Sexual Orientation: 3 Levels to the Question
I have discussed issues of homosexuality fairly extensively in the past, so this post in many ways will be a summary. There are a few layers here, so I am going to make sure to separate into the different questions which sometimes get blurred together, incorrectly in my opinion. In order of controversy, then, here we go. First, if you are a heterosexual Christian, how are you to treat LGBT people, Christian or otherwise? Second, how should our governments handle the political issues of legal marriage? Third, and the most challenging one: is homosexuality a sin?
Loving Your Neighbour
I recently posted a scary stat about the amount of LGBT teenagers on the street who cited abuse from their families as the reason. No matter how you feel about the following two questions, we should be able to all agree on one thing: our duty as Christians who have been greatly loved is to love others. Jesus tells us to love our neighbours, then tells us 1st century Jews this even includes their greatest enemies the Samaritans. In case that isn’t blunt enough, he even tells us to love our enemies. So let’s suppose for a second that there really is a scary homosexual agenda and that in some sense they really are the political enemies of good and honest Christians. I don’t believe it for a second, but even if they truly are our enemies, our job is always to love them.
And before you pull the “we love the sinner, just hate the sin” and spend all of your time talking about the sin and how they’re terrible for doing it, clearly you’re missing the point. I can agree with this phrase in theory, but it is almost always used to justify hate toward whoever we consider worse sinners than ourselves. No, if you really love an alcoholic friend, would you lecturing them be the only thing you ever talked about? No. It might come up, and of course you can gently state your view when you have the relationship to merit a conversation of that depth. Any time you’re tempted to be judgemental, don’t forget to check for the plank in your own eye first and imagine how you would respond if this person called you out on it the way that you want to call them out.
I think basically everywhere other than some in the United States have already figured out what to me is clearly the best solution from the perspective of the state. It is the state’s duty to protect the rights of its citizens. After all kinds of research, there is absolutely no reason to believe that allowing legal same-sex marriage hurts anybody. They’re no more likely to divorce than heterosexual couples. There’s no signs of any harm being done to any adopted children. There’s no sign that people view marriage with any less importance – if anything I think the prevalence of divorce is a bigger problem on that front. And on the flip side, there’s somewhere between 2% and 10% of the population that is being denied legal equal rights. You could argue that freedom of religion gets to block same-sex marriage, but freedom of religion doesn’t extend to taking away rights from others. It protects you from having to be a part of it yourself if you want, but it doesn’t allow you to say that they are prohibited from a legal union.
So, the solution should be pretty simple: allow legal marriage and give individual churches the right to refuse to perform them. Churches already have the right to not perform any marriage that they don’t see as honouring to God. They wouldn’t have to be a part of something if they considered it sinful. Their rights to worship as they please continue the same. They would be encountering the occasional LGBT anyway, but could still refuse them from full membership rights in the church. In short, nothing changes for the churches that oppose the lifestyle, except potentially being less hated by their LGBT neighbours as the ones who are denying them their rights. It is only those who believe that the church should rule the state that have a problem with this, because they are afraid of a loss of power even though they aren’t losing anything practical.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transsexual Christian
Yes, they exist. It is not a contradiction in terms. Even if you think it is a sin, why is a lesbian Christian seen as more of a contradiction than a greedy Christian (even more common)? Step one is to remember that these are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe that includes, at the right time, lovingly correcting them of their sin as we are supposed to do of all sins within the body of Christ (Matthew 18) including greed, anger, jealousy, exercising manipulative power over others, etc.
A while back I did a series on what the Bible says about homosexuality. Or more importantly, what it doesn’t say. In short, it says little to nothing. The few texts used to condemn all homosexuality are hard to say whether they are really doing that blanket condemnation or any condemnation at all. I’m not going to repeat that all in this post, but I’ll leave it to say that many honest Bible-believing Christians like myself are not convinced that there is anything wrong with homosexual activity within a committed marital relationship. Before confronting any LGBT Christians, make sure you are aware of this alternate viewpoint. You’re welcome to disagree with us, but you can’t lovingly disagree without actually knowing what you disagree with.