual sex that were condemned as sinful. But many forms of heterosexual sex are also condemned in the Bible, and we don’t take that as a blanket condemnation of heterosexuality. While one may say this is countered by the positive portrayals of heterosexuality in the Bible, the lack of a homosexual equivalent is again the problem of numbers – gay couples as we know them today were practically non-existent. In a time and place where sexual relationships were based primarily on procreation (hence the Deut 25:5-10 rule about widows having sex with their brothers-in-law if their husband died without a son), there would have been no place in that framework for same-sex relationships built solely on love to even be imagined. But we no longer live in that world. Relationships today – even or especially Christian ones – are not just about producing male heirs, but about finding someone you love and want to spend your life with. And there is nothing in the Bible that would suggest that such a thing would be sinful if the someone in question happens to be of the same sex.

    “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” – Galatians 5:14 (NIV)

    “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.” – Romans 13:8-10 (NIV)

    The love Paul refers to here is agape love – selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the kind that God has for us. If there is a gay couple who love each other deeply, that love draws them closer, not further apart, urging them to seek the best for each other and bring them joy instead of harm. That love would ensure they do not sin against each other: if you truly love someone, you would not desire to murder them or rape them or steal from them or otherwise willingly sin against them. Sin cannot emerge from agape love. Yet the love of such a gay couple would not stop them from wishing to form a relationship and consummate it; instead, it pushes them towards that, to being together rather than apart.

    If homosexuality in that context is a sin, it would be a sin that results from selfless love.

    If so, it would be a very, very strange sin, and a stark exception to everything that Jesus taught.

  • 1775

    That is the same point I bring up. Why would God create same-sex romantic love and then turn around and condemn it? Would He give the ok for adultery and all the damage it does to a married couple and their family then turn around and condemn it? Would Christ have said; “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me” only to turn around and create Islam? The fact is this, if we are to truly love one another, as Christ commands us to do, then what kind of love is it if we were to give people hope in their false beliefs? Remember that Satan is the “father of all lies”, “the deceiver”, “the divider” and “the destroyer”. He will use what ever tricks he can to separate us from God.

  • 1775

    What makes a person a Christian?

  • 1775

    Mormonism, just another false religion and lie perpetrated by the ruler of this world.

  • 1775

    My brother is a gay man and HIV positive. I love him but refused to give him hope in his false beliefs. What I hate is he, (like everyone of us has done), is that he fell for the deception Satan was serving up, when God provided him (and all of us a way out).

  • 1775

    To love one another. Is that the same kind of love when we give hope to someone’s false beliefs?

  • 1775

    He does love us. He loves us so much that he will allow us to choose eternal separation from Him or to have eternal life with Him. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matt. 7:21-23)

  • otrotierra

    How can Amber’s parents begin following Jesus and the Greatest Commandment? By shedding their false beliefs that bring undeniable, well-documented harm to their neighbors.

  • 1775

    L Ron Hubbard, a creator of a false religion who bought into the great deception from “the father of all lies”.

  • Realist1234

    Ive heard these arguments before, and I do not find that they explain the biblical prohibitions against gay sex, whether inside or outside of a relationship. For example see below re 1 Cor:

    Leviticus18:22and 20:13 forbid a man lying with another man as one would with a woman. Leviticus was originally written in Hebrew, but Paul was a Greek-educated Jew writing to Gentiles in Greek, the common language of the day, and probably was using the Greek translation of the Old Testament available in that day, the Septuagint, or LXX, for his Scripture quotations.

    The Greek translation of these Leviticus passages condemns a man (arseno) lying with (koitai) another man (arseno); these words lie side-by-side in these passages in Leviticus. Paul joins these two words together into a neologism, a new word (as we do in saying database or software), and thus he condemns in 1Corinthians and 1Timothy what was condemned in Leviticus.

    The most credible translation of what Paul is condemning in 1Corinthians6:9 is a person doing exactly what Leviticus condemns: engaging in homosexual sex (a man being a “man-lier”). Far from dismissing the relevance of Leviticus, Paul is implicitly invoking its enduring validity for our understanding of sexual sin, and drawing on it as the foundation of his teaching on homosexual conduct. He is saying, “Remember what it said not to do in Leviticus18:22and 20:13? Don’t do that!”

    And per Robert Gagnon-

    Proposition 1. To broaden the word arsenokoitai to include exploitive heterosexual intercourse appears unlikely in view of the unqualified nature of the Levitical prohibitions.

    Proposition 2. In every instance in which the arsenokoit word group occurs in a context that offers clues as to its meaning (i.e., beyond mere inclusion in a vice list), it denotes homosexual intercourse.

    Proposition 3. The term arsenokoitai itself indicates an inclusive sense: all men who play the active role in homosexual intercourse. Had Paul intended to single out pederasts he could have used the technical term paiderastïs.

    Proposition 4. The meaning that Paul gave to arsenokoitai has to be unpacked in light of Romans1:24-27. When Paul speaks of the sexual intercourse of “males with males” (arsenes en arsenes) in v.27, he obviously has in mind arsenokoitai.

    Based on these propositions and others he explores, Gagnon states that “others would have us believe that it is an open question whether arsenokoitai in Paul’s mind would have applied to all forms of same-sex intercourse, including the kinds of non-exploitative forms allegedly manifested in our contemporary context,” but “this dubious hope has to be maintained in the face of many additional obstacles.” Gagnon concludes that 1Corinthians6:9 confirms that Paul’s rejection of homosexual conduct is just as applicable for believers as for unbelievers and that it is self-evident, then, that the combination of terms, malakoi and arsenokoitai, are correctly understood in our contemporary context when they are applied to every conceivable type of same-sex intercourse.

    Finally, to argue that if there is ‘love’ in any particular relationship means that God must approve of it is a rather strange argument. One could use the same argument for someone having an extramarital affair, because the lovers are ‘in love’ with each other, or a polygamist having numerous wives, because they all ‘love’ each other.

  • Herm

    … and who might that be?

  • ZionArt

    It is also the same point and question I raised not only to the moderator of this site Benjamin L. Corey to his blog titled “God Never Changes, But God Constantly Changing (It’s The Paradox of Love), but to posters Herm, RonnyTx, Ron McPherson, and theprozacqueen but they won’t answer mine. Because the question I had asked is not only spiritually poignant but goes to the heart of their view of our most High God affirming gay Christians but supposedly not other relationships and/or acts that the word of God condemns.

