Christians: When It Comes to Homosexuality, Man Up

Christians: When It Comes to Homosexuality, Man Up April 15, 2008

The firmly established default Christian proclamation on the “question” of homosexuality is that being inclined toward it is no different than being inclined toward any other kind of sinful behavior.

“We’re all sinners,” runs the refrain. “We all struggle to overcome our sinful ways. Homosexuality is a sin. Just like all of us must strive to control our sinful behavior, so the homosexual must strive to overcome his or her sexual predilection. Even if a person is born gay or lesbian — even if homosexuality is genetic — a homosexual must still strive to overcome the ungodly behaviors toward which he or she is inclined, the same as we all must overcome our lower nature in order to realize our highest.”

That proposition is so logically flawed it should embarrass any Christian who hears it, much less says it. It completely ignores the crucial, absolute difference between homosexuality and the other sins people typically struggle against committing, which is that committing virtually every kind of sin except homosexuality objectively and tangibly hurts someone. If you lie, steal, cheat, rob, have an extramarital affair, be too greedy, be too selfish, waste your family’s money, and/or do any other kind of sin you can think of, someone, in no uncertain or abstract terms, gets hurt. That rule never changes, and has as much to do with theology or philosophy as a brick to the head has to do with architecture.

But you take the Bible out of the equation, and what grounds is there for determining that homosexuality is wrong? Whom does such love hurt? When two men are affectionately holding hands, who is getting hurt? When two women are snuggling together on their couch to watch TV, who is getting hurt?

Virtually all other behaviors Christians typically consider sinful can be readily understood as objectively and clearly wrong without any reference to the Bible. But you take the Bible out of a Christian’s hands, and he has no arrow left to shoot at the gay man or lesbian. He’s without recourse, justification, argument. Without his Bible to quote from, he has virtually nothing upon which to base his claim that homosexuality is wrong.

A dim-witted child could see that homosexuality isn’t the same as other kinds of sins. It’s distinctly, absolutely, categorically different. It’s like placing a robot in a pen with a bunch of farm animals, and then claiming that what makes the robot a farm animal is that a book you believe in says that robots are farm animals. That’s cool for you. But it doesn’t change the objective, empirical fact that robots aren’t farm animals. You’ve made the mistake of claiming that a subjective truth of yours is equal to an objective truth of everyone else’s in the world. It’s not. A robot shouldn’t be classified as a farm animal, because it doesn’t meet the first, most important criterion of being a farm animal, which is being an animal. Similarly, homosexuality shouldn’t be classified as a sin, because it doesn’t meet the first, most important criterion of being a sin, which is manifestly causing harm.

I’m a Christian, and no two ways about it. But I can’t be a Christian so severely lacking in logical powers that I don’t notice the difference between homosexuality and all the other kinds of sins anyone’s always doing. The latter hurts people; the former doesn’t. I can’t help that; and I’d certainly rather not shame myself by attempting to argue it.

Also, it’s high time Christians were honest about the fact that asserting that homosexuals should stop acting homosexual necessarily means asserting that they should spend their lives never knowing the loving intimacy with another that straight people enjoy and know to be the best and richest experience in life. Asking a homosexual to give up homosexual love isn’t at all like asking him to give up booze, or greed, or any other such negative thing. It’s asking him to give up love.

If I were gay, and I lived as most Christians would prescribe for me as ideal, I would live alone. I’d wake up every morning next to no one. I’d never hold hands with anyone. I’d never kiss or be kissed by anyone. I’d never cuddle up with anyone. I would not know the profound pleasure of every day growing older with anyone. For me, remaining as sinless as possible would mean never knowing love of the sort that all straight people, Christian or not, understand as pretty much the best thing life has to offer.

I hear a lot of Christians asserting that gays and lesbians should stop acting like gays and lesbians. But I never hear any of them saying the unavoidable follow-up to that — saying what that actually means — which is that gay and lesbian men and women should spend their lives never experiencing what people most commonly mean when they use the word “love.”

When, all along, the Bible repeatedly, emphatically, and explicitly tells us that God is love.

Something is seriously wrong somewhere in the mix between Christians and Christianity. (And it’s spelled Paul — whom I love, but about whom we really should be more clear. But that’s for another post.)

I want to be the very best Christian I can. And that means being as scrupulously honest as I can. And on the topic of homosexuality, that means admitting that being gay is not like any other sin, and that the Christian proscription of homosexuality is nothing less than a call for anyone who is gay to live their entire life never experiencing the physical expressions of love that all of we straight people happily accept as one of the very best things about being alive. Those two things are true, no matter how many logic-challenged pastors daring to call themselves compassionate Bible lovers claim they’re not.


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  • FreetoBe

    Is being alone so as not to sin supposed to be different for a single heterosexual? If I were "homosexual" and Christian, wouldn't I be bound by the same laws of God? My God tells me I cannot be sexually intimate with another person until I was married to same. If it were illegal for us to marry, am I not also commanded to follow the laws of the country where I live, as long as those laws do not contridict the laws of God? Do I have a right to change God's laws simply because I feel He created me the way I am?

    God created all of us as sexual beings–does that mean that being sexual is the only way to show love to another person? I think not. I think "GOD is love" is a statement with so many deep layers that I will not be able to understand it until I see Him, face to face. In the meantime, I can only take the love my God gave me and try to "pay it forward" as it were.

    Thank you, John, for sharing your thoughts, and allowing all of us to share.

  • "No matter the moral, ethical or cultural context, it is always wrong to steal or lie, because doing so always hurts another person. But outside of the Biblical injunction against it, whom does homosexual love hurt? Not that the Bible doesn’t count!"

    Gah! So close! One more step and you'd be an evil heathen like me! 🙂

    "Do I have a right to change God’s laws simply because I feel He created me the way I am?"

    Obviously I'm speaking from a non-Christian point of view, but you certainly have the right to question a law that condemns you for something you cannot control that also causes no harm. Especially if that law is invoked by the same person who you believe made you the way you are.

    It's like genetically engineering someone to be a vegetarian and then punishing them for not eating meat.

  • *standing and applauding with shush*

    Very well said, John. And likewise, I'm glad I've kept reading you and understanding you better. I think you are demonstrating through example that not all Christians are trapped in the same narrow box, and that it is possible to people of faith to make good value judgments.

    I'm reminded of a time when an extremely conservative Republican named Ben Waldman was running for Congress here in West Virginia. Politically Mr. Waldman occupied roughly the same part of the political spectrum as Alan Keyes. As part of his campaign strategy he would purchase hour-long blocks of time at local radio stations around the state and host his own miniature talk shows to get his message out and respond to questions.

    So I took the bait and called his program. I explained that while I found myself becoming gradually more conservative as I grew older, I still found it troubling how candidates like himself constantly expressed such disdain for ALL Gay people. I said, "It's almost as though you were incapable of drawing a moral and ethical distinction between two Gay men who are in a longtime monogamous relationship and another single Gay man who is promiscuous."

    He responded, "SURE I can! One's bad and other is worse!"

    And for ME, that just doesn't seem like a very good value judgment.

    He respon

  • Shush: Thanks very much. Seriously. Thank you.

    Free: You can't seriously be saying that you don't understand the difference between "not sinning" as a single heterosexual and doing the same as a single homosexual. The single hetero CAN get married and then have sex with a loved one and not therby sin; the single homosexual never can. That's NEVER, verses inevitable. Quite the difference! Lucky for you, isn't it, that following God's laws about companionship and mating for life just happened to accord with what also most personally fulfills you? And no one said anything about the only way of showing love is sexual. But you can't be suggesting that physical intimacy with a lifelong partner isn't a big part of being in a loving relationship. It's the FULLEST expression of love between relationship partners. Acting like it's something easily set aside–like it's NOT something critically fundamental to a full and fully realized relationship, that it's not something all humans deeply desire–isn't reasonable at all.

    Morse: Well said.

    Chuck: Thank you. Great story. I once went to a celebration for a gay couple's 50th year together. Again: absent from any kind of Biblical injunction (NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT!), anyone would have been extremely hard pressed to find anything whatoever about that gathering that was anything less than touching and affirming. To deny that is to be as irrational as non-Christians are forever accusing us of being.

  • Leif Sr.


    While intellectually I can appreciate your dilemma in understanding, you are forgetting some foundational concepts.

    We don't fight our sin nature alone. Not only that, but it is impossible for us to sustain and win such a fight without the supernatural power of God. That struggle we go through with God's supernatural help is also a means of bonding with the Lord. Relationships of all types are strengthened when they struggle through troubles together.

    So the foundation of your argument that the gay/lesbian is left out in the cold alone is erroneous. Just like all the other sins you mentioned, God is supernaturally molding and shaping us as we persevere in overcoming our sins, whether a sin we seem to do naturally or some habit we picked up along the way, God is sculpting us so we can be better ambassadors of Christ, more Christ like in our attitudes and life, more caring, more loving, more compassionate, etc.

    Secondly, the concept that I can be something within myself in private, apart from who I am in public, and that my private life has no outward affect on me or on anyone else, denies the inherent spiritual connection of humanity.

    There is no escaping the basic dilemma of having to struggle, no matter how unfair it may appear. It is a commonality we share as humans.

  • FreetoBe

    John: That's not true, what you said "Lucky for you, isn’t it, that following God’s laws about companionship and mating for life just happened to accord with what also most personally fulfills you?" You don't know that about me at all. You have no idea.

    I happen to believe that homosexuality is a cultural conditioning and a choice; and I happen to believe God's word about it. And I happen to believe that some people are meant to be single their whole lives. So? Does that mean I will never have a "full and fully realized relationship" because I choose to obey?

  • Leif: But you're not addressing the fact of the qualitative difference I noted between the sins with which we all struggle, and the sin of homosexual love. If my "harm/no harm" distinction just … didn't make sense to you, or whatever, try thinking of it this way: If you're straight, EVERY OTHER CONCEIVABLE SIN–and certainly every sin mentioned in the Bible–is something you COULD imagine yourself doing and/or being. You could see yourself with a gambling problem, or a lying problem, or stealing, or greed, or infidelity, etc. But you personally (if you're straight) will NEVER be tempted by the sin of homosexuality. That means they CAN'T be in the same category of sin as the other sins that DO tempt all people, all the time. Again: qualitatively different. HUGE difference. Treating them all the same is … good old fashioned irrational.

  • ardenthoresby

    If God didn't want people to be homosexual why would there be homosexuals in the world?

  • Leif Sr.


    I understand your qualitative difference and I also understand the loving heart you have. Your compassion for the suffering the homosexual endures is a heart we should all have.

    Regardless of any qualitative difference, what is impossible with humanity is not impossible with God. God is able to bring about a healthy, loving, filled life to anyone.

    This is a key fundamental belief of the Christian faith. God is able to do the impossible.

    By placing the homosexual in a separate category though, denies not only the ability to change, but the opportunity as well. You’re saying if I’m genetically predisposed to gambling I can change, but if I’m genetically predisposed to homosexuality I’m stuck. Because there is a qualitative difference there’s no solution. Thus, since God is a God of love, he wouldn’t genetically predispose someone to being stuck. And thus…and on and on and on.

    I disagree with the supposition that a qualitative difference in sin makes it impossible for God to affect a change. Since God is the one who brings about the change, and nothing is impossible with God, then regardless of any qualitative difference the homosexual is not destined to lonely obscurity, loss of love, and unfulfilled sexuality.

    If you don’t fundamentally believe, at least theologically, that God can do the impossible then your heartache is completely justified. God has purposely made a group of people that have no hope.

    I choose to believe God can do the impossible.

  • Leif: You're saying God can change a homosexual into a straight person. No question about that. The ONLY thing I'm saying is that what we ask from a gay or lesbian BEFORE God visits that miracle upon them is that they volunteer to live a life without the kind of emotional and physical intimacy the rest of us so cherish and take for granted. That's all I'm saying.

  • The thing too, is (as far as I can tell) pure human will, with or without reference to the Christian or any other God, IS enough to achieve victory over sins: I can will myself to stop lying, cheating, gambling, having affairs, etc. But as far as I know, no one who is gay can WILL themselves not to be. Another distinction between homosexual and regular sin that I think is absolutely critical to take into account when we're evaluating the very nature and definition of sin.

  • Lief, I too agree that God can change a homosexual person into a heterosexual. He could also turn a homosexual into a dolphin. He just hasn't demonstrated much desire to do either.

    A recent study conducted by two conservative Christians of very very sincere people seeking desperately to change their orientation by means of religious efforts found that only a tiny handful reported any change at all and that all of them continued to struggle.

    It can safely be said that though God is the God of miracles, in His own wisdom He has shown Himself to be unwilling to make any homosexuals into heterosexuals.

    I'm not suggesting that God is thereby endorsing homosexuality. But it does appear that John's observations about the demands placed on gay Christians will be true for virtually ALL of them. And that any expectation that God will choose a specific individual for divine reorientation is, at best, false hope.

  • Leif Sr.

    I can't comment on ALL, ALWAYS, and NEVER, or because someone continues to struggle it means God must be unwilling. Why doesn't God just whack us over the head with the magic stick and "turn us" into something else? I don't know, but I'd rather take a few lumps with the wand than have to struggle through life. I don't think I believe in the ultimate will power of mankind like John and maybe that's why I still struggle.

    I seems to me (as far as I can tell) the human experience is one of life long struggle. Not to say it isn't filled with joys too, however, more often than not it's a choice.

    I haven't quit and I haven't abandon hope (for too long at any rate). Please don't give up hope Timothy Kincaid, God does do amazing stuff.

  • :::to comment or not comment, that is the question:::

    John, I appreciate your post as I appreciate the thoughtful intention of those who've responded. Coming from a christian and lesbian perspective I'd just toss in some random thoughts….

    Having grown up in evangelical christianity, I've often heard of celibacy referred to as a gift and calling of God. Never, except in the case of gay people have I heard it applied as a requirement. I might just add on a personal note that I do not have the calling or the gift.

