The Treatment of Gays in Christianity

*Comment originally aired on Stand to Reasons ‘The Bible on Homosexuality’ blog

You create a line of reasoning, then accuse every Christian who follows it of being in a gray area. Can you not see the fantastic, implausible nature of your assertion here?” (Hawkins)

The line of reason is created by reality – an observable phenomenon we can see on blogs, at churches, in rallies, etc. The line of reasoning is not really an assumption, but a fact. I am asserting clearly Christians are in a ‘gray area’ as to conduct towards gay people. That’s not really that implausible is it?

Christians (in general) are indeed struggling with how to treat a gay person in their community. How accepted should they be? How rejected should they be? This in turn creates the ‘gray area’ of conduct towards these individuals – depending on what side of the measuring stick you fall on – more accepting or more rejecting.

For example, can a gay person struggle with this ‘sin’ their whole life and still be an accepted and even authoritative member of their Christian community? Now I mean, can they come in at the age of 21, being gay, and still struggle with this sin their whole life (ie: 70 years old) and be accepted as just another member of the Christian family?

“I am concerned this is may not even be a consideration. We are in (and have been for some time) the midst of a cultural phenomenon where “sin” is considered an outdated, obsolete way of describing human behavior of any kind” (Hawkins)

I am all for sin being described as sin, the semantics of this gay idea is not the problem.

I have a question though about defining ‘sin’. Can someone commit a ‘sin’ if they do not have to ability to choose?

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27 thoughts on “The Treatment of Gays in Christianity

  1. I think we all choose…to sin.

    Because ‘sin’ is not like stepping into and out of dog poop…it is our ‘condition’.

    All of us keep sinning because we don’t want to stop.

  2. This is a very thoughtful post, and one that needs to be discussed, but let’s be honest, most Christians of the fundamentalist nature will see only one side of this debate. Personally, I believe it’s something your born with, and if that’s the case, how can it be sinful? I don’t understand homosexuality, and it’s certainly not a lifestyle I would choose, but I cannot and will not judge a person based on their sexual orientation. I’ve been reading a lot lately on the former Christian singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp. She won several Grammy’s and wrote some of the most passionate and intelligent songs in the Christian music industry. After being absent from music for several years she recently recorded a new album that, as far as I can tell, is really good. But here’s the kicker: She’s a lesbian, and therefore is pretty much ostracized from those that once praised her for her spirituality. That to me is the true sin.

  3. Good post Jason

    Jesus Steve, youre a piece of shit, youre saved. Why not get it over with so you dont have to keep sinning? Afterall you might save some homosexual people some grief by not having to listen to your crap. I think that might be a very loving thing. So, think about it.

  4. “I am asserting clearly Christians are in a ‘gray area’ as to conduct towards gay people.” SVS

    The only reason this gray area exists in the church is because of the bible. There is no debating that the bible clearly thinks homosexuality is wrong and there is sadly, no tolerance for the homosexual.

    I have homosexual christian friends and they put up with the church mostly for family. Cause as soon as they out themselves, they are shunned by their supposedly loving community of believers. Shunned by even family members!!! That is the sin of the christian community. The Ex Archbishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway who is not a homosexual, was shunned by is church for even talking about the issue and accepting homosexuality. His treatment from the church caused him to lose his faith. Now he openly speaks out on their behalf.

    My point: Get rid of the bible, and you get rid of the gray area.

  5. “interpretation” of Biblical passages, “interpretation” of a word (sin)…. These are issues seen from opposite sides of (what appears to be) an eternal fence…some straddlers excluded. Those who view the Bible as inerrant, the very “word of God” will see the issue in one way. The rest will find room for human beings who may be different in some respects. For me, it boils down to truly loving my fellow humans as myself. Either I do, or I am in the process of trying my best.

  6. i view the whole concept of focusing on homosexuality as a sin just a great way to avoid our own sins as hetero’s. good retort though Jason. i joined in, but found i have no patience to deal with such thinking. is that a sin? prolly.

  7. I am focusing on treatment of people – as equals – and not really the sin aspect of this debate (although I also am able to discuss that biblically to some pretty good degree).

  8. “I think we all choose…to sin. Because ’sin’ is not like stepping into and out of dog poop…it is our ‘condition’. All of us keep sinning because we don’t want to stop.” (Steve)

    That is such a simplistic way to view the world – in some ways it holds some validity – and in others – fails to reveal the total scope of our human reality.

    Yes we all ‘choose’ to sin…however…how can one be held accountable to laws that cannot be applied to them anyways? The big question is, are gays choosing to be gay or this simply and easily a biological issue? I lean towards biology fairly heavily since the stories I hear from gay people seem to lend creedence to this.

  9. “But here’s the kicker: She’s a lesbian, and therefore is pretty much ostracized from those that once praised her for her spirituality. That to me is the true sin.” (Chris)

    According to Conservative Christians, which she oddly enough once was, she should just quit being a lesbian. That’s about as simple as their answers on this issue are…one word piece-meals that offer no encouragement or nourishment.