    And the question I put to them is simply: If our most High God who’s constantly changing “it’s the Paradox of Love” has affirmed LGBT Christians at a date unknown to inherit his eternal kingdom, despite LGBT Christians violating his stated commandments in Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:9-10.

    Then do they believe that our “constantly changing” God has also giving affirmation for Christians to commit incest, bestiality, or any sexual act (fornication, adultery, etc….) that the word of God also condemns, just as homosexuality, that they which do such thing shall not inherit the kingdom of God and have their part in a lake burning with fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8)?

    And would our most High God affirm any Christian who engages in any one of these aforementioned prohibitive
    acts, just as homosexuality is in the law of Moses, so long as they are in a committed monogamous relationship and that heaven doors would be opened to them upon dying?

  • Good points and good questions.

    While I don’t agree at all with people that consider ‘sodomy’ as a concept as evil and sinful, at least those that are consistent by applying the moral prohibition to everyone fairly are honest about it.

  • squishykiwi

    What is the alternative you suggest for people who are gay? The only option they have is celibacy. It is well-documented that prayer and therapy do not work to change someone’s sexual orientation. Alan Chambers, CEO of Exodus International (the ex-gay movement) came out with a book that stated that his whole organization was a failure for the simple fact that homosexuality isn’t a choice. I suppose someone could choose to pretend to be straight – that’s the extent.

    No Christian I have talked to can offer an answer on this. If the only way to “overcome” homosexuality is to be celibate or engage in heterosexual behavior (although still being attracted to the same sex), why doesn’t the Bible prescribe these things?

  • Realist1234

    You assume that God ‘created’ gay sexual feelings. Is it not possible that such feelings developed inappropriately, and were not ‘willed’ by God? Otherwise one would have to argue that all human feelings, actions and behaviours are ‘created’ by God and therefore acceptable, but that is clearly not the case.
    In the second part, are you asking me do I think anal sex is appropriate within heterosexual marriage? If so, then I would have to answer no. The human rectum and anus are clearly not designed for sex, they have the function of removing faeces from the body. The vagina and penis were clearly designed for each other! The negative health risks associated with anal sex are well-known. I therefore disagree with some Christian leaders, such as the now infamous Mark Driscoll, who endorsed anal sex within marriage if both partners were content with the practice. But he argued from silence in Scripture on the subject which is hardly the best way to understand it – ie because Scripture does not specifically condemn the practice between a man and woman, therefore it must be ok. But I don’t think, for example, child sexual abuse is specifically condemned in Scripture, but most people would agree that God certainly condemns such actions (and before you say it, I am not comparing the two, simply giving an example). I have to say I found Driscoll’s stance rather strange given that he was against homosexual sex which often involves anal sex, particularly as he also intimated that within marriage, anal sex on both partners was ok!

  • kaydenpat

    Amber is strong and I hope her parents come around.

  • From Gagnon himself: “I do not doubt that the circles out of which Lev 18:22 was produced had in view homosexual cult prostitution, at least partly. Homosexual cult prostitution appears to have been the primary form in which homosexual intercourse was practiced in Israel.” – The Bible And Homosexual Practice

    He’s not alone in that conclusion. So even if Paul was referencing the Septuagint, it would then just be a reference to that particular form of homosexual activity. But either way, I don’t think it’s wise to rely on a translation of a translation, especially since joining words together often mean more than what the root terms do. (e.g. there is nothing ‘soft’ about software’.) Furthermore, since it’s clear that arsenokoitai *was* a form of homosexual activity, it would only be natural that it be made up of words meaning men and sex.

    I don’t consider the Levitical prohibitions to be unqualified, given how 18:22 appears right after a verse prohibiting child sacrifice to Molech, with incest condemned before that and bestiality after. These are strange things to group together if one were thinking of them as sexual sins (child sacrifice isn’t a sexual sin); but if we were thinking of them as part of idol worship, then it makes sense, because incest, bestiality, homosexual sex and child sacrifice are all things that happened as part of idol worship.

    Re: Prop 2 – not true.

    Around 575 AD, Patriarch John the Faster used it in reference to an act which some men did to their wives. About 200 years before that, the Sibylline Oracles included the sentence: “The arsenokoitai from the north will abduct our children” (not men).

    I’m also curious why he excludes vice lists, because those are also telling in where they place the word:

    “And let the murderer know that the punishment he has earned awaits him in double measure after he leaves this (world). So also the poisoner, sorcerer, robber, swindler, and arsenokoites, the thief and all of this band.” – Acts of John

    Theophilus of Antioch’s treatise To Autolychus lists vices in the following order: adultery, fornication/prostitution, thievery, plundering, robbery, arsenokoites, savagery, abusive behaviour, wrath, jealousy, pride, boastfulness, conceit …

    This continues in many more examples, where arsenokoitai/es always appears grouped with economic sins, and is notably absent from lists of sexual sins.

    Prop 3 – How would you define ‘men who play the active role in homosexual intercourse’? That’s a very simplistic view of homosexuality and gay sex. Some couples switch roles. Some couples don’t have sex that involve any penetration. Why would Paul find a need to separate the two?

    The Greek term paideraste referred to all homosexual romance/sex, not just pederasty, and should have been the term Paul used if he indeed meant to condemn homosexual relationships. Meanwhile, arsenokoitai is not only an obscure word but one that was adopted from Latin root words, not originally Greek. Why wouldn’t Paul have used a Greek word instead? And if he did want a Latin word adopted into Greek, there are so many others that would have been clearer in meaning:

    – Arsenomixia and arrenomixia, mating or sex with males
    – Arrenogamia, the marriage or fertilization of males
    – Arrenophthoria, the debauchery of males

    Why would he invent a neologism if those words already existed, unless they did not accurately describe what he meant?

    Prop 4 – Arsen means man; how else would Paul talk about men having sex with men without using the Greek word for ‘man’?

    “One could use the same argument for someone having an extramarital affair, because the lovers are ‘in love’ with each other”

    The person who cheats on their spouse is sinning against their spouse, not the person they cheat with. If the person truly loved their spouse, they would not betray them by having an extramarital affair.

    Polygamy was meanwhile condoned in the Bible and even blessed by God. Most people condemn it today because of the harm it sometimes causes to those women. A man who truly loved and wanted the best for those women would thus not marry them if he knew it would harm them. Hence my specification of agape love, not just any sort of love.