    I'll admit I tend toward bemused eye rolls when one of the arguments against homosexual relationships is that they're sinful because sex outside of marriage is wrong. I may be wrong but I believe that's considered a double bind. Charging gays as guilty in having sex outside of marriage while at the same time arguing against extending the rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples. (On a purely side note, those two young lovers in Song of Songs would have been in real trouble in the church today.)

    My aunt died at the age of 94. She was never married, but when she died she was heterosexual all the same. Were I to remain celibate my entire life when I die, I would die gay. Sexual orientation isn't dependent on sexual activity whether gay or straight.

    The idea of what harm comes from a gay relationship….I'd rather re-frame that to consider what blessings and benefits might be found in a loving gay relationship.

    It would be a false assumption to think all gay people would want to change into heterosexuals if they could, including those held within the Christian faith. Can it be difficult at times to be gay? Yes. Can it be joyous? Yes. Again, I might be wrong on this but my impression is that heterosexuals have difficulties and joys too but probably are pretty committed to remaining straight.

    And Timothy, loved your "He could also turn a homosexual into a dolphin." A big smile on that one.

    And lastly John, you are a theologian. So to Flame Boy from Flipper, thanks for another thoughtful theological reflection.

  • But Leif, what do you do with the fact that in this lifelong struggle which God ordains to be the lot of us all, what the gay and lesbian has to suffer is SO much greater than anything you go into the game of life KNOWING God would ever ask of you. You GET to get married. You get to have a loving partner for life. You get to experience the deepest kind of intimacy with another. You get to grow old with someone who loves you, and whom you love. You get what everyone knows is THE most important, precious thing there IS to get in this life.

    Given that gays DON'T get that–or shouldn't, if they're to be pleasing to God–doesn't it kind of … feel a little smug, or a little off-handedly dismissive, to say, "Well. We all struggle. Gays struggle, too. What's the diff?" I can't help but feel that's like a rich man in his warm mansion looking out the window at a begger freezing to death in the street, and going, "Hey, bad weather sucks for all of us." I mean, I know you personally aren't callous like that, but … but there that is.

  • *stands and applauds*

    THIS is why I come here every day. Most of the time you are intelligent and witty, and then there are these moments where it seems like you are saying everything I’ve ever prayed I’d hear another Christian talking about.

    It’s all well and good to express a desire for people to be brought to conviction for their sins- but to tell someone they are sinning based solely off of a personal revelation, when there is no real ethical proof of guilt and no real rational to demonstrate guilt… and add to that the tremendous emotional and relational impact of leaving the “sin”… well…

    It’s no wonder people think that some Christians must be insane, based off of the hard stance they take.

    Brilliant post. Just brilliant.

  • Leif Sr.

    I don't disagree with your stated inequity and any trite Sunday school answer is smug and callous. Please forgive me if I expressed myself poorly in my I attempt to point out that life just isn't fair and sometimes it just down right sucks and I'm not trying to be Sunday school trite.

    The Bible does have an answer, which isn't the warm fuzzy feel good that I know I'd like to have, however, God in His wisdom says He doesn't give any individual more than they can endure. When I'm getting my face drug through the mud this seems very Sunday school callous, yet what's a believer to do? And, for that matter, is His promise just for the believer and not the unbeliever?

    Let me ask you another question, why do you think God instituted marriage between a man and woman?

  • No, Leif, I know you're not a callous guy at all; I know you to be warm, open, and generous-hearted.

    Before moving on to your question, a first must be settled. And mine is much simpler: Do you think that it IS, in fact, more than a person can endure–or more than anyone could ever, ever be expected to willingly endure–to have to live his or her life never knowing sexual intimacy and/or a relationship like the ones straight people have with their spouses? Do you think knowing you can NEVER have that (barring any instant, radical transformation of yourself from God) IS more than a person can bear?

    As you know, I'm as Christian as Christian gets. But I just can't seem to get past the notion that that IS more than a loving God would expect anyone to bear. It's difficult for me to reconcile a loving God with a God who creates humans who can't ever be part of the kind of relationship straight people know to be the most loving of all. The cruelest thing you can do to a person is isolate them from other people. Why would a loving God ask some people to spend their lives emotionally and physically isolated?

    Anyway, as I say, I'm no expert on theology or homosexuality–or heterosexuality, or … ANYTHING. I just think it's a legitimate course of inquiry. I hate the idea that, in the end, all we can really say is Christianity is irrational. THAT I reject, outright.

  • Leif Sr.

    In my humanity it IS more than anyone can bear.

    I can appreciate the fact that there is something that you can't reconcile about God. In totality, He is unknowable. We will spend our whole life getting to know God more intimately and when we get to heaven we'll go "Holy Cow!" (or words to that effect) because there will be so much more to know. I have a different issue in my life that I can't reconcile. This issue has plagued me for forty years. So I have a choice. I can tell God to kiss it or I can acknowledge that I don't get it and pray He will give me the widom He's promised to, to work through it.

    Christianity isn't irrational, our desire for life to be fair is. There REALLY REALLY is evil in this world. There REALLY REALLY is a Satan who wants to destroy people and keep people from knowing the love of God.

    Now that that first is settled……

  • Leif: I'm not desiring that life be fair; anyone over eight knows it's not. And I'm certainly not questioning whether or not there's evil in the world; of course there is. Neither of those considerations actually has a place in this particular conversation. (Which I'm afraid I'm now gonna have to back out of: time, and all that.)

    But I do reject the idea that Christianity as we have it–as we know it, as we experience it–can't be rationally apprehended. Of course there is more to it than we can know rationally or intellectually, but nothing that we SENSE about Christianity should be out of whack with what we know of it to be true. And it's certainly true that if something about Christianity is clearly offering as part of its doctrine something that is at once, here and on this earth, unavoidable AND absurdly cruel, then I can't see any way around the fact that we Christians might do well to at least consider being smart enough, compassionate enough, and trusting enough in the intrinsic goodness of our God to carefully reexamine the very root and cause of that manifest discordance in our doctrine. I can't stand before my gay and lesbian friends and say, "Sorry. God's decided you can't know love. Sure, it doesn't make sense, but … that's because my religion doesn't make sense. If you do choose to go with your natural inclinations and enjoy the kind of relationship my natural inclinations lead me to enjoy with my wife, then you'll pay the price of that decision by spending an eternity in hell. But I'll go to heaven, where I'll sit next to Jesus and finally understand why all you guys had to choose to either live here with no love at all, or to have love, but then spend eternity in hell. Won't that be great? Until then: Life's a mystery!"

    Dude. That's so weak. It's EMBARASSINGLY weak. Would you say it? Would anyone? But I guess we do, right? I guess that's what we Christians are resigned to saying. Seems to me we need a better line, a deeper understanding … something. Or maybe just I do.

    Well, I'll keep working on it! Like all Christians, I want nothing more than to please God with my thoughts and actions!

  • wordsseldomsaid

    "It’s difficult for me to reconcile a loving God with a God who creates humans who can’t ever be part of the kind of relationship straight people know to be the most loving of all."

    this is good…except there is no proof HE created them gay…

    and i would remind you bro…the human race is not now, in it's fallen state…is not the same as when it was created….

  • First of all, cudos! You just did what most people who do not call themselves Christians complain that we (Christians) do not do and that is "to be transparent."

    It doesn't matter that you may not have the answer. What is important is that you aren't being hypocritical and you are being honest about how you think, feel, and in this case, analyze. I tip my hat to you, Sir John!!! {You might want to check out the book, "UnChristian" – it is a real eye opener about us the Christian church and how we react/respond to the world and their struggles and how they see us.]

    You said,

    "But outside of the Biblical injunction against it, whom does homosexual love hurt? "

    My understanding in reading the Bible is that all sins outside of sexual sins [I'll use that terminology for now] are outside of the body thus they affect others. However, sexual sin is against our body and the reason that is different and important is because the word says our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:12-20), thus, if and when we engage in any sexual behavior outside of God's pre-determined stipulations – marriage – we are defiling the temple.

    Now as far as homosexual sin. It is so weird that you chose to write about this topic because I was just having this very conversation with my friend. I think, as a group of believers, we have missed the point. The sin/(or whatever you want to call it) is not the point. The point is that sin separates us from a relationship with God because he is unable to share the same space, if you will. with sin. Thus when we commit a sexual sin, we create a barrier between ourselves and God and our relationship becomes hindered. This is resolved by repentance as I am sure you are aware. I think the problem for too long for Christians" has been that we are guilty of 1) labeling homosexuals and 2) focusing on the sin (act) instead of creating relationships with them and sharing how any sin carries the consequence of separation between man and God.

    Sometimes I think Christians are so uncomfortable talking about sexual subjects that it is easier to hone in on the "sin" than to take a step back and look at the whole picture. What is paramount with any person we encounter is whether or not the person has a personal relationship with God/Jesus and are we are sharing the love of God with them.

    For instance, Mary Magdalene (? spelling?) was caught in sexual sin but all Christ said to her was to "go and sin no more." That was it. He didn't judge her, label her, criticize her lifestyle, berate here, act arrogantly towards her, nothing. Just "go and sin no more."

    I think we need to love with the love of Christ and lead by the example of our "transparent" lives and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

    Thanks for being so willing to be transparent and telling it like you see it. That is a breath of fresh air!

    BTW – My apologies up front if anyone finds what I said offensive. My motivation was to share my point of view/worldview – that was all.

  • Second Michele

    "…..asserting homosexuals should stop acting homosexual necessarily means asserting that they should spend their lives never knowing the loving intimacy with another that straight people enjoy and know to be the best and richest experience in life."

    Someone I know well, an attractive young woman who has had plenty of guys like her, and who turns 27 this year, has remained chaste and has never had a boyfriend.

    She has, unfortunately, had her heart broken twice, when she fell in love with guys who were good friends, but not believers and not God's plan for her life. Having been there, I know both times were extremely painful and difficult for her.

    Believe me, she would love to have that "best and richest experience in life" – especially when she keeps running into all the wrong guys and none of the right ones.

    But she also knows that God has not guaranteed her or any other single person a spouse.

    The way she deals with this, and what she told me to say when I told her about this blog, is to understand that you don't have to bear the rest of your life today – you don't know what God has planned for you.

    If you're gay, you have no way of knowing whether "the rest of your life" involves a spouse and kids (God has and does work miracles in the lives of gays, like He does with all kinds of people), life-long singleness … or if the "rest of your life" only lasts until tomorrow.

    She also said not to assume that you would have had a wonderful life if only you had been straight – or that you would have had been married and happy. She says that your calling from God is unique to you – 'no one can do what you can do"

  • "for one there is NO evidence homsexuality is genetic!"

    Wow…did I hit a sore note?

    I would imagine the thousands, if not millions, of homosexual men and women who engage in monogamous relationships despite the horrible discrimination that's inflicted on them is, at least, a little evidence.

    Now, I understand that you may not want them to be genetically that way, because it makes you uncomfortable. But what you want and what reality is are two different things.

  • Richard Lubbers

    Good for you, John. I think we all appreciate the fact you are willing to put a difficult topic on the table.

    I am not homosexual. I struggle with depression and painful issues connected to intimacy.

    Why can't I have sex if I'm not married? Because the bible says that sex is for marriage? Has the bible really taken all of humanity's struggles into account when it handed out its list of do's and don'ts?

    What if my malady is mental illness, and I get out of balance in an intimate relationship? Getting married causes me too much emotional pain. Does that mean I am quarantined to a life without the joys of sex?

    Because God made me mentally ill, am I forbidden the joy of waking up next to a wonderful partner, even if I have to leave in order to maintain my emotional equillibrium?

    The bible either works for us all, or it doesn't work at all for any of us. I don't think we have the option of picking which part we want to follow, and which part we want to discard.

    The Job seat is an uncomfortable throne.

  • "I don’t think we have the option of picking which part we want to follow, and which part we want to discard."

    I don't want to start a whole other argument, but every Christian does this. I can say that because I've read the Bible several times, and there are countless rules and laws and orders that are ignored or avoided by any number of Christians.

  • wordsseldomsaid

    "Now, I understand that you may not want them to be genetically that way, because it makes you uncomfortable. But what you want and what reality is are two different things."

    it is not a question of what you or i want…it is a question of supplying misinfo. based on nothing more then what you imagine things to be…

    you make statements that hint to saay you have some science to support your assertion(and that is what you did by suggesting it is genetic)…and that is simple not true…if that bothers you i am sorry…

    but i know this topic quite well and i can assure you you are not only misrepresenting the science but me as well being i am ex-homo… so to say anything about my confort shows you like to speak before you know the facts and all i am saying is that is not wise…at all…

  • wordsseldomsaid

    i will exit this now as i can see the demeanor of the conversation has change…thanks for the op article john…it was good stuff…

  • I can't believe I'm adding a second comment for this BUT in my previous comment I erroneously called you "Flame Boy" John and everyone knows it's not "Flame Boy" but TORCH BOY in honor of your almost carrying of the Olympic torch.

    But I digress….

  • Since some people here are flat out saying that gay-ness is a "cultural conditioning", how come I never hear of a straight Christian admit of his one-time tempting of lusting after a guy, or a woman for another?

    Even in the strictest and most traditional of societies are there gays and lesbians, so how can these people acquired "homosexuality" if it is denounced and even a means to put one to death?

    Until I see a Christian "will" himself to be strictly gay — I mean purely become attracted to men, not actually go after them physically, mind you, as temptation is not sin, just its precursor — and then "will" himself to become strictly straight again, I think the whole idea that being gay is "a state of mind" is complete and utter "b.s." and will continue to believe that it is a matter of genetic and environmental factors.

  • Cavalcade

    John —

    You get it. Thank you.

    Second Michelle —

    I'm a celibate gay Christian. For most of my adult life, I remained celibate because I believed no intimate physical relationship would ever be lawful for me. I entered counseling to try to change, but it didn't work. I began a long slow path into despair. I'd do things like neglect my health because, frankly, it seemed more efficient to die alone at fifty from heart disease than to die alone of natural causes at ninety. In either case I'd be dying alone, so what did it matter?

