It seems as if everyone in the blogosphere has written about their opinions on homosexuality since the recent supreme court ruling. As I add my thoughts to the conversation, perhaps right off the bat I need to admit that I do not keep up with politics as much as I should and honestly, I don’t know enough about the recent ruling to have an opinion on whether or not the Supreme Court made the right decision.
That said, who doesn’t have an opinion when it comes to homosexuality?
First off, let us all admit that the discussion of homosexuality and gay marriage is complex — far from simple or easy. Both sides of the debate are guilty of over simplifying things and straw-manning their opponents arguments. No, just because someone believes that homosexuality is okay does not mean that said person is a heathen and going to Hell. And no, just because someone believes that homosexuality is sinful does not mean that said person is a narrow-minded, hateful bigot. Someone is not foolish simply because she or he has a different opinion. If this was not a difficult discussion, we would not be debating things as heavily as we are.
Secondly, for those who are not familiar with my blog, I am coming from a Christian perspective that will influence where I am coming from in all of this — though, perhaps, not in the way you might think.
Homosexuality is a relatively new concept (notice the emphasis on “relatively”). This does not mean that before recent centuries there were no men or women with homosexual attractions. What this means is that the current understanding of sexual orientation (Straight, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, etc.) was not thought of until the past few hundred years. While sexual activity was typically between a man and a woman, some individuals would at times engage in sexual activity with people of the same gender. Yet, the understanding that this gave certain individuals a sexual identity was completely foreign and unheard of. Thus, the word “homosexual” is not found in most translations of scripture because there really is no Greek or Hebrew word, that I am aware of, that can correctly be translated as such.
What scripture does say is that sex between people of the same gender is sinful — in the same way that sex outside of marriage is sinful. There is no escaping the fact that scripture calls same-gender sex sinful in several passages throughout the Bible — both Old and New Testament alike. While some do argue that these passages are taken out of context, the biblical ideal of sex (and marriage for that matter) is clearly between one man and one woman.
Homosexual sex, in my opinion, is sinful in the same way that extramarital sex is sinful. I will not shy away from my stance on this. I believe this because of scripture, Christian tradition, and from the self-destructive lifestyle that homosexuality appears to bring.
With all of that out of the way, the greatest sin (and yes, some sins are worse than others as they bring more severe consequences) that I have seen when it comes to homosexuality is not homosexual sex. The greatest sin that I have seen in this debate is the way that society has treated homosexuals. The abusive and hateful ways that LGBT individuals have been treated in this world is shameful, despicable, and blatantly anti-Christian.
Christianity is a message of grace, forgiveness, and redemption. Certainly, this does not mean that every individual can do as he or she pleases; however, it does mean that the Christian should never be the one throwing stones at those in sin and should always be offering and extending grace to those who are sinful.
I’ve been asked if homosexuals should be allowed in church. Here’s what I will say, I do not want to be a part of any church that homosexuals are not welcome in. If homosexuals are not allowed in church, then neither should gluttons, addicts (of any kind), or those engaging in extramarital sex.
My friends, if we exclude the sinful from church then we have abandoned the core message of Christianity — grace. If we, as Christians, expect people to clean themselves up to be ready to come to church, then we will watch the world further distance itself from the God whom the hurting so desperately need. I will not mince words when it comes to this discussion. Hateful attitudes towards homosexuals pushes these individuals away from grace and away from God and is more condemnable than homosexual activity itself. Who among us desires to be responsible for turning away individuals who are seeking God?
With all that declared, I have yet to give my opinion on homosexual marriage. If you want to know if I believe that homosexual couples deserve the same rights that heterosexual couples do — then absolutely. It is wrong to deny people rights simply because they work from a different worldview/moral framework. Homosexual couples should be allowed every right that heterosexual couples do. That said, I think that the definition of marriage should be left with the Church rather than the State (this is where I argue for the separation of Church and State). How logistically this will work, I honestly don’t know but that’s for another blog post.
At the end of the day, I realize that the debate about homosexual marriage does not bother me that much. Honestly, I think that once all the legislation is done, homosexual’s will have the right to marry whether we like it or not. In my opinion, that does not change who is married in the sight of God and who is not. A legal definition cannot impact what God has already defined as marriage (which I do believe is left for one man and one woman).
The thing I hope and pray for has little to do with legislation. I hope and pray that Christianity can some day be known for the grace that its message preaches rather than for what pieces of legislation it opposes.