    Lastly (sorry for this being so long!), all sins cause harm in some way, including many forms of sex either homosexual or heterosexual. But how does homosexual sex within a loving committed relationship cause harm, and to whom, more so than a heterosexual one? Jesus said to judge things by their fruit. The gay Christian couples I know are thriving and happy, closer to God than ever before, definitely much more than when they were convinced that their innocent crushes were all sinful temptations and they would never be allowed to find a life partner.

  • “so long as they are in a committed monogamous relationship”

    By definition, fornication and adultery means you’re *not* in a committed monogamous relationship. Animals and children are incapable of consent, so such a relationship would be one-sided and inherently abusive. Incestuous relationships inescapably involve a power dynamic between relatives, and is also inherently abusive. The same cannot be said for gay couples.

    Jesus himself violated many commandments in the Law of Moses – including the one about working on the Sabbath, which was punishable by death. Yet he did so in order to fulfill the greater commandment of loving your neighbour. He said that the Law was created to help us love each other. If following the Law inhibits us from love, we have missed its entire purpose.

    Someone who selflessly loves a child will not attempt to have sex with it for their own pleasure at the child’s expense. Someone who loves their spouse would not cheat on them. Yet two gay people who love each other find that love makes them want to be together, not the opposite. It does not fit the pattern.

  • Bones

    Leviticus actually says to put gay people to death.

    I take it you agree.

  • Bones

    You never answered my question either.

    Does God still want to kill gay people or has He changed His mind?

  • Bones

    People said the same about marrying blacks.

    Your attitude is hardly new……..nor is it virtuous…..

  • Bones

    Hopefully he has more sense than you…..

    You may well learn something from him cos he ain’t gonna learn anything from you.

  • Bones

    And that passage had nothing to do with gayness…..

    Go figure….

    Actually you had better read that chapter of Matthew’s and work out which side you’re on………

  • ZionArt

    Bones says: You never answered my question either. Does God still want to kill gay people or has He changed His mind?

    Bones Revelation 21:8 answers your question which says “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the ABOMINABLE (Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is ABOMINATION; Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an ABOMINATION: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them), and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second DEATH.

    So yes Bones the Lord still wants to kill those who violate his stated commandment and He hasn’t changed his mind on that.

  • ZionArt

    Anakin McFly you, just as Herm, RonnyTx, Ron McPherson, and theprozacqueen had in trying to explain away your disagreement with certain sexual behaviors doesn’t answer my question which is again: Do you believe that our “constantly changing” God has also given affirmation for Christians to COMMIT incest, bestiality, or any sexual act (fornication, adultery, etc….) that the word of God also condemns?

    These aforementioned sexual behaviors the word of God condemns in the law of Moses, just as homosexuality, that they which do such thing shall not inherit the kingdom of God and have their part in a lake burning with fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8)?

    And would our most High God AFFIRM any Christian who ENGAGES and/or COMMITS in any one of these aforementioned prohibitive acts, just as homosexuality is in the law of Moses and that heaven doors would be opened to them upon dying? Yes or no?

  • ZionArt

    Bones your using what people said about marrying blacks still doesn’t answer my question I asked which is again: Do you believe that our “constantly changing” God has also given affirmation for Christians to COMMIT incest, bestiality, or any sexual act (fornication, adultery, etc….) that the word of God also condemns?

    These aforementioned sexual behaviors the word of God condemns in the law of Moses, just as homosexuality, that they which do such thing shall not inherit the kingdom of God and have their part in a lake burning with fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8)?

    And would our most High God affirm any Christian who ENGAGES and/or COMMITS in any one of these aforementioned prohibitive acts, just as homosexuality is in the law of Moses and that heaven doors would be opened to them upon dying? Yes or no?

  • P J Evans

    I feel sorry for your mother and her wife, having a child who is so full of hatred.

  • P J Evans

    How would you know a false religion from a true one, without dying and meeting the Power? Evil can quote scripture to back its views.

  • 1775

    It is called faith and discernment my friend.

  • 1775

    I am on the side of righteous and the living God. And who said I was talking about gayness? Sin is sin and they are all the same.

  • 1775

    Come out of the darkness already. You defend the indefensible.

  • 1775

    The bible is clear on the way to live life abundantly. I do not care what some ex-CEO said. I care about what the living God says. Christ calls for us to pick our cross and follow him. That is the hope we can all have if we accept his calls to “follow me”. Would God create homosexuality then turn around only to condemn it?

  • 1775

    Funny how the discussions never bring up, Satan. We should never underestimate his power.

  • 1775

    Really? The father of all lies ring a bell?

  • Bones

    Actually your god said that homosexuals should be executed ISIS-style……

    And that women who bleed are unclean….

    Did your god change its mind?

  • Bones

    Well at least you’re honest that your god still wants to kill gay people.

    Does your god still consider women who bleed unclean?

    Edit: It is bizarre that people in this day and age still think that God wants to kill people for picking up sticks on the Sabbath…..

    Well outside of religious extremists…..

  • Bones

    Speaking of Satan……

    Do you not see the similarities between say ISIS and the god of the Old Testament?

  • squishykiwi

    You have avoided the question. I asked what the alternative is for people who are gay, since orientation CANNOT be changed, as proven time and time again by Christian leaders. One must choose to live heterosexually, while having gay preferences, or remain celibate. If you were gay, is this what you would do?

    As with most Christians who say “because the bible says so,” you fail to love your neighbor and hide behind scripture you have cherry picked to create an us vs them mentality. You should be ashamed of the ideology against gay people that you perpetuate. Learn what it is like to be gay. Learn from your neighbor what it’s like to have a gay child. You d not know. If you did, your heart would know the truth.

  • Bones

    Because it’s a stupid question, that’s why. Those aren’t commands from God but are laws found in nearly every ancient culture.

    Incest seems to have been ok for Cain and Abel, Noah and his family, Lot and his daughters…..

    When did God change His mind about that?

    Here’s a question for you.

    Does God still command soldiers to take sex slaves?

    What about paedophilia?

    The Bible doesn’t mention that. I’m sure some of those virgin girls the Israelites took for themselves sure as heck weren’t 18.

    As if the Ancient ISraelites were the only culture which had sexual taboos.

    What did Ancient Egyptians think of having sex with dead people and goats?

    And yeah the god of the OT is not the God revealed in Jesus.

    Heck what was the punishment for raping a virgin – offering to marry her…..yeah right.

    The Bible is profoundly immoral on the issues of sexuality. That you keep trying to bring up extreme examples of sexual acts says more about your own mind.