    Then a couple of years ago I reconsidered a lot of things — in particular, whether I believed the Spirit of God was still speaking in the world, and if so, whether he could speak new things, like when Jesus repealed all the Jewish dietary laws (Mark 7:18-20). Could God be speaking today, revealing that monogamous same-sex relationships based in selfless love are "clean"?

    The despair lifted away. It felt like the Holy Spirit had lifted an iron yoke from my shoulders. I didn't run out and have sex (and I still haven't!) but I began waiting and saving myself for that special person, just like your friend is saving herself. I started taking care of my health again. And now I'm living in more hope than I've ever felt.

    And I understand that God may never give me that special relationship. It may be his will for his life for me to be single. But it now feels like the Holy Spirit and I are working out that possibility together in conversation, rather than feeling like I've been sentenced and there is no appeal.

    The Father, Son and Holy Spirit is alive, and the Bible, though an inspired and amazing record of his work in the world, is too small to contain Him. I thank God for speaking to me — and I thank Him for speaking to John!

  • Cavalcade: Fantastic. Just … inspiring. And it rings with spiritual depth and truth. Wonderful. Thank you.

  • pariahdog

    John, this is a beautiful post – you do, indeed, get it. Thank you for refusing to accept irrationality as an excuse. God has no need to be irrational.

    Why is it so hard for some to understand that the "sin" condemned in the Bible had nothing to do with loving sexual relationships between two equals, but rather the sexual exploitation of one person by another in an unequal, perhaps nonconsensual, relationship? Given this, there is no contradiction, no need for different categories of sin. What is sinful does harm to others; behavior that does harm to others is sinful. Exploiting people, treating them as objects to be used for our own pleasure – that is a sin, and it is a sin that people of any sexual orientation can and do commit – but heterosexual men probably take the prize there.

    What increases love in the world is never a sin.Two people sharing with each other the kind of love that John describes here is never a sin. No loving God would create such a capricious and destructive situation.

    The burden that we have to carry – that burden that is not too much for us – is the burden of certain rather smug people who are convinced that they somehow know more about who God created us to be than we do, that God speaks only to them but not to us, all because they have read some words that some people put down to record their own testimonies of faith, and think that was the end of it. Yes, those ideas alone – especially transmitted through the filter of the smug – are much too small for the God I know.

    Cavalcade, I pray that wordsseldomsaid can become open to hearing the Holy Spirit, as you have. He is carrying a burden that shouldn't be his. It was given to him by humans, not God.

  • Pariah: WOW! Powerful stuff. And beautifully written.

    Man, I got myself some good-word usin' commentators on my blog here for sure.

    No, but thanks. Extremely trenchant.

  • Leif Sr.

    And that is a VERY VERY difficult and gut wrenching process no doubt. One I wouldn’t pretend to completely understand.

    As for the “cherish and take for granted,” rather rude of us isn’t it?

  • Ann

    Hmm. I'm looking at the ten commandments and words of christ in the new testament and I see nothing saying that homosexuality is a sin.

    Interesting. OH right, Paul does say something. And we made him the Lord didn't we?

    Judge not, bro.

  • Ann

    Wanted to ad that the Bishop of the Episcopal church is a homosexual. Of course, we aren't REAL Christians are we?

  • wordsseldomsaid

    “It’s like genetically engineering someone to be a vegetarian and then punishing them for not eating meat.”

    for one there is NO evidence homsexuality is genetic!…even the man who did the study that sooo many misuse to make that claim said his findings were inconclusive and should not be used to to make that case…so that is a large leap to make and say they are genetically predisposed to be so…for there is NOTHING conclusive to say so and i would encourage you to read the study and the findings and the words of the man responsible for it beoore distributing such misleading info…

    and to mr kincaid…many former homosexuals have left the lifestyle and this i know first hand and it is an insult to the ones who have to say they have not….it is like burying ones head in the sand and screaming, they can’t do it, they can’t do, it when it is being done daily!..

  • My views are a bit radical so being late is probably a good thing.

    First, very well said John. You articulate the loving Christian's dilemma beautifully.

    I think we as Christians have to come to the humble realization that we are guilty of living a sinful lifestyle. Present tense. Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ disagree and point out a distinction between our “little” sins and willful disobedience to God.

    However, I have come to a place in my walk where I think that is a cop-out. Every sin I commit today will be intentional. It will require me to intentionally ignore God no matter how small the sin. I will choose activities, thoughts and words that will not glorify Him.

    So if I am living in a manner where I sin but only in such a way that is socially acceptable to my fellow Christians am I better than the man who is living with another man? What if both men have received Christ and worship Him with their voices, tithes, charitable heart towards the poor?

    To which we would respond, “Well if they are in Christ, they would repent of their sins and seek to live a life that is pleasing to God.” Sanctification. A process. I am no further along on this path than the next. To presume otherwise is to presume I am holier than the next. That would be sinning, right?

    There are many Christians who ignore The Great Commission. They only socialize with other Christians. They pray for Jesus to return and judge the world. Does this willful disobedience of God prove they are not saved? Of course not… However, their sin is socially acceptable among Americans and Christians. We simply permit it.

    In some states, a male and female living together for more than 7 years is considered “common law marriage.” That is, the state recognized their relationship as a marriage from a legal perspective. Are we as Christians prepared to fight for a constitutional amendment disallowing this practice?

    To the outside viewer, it appears that we Christians are singling out gays, and I say: It appears that way because well, we are.

  • The difference between emotional isolation as a heterosexual and as a homosexual for the sake of being sinless is the the difference between being on a bad road trip with a good map and being on that same road trip lost.

    You see as a heterosexual I can be celibate for years but there is always the prospect of that coming to an end with the discovery of a suitable marriage partner. Now, theoretically that may never happen, but there is always the chance that it could, because intimacy in the confines of heterosexual marriage are encouraged in our faith.

    However, for the homosexual there is no allowable prospect of that isolation ending. That said, we are social creatures. We want to share our lives with another person. We want to love and feel love. This is why I strongly believe that we as Christians must be more understanding of the struggle of homosexuals especially in the confines of our faith. This goes beyond tolerance.

    People assume that homosexual relationships are strictly about some kind of deviant sexual behavior, when in fact that is no more the case for them as it is for heterosexuals.

    The are deviant behaviors no matter who you are physically attracted to, but through narrow minded prejudices homosexuals have been labeled with the bulk of these titles simply based on who they are. This is an unfair judgment.

    It was said to me once that God does not hate homosexuals and does not want them to live their lives without every knowing love. He does; however, have a rule about physical intimacy that applies to all who believe in him as Christians and chose to follow his commandments.

    That rule is that pre-marital sex is wrong. Fornication is a sin. So, I think this is where God's provision lies for homosexuals. They can have a deep and abiding asexual relationship with whom ever they choose and remain in God's will.

    There is no such thing as big sin and little sin. God sees all sin the same. There is no different provisions for sin in the Bible. It is all covered by the blood of Jesus. If we can remember that one truth, then the next time we open our mouths to judge anyone based on his/her actions or lifestyle we will be able to remember that God sees the stain of fornication the EXACT same way he sees lying, adultry, stealing, gluttony,vanity, greed, uncleanliness, jealousy AND being judgmental.

    So my question becomes who is guilty of more sin, the person who judges the homosexual simply for being homosexual without any knowledge of his/her private life or the homosexual for simply being?

    Just a thought.

  • James Stauffer

    Good point that I have not thought about before. Thank you for expanding my brain!

    One point: Christianity doesn't ask a homosexual to never experience intimacy — just never homosexual intimacy. And add to that the knowledge that God's design is best so Christianity is asking them to change their behaviour in a way that is beneficial to them even though they may not agree with that.

    Disclaimer: I am a technical person so this technical point may be not very useful. 🙂

  • pariahdog

    James, I just have to ask: Are you a man who is oriented toward women, perhaps very much in love with a woman? If you were offered the option of intimacy with another man as a substitute for that relationship, and told by me or any other person that this option is God's design and is beneficial to you, would you find that in the least credible?

    My guess is that you would perhaps "not agree with that," and all that I am asking you to do is to honestly explore why.

    Ingrid, the simple and obvious solution to this problem is to recognize what marriage actually is. I think that John has done a fabulous job of describing his, and how it differs from an asexual relationship. We were not made to live without the possibility of that kind of intimacy.

  • Pariah: Now that you're here, I'm gonna quit talking. You're sooooo good at this.

  • Cavalcade

    James —

    For the many years that I believed homosexual intimacy was verboten, I was obliged to avoid all forms of intimacy. It was the "slippery slope." If I sought intimacy with someone who I was attracted to and who felt the same way about me — emotional intimacy would lead to physical intimacy (touch), physical intimacy would lead to sexual intimacy, and sexual intimacy was of the devil. So to hold that first line of defense I had to avoid that emotional intimacy.

    Here's an exercise for heterosexual readers in a relationship: see how long you can go without using touch to express your feelings for your loved one. Can you go days? Weeks? Months? Years? What effect does this have on your emotional intimacy?

  • Another extremely fine response. Man. Awesome. This is put so perfectly well.

  • arlywn

    Personally I believe that hating homosexuals is as bad as hating african americans, indians, ect. Or hating a child because she's not 'old enough'. It's not something that can be changed. you cant change skin color, or age, or…. reality.

    I dont understand why this bothers people. What is so wrong with this? Just because your female friend prefers to sleep with other females doesnt mean its hurting you. Shes not condoning your sexual whatever, she's dismissing all men's whatevers. There is nothing wrong with that. Now, if she's trying to castrate you so she can sleep with you… thats different.

    And why is this a political thing? Do our representives not care about the votes they exclude because they're so against this?

    I dont have anytihng against homosexuality. If you dont hit on me, I'm fine. I'm not going to ban your marriages, kick you out of jobs or… stone your houses. Because it doesnt affect me.

    I've met some awesome gay people. They were smart, athelitic, creative, and sex never came up. Sure it was obvious that they were gay, but it wasnt the worst thing in the world. I've also met some gay guys who were really bitchy girls. And guess what? He's a transexual female now, very pretty, still bitchy, and straight.

    why do we put so much to do with the bible? Why not the constitution, which is what america was founded with.

  • Point well taken @ pariah. I will be the first to admit I have much to learn. I am not sure I agree, but I am open to the possibility simply because I believe God lives in this kind of discourse. This is how we gain understanding and become better Christians.

    @ Calvacade I was in a 8 year relationship with a married man *GASP* I loved him and I believed he loved me, but the reality of the situation was that no matter how much of a lovefest we were having at the time, the sin of my lifestyle was wrong.

    As a result of the ending of this "relationship" I submitted myself to God and have remained celibate for a year. I have full life and plenty of friends, but I will continue to be celibate until God places someone in my life. It was very difficult at first, but God's grace really is sufficient. Celibacy is not the end of the world and it does not preclude having a loving relationship or fulfillment. I date but I don't touch, and I know God honors that. He doesn't honor it because i am straight, he honors it because I am His.

  • Beth

    Dear John-

    Refreshing to read an honest post about a difficult issue. Have you considered the "plight" of a single heterosexual male or female? What if you were single, desperately wanting to be married but unable to find the "one?" Would you feel destined to live a lonely, isolated life? Do you believe that you would be unable to experience meaningful connection in life without that particular kind of intimate relationship? What if what is best for you and me (I've been married 20 years- some very challenging) isn't what's best for everyone? Easy for me to say, right?

    As you pointed out with such insight, we cannot pretend to know the mind of God. At some point, we must choose to believe that he is omnipotent and perfect and holy. Would a God like that put us under a life sentence of isolation and lonliness?

    As Christians, we have insight into the mind of God through Scripture. When we experience the unconditional love of Christ, we are inspired to reflect that love, grace and mercy in how we live every day. I beg to differ that we can understand that stealing, cheating, llying apart from Scripture. Doesn't that fall into "I am God, God is within me" thinking? Scripture is our boundary in life, helping to keep us in the best, safest place. Within the will of God.

    Welcome to the family!


  • arlwyn–"why do we put so much to do with the bible? Why not the constitution…"

    For Christians, or at least most (many? some? a few?) of them, the Bible, being God's word and all, supercedes the constitution. It's a big thing in American Christianity to emphasize (look out–Christianese coming right up) submitting to the worldly authorities God puts in place, unless they tell us to do something directly against what God says.

    Not saying everyone has to do that–just saying that's why Christians are so attached to what the Bible says. Which is what makes the dilemma John mentions such a difficult one. We know what God says…or at least our interpretation of it…but we often don't understand how it jives with our reality.

    'K, my son's dancing on the end table. Thanks for the thoughts everyone–good to ponder.

  • Thank you Mr. Shore. I've been waiting for literally decades to see a Christian writer make this connection. Usually it's just quickly glossed over. I think the reason why is pretty obvious.

    When my mom passed away a few years ago, I inherited her diaries. We never discussed my sexual orientation…it was a Don't Ask Don't Tell household. I was, like her, raised a Baptist, and the time of my coming of age coincided, not coincidentally, with the period of my leaving the faith. What I expected to read in her diaries from that time was grief over my slow but steady walk away from our church. But no. Grief there was, but it was almost exclusively over how the bright and cheerful son she once had turned into a moody, sullen, angry young man. It makes me cry to read those entries.

    When you take the possibility of love away from someone…what do they have left? Think about that, the next time you see an angry homosexual.

  • Bruce: Perfectly said. Just … perfect. And what a touching, heart-wrenching story.

  • Amanda

    It seems lately that I am seeing more and more "Christians" debating and watering down the truth. It is not our job to debate the bible, or cast our opinions of Gods word. It is His word, and His thoughts are higher than ours. He is Holy God Almighty, I am not. I am only to trust in Him and obey. Gods word clearly says:

    Deu 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

    Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

    Lev 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.

    “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:26-28)

    1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    In 1Co_6:11, Paul clearly states that even those who sin in these ways can have their lives changed by Christ. However, those who say that they are Christians but persist in these practices with no sign of remorse will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Such people need to reevaluate their lives to see if they truly believe in Christ.