    The reason these debates on the gay issue are one-sided is because, and I am finding this to be very true, one side of the debate actually takes this serious enough to study the many aspects to the issue. That side would be the more progressive Christians (and other faith systems) who are using personal experience, observation, research, scriptural study, and historical findings to arrive at their conclusions. Conservative aspects refuse to put in this work because ‘it goes against everything they believe in’.

  10. “My point: Get rid of the bible, and you get rid of the gray area” (Wolf)

    Likely not going to happen, but true.

    I find your gay friends experiences are all too common across the America’s in many various denominations. The truth is Conservative people do not want to see how much they really hurt people with their rhetoric and stance on this issue, they really don’t. In some ways, one could say the Conservative factions in Christianity are very cold-hearted in this debate. They refuse to see what the outcome of all of this denial of gay people their religious rights is doing.

  11. Whether it’s chosen or not is not the problem.

    We ALL have something is us that goes against God’s ideal for us.

    That gays have this attraction to same sex is a particularly tough situation, but it does not get them off the hook anymore than someone who is predisposed to overeating.

    We all need the Lord’s forgiveness for our sinful condition.

    We don’t affirm whatever it is that has us…we come to the Lord and ask forgiveness. And He gives it to us.

  12. “Whether it’s chosen or not is not the problem” (Steve)

    To some degree it is. If you cannot choose to sin but do – are you actually guilty of a sin? It’s like someone forcing someone else to do something – and then both of them being blamed equally for the crime.

    In this case it is a biological predisposition. Steve, you and I are straight and we struggle with lusts towards women. This is very normal for men (it’s also how the world continues on generation after generation – attraction of the opposite sex). But someone gay does not have that same pull and intensity towards women…they have it towards men. Can they be blamed for having that predisposition in life anymore than we can for having lust towards women?

    “We ALL have something is us that goes against God’s ideal for us.” (Steve)

    True, but do we all have something that goes against God that we cannot change? For example, many years back Black people were considered ‘less than human’ by slave owners (Christians even). Now a black person could not change their skin color and they were doomed. I think gay people are sitting in a similar quandry concerning ‘choice’.

    “That gays have this attraction to same sex is a particularly tough situation, but it does not get them off the hook anymore than someone who is predisposed to overeating.” (Steve)

    It’s still not identical. People that over-eat can actually get help for that (ie: gastric bypass surgery) or can also seek various methods to change their eating behaviors. I have seen it done personally.

    Someone gay is as predisposed to his condition as a straight man is to his (so in some ways it’s nowhere near comparable to being ‘hungry’ – that can be satisfied). It’s such an inherent thing to them it’s hard to decipher how they are supposed to change. I think anyone that tells a gay person to be celibate should also themselves be celibate (if that is the answer).

    “We all need the Lord’s forgiveness for our sinful condition” (Steve)

    Agreed, for ‘our’ (gay and straight together as equals) condition.

    “We don’t affirm whatever it is that has us…we come to the Lord and ask forgiveness. And He gives it to us” (Steve)

    I agree, if it is a ‘sin’ we are discussing. Steve, you and I can speak so loosely on this subject because we are in the very priveleged group of being straight before an Almighty God. We have nothing to lose either way in this debate, heck ‘we’re straight’ and well accepted and loved as darlings of our surrounding society and churches. We are the norm and they are the absurd.

    So when you speak of affirming a ‘sin’ – well it’s not one we struggle with or know about…aren’t we kind of like the slave owners telling the slave what’s good for them?

  13. Well, no ‘gay gene’ has been proven to exist (although I am not saying that some people are not predisposed).

    But like I said, everyone has something that has them.

    God’s law must not be watered down to suit our proclivaties, but used instead to create repentance so that the gospel will actually mean something.

  14. “God’s law must not be watered down to suit our proclivaties, but used instead to create repentance so that the gospel will actually mean something” (Steve)

    I agree, that all sounds great to me. So how do we get a gay person to repent (change direction) of their sin exactly?

    As for the gospel meaning less because gay people get a ‘pass’ – are u serious? All it takes to ruin God and Jesus is gay people getting equality to straight people…interesting. Weak kingdom.

  15. I overeat. Have for a long time. It’s a sin. I know it is. I still do it. I know it’s wrong and I repent, ask God to forgive me. I just don’t rationalize it (bad genes, fat genes, whatever). That’s just one thing. I also have sexual fantasies outside of my marriage. That’s wrong too.

    But I am a sinner, in bondage to sin. Keeping God’s law in front of me, keeps the gospel in front of me and keeps me from taking anything for granted and keeps my need for God in place.

    That’s why I believe we don’t throw God’s law out the window..any of it…even though we fail to keep it.

  16. “But I am a sinner, in bondage to sin” (Steve)

    Your 2 examples, any gay person could struggle with though – and still have a 3rd thing on top of it – being themselves. That’s where this all kind of falls apart in many ways.

