Over on our Facebook page I have been sharing pictures and stories that have been coming across my feed today. In spite of everything else that’s in the news, it seems that the pages and celebrities I follow are all talking about homosexuality. And I think that’s good. It needs to be talked about. And continue to be talked about until it’s not something that needs to be talked about anymore.
Of course, the big story on this front is the marriage of well-known actor Neil Patrick Harris (of Doogie Howser and How I Met Your Mother fame — among others) to his long-time partner David.
And I, as a Christian, couldn’t be more…. happy for them. Yes. I am happy that one person that loved another person was able to have a warm and loving ceremony to celebrate their love. The world didn’t end, lions didn’t lay down with lambs, the walls didn’t start bleeding, and life as we know it continues to go on.
But in the religious circles I run, there is outrage. “Horrible example!” they say. “Abomination! I will never watch his stuff again!” they say.
Why? Why are so many Christians and churches so outraged by homosexuality? Why? They point to this obscure text or that one and say “See? God hates gays!” And whenever a story like this comes out we see that so many in the church are just like the Westboro Baptist folks they claim they are not like. The only difference is they don’t show up to funerals with signs. Other than that they agree pretty much 100% with their message that “God Hates F**s”.
(For a really good approach to these verses from the Bible, check out this article: Clobbering Biblical Gay Bashing)
What is my take on all this?
Is Gay a choice? Is it something that can be “prayed away” or changed? Is it something that you can just ‘not be’? What should we, as Christians, do about it?
Some say the answers are easy. I think, maybe, not so much. (I am in no way shape or form very knowledgeable on this topic. But I have friends and I have kids and I have talked about this with them, so what I present here is things that have been said to me.)
I think that there are people that are born gay. They are always attracted to the opposite sex. (Same is true for bi-sexuality). They just are.
But I also think that there are some, because of the conditions of their life or maybe a traumatic event, or who knows what, that are born ‘straight’ but become gay. These are the ones you hear about that claim to have been ‘healed’ of it or “found something they like better” in the opposite sex or a million other stories like that. Not all, but some.
And it gets more complex from there. Human sexuality, like almost every other issue in the world, is not black and white. It’s not even fifty shades of grey, it’s complicated and multicolored and messy. To try to push one group or another of people into some box or make them match some definition of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is just…. well, wrong.
But we also need to be aware of those, ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ that feel confused about their sexuality. As I said because of circumstances or events or other things, some might need help. They should be directed to specialists (and not anti-gay specialists, human sexuality specialists) to get the help they need.
And yes. We should pray for them. But not for the gay to “go away”, but for them to be who they were created to be, no matter what that is. For them to be their true self. In fact, we should pray that prayer for everyone. That is what our Christian response should be to homosexuality, or any human condition, for the people involved to be their true selves.
But what about all those verses from Moses and Paul and everything?
Well, what about them? The Bible isn’t a sex manual. Nor is it a manual on “how to make people live the way you want them to”. The Bible is PERSONAL, it’s a message to YOU, not to other people through you — at least not on the issue of sexuality (or what they should eat or how they should dress, etc.) If YOU feel compelled to not be gay, then do something about it. If you feel compelled to not eat shellfish or have four tassels on your skirt, then by all means, then do what you think is right. But the Bible wasn’t written for you to force other people to follow what you think it says.
One thing Bible reading people need to stop doing is STOP BEING SO OBSESSED WITH HOMOSEXUALITY. Seriously, there are hundreds, thousands, millions of other issues that need attention. Not the least of which is the fact that almost 8 million kids right here in the US don’t have enough to eat. Or thousands of wounded and hurting military veterans need medical and psychiatric care. Or women all over the world in abusive and dangerous relationships. There are so so many way more important things we need to be dealing with instead of worrying about who is kissing who.
One final thought.
Arguably, Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. And most certainly he never said anything DIRECTLY about same-sex relationships. What He did say is probably much harder to deal with than the verses about homosexuality. “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”.