    In a permissive society it is easy for Christians to overlook or tolerate some immoral behavior (greed, drunkenness, etc.) while remaining outraged at others (homosexuality, thievery). We must not participate in sin or condone it in any way; we cannot be selective about what we condemn or excuse. Staying away from more "acceptable" forms of sin is difficult, but it is no harder for us than it was for the Corinthians. God expects his followers in any age to have high standards.

    From what I have read in God's word, I see no reason for Christians to debate homosexuality, and I encourage those who do to spend more time in the word and prayer.

  • Amanda

    It doesn't matter. If I did, would it change God's word? What are your intentions with this blog? Are you drawing people to Christ? Are you impacting the Kingdom? Or are you encouraging others to debate the very word of God? Our choices in life does not change who He is, nor does it change His word

  • Amanda,

    Because you posted some scriptures, I just want to ask you about the first one. Based on Deuteronomy 22:5 which clearly says that women aren't to wear what pertains to a man, does that mean you don't ever where slacks or pants of any kind or if married, does it mean you've never worn your husband's over-sized shirt around the house or to sleep in? As a lesbian I'm curious as to why you would include this passage among others that are used as a prohibition against homosexuality. Thanks so much 🙂

  • Amanda

    Anita, this verse commands men and women not to reverse their sexual roles. It is not a statement about clothing styles. Today role rejections are common—there are men who want to become women and women who want to become men. It's not the clothing style that offends God, but using the style to act out a different sex role. God had a purpose in making us uniquely male and female.

  • Dan, I so appreciated the story you shared and glad to know your wife was able to enjoy the day despite any conflicting beliefs she might have had.

    When my partner and I had a wedding service at church there were about 180 people there, mostly straight which included a lot of young families since I work in children's ministry. A few months after the wedding one of the mom's who along with her husband had brought their six year old daughter told me how happy she was that the first wedding her daughter ever got to experience was ours.

    "Because she had the chance to see a gay wedding?" I asked.

    "No, that really didn't have anything to do with it. What I'm glad Kate had a chance to see was all the love that was in the church on your wedding day. It communicated so well what marriage is all about and what I want for my own children to experience one day."

    We invited people to our wedding, not to "win them over" to one position or another. We invited them to share in the celebration of our love as do all couples looking ahead to their wedding day….okay….and the gifts were so bad either 🙂

  • Dan Harrell


    Thank you. Is it possible that we try to analyze too much instead of enjoying the love and the moment? What I enjoyed, at the time, is that Deb (my wife) did not try to predict how she would feel at the celebration or how she should feel, but was open to enjoying the experience of two people in love who wanted their friends to be part of their memories.

  • James and Amanda (comments 42, 54, 55): What I (in my comment) am suggesting it not in any way meant to "waterdown" God's word. In fact, I'm suggesting that we do a better job of following it in all areas beginning with the 2 greatest commandments.

    James, you commented:

    And add to that the knowledge that God’s design is best so Christianity is asking them to change their behaviour in a way that is beneficial to them even though they may not agree with that.

    I could modify this slightly to apply to any Christian going through the process of sanctification — the process of actively seeking God and becoming (changing to be) more Christlike. None of us are there.

    For many of us in the US, I believe Jesus is telling us to give everything we have to the poor (ala rich young ruler) We do not agree or like that idea at all. Yet we may continue coming to worship, fellowship, and even lead these activities … even though we refuse to change. BTW, I believe this is a good thing, you know … preaching give to the poor but not excluding everyone who has a 40" or larger LCD HDTV.

    Amanda you commented:

    overlook or tolerate some immoral behavior (greed, drunkenness, etc.) while remaining outraged at others (homosexuality, thievery)

    I don't think you are suggesting we be outraged with all immoral behavior. I'm assuming you mean to say we should neither "tolerate" all immoral behavior.

    Instead, I think (and wonder if you don't as well) that we should be consistent in our response. If we were to become equally outraged with greed, drunkenness, etc… then AA would stop using our churches for meetings among other things. And how about greed. If one is fortunate enough to live in the US, own a house, own a car, have a job and health care — well then he/she is among the richest people group this earth has ever seen. 90% of the people on our planet have less. If someone in this wealthy people group wants more stuff, is that greed? What is our reaction to these people today?

  • "Deu 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."

    Remember this ladies! Avoid pants, or you may find yourself in Hell.

  • Tom


    I think this atheist just became a little more sympathetic to Christianity based on this very rational, loving, and eloquent summary.

    Still, very depressing that some commentors here keep referring to homosexuality as a sin. As a scientist, it's really just a harmless state of life, a simple biological coincidence, and a purely natural occurence.

    I would imagine they have no gay friends as you do John. When it's personal, it becomes much more difficult to justify institutionalized second class citizenry; particularly if there is no scientifically-based objection.

  • pariahdog


    Actually, there are no mistakes in God's creation. It's not enough to read those scriptural passages, you must also understand who was speaking, who they were speaking to, when, where, what the context was, and what the speaker's objective was. In other words, you must use discernment.

    Obviously, much of what is in the Bible is metaphor. Other passages are an account of a tribal people trying over time to maintain its identity under the constant threat of assimilation by other cultures. It happens that many of those cultures had some form of gender variance as part of their religious practices. You (as many others do, and have in some traditions for a long time) are just reading it literally, seemingly without any contextualization at all.

    I understand that this approach to Scripture is all that many people have been taught in the tradition within which they were raised, and that the notion of trying to analyze and understand it might seem like debate to you, and might even be threatening, but I assure you that the tradition of such conversation goes back much farther, having its roots in Talmudic study. There is no need to place "scare quotes" around the term Christian when referring to people engaging in discernment – in fact, I would really appreciate it if you wouldn't. We are all part of the body of Christ.

    My view is that God is certainly still speaking, and working through people as always. Why would God be finished? That seems to me to be a very human idea. Recall that prophets were always the ones who made everyone else uncomfortable.

  • pariahdog

    Also – the essentialist gender thing ("sex roles") is a reflection of what people understood at the time. God's creation is a lot more interesting and complex than that.

  • saramason

    "No matter the moral, ethical or cultural context, it is always wrong to steal or lie, because doing so always hurts another person."

    I thought this comment was interesting, but it's not necessarily "true" so I wasn't totally in agreement with your comparison. Isn't this what makes the "white" lie so acceptable, because it's not REALLY hurting anyone? Or the loyal, hardworking employee who takes a few pens home from work. No big deal, right? Just a thought …

    My point being, in any moral, ethical or cultural context, it's wrong to sin. Period. It doesn't matter who it does or doesn't hurt.

  • Stephanie

    John, thank you. Thank you for your openness to question and test things in regard to this subject. It is refreshing to see a Christian (who is not gay), take a different approach to this subject.

    Instead of the constant "Let me tell you what is so wrong with homosexuals", you're no afraid to ask the question " What is so wrong with homosexuals?"

    It takes courage to ask questions like this and look further in to it. I think many are afraid to ask that challenging question, for one reason or another.

    I think sometimes as Christians, we act like Pharisees with machine guns who fire out "You're wrong, wrong, wrong and you're going to hell, hell, hell." I don't think Jesus asked us to do that. I'm certain He got on to the Pharisees for doing that very same thing. What's worse is on top of doing this, we say we are “speaking the truth in love”. We have a lot to learn about love.

    The part that bothers me the most about this debate is we as the loving Christians we are to be, will recite scripture to people and tell people we believe the word of God is flawless yet we will go to Red Lobster, eat shellfish and cook dinner for our families on the Sabbath and say it's ok. We will fire out that homosexuals "pick and choose" what scripture best suits their life but don't we all do that? We sound so very hypocritical.

    I question the motive in our hearts if we continue to take the approach to this subject that we do. The behavior many of us take on in regard to homosexuality is the same behavior many took on when we as Christians were not allowing women to teach in the church, when we were justifying slavery and banning rock music and dancing. Were we watering down the truth then when we began to look at those things differently too?

    I think part of the problem with this subject is many of us look at homosexuals as disgusting. The image we have had planted in our heads about the typical lesbian or gay man is most likely incorrect. I think some of us have the grave image of a gay person being one has no morals, who doesn't understand what it means to be Christ like, who has sex in dark alleys with anyone and when the after bar party starts, it's orgie time. Much like the image that is given to us in the bible about temple prostitutes. It's this very image that instills fear in us about our kids getting close to those who are gay. Sad to say, I've known some gay folks like that and I've also known some straight folks like that.

    Until we are willing to admit that we were taught wrong, we will probably never be able to even take a different approach to this subject. We were taught wrong folks and that's hard to admit and accept.

    I am standing and applauding with Shush and Chuck. Thanks John for taking a different approach to things.

  • I didn't read all the comments to this may or may not have been addressed. You posed the question of who is hurt by homosexual relationships. I would argue that both participants in a homosexual relationship are 'hurt'. N.T. Wright teaches an idea that I think is helpful. He frames sin as de-humanizing behavior. If we consider that Jesus came to demonstrate what it means to be a truly human, we can understand sin in terms of behavior that falls short of God's design for creation.

    Now if we follow Paul's argument in Romans One, one thing becomes perfectly clear. We have but to look down towards our genitals to understand God's design is for men to become one with women and not with other men. The same principle applies to women. As Paul explained, homosexuality is actually the result of judgement, of God having given someone over to a disqualified mind.

    To encourage someone to act in accordance with God's design is not cruel but the most humane thing we could do. We tend to think of love and intimacy in terms of a strong feeling of affection towards another human but that is not the picture that scripture presents. Love is a determination to look out for someone else's best interest and it is certainly in the best interest of a homosexual to abandon that lifestyle.

    Far from asking homosexuals to live without intimacy or in physical and emotional isolation, God is calling all of us to live in accordance with his design and to experience the fulfillment of a truly human life as demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ.

    Just my two cents.

  • Tom

    "To encourage someone to act in accordance with God’s design is not cruel but the most humane thing we could do."

    How sad. Try explaining that to deeply closeted teenagers with same-sex attractions. You'll just confuse, shame, and anger them for really no reason. It's this type of rhetoric that leads to unnecessasry and premature suicides. I don't understand how you don't see how truly inhumane this is.

    Consider that the world's leading health, medical, and pyschological associations would vehemently disagree with your position. Are they lying or wrong?

    You can't possibly know the mind of God. You can't possibly expect that the Bible is clear on these issues considering the time and place in which it was written. Plus, I would imagine you don't speak Greek (I do). The Bible writers were referring to pedophilia and not necessarily what 2 mature men or women do in private in committed, loving relationships. Finally, this is a secular country. If your religion forbids something, then don't do it. Meanwhile, why deprive millions of gay couples of the happiness you enjoy?

  • Stephanie

    It amazes me that we can just simply sum up God's creation plan to men's genitals, women making babies and who should where the pants. I think our God is bigger than that and perhaps, just maybe, He had a bigger plan than that.

    Amanda-I have to ask you the same questions you asked John. What are your intentions with your comments? What is the motive in your heart? Are you drawing people closer to Christ with the things you are saying?

    I'm also curious, why are you so interested in someone's sin? (As you call it.)

    Here is a question-Why are we so concerned with homosexuals and not with those who serve different God's? I mean we are quick to pull out the scripture rifle and fire "It's sin, sin sin and you're going to hell, hell, hell. But it also states in scripture that we are to have no other Gods and if we break any of those commandments, we have sinned. So what is the REAL reason we are so concerned with gay Christians?

    And why in the world do so many people think that gay folks haven't read the bible and don't know scripture?

    Why is it so wrong for people to test and question scripture in some folks eyes? Are we suppose to have "majority rules and popular belief theology"?

    A song keeps going over and over again in my head. I'm sure many of you know it. "Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now."

    It may not be in the bible, but I think it's pretty biblical and perhaps should be practiced more often by us Christians.

  • John,

    This has been one of the best comments sections of yours I've read. I'm still chewing on the comments and going through mind-altering moments (no – change in POV, not drugs).

    The song referred to above is one of my favorites – "Get Together" by The Youngbloods. Google the lyrics.



  • arlywn

    but the bible isnt always right. I remember a part in the bible about incest, and thats not right in reality. Wish I wasnt in the middle of class or I’d go look it up.

  • Amanda

    Bruce, they have Jesus. He is the most precious relationship anyone could ever have and His love for us is far beyond the love of another human being. We need to be careful not to encourage others away from the truth. There are no mistakes in God’s word.

  • Dan Harrell


    I recall that my wife went to a gay wedding a few years ago because she was invited. She resisted the chance to over think her choice and get too weighed down by ethical, religious or moral considerations. Looking back, I believe the decision was one to celebrate two happy people who wanted to celebrate their love together with their friends. She had a good time too.

  • Amanda: Have you ever had any good friends who were homosexual? GOOD friends, I mean: friends who mean as much to you as anyone you’ve ever loved.

    If you haven’t, then I’d like to suggest that you’re simply not in a position to understand or empathize with what’s at stake in the ongoing Christian “debate” about homosexuality.

  • Free and John: For those of us who are female (conservative Christians, and who (so it seems) overwhelmingly outnumber males, we often feel just as "stuck" in our singleness as one homosexually inclined who decides not to enter into an intimate homosexual marriage. I was in my late 30s when I FINALLY married and have many, many committed Christian girlfriends who will likely never marry and experience the intimacy of marriage. But, Paul tells us that single folk are better able to spread the gospel because they aren't tied down to families. The point is, being single – not necessarily out of choice – can be a wonderful life, can lead to greater service (I know this from experience), can lead to deeper intimacy with Jesus (ask Paul who by all accounts was single by the time he wrote Philippians), and is really a calling (ask Jesus).

  • Longing: I agree with what you've said absolutely.

  • That was suppose to be the gifts weren’t so bad</em. Okay. The decoupaged wedding invitation glued on a plaque was so bad but the rest were sweeeeeet!

  • TLC

    God's love; the love that offered Christ's blood to atone for our sins, is Agape love. It is sacrificial love that puts God's will first, and desire's to do what is in the best interests of others. Gaining mastery over our base nature that is self-centered & yearns to sin is fundamental to spiritual growth & is really the only way that we can manifest God's love. The Bible never categorizes sin, so homosexuality isn't a "special sin". The wages of all sin is death. Homosexuality, as all sin, is in direct defiance to God's perfect order. When we allow our lusts to become our god & disregard inconvenient truths we can excuse all sin and harden our hearts to a HOLY & LOVING God.