  • squishykiwi

    You have avoided my question. I asked what the alternative is for people who are gay, since time and time again Christian leaders have proven that it is not a choice. You have chosen to ignore real evidence, and to hide behind cherry-picked scriptural quotes. I believe Jesus’ greatest commandment was to love thy neighbor as thyself. Is it loving to deny someone the possibility of a relationship, of joy connecting with someone they love? If you had a son/daughter who was gay, I assume you would spend your whole life disapproving of your child of having any type of romantic relationship with someone of the same sex. And by doing so, you will push your child further and further away.

  • squishykiwi

    Oh my. People still quote Leviticus? Please. Can you explain why you do not follow the other codes of law in Leviticus?

  • Bones

    Because he likes crabs…..

  • Bones

    It is pretty weird that people base their morality on ancient cultures which were immoral by modern standards.

    You may as well live by the code of the Babylonians (pretty similar to Ancient Israel) or Ancient Sumerians.

  • squishykiwi

    By your logic, being heterosexual must get you into Heaven.

    The problem with comparing homosexuality to bestiality, incest, and pedophilia is that all of those acts have harmful, negative consequences. Bestiality occurs without the animal’s consent and is devoid of any covenant romantic relationship, incest produces notable birth defects, and pedophilia, well I don’t really have to explain how bad that is.

    A monogamous, married same-sex relationship produces ABSOLUTELY NO ill consequences. Sure, they can’t have kids. Infertile heterosexual couples cannot have kids. Plenty of straight people choose to not have kids. So if the sole purpose of a relationship is to have children, then I suppose all heterosexual individuals who do not have children are sinning.

    Until you can provide undeniable evidence that a committed, monogamous homosexual relationship negatively affects society, I will consider being against gay marriage.

  • squishykiwi

    Also, for a second let’s pretend gay people don’t have any sexual desires. Are you against a non-sexual gay relationship? Or is it also sinful to love someone romantically in a committed relationship, even if you do not act upon it sexually. The point I’m getting at – you seem to be offended by their sexual acts, and not to care about their desire for relationship as human beings.

  • squishykiwi

    And for the record, God says to stone gay people to death. Do you believe in this? Why not if the Bible says so?

  • squishykiwi

    Sorry, but “Satan” didn’t fall out of the sky (or from the underground) to deceive. Your brother made a poor choice by having sex with someone who is HIV positive. He could have abstained and found a partner without a STD. Saying “Satan” did it is an easy way to deflect responsibility, which many Christians are good at. If something goes wrong, it is Satan’s fault, not theirs. Plenty of straight people have STDs because of poor choices they made. This isn’t something you can blame gay people for. Gay people did not invent HIV. That is a lie invented by Christian organizations. Google it.

  • toastyoaties

    Anakin McFly–

    I’m a gay Christian. Despite having my own reasons why I don’t believe homosexuality to be sinful, I’m usually left unconvinced by most non-condemning explanations of the homosexuality passages in Scripture. But your posts here are the first time I’ve heard these sorts of arguments and had them make sense to me. I really want to know–how did you learn all this stuff? I’ve been reading some of your comments from other articles too, and I’m completely impressed by your knowledge and perspectives. I want to read what you’ve been reading.

  • John Evans

    I didn’t ask about “sexual feelings”. I asked about love. You have acknowledged the existence of chaste gay couples, so presumably you accept that such couples are capable of genuine romantic love?

    I’m making no assumptions about other human feelings or activities, I’m just asking why romantic love between a man and a woman is a holy thing worthy of lifelong commitment, and between two men it’s a dirty, shameful temptation to sin.

    And no, in my second point I’m not asking about anal sex. I’m asking about what I asked about; non-procreative sex. Sex conducted in the knowledge that conception is not possible. Should infertile couples not be allowed to marry, because procreation is impossible for them? What about commitedly-chaste gay couples? If there’s a difference, what is it?

  • squishykiwi

    It’s sad that out of this statement you have zero compassion for the fact that 32 people took their lives because they were on the LGBT spectrum. Instead, you are far too intent on saying Mormonism is wrong to prove that you are right. Your response is robotic, scary, and devoid of any sympathy.

  • 1775

    My comment was towards Mormonism being a false religion. How do you know my level of compassion for people? Just because I did not make a comment to your liking you attack me?

  • 1775

    Your right my brother made a bad choice, when God provided him a way out. The proble with you is that you cannot comprehend the very real world of spiritual warfare going on. More of the deception that the ruler of this world provides.

  • 1775

    Wow, Satan could have not said it any better than you did.

  • 1775

    He did? Where did he say that. Scripture please…..

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    I realise you are writing to believing LGBT+ people (I am of neither category), but what about your descriptions of god would make a person with a conscience and compassion for people want to be with that contemporary of dictators and sadists? A person is wanting to capture other people and torch them for what? At what point can we determine a “divine law” is completely insane?

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Again, what is appealing at all about such a person?

  • Bones

    Well, killing gay people and pronouncing women unclean because of their bodies is satanic…..

    But that’s what you follow.

  • Bones

    Because you care more about dogma than people….

    Just like the Pharisees.

  • Bones

    Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is ABOMINATION; Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an ABOMINATION: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    They mightn’t have been stoned. They might have just had their throats cut or thrown off a building.

    Even the Pharisees thought such laws were too draconian and reduced it to merely a flogging….

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    He didn’t order his followers to kill people and burn them forever. He did what reasonable people with crap relationships to their birth families do, while his family probably couldn’t bear it if he doesn’t get tortured forever. Who’s unreasonable?

  • squishykiwi

    Leviticus 20:13. While it doesn’t say “stone” it clearly states they should be put to death.

    I’m surprised you don’t know this.

  • Herm

    Not really … do you know who has all authority on this world?

  • WingedBeast

    In other words, you know, for a fact, that the Mormon faith is a lie from Satan because it’s not your faith, which has to be right because it’s yours.

    The word for that is hubris.

  • Bones

    Yeah people don’t get that.

    Are Christians killing themselves because they’ve been rejected by gay people?????????

    The rejection is coming from one side…….

  • Bones

    According to your god, backed up by your extremist mate Zionart, you should kill your brother (Lev 18:22; 22:13).

    The darkness lives in you……as it does in every religious extremist….

  • Bones

    “I am on the side of righteous and the living God.”

    The Pharisees believed that too, ya know. They had god in their own little box too.

    Visited any prisons lately…..Or turned your back on anyone who needed help……

    Jesus is talking about you…….people who say they believe but practise hatred….