    That being said, I agree with sin examples and having to deal with them in correct and appropriate ways.

    “That’s why I believe we don’t throw God’s law out the window..any of it…even though we fail to keep it.” (Steve)

    The problem is – is any of this based on God’s law concerning being gay?

    There are no cases of 2 gay people being stoned in Torah or Prophet times…in fact the subject is never broached in another story aside from Torah law (like it never happened). So the help to understand those Leviticus passages isn’t given much to help in it’s personal understanding as to what exactly is being addressed there. How anyone can make a claim they know the exacts of what is being said there is really beyond me.

    As for Paul’s Roman passage – he is addressing Gentiles – so there is no concern for the law at all being addressed. Paul is merely pointing out what he see’s amongst the Gentiles in the Roman culture.

    I guess my question about homosexuality is this – is being gay sexually deviant? I mean, you propose it is a ‘sin’. So there must be a level of deviance attached (like murder, cheating, or even glutony)…how is what they are doing sexually deviant so as to break the ‘law’?

  17. Marriage is to be between a man and a woman according to the Bible.

    Homosexuality is condemned.

    Sex outside of marriage is fornication.

    People may not like it…but there are many of God’s laws I don’t like. It’s God’s law, nonetheless.

  18. Well there we have it – straight from God Himself:

    Marriage is to be between a man and a woman according to the Bible.

    Homosexuality is condemned.

    Sex outside of marriage is fornication

    Gay people are SOL I guess. They cannot marry, they themselves are ‘condemned’ for being a born with a certain biological framework, and sex outside of marriage is fornication.

    I tried asking a lot of questions and raising both sides of the argument – but wouldn’t you know the ‘real’ Christian side came to the rescue of my weak minded and philosophical efforts to the rescue of gay people and myself (who was in serious error). Lesson learned: do not look into any issue that the bible has already figured out.

    Can someone find me some stones?

  19. At the end of the day the treatment of gays will always be ‘they are condemned’ in Conservative Christian eyes.

    This will also, and most obviously, lead to the treatment of these people as ‘less than’ someone that is straight. I think we all know no one in their right mind actually compares being gay with an eating disorder…being gay is much much much worse for some reason (it’s abominable). Even sex before marriage is not even in the same category.

    So my warning to all gay people out there – the church is not a safe place for you just yet. You best be avoiding this institution for sake of your own safety, sanity, self esteem, and well being in life.

  20. “Well, no ‘gay gene’ has been proven to exist (although I am not saying that some people are not predisposed).”

    nor is there a “hetero gene”.

    “Marriage is to be between a man and a woman according to the Bible.”

    you’re going Victorian on me.. no such thing in the bible save for a mention by Paul, but the rest of the biblical marriage would look more like this video

  21. That video was hilarious. I must of laughed about 10 times…each example was a little funnier than the last.

    Opens one good question on marriage – how did we arrive at the idea of monogamy? I do believe it had something to do with men listeng to women – who are generally monogamous by nature. Someone should check this out.

  22. It is so sad that we still need to have this debate in a modern society but we need to and the best place to check for homophobia is in the religion of the people.

    Homosexuality is not a “sin”, or a perversion, or a proclivity, or whatever one can say to belittle gay members in a society. Homosexuality is inherent and people are born with it and this takes the lifestyle “choice” out of the equation. Sin is inherently subjective, gayness is not because you either are or you are not; sorry Ted Haggard but you are GAY and not struggling with inner-subjective sin.

    Here is my educated message to religious followers who constantly support anti-gay slander and hatred of all things gay: get over it, grow up, and mind your own things in this life.

    What consenting adults (I reiterate the word ‘adults’) want to do in their own bedrooms and with their own lives and with people that are willing to participate is not for me, or you, to pry into and debate-about in a democratic country. Just too bad that religion is beyond democracy and even the rule of law.

  23. “What consenting adults (I reiterate the word ‘adults’) want to do in their own bedrooms and with their own lives and with people that are willing to participate is not for me, or you, to pry into and debate-about in a democratic country” (Johnny)

    I agree 100%. This seems to be part of the problem with the debate in this arena…the things people ‘think’ is happening behind closed doors.

  24. The video is awesome, quite funny.

    “My point: Get rid of the bible, and you get rid of the gray area” (Wolf)

    Likely not going to happen, but true. (SVS)

    Getting the rid of the bible. I agree likely not going to happen, but it also not a practical solution, since it would not adequately address the whole issue. Because it seems to me that homosexuals have been largely misunderstood, mistreated, and ostracized throughout history. Not only in Christian circles but in other groups and cultures as well.

    Even if it were possible to get rid of biblical texts that condemn homosexuality. I don’t think it would improve the situation for the homosexual person.

  25. I could NOT not love my gay son any more than I could NOT not love my heterosexual son. To condemn (through the words of the Bible) any person because they don’t fit your idea of normal goes against what Jesus said and taught, as far as we know the things that he said.

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