  • Richard Lubbers

    To say that we are what we are because God made us that way, and therefore we are okay the way we are is a weak argument. If that were so, then why did God become a man and die to "SOZO" us? Fact of the matter is that we're all a teardown, and He needs to start over.

    Another argument I disliked was that it is easier for God to heal my intimacy issues than it is for Him to make a gay man straight. Why doesn't He just turn ME into a porpoise? Because He made me a man. I struggle with that manhood because it is what I am called to do. Life is a road of discipleship. Some things get knocked off, and many things get added on. We are better humans for it.

    I have many gay and lesbian friends that I deeply love and appreciate. I love them. And I pray my life brings healing, and a deeper desire to know Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we could ever ask or think.

    I also love the idea that God is not through speaking to us. Just when we think we have Him figured out, we are blown away. The Job seat is an uncomfortable throne.

    Do not be threatened by those who seek to bring words of correction. For whom the Father loves, He chastens. And, do not be threatened by those who seek to invite all who thirst for righteousness to come, regardless of their issues.

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor (whether straight or gay) as yourself. The rest is just details.

  • TLC

    Blindness, Deafness, Autism, Rape, Incest, AIDS, Castration, Female Mutilation, Lynchings, Cancer…There are things worse than living a celibate life/never marrying. With all compassion and love, don't confuse this fallen world for heaven. Our purpose for being is not happiness. Christ, who alone was sinless sufferred more than any human being ever will and to truely know Him & His ressurection power Paul stated that we must also know the fellowship of His sufferring. I'm just thankful that He is the great I AM and that He can be to me whatever I need Him to be. His grace is sufficient.

  • Elissa

    Thanks so much for an inspiring blog, that speaks truth to one of the biggest debated issues in the Christian culture. I admit I used to take the "love the sinner, hate the sin approach" about this issue… until I said a significant prayer one day to help me understand this better. I prayed that God would bring some homosexuals/lesbians into my life, because I couldn't believe something that I had no understanding of. The best way I know to understand something is to build relationships with people.

    Well, years later, I have many friends with different sexual orientations, and I can see how ignorant and self righteous I used to be. Most of my friends are spiritual, and seek to do the right thing. I don't see their sexual preferences, as being the deciding factor on their values or belief in God. I am becoming a little more hypersensitive to the ridicule and arrogance by other Christians who want to make this about morality, especially when it seems to be done more out of ignorance and fear. I don't know all the answers, and don't pretend to be. We had a movie in Portland, called "The Bible tells me so", which shed some valuable insights into the scriptures many people use to condemn homosexuality. Several of these were taken out of context with many other rules that we no longer find relevant today.

    I am greatly disappointed that I have had several situations in the church or ministry where this particular topic ruled me unfit, because I didn't agree that homosexuality was a sin. I believe that it would be unhealthy for me to start deciding for others what is right and wrong, especially when things seem really unclear to me. I can lead people to seek and watch for a spiritual source, and give them love, but find that I am rarely in the right mind to become a impartial judger of others, and to force them to do something they don't believe in.

  • Great, thoughtful and inspiring post, John!

    Amanda: Don’t be quoting Bible verses at me. I’m not well enough versed in every aspect of the Good Book to give you a legitimate argument for or against anything. All I can tell you is that I think you need to have a little more compassion for others who are not like yourself, and less fire and brimstone, as if your opinion is the ONLY opinion.

    The Bible is a collection of stories, eyewitness accounts, parables, etc. that supposedly are God’s Word. But, just like the children’s game Telephone, the original intent of any Bible verse is lost in the many translations of the Holy Text. How does anyone know what is in the Bible now is what the author orginially wrote two millenia before?

    Now, before you start calling me a heretic or a non believer, I must tell you that I believe in God, Jesus Christ as my Savior, and in a good deal of what the Bible says. However, God also gave me free will to ask questions and learn things for myself. One of the things I’ve learned with this gift of free will and a somewhat competent mind that you have to love others as you love yourself. It doesn’t matter one iota whether they are straight, gay, black, red, brown, or pink with purple polka dots. Of course, there are a few baddies along the way, but for the most part, people are good. Even those who are not like I am (i’m straight, white and Catholic, BTW).

    Stephanie: I remember that song, and yes, that is how I feel. We are all brothers and sisters in the Lord, Buddah, Allah, Yahweh, etc.

  • Jared Thaler


    Lev 20:25 You shall distinguish between the clean animal and the Unclean, and between the clean bird and the Unclean; you shall not render your soul abominable through such animals and birds,and through anything that creeps on the ground, which I have set apart for you to render unclean.

    This places the eating of pork on the same level as the commision of homosexual acts.

    Additionally, the bible requires you to celebrate Pesach, Succot, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur, at a *minimum.*

    Lev 19:26 You shall not eat over the blood, you shall not indulge in sorcery and you shall not believe in lucky times.

    I assume you buy kosher meat (which has had the blood drained and removed) and do not ever consult your horoscope?

    Lev 19:19 … And a garment that is of mixed fibers shall not come upon you. (Any cotton wool blends?)

    Basicly, there are a heck of a lot of laws that christians do not follow, many just as serious as the law against homosexual acts. (Note, there is not law against homosexual attraction, only against actual fornication. Also note that all Capital crimes in jewish law require 2 eye witnesses uninvolved in the crime. So, unless you are performing these acts in the town square…)

    But thats okay, because most Christians *aren't* children of the covenenant. Unless they have been circumcised and dedicated to Torah, they are not required to follow any of the laws, at least under the strictures of the torah, unless they are residing in a jewish settlement or home. (None of the laws in the torah regard what a non-jew can do in their own home. Not even the injunctions against homosexual acts.)

  • John, I am a Christian who doesn't believe that God condemns homosexual intimacy in and of itself; I don't believe that God calls gay people to celibacy. We clearly disagree on that point, but I'm not here to debate it. Rather, I wanted to be another person to thank you for a refreshingly honest and reflective take on the nature and ramifications of being gay, Christian, and celibate.

    I think much of the frustration felt by Gay christians as they interact with a largely anti-gay Christian community is, first, the downplaying of the difficulty of life-long celibacy. Many Christians seem to throw around the expectation of celibacy so casually without appreciation of what that means for the individual, or they try to conceal it by using vague phrases like "freedom from homosexuality."

    The second is the almost obtuse act of dismissing homosexuality as, "just like any other sin, and we're all sinners." Such a dismissal shows nothing but a lack of willingness to understand what a gay Christian is experiencing, and the implication that resisting one's homosexuality is no different from resisting the temptation to steal is belittling to that struggle.

    You've identified these two points of frustration and you've called them out for what they are, and I thank you for it. Peace,


  • I wish we could reverse the gay – non-gay thing for about 50 years so Leif and other anti-gay Christians could really know by experience what they're talking about.

    If you guys had to live with the callous, mean-spirited, scripture-twisting, non-Christian attitudes and the ripped from their context proof texts that gay and lesbian Christians live with all our lives, you might begin to exhibit genuine compassion instead of merely lip service.

    You hold up incestuous polygamists like Abraham and Sarah and polygamists like Gideon the great Judge/Deliverer of Israel as great heroes of the faith.

    You look to King David as a great type of Christ and seem to ignore the fact that he had an intimate relationship with Jonathan (characterized by King Saul in I Samuel 20:30 with a Hebrew vulgarism which indicates Saul thought Jonathan was sexually intimate with David).

    Does it ever occur to you that God called these folks to His service while they were living in incestuous and/or polygamous and/or same sex relationships?

    The Holiness Code clearly forbids brother-sister relationships yet God affirmed, blessed and used these people and encourages us to view them as heroes of the faith.

    The Holiness Code just as clearly prohibits same sex relationships which worship Molech and his fertility goddess consort Ashtoreth, Lev 18:22 and 20:13. But not by any stretch of the imagination do those verses condemn committed, faithful, intimate, non-cultic male-male and female-female relationships.

    Has it ever occurred to you that God also calls gays and lesbians and affirms and blesses us in our committed, faithful, intimate, non-cultic relationships just like he called Abraham and Sarah (the brother-sister team) and Abraham and Hagar and Keturah and the concubines and Gideon and David and Jonathan?

    The nation of Israel sprang from the polygamous family of Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah.

    How can any Christian understand God's blessing on Israel without acknowledging that God did NOT enforce the standards of the Holiness Code on Jacob and his four wives (two of whom were sisters, a sexual relationship expressly forbidden in the Holiness Code, Lev 18:18).

    Rick Brentlinger

  • I think that Wordsseldomsaid has left the conversation. But I hope that he is still checking in.

    WSS, you spoke of “many former homosexuals have left the lifestyle”. I neither doubt nor disagree with you (although the use of the term “many” is a bit questionable – a best estimate is less than a few thousand).

    I know with certainty that there are individuals who have “walked away from homosexuality”, in the sense that they do not engage in any sexual, social, or identity aspects of homosexuality. Generally, these folks are called “ex-gay”.

    And I know that while the vast majority of ex-gays live celibately (or try), a few are married. But based on their statements, few if any could be considered to be heterosexual. Their behavior has changed and their self-label has changed but they continue to find themselves attracted to the same sex.

    You state that you are formerly gay.

    You are the person that John has written about with such compassion. You seek to live a life consistent with how you believe God has directed you even though it is most likely that this also means giving up on love.

    And I commend you for your dedication. I wish you much success. I hope that you find celibacy to be a life that brings you peace and contentment.

    Personally, I think that you’d be happier if you did not set reorientation as a goal – as best I can tell it just doesn’t happen. Nonetheless, continue to seek God.

    It may be the case some day that you become discouraged. You may find that regardless of your faith and your efforts and your programs and your devotion that your attractions STILL are towards the same sex. (It isn’t denying God’s power to admit that this is often the case).

    Should you find yourself disillusioned by reorientation efforts, PLEASE recall one thing: you don’t need to walk away from God to be gay. You can still – like some I know – recognize your orientation and live a pure life. Or you may – like many I know – come to believe that God has created for you a lifemate and that in His infinite wisdom that lifemate happens to be the same sex.

    But whether you go on with ex-gay efforts or not, please keep God in your life.

  • John

    Thanks for your enlightened observations on homosexual love not hurting anyone.

    This is one of the core concepts of the site “Gay and Christian” ( The site shows that the Bible approves of homosexual orientation (same-sex attraction) and it does not condemn any form of sex between men except for male-male penetration.

    The site also shows that men penetrating men is okay if no one is harmed. Full details, including the Biblical basis of this reasoning, can be seen on the site.

  • John: I've been keeping up with some of the comments here, and though you agreed with my last post, I still keep going back to your title: "It is being lonely." Really, it doesn't have to be. You agreed with my last comment that being married (and having sex) isn't an option for many heteros either, and it can be a great blessing. I must say that, other than having a 24 hour friend around (my husband), for most of our marriage, I have been far lonelier than when I was single and in a great community. Even when I lived in the former Soviet Union (when it was such) as a missionary and was often very alone (not just by myself, but in a strange culture who's language I hardly understood), I very strongly felt God's presence. Finally (this isn't directed to you, but a general observation), regarding the argument from scripture that homosexual activity is ok as long as it's in a long term monagomous relationship, I go back to Jesus' own words in Mark 10:1-12: "God's plan..from the beginning of creation… 'He made them male and female'…and the two are united as one." It is absolutely not unloving to say, if you are follower of Jesus, trust that when He lays out the definition of marriage, He is loving us. When, by definition (and, of course, other scripture), adultery, sex by anyone other than a man and woman within marriage, even certain types of divorce, are outside of His best, these commands are borne of love. Yes, that means that those of us who do not marry a person of the opposite sex will deny ourselves sex and the particular companionship of marriage. [Again, let me state as I did earlier, this applies only to those who believe the Bible is truth from God] But what blessings come from the denial!! What intimacy with the savior when we say no to what we want and yes to what we don't want because we trust that He has a better way, a way that we don't always "get." We share in His sufferings. And, don't you know, one day, any loneliness or sadness or struggle with the flesh that seems to render the Bible meaningless, all will pass away, along with our tears, and we will stand before our Lord, free from the ravages of sin and death, utterly fulfilled, and never again lonely!

  • tavdy

    This is going to be almost unbelievably long, but since it’s taken me almost a day to read through all these and formulate responses (in between various DIY jobs) so I hope you’ll forgive me if it’s all in one post.

    “Is being alone so as not to sin supposed to be different for a single heterosexual? If I were “homosexual” and Christian, wouldn’t I be bound by the same laws of God? My God tells me I cannot be sexually intimate with another person until I was married to same. – FreetoBe

    A lot of people seem to be focussing on this point, but not actually hitting the full magnitude of the issue for gays who believe gay sex is sin.

    As a single heterosexual you would presumably live with the hope that you might some day meet your soul-mate, secure in the knowledge that the union would be blessed and honoured by your friends, family and faith. For a homosexual who views gay sex as sin the prospect is not merely a life of loneliness and isolation, but one lived with the underlying fear that, should they ever meet their soul-mate, they will have to choose between their love and Christ.

    In essence, the heterosexual is free to live in hope of love, the homosexual is condemned to live in fear of it.

    “If it were illegal for us to marry, am I not also commanded to follow the laws of the country where I live, as long as those laws do not contridict the laws of God?” – FreetoBe

    Does a government have the right to sanction a religious institution? In the case of polygamous faith groups, notably certain Islamic and Mormon sects, what’s important isn’t whether or not the government recognises each marriage, but whether or not God does. The same is true of any marriage, irrespective of who is married to whom. Gays aren’t campaigning for the right to religious marriage, which they already have (well, anywhere but Texas) but for the right to the civil benefits of marriage afforded by secular authorities – state, federal or other governments.