  • Bones

    “He does love us. He loves us so much that he will allow us to choose eternal separation from Him or to have eternal life with Him. ”

    I’m thinking about that as a parent and your concept of ‘love’.

    To show my child love, I will freely let them go play on the road to be skittled by a truck..

    “Hey I wasn’t responsible officer, he made his own choice.

    I was showing him love” I cry as they take me away for gross negligence and child neglect.

    I will also try to stop my child from hurting or killing himself….

    Your god won’t……

    “Separation from god” is a stupid saying because God is everywhere. There is no place where God is not. Even your hell.

    It’s like people who have been abused by Christians and refuse to have anything to do with god have ‘chosen’ to be separated from god. Or people who were born in cultures where there is no Christianity, ‘chose’ to be separated from God.

    That’s completely stupid but it makes a nice sound byte.

  • Bones

    Would you say a false religion tells people to put certain people eg gays to death? Or teaches that women are unclean because of their bodies?

    Im wondering how you discern God giving those commands to Moses as opposed to say God giving commands to Joseph Smith or Mohammad.

  • 1775

    Actually an an angel, gave Mohammed and John Smith their marching orders. That angel would be Satan.

  • Bones

    You are aware that by defending your literalist interpretation you are defending the views of a tyrant who wants to kill people.

    Deuteronomy 22 has some hideous views on virginity which includes proving a woman’s virginity to the community (we know a woman’s hymen can be ruptured by many ways apart from sexual intercourse), executing her if she isn’t, (men are fine of course) and a financial penalty for rape (which makes it less of a crime than gay sex).

  • Bones

    “Do you believe that our “constantly changing” God has also given affirmation for Christians to COMMIT incest,….”

    Gee I dunno. Better ask Cain and Abel, Noah’s children, Lot’s daughters…..

    Then God changed His mind and says they should be put to death??????????????????

    He’s a tricky bugger…..He changes His mind so often I’m willing to bet He’s a She……

  • 1775

    You do not even know me. But God knows your heart just as He knows my heart.

  • 1775

    But you said stoning.

  • 1775

    Why do you quote all the scripture but yet you do not believe? Why?

  • 1775

    I care and love for every one but what is that love if I were to give hope in one’s belief ?

  • 1775

    There is no alternative. God has spoken. Salvation awaits those who seek Him. And it is the greatest feeling of love. The love that only God can give.

  • otrotierra

    His thoughts are not a sufficient replacement for Jesus who is missing in his thinking.

  • 1775

    Faith……

  • Bones

    Where as GOd told Moses to kill gay people…..

    Seems God and satan are on the same wavelength…..

  • 1775

    Yeah, would it be really caring to say nothing to someone in the bondage of darkness. I am so thankful I was lifted from those chains by the grace of God.

  • Bones

    Yet you tell me I live in darkness!!!

    Hypocrite much!

    Well I know what God is supposed to have written in the Bible…..

    I know that what is written is incompatible with the revelation of God in Jesus Christ or even being a decent human being.

    I hope you foresake what you have been taught and treat your brother like a fellow human being….like Jesus would.

  • 1775

    Wake up my friend.

  • Bones

    “You do not even know me.”

    Yet you condemn millions of people who you have never met – gay people other religions – all to justify your own self righteousness.

    When you point the fingers at others, know that there are 3 fingers pointing back.

  • 1775

    You know nothing about me. But of course you turn what God has spoken to into hate, because it does not fit your narrative. Very typical.

  • 1775

    God reveals Himself through His creation and has placed the desire to seek Him in every man’s heart.

  • Bones

    Are we going to argue about how God wants gay people killed now???

    According to Ancient Israelite customs, capital punishment was by stoning or burning alive, although hanging and strangling came in later.

    It’s the same sentence which your fiance got if she wasn’t a virgin (guys got off scot free – yeeehah)

    Take your pick.

  • Bones

    I’ve been studying scripture for over 30 years at academic level.

    I have come to the conclusion that the god of the OT doesn’t exist.

    The fact is the Pharisees were Old Testament literalists whose literalism brought them into open conflict with the Living God.

  • Bones

    “I care and love for every one but what is that love if I were to give hope in one’s belief ?” said the Muslim and the Mormon.

    The question is:
    Are your beliefs making you a better person or not?

  • Bones

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu3VTngm1F0

    Muslims and Mormons have faith too……but you would say their faith is misguided.

  • Bones

    So the Native Americans never needed Christianity then….which effectively wiped them out….

  • Bones

    I have……

    When will you?

  • Bones

    You know nothing about gay people or other religions yet you have a great ol time condemning them. but hey if you’re going to condemn your own brother than I suppose you would condemn the millions you’ve never met.

  • Bones

    “what is appealing at all about such a person?”

    Because they can kill you…..

  • squishykiwi

    That’s not the point, obviously. The point is that the “living word” you defend says to put gay people to death. I misquoted Leviticus because I don’t care for it enough to memorize it.

    What do you say to that? Do you think we should murder gay people?

  • squishykiwi

    By all means if you support killing gay people, condemning women for having sexual relations during their periods, killing those who curse their mother and father, then at least be up front about it instead of circumnavigating the obvious flaw to your theology.

    It’s amazing how you cherry pick the verses that suit your need to condemn others, while ignoring others, although you believe the Bible is the living word.

  • I believe that God never condemned homosexuality in the context of gay romantic relationships (see my other comments in this discussion). I don’t believe God to be constantly changing, but the opposite.

  • Hey, thanks so much! I’m also a gay Christian, and started out arguing this topic as a teenager online for over a decade. I initially believed in advocating celibacy, but along the way I encountered pretty much every argument and counterargument there was for that position, and felt it did not hold up against the theological, scientific and moral evidence in favour of homosexuality per se not being sinful.

    I’m also a huge nerd and used to hang out in my church library during sermons (it was a conservative church and I didn’t like them much :P), so I ended up reading a lot of books on Bible scholarship during that time. Right now I’m currently at an LGBT-affirming church, and co-facilitate its support group for gay men reconciling faith and sexuality. So that got me access to more material. The research on arsenokoitai and malakoi specifically is largely the work of one of my cell group mates, a (straight) pastor and Christian lecturer who has a ton of knowledge about Bible scholarship and a remarkable amount of resources.