    “I think, as a group of believers, we have missed the point. The sin/(or whatever you want to call it) is not the point. The point is that sin separates us from a relationship with God because he is unable to share the same space, if you will. with sin. Thus when we commit a sexual sin, we create a barrier between ourselves and God and our relationship becomes hindered. This is resolved by repentance as I am sure you are aware. I think the problem for too long for Christians has been that we are guilty of 1) labeling homosexuals and 2) focusing on the sin (act) instead of creating relationships with them and sharing how any sin carries the consequence of separation between man and God.” – Dominique

    The problem with this is that most gays don’t, won’t and (in many cases) can’t see gay sex as sin, and have no interest in dialogue with anyone who tells them otherwise – a consequence of living in a subculture defined, in large part, by rejection by family, friends and faith. Those few who do regard it as sin figure that (to paraphrase C. Jay Cox) “since they’re going to Hell anyway they might as well take the scenic route”. To simply stop actively condemning gays, as you suggest, isn’t enough – as long as a majority (or even a vocal minority) of Christians view gay sex as sinful gay people will never feel welcome in the Church, and will remain unreachable to God’s love and forgiveness.

    To say that it will take divine intervention to breach this barrier would not be speaking metaphorically.

    Following on from this, I think that there is a good point made here:

    “Every sin I commit today will be intentional. It will require me to intentionally ignore God no matter how small the sin. I will choose activities, thoughts and words that will not glorify Him.” – ric booth

    In Matt 22, Jesus responds to the question “which is the greatest commandment in the law?” with the following:

    “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. – (King James Version)

    In other words, everything has to by judged by those two commandments – every action, rule and scripture.

    Wilfully sinning is one obvious example of something which does not show love to God – but is the sin the action or, as ric booth suggested, is it the wilful disobedience required to perform the act? If you don’t view an act as sinful, and therefore don’t consider yourself disobeying God by doing it, do you still sin by doing so?

    Certain systems of hermeneutics, particularly those which focus on the socio-cultural contexts in which texts were first written, can result in a Biblical interpretation which does not condemn gay sex within the context of a loving, monogamous relationship (see below). If a person reads the Bible and comes to such conclusions are they any less of a Christian? And if, having done so, they perform an act they do not consider sinful but that another person does, whose interpretation of the Bible is relevant?

    “Gods word clearly says:“ (et al) – Amanda

    Of the Biblical verses typically used to condemn gay sex can almost universally be translated to condemn exploitative gay sex, rather than consensual and/or monogamous gay sex.

    The verses in Deuteronomy (22:5 & 23:17) 1 Kings (14:24, 15:12 & 22:46) & 2 Kings (23:7) explicitlyrefer to the religious practices of the Canaanites 3000 years ago, which included the use of male temple prostitutes who were treated as property in a manner similar to the way women were at the time, and who would even dress and act as women during certain ceremonies. While gay sex is involved, it is not consensual

    The verses in Leviticus (18:22, 20:13), when read in the original Hebrew, refer to men having sex with men in the way they would have sex with a woman. The cultural context of such a statement implies exploitative, non-consensual sex. The scriptural context of Leviticus 18:22, shortly after a list of prohibitions on the exploitative use of female relatives for sex, and between prohibitions on Canaanite religious practices (child-sacrifice and bestiality), supports this interpretation in light of the Canaanite use of male temple-prostitutes. This is further supported by the fact that the word translated as abomination, toevah, means “ritually unclean” and is used elsewhere in the Bible to refer to Canaanite religious practices, including Deuteronomy 7:25 and 2 Kings 16:3-4.

    Likewise the verse in Romans (1:26) could refer to Roman religious and cultural practices, which included sexual orgies and (as shown below) the sexual exploitation of slaves by masters. In addition some scholars think the passage (Romans 1:18-32) was not in the original letter Paul wrote but rather a later addition, due to significant lexical differences between the passage and the rest of Paul’s writings.

    The verses in 1 Corinthians (6:9-10) is not easily translated, but the two relevant words in Greek – malakoi and arsenokoitai – could refer to the exploitative sexual relationships between masters and male slaves which were common practice at the time the passage was written. As the with Old Testament passages above, an exploitative sexual relationship is sinful irrespective of the genders involved.

    The verses in 1 Timothy (1:9-10) features arsenokoitai again, flanked by pornois (prostitute) and andrapodistes (slave-dealer). This could refer to the Roman practice of slave-owners specialising in slaves used as prostitutes, in a manner similar to the way modern-day pimps use addictive drugs, particularly heroin and cocaine, to “own” prostitutes. Again, another exploitative relationship.

    The verses in Genesis (19:4-5) 1 Peter (2:6) and Jude (1:7-8) all refer to the infamous “rape of the angels” in Sodom; and the passage in Judges (19:22) is very similar. Each case involved both rape and promiscuity – both of which are condemned throughout the Bible. That angels are (by definition) not human could be why (in some translations) the writer of Jude refers to lusting for “strange flesh”.

    “God’s plan..from the beginning of creation… ‘He made them male and female’” – Longing for Holiday

    Given the fact that God chose to create humanity with two distinct genders it would have made little sense for the first two humans created to be of the same gender. For reasons of simple biological reproduction the first two humans HAD to be of opposite genders, one female, one male. Consequently using that as the template for all permissible human sexual relationships seems somewhat limiting.

    “There are no mistakes in God’s word.” – Amanda

    True, but there are mistakes in fallible human interpretation of that word. For any human being to declare that their interpretation is the right interpretation, indeed the only interpretation, sounds to me like pride and intolerance, both of which (as I’m sure you’d agree) are condemned in the Bible.

    “We have but to look down towards our genitals to understand God’s design is for men to become one with women and not with other men.” – Russell Roberts

    If this is the case, how come receiving anal sex pleasurable? If you don’t believe me, think about that little burst of pleasure you get when you pass wind – it’s the same nerve endings. Nerve-endings are surprisingly specialised things, with those that feel pain quite different from those that feel pleasure – so why else would God put those particular nerve endings in and around the rectum?

    “To encourage someone to act in accordance with God’s design is not cruel but the most humane thing we could do.” – Russell Roberts

    To force your views upon someone else without having made the slightest attempt at understanding their point of view is dehumanising.

  • Tavdy: A quick note. You took my male and female comment out of context. Here is the entire quote: Mark 10:1-12: “God’s plan..from the beginning of creation… ‘He made them male and female’…and the two are united as one.”

    The point was that from the beginning, apparently according to Jesus in this passage, marriage (one flesh, and in Mark’s context, that is marriage) was originally created for a man and a woman. He is saying this in the context that in the OT, easy divorce, polygamy, etc., were allowed, but that these were not part of the original plan. Obviously from what you said, you disagree with this interpretation, but I wanted to set the record straight.

  • Tavdy: I don't see anywhere in my comment #91 the thought that someone who disagrees with that interpretation is unsaved. Not at all. And I made the point of saying you might not disagree because I knew you wouldn't, otherwise, that scripture would undermine your other arguments. I also never said that I thought this was the only valid interpretation. I happen to believe it's accurate. In fact, it would be silly for me not to land somewhere. We all have to come to our own positions regarding what interpretations we agree with. You have certainly done so with the scriptures you cited. Was that arrogant of you? I doubt you think so. You've come to an interpretation you believe is accruate and correct. That's not arrogant, but common sense. Arrogance would be forcing a view down someone's throat and belittling the other person for their opinion.

  • tavdy

    Are you saying that, even if a gay person genuinely believes in Christ and claims his salvation, if they disagree with you on this particular point they are not saved?

    I’m not saying that your interpretation is necessarily wrong but (as I noted before) I do think that for any human to declare that their interpretation is the only one that’s valid sounds arrogant and intolerant.

  • tavdy

    "I don’t see anywhere in my comment #91 the thought that someone who disagrees with that interpretation is unsaved…

    …I also never said that I thought this was the only valid interpretation." Longing for Holiday

    That's my bad – I guess I'm so used to people who hold that particular view being closed-minded to other interpretations that I reacted to it automatically. I don't think that was arrogance on my part – just bad habit. Either way, I'm sorry for what I said in post #92.

  • thanks, tavdy.

    I was awful confused by your remark. kept thinking: did I say that? glad I didn’t…!

  • Callista Hogan

    I have to say I disagree.

    I, being a straight conservative Christian, believe that homosexuality is a sin. However, there are some things that I disagree with.

    You say that Christians are asking homosexuals to live alone until they can renounce their sin. That is true – but isn't the same thing applying to those who partake in premarital sex? We are asking heterosexual people who want to be close to that other person to wait until marriage – just as we're asking homosexuals to go against their desires. There is a difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals, and that is that God merely considers homosexuality a sin, whereas God states that we can't go and have sex with the first heterosexual person willing to.

    Those heterosexuals that want to have sex before marriage are surely lonely too – they don't have that physical contact they so desire. This is exactly like homosexuals, who don't have the physical intimacy with the person they desire to have it with.

    It's not about being lonely, and it's not that homosexuals must be lonely until they forsake their sins. It's about getting closer to God and doing what he wants us to do.

    After all, how can we be lonely when we have God on our side?

    And I have one more point: we're not prohibiting homosexuals to have friends. Sure, they might not be able to have physical intimacy, but then again, so many people, whether straight or gay, are not able to have physical intimacy… and that's where friendship comes in. In a way, friendship is more important than a romantic relationship. So we're saying that, yes, perhaps homosexuals might be romantically lonely for a while. But they have so many things on their side, God included, helping them until they are no longer lonely.

  • Darren


    I don't have much to add, because so much has been said. But I did want to sincerely thank you for your honesty and thoughtfulness on this subject. It's so rare to find an Evangelical who understands the implications of the typical, conservative teachings about the way homosexuals should conduct themselves. Even in the comments, I've seen several (well-meaning, I'm sure) Christians who minimize the lifelong loneliness that conservative interpretations subject people to. It only goes to show that they agree with your original conclusion: that to force life-long loneliness on someone is quite cruel and inhumane indeed. So instead of acknowledging how horrible the situation is for homosexual who seek to follow God (in a conservative sort of way, that is), they try to argue that this loneliness doesn't happen for whatever reasons (i.e., "Jesus is your best friend, and he's all you need", "You can get married to someone of the opposite sex one day after God 'changes' you, and thereby have the intimacy and companionship you desire", etc.) Those of use who've spent a good deal of time thinking about these things, and experiencing life understand quite well what's at stake with traditional understandings of Scripture on homosexuality: it is a sentence of loneliness and misery. And we don't have to go far to see the evidence for it in science, psychiatry, psychology, and personal anecdotes (author Philip Yancey does a great job of talking about the homosexual struggles of another great author and theologian – Henri Nouwen – and how horribly lonely he was until the day he died.)

    Your current line of thinking is spot on, John. Keep working with it, and wrestling with it. You epitomize compassion and grace in doing so.



  • tavdy

    "You say that Christians are asking homosexuals to live alone until they can renounce their sin. That is true – but isn’t the same thing applying to those who partake in premarital sex? We are asking heterosexual people who want to be close to that other person to wait until marriage – just as we’re asking homosexuals to go against their desires." – Callista Hogan

    I think you missed a point I made early in my first post on this topic:

    "As a single heterosexual you would presumably live with the hope that you might some day meet your soul-mate, secure in the knowledge that the union would be blessed and honoured by your friends, family and faith. For a homosexual who views gay sex as sin the prospect is not merely a life of loneliness and isolation, but one lived with the underlying fear that, should they ever meet their soul-mate, they will have to choose between their love and Christ.

    In essence, the heterosexual is free to live in hope of love, the homosexual is condemned to live in fear of it."

    Trying to compare a gay person to a straight one in this way simply does not work. Whichever way you look at it, one is free to live in hope of love, the other condemned to life in fear of it. To leave in fear of such a basic human need and emotion as love, and all the while lack the hope that the fear and loneliness will end, is the worst form of torture you can ever experience.

    To offer something like friendship as an alternative is demeaning and, in time, fosters resentment, jealousy, self-hatred and depression. It is one of the reasons why many gay people end up rejecting Christ and the Church.

  • Callista Hogan

    Tavdy –

    I don't consider friendship "demeaning" at all and, frankly, it's surprising that you do. Personally, I value a good friendship much more than I do a romantic relationship, even though I am currently in one. Romance doesn't always last, but with friends, with close friends, you can count that they will always be there.

    I'm not saying that a homosexual cannot love another in the same sex. Platonic relationships aren't demeaning at all, and platonic love is sometimes stronger than romantic love.

    You said that "In essence, the heterosexual is free to live in hope of love, the homosexual is condemned to live in fear of it."

    Who ever said that homosexuals can't live in the hope of love? They can yearn for love just as heterosexuals can. Platonic love is not a bad thing. A person can be entirely fulfilled in a platonic relationship, without any sexual relations. I'm not saying homosexuals should shy from love. I'm saying they should shy away from burning in their desires for another person of the same gender, just as heterosexuals should shy away from burning in their desires for someone they want to have sex with before marriage. However, I guess that's where you and I differ. You feel as if romantic love is the epitome of happiness in a human life, whereas I believe that platonic love and love for God often is more important than romantic love.

  • tavdy

    "I don’t consider friendship “demeaning” at all and, frankly, it’s surprising that you do. Personally, I value a good friendship much more than I do a romantic relationship, even though I am currently in one. Romance doesn’t always last, but with friends, with close friends, you can count that they will always be there." – Callista Hogan

    I have to wonder why you find that surprising? After all, God has created well over ten billion human beings so far and each of them has been unique – each has a distinct set of strengths and weaknesses, needs and gifts.

    My past experience of friendship, especially within the Church, has been pretty consistently transitory. In addition I have typically put a lot of effort into friendships for relatively little in return. I am a very physical, passionate and demonstrative person, and yet physical displays of affection are not something which are socially acceptable between heterosexual males or unrelated men and women. Consequently friendship is not something on which I am able to place much value – it is of little benefit to me.

    Since my relationship with my family is poor, like many gays from Christian families, I do not have that option for the love and affection I want and need.

    When it is worked at properly, romantic love fulfils all those needs and desires, and so much more besides – irrespective of whether sex is involved or not. Even in a celibate romantic relationship the degree of emotional intimacy and trust I have with a partner is far greater than what I can have with a friend.

    "Who ever said that homosexuals can’t live in the hope of love?" – Callista Hogan

    I was referring specifically to romantic love, which is typically involuntary, powerful, and focused on giving, rather than reciprocating, love. I think I've established that I do not think that platonic love can be substituted for romantic love in all, or even the majority, of cases. That is why I said that under your rules gays would be condemned to live in fear of love – the very thing which for others is a cause for hope, joy and celebration would for us be a cause for anxiety, despair and self-deprivation.

  • Something to chew on…

    Situation #1 Hypothetically, you are in a committed relationship, your spouse or significant other & you have been together for years. One day you're in an accident, and left completely paralyzed. Your significant other stays by your side , however a few years years later you find out that he or she is, or has been in a sexual relationship, to fill the physical void caused by your paralysis. Now your partner, after being confronted, tells you that they do "love" you, but… they do have physical needs (which you can't fill), and is leaving you.

    Situation #2 Hypothetically, you are in a committed relationship, your spouse or significant other & you have been together for years. One day you're in an accident, and left completely paralyzed. Your significant other still has physical needs but faithfully stays by your side.

    What's most important, what's treasured? The faithfulness of your significant other, or the physical bonding? Just something to think about.

  • tavdy

    “What’s most important, what’s treasured? The faithfulness of your significant other, or the physical bonding? Just something to think about.” – Christopher

    For me, being able to physically hold a partner and/or express my love for them – irrespective of whether or not we’re able to actually have sex – is what is important. For me sex is an added bonus, not the focus.

  • Aliza

    Im A homosexual thats also Christian and ive tryed hard to fight this battle it isent easy u just cant Not be Homosexual i bellieve i was born this way i dont agree with the life style but if i want to live according to the way God wants me to id be single my whole life id be lonley i would have to fight the feelings id get for someone

    life wouldent be fun or enjoyible God feels in most love ppl feel in other kinds of love yes God's love is amazing but to never know how it feel to be loved and to love someone els is a huge sacrifice

    im not sure im willing to make im just about annoyed of being single

    i cant like guys wat so ever if i went out with one id have to force myself every day just to be with him its like asking a striaght person to turn gay it aint happening because u just cant like ur same sex

  • bob

    It has always been interesting to me, that people can make any excuse

    to do just about anything. God's word is very plain about what you should and should not do. No-one is making anyone live alone, you do this you yourself. You can either choose to live as God/Christ wants you too, or not. You can't be gay/homosexual, and continue

    have male-male,and female-female sex, and say you are a christian

    at the same time. just like you are not be christian if you're commiting adultry,fornication,masturbation, sex with animals,,etc, because

    being born again,washed in the blood,cleansed by the lamb of God

    "Jesus Christ means change!!! If you dont change you are not a Christian. Yes anyone can and does sin, but you must change sinful nature through Christ. If you die unchanged/unrepented then you will not be saved from Hell. If you ask God to change your Gay nature,and repent of it, and truly want to give it up he will take that nature from you and give the nature that is what he wants for you, male-female. You never have to be alone you just have to choose Gods way. It is either his way or Hell. Gay life is wrong,as any other sin, you must ask forgiveness for it,then repent of it,and give it to God, as you would any other sin. We all sin b t we must ask and receive forgiveness, otherwise we die here.and in the here-after.

    Gods plain word:

    Do not lie with a man as

    one lies with a woman;

    that is detestable.

    Men also abandoned natural relations with

    women and were inflamed with lust for one

    another. Men committed indecent acts with other

    men, and received in themselves the due penalty for

    their perversion." (Romans 1:24-27, NIV)

  • You are just simply awesome.

  • Thanks, Stephanie. That's a great thing for me to hear this morning.

  • Stephanie


    I find it a very dangerous thing for a Christian to say whether or not someone else is a Christian.

    Perhaps if we focused our hearts and eyes more on the grace and the love of Christ, we wouldn't be so eager to point out who is a Christian and who is not.


  • One has to either accept the Bible or reject it. If you reject it, then you can dodge the fact that God says homosexuality is wrong. If you believe the Bible, then you have to reject at least the act of homosexuality (while never rejecting the person…I promise it's possible). It's really simple. Do you believe the Bible is God's word or not?

  • Dan: I never questioned whether or not the Bible was "God's word." All I said was … well, exactly what I said.

  • Tim: Not to play the devil's advocate here or anything, but, for my money, it's not gay life that is, as you put it, "often predisposed to self-loathing, self-deception, depression, anxiety and lying." I think ALL life is like that. All people are predisposed to those things, gay or not. You just wrote a (great) post on your own blog about your terrible divorce, through which you did and are still experiencing those very things, as the result of a failed relationship. Suffering COMES with love, yes? Period, I think.

    And I'm terribly sorry, but I just couldn't follow your argument about the health benefits. Most people CAN add family members to their benefits coverage, yes?

    Anyway, righto. Thanks, as ever, for writing!

  • Tim

    “…outside of the Biblical injunction against it, whom does homosexual love hurt?”

    In all honesty, I believe homosexual love hurts the homosexual and anyone else that is close to, and cares about that person. Gay life is often predisposed to self-loathing, self-deception, depression, anxiety and lying. While it could be argued that some of these attributes are specifically caused by the hostility, discrimination, familial upheaval suffered by homosexuals in most societies—I say, from my own personal knowledge, that such is not always the case. Maybe even not OFTEN the case.

    I would go further to say that homosexual love harms others because I believe it sets up an environment of division within society that is harmful. For instance, tax breaks and healthcare benefits awarded on the basis of a sexual relationships as opposed to a family relationships doesn’t seem fair. Ouch! I know I’m hitting nerves and making enemies. I realize two gay people see their “loves” every bit as much family as do straights. But in all fairness, I would also see my unemployed adult son or father living with me as family too. But it is doubtful my employer’s health benefits would be extended to my family…unless they were (1) not my family, and (2) my sexual partners. The film, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”, brought that notion to light when two straight firefighters pretend to be a gay couple to qualify for health benefits. So hypothetically, my family would be denied healthcare based on what seems to be a sexist policy. Maybe I should consider the perceived inequity as a form of reparations to homosexuals for the lumps they’ve taken over history from their revilers. Anyway, there are my thoughts. Peace 2 all.

    Oooh. I just realized this was a repost. No wonder there are sooo many responses

  • Bill

    Not if the homosexual has a lover and a caring circle of friends, which many do. Yes, it's lonely if you don't have someone special in your life, but that's true of heterosexuals too. I'm older now and alone but I've had a wife and, after divorce, two wonderful loves in my life. My loneliness now is not only NOT the main part of my life, but it's really no different than if I was a widower… any age.

    Homosexuality is NOT defined by loneliness.

  • Bill


  • Bill

    hit a wrong key

    … Elaine Pagels, then let's hear you say that again.

  • Bill

    *********I don’t think we have the option of picking which part we want to follow, and which part we want to discard.*********

    That has to be one of the most idiotically hypocritical statements made in defense of the Bible, not only because Christians so blatantly do it routinely but because we damn well BETTER do just that, or we will be killing each other for adultery and eating shrimp, and bashing our disobedient children's heads against rocks and murdering entire civilizations that we conquer, including their cattle, etc, ad infinitum.

    If we think the world is crazy now, God help us if we really did take the Bible literally.

  • Bill

    Well said and I'm sure you understand that James and Ingrid and all who think like them are coming at it from the errantly learned ASSUMPTION that homosexuality is a perversion of human sexuality, a mistake and that, while BEING homosexual may not in itself be sinful, DOING homosexuality is. They don't get the impossible pain of the "catch22" situation their Biblical interpretation puts homosexuals in or, if they do get it, they don't give a damn. Tough luck. God isn't fair but hey, he loves you……and we do too, but don't bring your partner to church….or the family holiday gatherings. And NEVER NEVER express any public affection….or we'll call the cops. And anyway, it's your own fault for being "that way".

  • Bill

    They don't get it Bruce. Like my evangelical siblings, they can't grasp that it might be possible to put the words homosexual and love in the same phrase. For them, there is no possibility of Love entering into the equation. Two men simply can't love each other like……well, like real love!! Or like THAT! Agape love, sure, that's an abstract they can accept, but not sexual love. Heteros can have "sexual love", but how can that be possible between homos? They can't grasp it.

    Yeah, I know, their inability to grasp it boggles my mind too, because I've known mind-blowing, god-touching love with two men.

    The truth is not that they can't grasp it, but that they won't. They have invested so much of their "faith" in the "truth" of the evil of homosexuality that to begin to consider how wrong they are on this one issue is to challenge their entire faith structure. They have no real faith in their "faith".

  • Bill

    So….you would support legislation requiring the execution of homosexuals, like they are trying to do in Uganda? With the help of firebrand U.S. fundamentalist interfering preachers, I might add.

    A simple yes or no will suffice.

  • Bill

    The mistake is believing that the Bible, literally and in its entirety is God's Word, with no considerations for cultural context or political/social agendas of the writers, or for the centuries of re-interpretations to the extent that what you are reading now is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, ad infinitum, of the original writings which were, in turn, written by ancient scribes taken from oral tradition, and that the first writings that even remain were were written in Sanskrit or some such language from bottom to top, right to left without punctuation, paragraph or sentence structure, and all that had to be figured out by those ancient scribes who may have had their own notions of what was meant by a given phrase or word.

    Oh please. One looks on in wonder.

  • Bill

    Wrong Amanda.What a silly old canard. I'm a gay man and very much a man. I have NO desire to be a woman and that is true of most gay men. I've been married and frankly, I've never felt more like a man than when I was with another man. The drag queens are a whole nother category and an infinitesimally small percentage of what some lump together as the "gay community".

    Get your head out of the stereotype sand.

  • Bill

    Thank you, Elissa. The world needs more like you. You are truly the "salt of the earth." God bless and continue to enlighten you.

  • Bill

    You just don't grasp it, do you? Let's try this. Heteros, alone. Homos, alone. Heteros alone should not have sex. OK. Homos should never have sex. I hope you noticed the omission. Heteros should never have sex until married. Homos should never have sex. Heteros should never have sex until married but can look forward to getting married and having sex. Homos cannot get married (to each other) and must never have sex and must have no hope of having a sexual love relationship. God or Jesus will fill in for that loss or "sacrifice". THAT is the big lie. Even the most ardent single Christian cannot deny that God or Jesus will not come down from wherever and lie beside you and lovingly touch and embrace you. No power of imagination can make you feel that unless you have gone totally bonkers….or dreamed it, as I did, just last nite. And it wasn't Jesus, unless he took the form of a very handsome man. It's been awhile and it felt wonderful……and it wasn't the first time.

    I truly don't mean to denigrate when I say that those of you who spout that stuff are just so clueless. Why? Do you ever seriously ask yourselves ….WHY?

  • Bill

    Other than God or the Bible says so, because I don 't believe that. I have read it and I can't see it the way you do. You will suggest it is because I don't with to.

    Well, I suggest you see it as you do because you wish to.

    If it is true that I see only what I wish, at least I can explain to myself why.

  • Bill

    Hello. I have newly discovered John’s site from being an avid Huff Post reader. You will find me in commentary there as “Soulmentor” but I see that here you all appear to use your real names. How refreshing it was to read the first posting there that I saw of John’s that caught my eye….this one. I since saw his most recent and was so impressed that I clicked into the site. I hope you have space for a learned, I think, gay man with a deep spiritual attraction to religious issues, particularly as they relate to homosexuals. With a personal library on the subject longer than twice my arm span, I probably have an unofficial Master’s Degree in my head.

    A bit of background: I was farm raised in SE Minnesota in a conservative Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, Republican family. College educated and now retired, I have been married, raised two successful military officer sons, divorced, gone thru ELCA and UCC memberships, am now a non practicing anything, spiritually oriented Democrat/Independent, gay man at peace with myself and God on the issues, a pronouncement that causes deeply conflicted, quizzical expressions from my evangelical type siblings who fear for my soul but nevertheless remain lovingly civil toward me. We can even talk about it….on rare occasions. I am going to forward this site link to them as I believe they are open enuf to actually pay some attention to it. Tho they speak in the language of “the Lord this”and “the Lord that”, maybe my comfort level with myself has given them pause to think at least a wee bit beyond their own certainties. For the past decade, I have been an “out” gay activist writer/guest columnist on gay issues for the local/regional newspaper here in Wisconsin.

    I find this site and dialogue one of the most interesting and civilly respectful I’ve seen, which I credit directly to Mr Shore’s succinct, intelligent, sharply insightful and often witty manner of addressing some very serious issues that are currently causing damaging disunity within our society, not to mention the hysterical response of those who are getting their religious certainty ox gored.

    I hope I may be able to offer something useful to the dialogue.

  • Bill

    This whole angle of discussion of homosexuality assumes the desirability of change from homosexual to heterosexual, which assume the “sin” of homosexuality, which assumes that the “traditional” biblical interpretations on the issue are valid. New insights on that are making it quite clear that the Bible is anything BUT clear on the issue. Read WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY by Daniel Helmeniak, a former priest. His logic and research are impeccable and you will never think the same again.

  • Bill: I’m very glad you’ve come to visit; I hope you’ll stay. Wonderful (and flattering: thank you) comment. You’ve already been great addition to this blog.

    A few of the other posts I’ve written on this matter are:

    Sorry: that was more than a few. But … it’s something I write about sometimes. And will yet, I’m sure.

  • Bill

    Why do YOU think He did? Other than “traditional” imagery, where does it say God instituted marriage? We know there were women disciples of Jesus but they are nowhere to be seen in the Bible nor are their writings. Hmmm. Do you suspect that patriarchal prejudice that came along as the Roman church became dominant might have something to do with that?

    The early church sanctioned same-sex unions but that has gotten buried too. Do some research and learn something beyond what “tradition” has told you.

  • Bill

    Hi Chris and John. I believe the main reason we have such religious controversies in the first place arises from the human need to have answers to the human condition. That, combined with an innate knowledge that we don’t know all the answers creates a need for absolutes and where they can’t be found, they must be invented.