    I don’t actually read that much in terms of actual books (I skip around a lot), but one recent one I loved is Justin Lee’s “Torn”, which is both a testimony of his own life and also does a really good overview of the arguments. He’s the founder of the Gay Christian Network. I also like Matthew Vines’ speech on the topic – http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript John Shore’s blog at Patheos is also great, and I used to hang out there a lot and debate people in the comments.

    If you have the time, this is a 1hour long (but very engaging) lecture by Pastor Danny Cortez that goes in-depth on Romans 1:26-27 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqYvkVqVLFo

    Blueletterbible.org has also been an invaluable resource for looking up verses and cross-referencing the original text, seeing where certain words appeared elsewhere in the Bible and in what context.

    I’ve meanwhile been collating all this into a short book which I hope to release this year through my church. So that involved more research, and a lot of that material is fresh on my mind right now.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Better to join the Dark Lord than be killed with the “undesirables”, right? ;-)

  • Bones

    Btw your reply is contrasted by the ministry of Jesus.

    I wonder how many gay people He killed?

  • Bones

    And he’ll tell you how bad satan and allah are…….

    Yet his god is worse than Darth Vader.

  • Nos482

    and a financial penalty for rape

    Don’t forget that the rapist gets to marry the victim if she was a virgin… and she never gets to divorce him.

  • squishykiwi

    So let me just get this straight – you think we should murder gay people, right? That seems to be what you’re defending.

  • lowtechcyclist

    Worse: he chose ideology over love.

    There are many roads to damnation, but valuing ideas over flesh-and-blood people is surely one of them.

    But never mind that: as a Christian and a father, I just don’t understand how a parent could forsake his child like that. Has he not been called to love her the way God loves him? When she was born, did God not fill his heart with a love for her that could not be quenched? Because it would be easier for the sun to be blotted out from the sky than for me to stop loving my son, no matter what he did.

    How do you put your child out of your life like that? Has God stopped loving him? Then he should not stop loving her.

  • 1775

    Who said anything about murdering gay people besides you? What are you 12?

  • squishykiwi

    Leviticus 20:13 said that, not me. Now you’re just playing dumb and it’s pathetic.

  • 1775

    Said what? Who said anything about murdering anyone?

  • 1775

    I do not condemn any one. Let alone my brother. But you should go have your argument with God because He is who you have a beef with.

  • 1775

    Wide awake.

  • 1775

    Ok, have a nice life already.

  • 1775

    It is because they do not believe in the true living God nor his word as it is written.

  • 1775

    God’s grace and love has improved my life beyond words.

  • 1775

    I did not condemn anyone. But you have taken the position all non-believers do. Blame everyone to include the God they do not believe in.

  • 1775

    How do you know what I treat my brother like? I am sure you know the scripture of the woman caught in the act of adultery? After there was no one left to condemn her Jesus told her that he did not condemn her either, but go and sin no more.

  • 1775

    Dude you’ve got a problem.

  • squishykiwi

    I’ll pray for you. I’m sorry you’re so lost.

  • Bones

    Dude you condemned anyone who isn’t like you to be under the control of Satan.

    That’s really an immature view of the world.

  • Bones

    Apparently that was a good thing for the Virgin as I’ve been told!!!!!!!!!!!??????

  • Bones

    I believe in God but not your god who pronounces unjust and immoral judgements on people by sentencing them to death for having gay sex or picking up sticks on the Sabbath.

    But you would say my God ie Jesus is satanic.

  • Bones

    You are aware every religious person would say that.

    The fact that you see Satan under every bush instead of your fellow human beings shows how your religion is blinding you.

  • Bones

    And they would say the same about you as would the Jews…..

    People are tired of this sectarian bs.

  • Bones

    Possibly because of the history of the treatment of gay people………

    No doubt you’ll come back with how victimized Christians are by having to bake cakes for gay people.

  • Realist1234

    I said nothing about procreation, by definition it doesnt happen with gay sex. Why would you bring that into the discussion? I never said or even implied it was a reason why gay sex is inappropriate.

  • toastyoaties

    Let me just apologize right now for the length of this post -_-

    So last night I watched the Pastor Cortez lecture, and I wanted to share my thoughts:

    During the long section on Gaius Caligula, Cortez brings up Suetonius’s “Caesars”. I initially objected to his use of Suetonius since Suetonius is such a hostile source (meaning not everything he says is trustworthy) until I realized that it matters less that Caligula actually did everything Suetonius and others accuse him of but it matters more that those were things he was BELIEVED to have done (especially that they were believed by the Jews). So even if Caligula was innocent of some of the things, Paul still might have had him in mind since Caligula was perceived as being guilty of all of those acts.

    I do, however, still have one question from that section that Cortez didn’t address: What about verse 26 (“For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature”, ESV)? If Paul was referring to Caligula, what women is he talking about, and how do they fit with the Caligula theory?

    His Halloween comparison (around minute 38) I found particularly apt. We don’t judge modern Halloween practices by the older ones, so why do we judge modern homosexual practices by the older ones? Of course, that comparison only works because about 4 minutes earlier he already spent some time discussing the content of Greco-Roman homoerotic literature and building his case that the practices then were indeed starkly different than practices now.

    In the same section, when he was talking about how modern gay practices are not defined by violence and abuse like the ancient ones were, I immediately thought of the amount of gay pornography and gay fantasies I’ve seen/heard, because many of those involve somewhat violent language and depictions, but the same is true of straight pornography and fantasies, and we certainly don’t judge heterosexuality by its underbelly.

    My next comment takes a bit of explaining: I don’t use words when I think; it’s just not the way my brain works. Because of this, I’m bad at expressing myself through spoken language, because I’m having to translate everything I’m thinking into understandable words on the fly (writing is much easier for me than speaking). Instead of words, I think in what I would call “feelings”, by which I don’t necessarily mean emotions but rather something more like a mental sense of touch. Ideas have shapes to me, and I compare and contrast ideas, and form links between them, by touching the shapes to understand them. I could just as well explain it using any other sense besides touch (take hearing for example: if you’ve ever heard someone say that something “rings true”, that’s exactly the kind of intuitive knowledge I’m talking about).
    So when Cortez says toward the beginning (and references again at the end) that his pastoral counseling sessions with homosexuals “feel” very different from any other of his pastoral counseling sessions, I know what he means because that intuitive sensation is the way my brain works all the time. But (and this saddens me) every Christian I’ve known would respond to that part of Cortez’s speech by saying things like “Feelings can’t be trusted”, “Feelings will lie to you every time”, “We feel what we want to feel”, “The Bible is more reliable than emotions”, or some similar statement. Not only does this kind of talk unintentionally invalidate the entire way my mind works (and therefore invalidates a significant part of who I am), but it also demonizes any mention of feelings or emotions despite the fact that these types of knowledge were given to us by God and were no more affected by the Fall than our intellect (through which most people understand the Bible) was. Yes, these things are fallible (like intellect), but they were still given us by God and are therefore a legitimate means of seeking knowledge and wisdom. What’s more, the Bible is not the only tool given to us for divining God’s will. We have been given the mind of Christ to think with, and the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. This idea is what the entirety of 1 Corinthians chapter 2 is about:

    “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

    (Forgive me for quoting half the chapter, but there’s so much in there relevant to my point that it would have been hard to excerpt it.) So even if someone cries “Sola scriptura”, the Bible itself tells us we have the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God to teach us truth.

    This all dovetails nicely into what Cortez says beginning at 40:30: Do you have to be a biblical scholar to know what God’s will is? Is truth reserved for those privileged few who have the time, training, and resources to really investigate this issue of homosexuality? He goes on to say that we can sense evil, injustice, and hatred–we can sense bad fruit, and therefore know when a tree is bad. Bad fruit has a particular “feel” to it, as does good fruit. Every Christian is himself a priest (a part of the “royal priesthood”)–not just pastors and scholars–and thus God speaks to all of us as priests, and we can all know what is good and bad fruit.

    It’s interesting that Cortez describes the change in his beliefs as having caught him off guard, because that’s exactly what happened with me. After 12 years of believing wholeheartedly in the sinfulness of homosexuality, thoughts and ideas that had been gathering in my mind for years finally coalesced and I realized that my beliefs had changed on me. I didn’t choose to believe homosexuality is not sinful, my beliefs changed on their own. So if ever someone claims that I’m believing this out of convenience, or that I’m “redefining sin”, it’s completely untrue–I didn’t even want my beliefs to change. Like I said, they did it on their own.

    Cortez also quotes his son as having said that every year on his birthday, he never woke up feeling peace in his heart. Peace is one of the big reasons my beliefs changed: Regardless of what the New Testament says about homosexuality, it is obvious that as Christians we are supposed to experience peace, joy, and self-control, among many other things (“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”). But my whole life (at least since puberty) I have felt no peace, no joy, and no self-control. So either the Bible was lying about that stuff, or I wasn’t actually a Christian despite wanting to be one with all my heart, or there was something wrong in my thinking / in my heart. Even if I never learn definitively the explanation for the homosexuality-related verses, I believe in its lack of inherent sinfulness because for the first time in my life I have joy, peace, and self-control.

    It would’ve been interesting to hear the elders’ follow-up talks that came after the video ended, but oh well.

    TL;DR: Great lecture, very powerful and thought-provoking. Thanks for linking me to it!

  • toastyoaties

    When your book comes out, will it be possible for me to buy it somewhere?

  • Ron McPherson

    We addressed your question in multiple ways but either you’re ignoring it or simply not understanding. You seem to be dissatisfied with every answer that comes your way unless it’s something other than a simple yes or no. But we can’t answer merely yes or no because your question is posed as if we we all agree with you on a starting premise. It’s kinda like asking an innocent man, “Do you still beat your wife, just answer yes or no?”

  • Ron McPherson

    “…the Lord still wants to kill those who violate his stated commandment…”

    Where do you see yourself in the John 8 story about the woman caught in adultery? The Pharisees, the guilty woman, or Jesus? To say that God ‘wants to kill those who violate his stated commandment’ sounds eerily similar to the Pharisees charges. And to emphasize to others that they should go ‘and sin no more’ assumes the role of Christ. And yet the role Christ followers should most relate to is that of the woman, those of us guilty before Almighty God, but forgiven on the merits of his grace without any righteous performance of our own.

  • The online version will be available for free. I’ll give you a link when it’s out!

  • You’re welcome! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

    Regarding the women in Romans 1, for many centuries they were in fact considered women who engaged in non-procreative sex acts with men, and not lesbians.

    From St Augustine’s “Marriage and Desire”:

    “But if one has relations even with one’s wife in a part of the body which was not made for begetting children, such relations are against nature and indecent. In fact, the same apostle earlier said the same thing about women, “For their women exchanged natural relations for those which are against nature.”

    There are a few similar commentaries from other ancient Christian writers. So given that Caligula had lots of sex with women too, it’s easy to believe that a lot of it was of a non-procreative nature.

    The lesbian reading is a very modern one, because it’s only recently in human history that women were acknowledged to have sexual desires that had nothing to do with being a vessel for men.

    I’m glad you’ve found your joy and peace. Experiencing all those fruits in my own life after coming out and accepting myself are also a large part of why I believe I’m on the right path with this. It brought me closer to God than ever before, after years of resentment and gradual backsliding.

  • 1775

    I have seen what sectarian violence looks like, this ain’t it.

  • 1775

    You are delusional. But then again, you can’t argue people into the kingdom.

  • 1775

    Good luck…..

  • Bones

    No, you try to keep people out of the kingdom……

    Not quite sure what the delusion is.

    Did God (ie Jesus) command the execution of gay people or not?

    Your mate ZionArt reckons God still wants gays dead.

  • Bones

    No shit.

    My family left Ireland because of it.

    When the satanic Catholics were starving from the Famine, Protestants rejoiced and sung hymns of praise.

    That’s what happens when you think satan lives in others.

  • Realist1234

    Or perhaps Augustine was wrong! Instead of just quoting a single verse, you should have read the next one that says, ‘In the same way, the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men,…’ Whilst it is not definitive, the implication is that the women had engaged in sexual relations with other women (ie ‘unnatural’), and in the same way men engaged in sexual relations with other men (also deemed ‘unnatural’).

  • Bones

    And if we read before it…..

    This is the lust which God gave them over to because of their idolatry.

    Context…context…context.

  • If Satan or other spiritual forces of evil do, in fact, exist, then L. Ron Hubbard would probably end up being one of them. Or aligned with them, at least. The man was a horrible narcissistic immoral psychopath that chewed through lives like a knife through tissue paper.

  • 1775

    They do exist and that is exactly how you end up with a L. Ron Hubbard.

  • 1775

    They are blinded by the father of all lies. We always have to be on guard.

  • 1775

    I don’t think he lives in anyone. He influances, but he is not omnipresent.

  • 1775

    The kingdom of heaven is open to all who accept the gift of salvation that Christ paid for, and repent from sin.