    We are the only living creature (so far we don’t know enuf about apes) that knows we will die. Fear of death, the great unknown, along with that vague longing for something greater than ourselves, prompts religion, and religion without absolutes doesn’t answer our needs. Some of us learn to live with the understanding that we can’t and don’t need to know all the answers. But it seems a huge percentage of humanity can’t live with that.

    The impulse to insist that others believe as we do is merely an attempt to assure ourselves that our own beliefs are the correct ones. That becomes a desperate need in many who then try to impose their beliefs on others. The growing confidence of homosexuals in their own selves and, horrors, in their confident professions of Christian or spiritual faith, reminds others of their deep sense that they really don’t KNOW the truth and to quell their fear, they insist all the harder. Belief is not knowing, it is only telling ourselves that we know, sometimes to such a great extent that we really do think we know.

    Remember, even Jesus did not answer when asked, “What is truth?” Ever wonder why?

  • Daniel Cates

    This will be my first time posting here. I am a gay Christian male, work as an LGBT rights activist in Dallas and I think you are spot on! One problem I am always a little concerned by with many Christians is that they take these beliefs to the ballot box. Is this not a form of tyranny forcing others to live by, UNDER THE LAW, your own private beliefs? How is this any different than in Afghanistan where the Taliban made the women wear burkas?

    I have seen a few posts on here suggesting that homosexuality might even be a choice.. this is a common argument we hear from many Christians.. and unlike a lot of LGBT activists, I will not argue that fact. Weather or not any of us were born this way or created this way or chose to do so after seeing two men holding hands is completely irrelevant to the conversation regarding equality and here is why; Christians have the full protections of the law. You cannot be fired for being Christian. You cannot be thrown out of the military if it is found out you happen to be a Christian. You cannot be denied adoption rights, the right to visit your life long partner in the hospital or to make life decisions for said partner. You cannot be denied housing based on your religion. You cannot be denied marriage or religious holidays.There are literally thousands of other legal protections that many Christians enjoy yet use the ballot box to ensure that gays and lesbians will NEVER have access to because homosexuality IS a sin and a CHOICE. Yes, it is nice to be a Christian and have the support of the constitution on your side.. it is important to remember however.. the next time you are at said ballot box.. that Christianity is also a choice. I know this as a Christian.. the choice I made to follow the lord. I find it hypocritical then to deny homosexuals the same rights as anyone else in this country.. even IF it were a choice (which most in their hearts know is NOT the case) it is a choice that brings no harm to anyone.

  • MarkF

    Such a contentious subject, I will brief, even though each of my points could be greatly expanded upon

    1.) The assumption here in the original article is that the practice of homosexuality is really just the same as love between a man and woman. It's not. I've spent thirty years practicing homosexuality, and you know what? All those "scary" Christian videos about what homosexuals do are not overstated. Homosexual practice tends to be dark, degrading and soul numbing. And it gets worse the longer a person is into it. I could talk for weeks non-stop about what homosexual reality is versus what homosexual propaganda tells us that it is.

    2.) To assume, as the author does, that homosexuality is a victimless sin, also forces us to assume that when God tells us that it's wrong, he in fact is warning us of something that is benign. In essence then God is just giving us a meaningless commandment. God does not do that.

    3.) St. Paul tells us that these so-called victimless sexual sins in fact unite with whores. In spiritual terms, sex is about union, "the two become one." The Bible in fact tells us sexual sins defile us MUCH more than other sins.

    4.) Without the Bible, all non-Christian cultures have found that the practice of homosexuality is destructive. We don't need the Bible to see that homosexuality is dangerous. Can anyone tell me the name of one country, one state, or one city even where homosexuality is widely practiced where AIDS is not a major problem?

    5.) "I have many gay friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. and they are nice people." Yes, they may very well be. But you don't know their homosexual side. You only see the non-sexual side. What they do is hidden from you. If you're straight, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT GOES ON, and no homosexual person will be honest with you.

    6.) Homosexuality causes much unhappiness, this is why over HALF of gay men have been under the care of a psychologist, experience much more depression than straight people, are prone to drug and alcohol abuse, are plagued with AIDS, commit suicide at high rates…the list goes on and on. Homosexual activists, of which I used to be one, will never talk about this…except when they want to use these facts to blame it all on Christianity.

    7.) "Homosexuals should be left to experience love in their own ways." Well, this search for love only leads to more pain, perversion, loneliness, and debauchery. I'm 51. I've seen this myself. I see it ALL around me in every city or country I've been in. Homosexuality is a path to pain on earth. Some my settle into a life of friendship, work and relatives. But the sexual aspect always ends badly. All the "gay" couples I know have either stopped being sexual with each other, or "play" with others. It's not just that homosexuals don't age well, it's that time and homosexuality is a fatal combination…the practice gets weirder the more time goes on.

  • MarkF, what an astonishingly courageous post. I’m sorry no one has responded. I hope you find peace and love.

  • alison

    I see your point, John, but what you are missing is that Christians that know what the Bible says think they are being kind and generous by saying it's just like any other sin. They're trying to be nonjudgmental. I think that's important to remember. For people who don't believe the Bible, hence, don't believe it is a sin, this sounds insulting and intolerant. But only half of the commandments are about doing harm to someone else. The rest are about harming God. And some of the things, like envy,jealousy, greed, only harm oneself, not anyone else.

  • Scott

    @mark f, you just sound lonely and scorned, it's pathetic…

    John, thank you for the insight…

  • A'isha

    There are far too many comments for me to read at this time, although I do believe I read a good sampling of them, including the response by MarkF. It's to Mark that I respond.

    In your first section, you state "Homosexual practice tends to be dark, degrading and soul numbing." I think you're overgeneralizing based on your personal experience. I would be what most would call bi, although I consider myself a lesbian. I should also say that I've only been a Christian for the past 5 years although I was raised in a Christian environment. Based on MY experience, homosexual practice is in no way dark or degrading. It was loving, nurturing, and caring. The couple serious "straight" relationships I had were much darker than I would ever imagine with another woman. Your statement was all-inclusive, exactly like those made by prejudiced, bigoted people of any flavor.

    In 3, you say that sexual sins defile us more than any other sin based on Paul's writings. Since becoming a Christian I do believe this to be true, but probably our definition is different. Sexual sin is sex outside of a committed union, be that hetero- or homo-sexual. I no longer have casual sexual relationships but do hope to have a committed relationship sometime in the future.

    I wonder how, in your 4th paragraph, you can say that "non-Christian cultures have found that the practice of homosexuality is destructive?" On what do you base this opinion? Most advanced nations seem to be moving into the direction where gay marriages are becoming legal, so are all these nations being destructive in doing so?

    At one point you say that homosexuals will not be honest with straight people. Just to set the record straight, yes, many of us will be. I have only ever hidden things I'm ashamed of. I'm not ashamed of who I am and don't make it a habit of doing things worthy of shame.

    You state: "Homosexuality is a path to pain on earth." and "All the “gay” couples I know have either stopped being sexual with each other, or “play” with others." I'm very sorry that YOUR experiences brought you so much pain. Can you see that possibly there was more going on than just being gay? Obviously the people you associated with weren't very well adjusted either because they "all" stop being sexual or seek sex outside of their committed relationships. Well-adjusted adults who are capable of commitment are capable of remaining sexual with only their partner whether they are straight or gay.

    I find most of your statements based solely on experiences that were hurtful to you. Please don't put your experiences on me, because it just ain't true.

    Based on MY experience John is spot on, as usual.

  • Nathan

    I’m with you, Mark. Not on your overall contention, but that I will respond briefly, even though the points could be expanded upon greatly. Also, thanks for numbering your points. It makes a response easier.

    1. I’ve found that there are really two gay communities. One that is ridiculously promiscuous, and one that is not. Sort of the same as the straight world. I’d hate to say that all Christians are judgmental just because most of the ones I know happen to be. I’d say the same for the gay community. There are lots and lots of wonderful gay Christians you should meet. They don’t hang out at gay bars much, though.

    2. This point has a premise that is suspect. I disagree that God tells us that homosexuality is wrong. I find lots of prohibitions against being a whore, or being adulterous, but I don’t see anything that says a loving gay relationship is forbidden. In fact, Jesus claims that some were made to be eunuchs by God.

    3. I don’t think it is biblical to discuss the “moreness” of any sin. While you can certainly find clauses that say such a thing, if you hold on long enough to consider the whole cannon, rather than a constitutional approach to picking clauses out and claiming the law says such and such, I think the point is that sexual sins are not about sex at all, really. They are about what we would call today ” self worth”.

    4. I’m not even sure where to start on this one. How wide would a culture have to practice homosexuality for it fit your description? Would Greco Roman times work? How about modern day Netherlands? Australia? All those places have lower AIDS cases than America or Africa. Note that in most of Africa, people rally against being gay. But, AIDS spreads like wildfire. In addition. The claim that all cultures find homosexuality morally wrong is simply not true. The are dozens of examples against that claim.

    5. We all have our hidden sides. Most gay people I know are much more open about it than straight people. Would you contend that they lie instead? I know many gay people, myself included, who don’t fit your description. Perhaps you lived your gay life in dark alleys, I don’t know. I live my gay life in churches, thankful for the blessing God has given me.

    6. Being under the care of a psychologist is a GOOD sign. We should all be so lucky as to have a professional to help us work out our lives. People who are marginalized need such help. It helps them to learn to stop listening to the hatred of others Nd listen to the love God wants to give to them. God truly loves you, too. Whereever you are and whatever you want to believe about yourself. There are no prerequisites for that love.

    7. I certainly do see some of this, too, I must say. But, I am a younger gay man. I’m 31. And I see change in the gay community. There is the possibility of a normal life. I know you look one way and see a wall, and look the other and see a hard place. But, I tell you that there are people to help you. The gay couples my age are ridiculously normal. And the more society stops spewing hatred, the more chance our children will be open to normal lives for gay and straight people. There is hope. I will pray for you that God will open your heart to change.

  • Derek

    John thank you so much for this post. As you can see from some of the replies posted here, many gay people are justifiably wary of Christians who say “hate the sin and love the sinner”. When fundamentalists insist that gay people are perverted, desperate, miserable etc., it is so incredibly arrogant and dismissive to think that all gay people suffer these things without any mention of the fact that MANY straight people fall into these categories as well. Promiscuity, unhappiness, loneliness, pain, and “dark degrading and soul numbing sexual practices” are as frequent among straight couples as gay, and to link these traits only with homosexuals betrays a prejudice that causes many gays to justifiably fear Christianity. The kind of commentary that says gay people are dangerous, sinful. duplicitous and riddled with disease, especially when expressed without any hesitation by Christian leaders, can be directly linked to physical harm to gay people. I recently heard a gay man speak of how, when he told his Christian father that he was gay, his father told him that he would rather his son was dead. Many gay teens attempt suicide because of the shame and guilt they fear about their orientation, and who is telling them that being gay is shameful? I believe that Jesus’ message was one of inclusiveness. As a gay Christian, who has been in a monogamous relationship for 17 years, now legally married in a Christian Church, I KNOW that gay people can find full affirmation and acceptance within Christianity. The kind of bigotry that is expressed by some Christians is more akin to fundamentalists of other religions who see no problem with executing gays, non-virgins etc. It has no place in a true Christian community. Thank you again John.

  • Melissa

    MarkF – your comments suggest that you believe that homosexuals have the market on sexual depravity. Almost all of your comments could apply to many, many straight relationships. How many straight men out there are hopelessly into porn or visiting prostitutes on a regular basis? Out there having all the kinky sex their wife won’t give them? You think those guys are out there telling the truth about their hidden activities? (Re: #5) Ummmm, NO! My father cheated on my mother their entire marriage (with women and MEN by the way) and she cheated on him. He also did some other very bad things I won’t mention here. So please, let’s not be so righteous with your comments about “what you know” about those homosexuals. Courageous my ass… you’re just majorly pissed off for some reason.

  • There is nothing to support your claim that Mary Magdelene was “caught in sexual sin.” Luke 8.2 and Mark 16.9 both say that Jesus cast demons out of her–an act of healing, not forgiveness. There is nothing to indicate that the woman “caught” in adultery in John 8 (although, of course, no sexual partner was accused), whom Jesus instructed, “Go and sin no more,” was Mary Magdelene, and nothing to indicate that she was a prostitute. And rather than serving as the subject of a quick object lesson and then being dismissed, Mary Magdelene played a valuable role in the early church.

  • alison

    Cavalcade, perhaps I can relate to you in a small way (not completely, because I am hetero-sexual). I was raised to believe, and many people I respect teach convincingly from the Bible that a divorced person cannot remarry. I believe that is true in some, but not all, circumstances. Given that, I realized at the age of 32 I would probably spend the rest of my life alone – not entirely alone, I had two small children, daughters. And I find my relationship with them very fulfilling. But now they are grown and I face the possibility of once again being alone. Like you, I haven’t taken care of myself, partly because of the reason you started, and partly because I didn’t want to be attractive to anyone and get into a situation I couldn’t handle. I can say that my life is very fulfilling, and if the right guy came along now, I would have to think long and hard – not just if remarriage is something I can morally do, but also, do I really want to give up the freedom of this life I have created for myself.

    I watch The Office a lot, and in a recent episode, Michael was dating a married woman. At the end of the show after much turmoil and indecision he said (not word for word). “I realized I could do the right thing, or I could be happy, and I decided to do the right thing.” Life is not easy. There is no guarantee anyone would ever want me, even if I felt that I could remarry. The same is probably true for you. I am on your side as you struggle to do what is right. And I would never condemn you if you chose happiness instead. I can’t condemn you because (1) I have never been tempted in that area, and (2) because I don’t know what I would do if that opportunity presented itself to me. God be with you.

  • Calypso

    This is a Rhetorical Q isn't it?

  • C. F.

    [fundy anti-gay broken Christianese statement deleted.]

  • Elizabeth

    Read it. Makes no sense. Love, eternal and temporal, is not a binary equation.