  • I’ve read the next verse (the whole Bible, in fact) and am wholly aware of what it says. Also, it wasn’t just Augustine who read it that way. It was the common interpretation by Christian theologians, not to mention that it would be anomalous to think that Paul was speaking of lesbians when there is no mention of anything resembling female homosexuality anywhere else in the Bible, or in the ancient world in general, which largely ignored women.

    Saying that the unnatural sex those women must have been having was sex with other women, *because* it’s unnatural, is circular logic.

  • John Evans

    It’s a common argument, apologies if I falsely assumed you believed it. I suppose you have some other justification for why gay sex is sinful, but I’m not really asking about that.

    That was only ever an aside to my main point, and it’s becoming a distraction. The question I’m interested in: did God create romantic love? Why? Did he create homosexual romantic love? If so, why? If not, where does it come from and how do you account for it looking an awful lot like the straight version?

  • John Evans

    Uh, that just says they’re going to go to Hell. Doesn’t say anything about sending them there prematurely…

  • Bones

    Yeah, whatever…..

  • Bones

    Lol.

    Of course Catholics love gays so much……that the last Pope called them an “intrinsic moral evil”.

    And of course Catholics have been at the forefront in opposing the decriminalisation of homosexuality….

    But that’s conservative Catholics for ya…. still sulking that gays can’t be locked up or worse…..

  • Bones

    Yeah sure….

    Except your organisation has been at the forefront of making gay people criminals and labelling them as an ‘intrinsic moral evil’…….and that’s of course if we ignore the history of torture and executions because we all know conservatives are lovely and progressives are baaaaaddd.

    Tell us again about how much you care…..

  • Realist1234

    The word used in translation as ‘relations’ means function. So Paul is saying that women were giving up their ‘natural sexual function’. He then says, ‘in the same way’ men were giving up their ‘natural sexual function’ and having sex with other men. The logical implication is that Paul is talking about women having sex with other women, which he views as unnatural in the same way he views as unnatural when men have sex with other men. That is not a circular argument, it is logical and consistent.
    You are right in saying that there is a lot less about female/female sex in ancient writings, but incorrect to say nothing. It is hardly surprising given that most writings in the ancient world were made by men, in a male-dominated world. However, in the Roman imperial era for example, which included the time in which Paul was writing, more writings are available. Lucian, a 2nd century Greek writer also mentions it, so it was hardly unknown.

  • Bones

    Oh so it’s only the Pope who does.

    Thankfully your kind are having less and less of an influence in the western world

    There are still countries around the world where you can see your organization’s effects.

    That’s a funny comment about bullying from a member of an organisation which has for centuries victimized and excluded gay people.

    You obviously have no conscience (like your church) and even lie to yourself.

  • People then engaged in anal sex (both heterosexual and homosexual) as part of pagan worship rituals. It could just as well be what is being referred to here. In this case I defer to the earlier commentaries on Romans 1, where Christian writers closer to that time and context believed that the passage was not about women having sex with each other, but rather men engaging in unnatural (non-procreative) sex with both men and women in the throes of idolatrous worship. There had to be a reason almost all of them believed this. It can’t have been out of any particular acceptance of gay people, especially given that they believed the verse to be condemning male homosexuality.

    Either way, even if it was talking about women who had sex with women, which is possible, Romans 1 presents this in a very specific context and about a very specific group of people engaging in idolatrous sex orgies, which Paul would have condemned even if they were heterosexual in nature. Those men abandoned sex with women and burned in lust for other men as a direct result of their rebellion against God and worshiping idols. That’s not the case for gay men, especially Christian ones, who were never interested in women to begin with and who desire other men *not* because they’ve abandoned God but rather as a result of puberty.

    The whole context has to be taken into account when it comes to anything the Bible seems to declare a sin: for what reason is it considered sinful? In cases where that reason does not apply, can it still be considered sinful? If Paul condemned homosexuality because he assumed all people were straight and to engage in homosexual sex thus required extreme perversion of one’s natural desires only obtainable in the throes of lustful idolatrous fervor (which I would agree is sinful), but we know today that some people are naturally oriented to the same sex and that most gay couples have sex for the same reasons straight couples do – out of love and attraction, not out of sexual excess or in repressing their natural inclinations in worship of a fertility goddess – how then can we treat these as the same thing?

    Even if homosexuality as we know it today were a sin, it would clearly be a very different sin than what Paul is talking about in Romans 1, in the same way that adultery and rape are two different sins even though in the Bible they both involve men having sex with women. They are named and condemned separately. But there is no similar condemnation in the Bible of gay romantic relationships that result in sex.

  • Bones

    Are you OK buddy?

  • Herm

    Thanks Bones! I may stay on sabbatical for a bit longer. This is a crazy season to political and religious reason here in the States and looks to continue through November. I don’t think I can last that long without expressing, as this blog allows, but for now I will more simply focus on amateur radio stuff (my latest passion), community volunteering, home chores, and smelling the local sea along with the freshly budding roses.

    Ben is too good at drawing in those of our species who can’t see beyond themselves and their local allegiances. At this moment I’m on overload and not capable of empathizing to interact with those characters of us who display such a limited love of others, they deem unlike them, at the same time as having to react with those same self indulgent of us bombarding me hourly in their quest to influence all others to honor their leadership worth at the projected cost of those different others of their nation, world and species.

    I trust you and many here to continue to plant the seeds and tend the crop to bring the hardened of heart to understand we are one mankind only as strong as our weakest member. We are only fit to survive as a species when we address the needs of the whole beyond this destructive attitude that I am presently overwhelmed with of pitting us against them.

    God is not leading me to do more than I am doing today and I am active with full days. I have never been more aware than I am today that my neighbor is in and/or from Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Sudan, Russia, Syria, China, Iraq, Iran and throughout all nations and cultures of the world who I do actually love as I do myself. All others of my mankind are worthy of equal influence to guide and gauge my choice of action or inaction.

    You understand so I am preaching to the choir. I trust our whole choir here to continue to try to help the most challenging self centered blind to come out of themselves and join humanity, without my verbosity. I trust our choir to lead, support and strengthen each other to seek harmony over dissonance for all. Your challenging demeanor with such a strong harmonious voice helps us all to grow in that effort, thank you!

    I will be back, God willing. Love you and all here!

  • otrotierra

    Herm, it hasn’t been the same without you! Glad you’re well, and very much look forward to your return.

  • Bones

    Great to see herm.

    Just checking my brother is ok.