April 15, 2009

I read this on a forum I frequent.

“Re: Christianity + homosexuality

The arguments that are used against homosexuality are the same arguments that were used to justify segregation and racism. I think that, with time, people are going to look back at this bigotry the same way we look back on slavery and “white only” water fountains. It’s just another example of otherwise decent people being too caught up in their upbringing and traditions to look at the world rationally.”

Regardless of our thoughts concerning homosexuality and how we, as Christians approach the issue, this is concerning to me. In 50 years, is the church going to be distanced even further from everyday life because of our hard-line stances on these kinds of issues? Are we going to be seen as bigots and un-accepting? How do we overcome this perception?



  1. I would like to have read more specifically what the arguments are “that are used against homosexuality are the same arguments that were used to justify segregation and racism.” Do you know what they are, Josh?

  2. I think that, regardless of specific verses, there’s no denying that the broader church in the past has either remained silent upon or outrighted supported discrimination against individuals on basis of race and gender. Paul’s misinterpreted call for women to remain silent in church, for example, has been used for centuries to keep women in a subordinate role as second-class citizens, both within public places of worship and in the private Christian home.

    Verses like that, however, are gradually being reimagined and re-understood within the context of the culture they would have been read. There are maybe three, four at the most, passages within the whole Bible which make some form of condemnation about certain practices of homosexuality. All of them fleeting, all of them obscured (whether by the cultural understanding, the contextual significance, or the kind of language being used), and all of them overshadowed by the Bible’s consistent talk of concepts which are far more important: love, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, justice, to name but a few. Despite the efforts of many Christians to try and lift this handful of passages into emphasis and out of their context, there is no doubt that the Bible is almost completely silent and ambiguous on the issue of homosexuality. In fact, Jesus Himself, the centre of our faith, said NOTHING on the matter. Thus I would submit that silence is not ample justification to condemn something as sinful.

    Our Christian response to individuals of a homosexual orientation ought to be what it is to all people: one of love and inclusion. Yes, there is a need to call people to a particular way of living once they have found Christ, but this way of living is the same for the heterosexual person as it is from the homosexual one. The need to observe temperance, sexual responsibility, and monogamy are the same for all people, regardless of orientation.

  3. I think it’s more important to evaluate the connections between faith and democracy. In my opinion we don’t draw an appropriate distinction between the two and impose our beliefs on law in order to get people to “bend” to our concept of right. It’s interesting that the prop 8 stuff in California has turned into a “moral” issue… We’ve already given the state power over the term “marriage” (since marriages are no longer distinctly the power of the Church, “by the power vested…”) If we acknowledge the contract of “marriage” to be legal rather than religious (which we already have) is it fair for us, as a Democracy to withhold it?

  4. The problem is, Archie, when the church doesn’t move with society, it get’s seen as irrelevant. I am not saying that we should just sway as social patterns and trends do, but it’s important to see problems as they are developing. How do we overcome this?

  5. Ahh, proactive v. reactive? I think in theory it would involve being Christ followers before everything (US Citizens, catholic, Baptist, man, woman, gay, straight, republican, democrat, etc.) else.
    In theory of course.
    In practice I think equal amounts of laziness and the expectation that America is a “christian” nation have gotten us to where we are today. Don’t think and by all means do everything you can to live comfortably. We live in too much fear of the world and not enough fear of God. We’re too worried about the “defense” of our faith (or our god*) because we’ve made that god* too small. Due to this small view of God our faith can only be reactive, the city on the hill is, well, a fort. The moment we become like Jesus and help the outcasts and the downtrodden I think the problems you mentioned will become a second thought…

  6. This could be considered a false dilemma. To imply that Christians MUST either fully approve something OR be filled with hatred toward it is not valid. When we argue under this assumption, we usually end up defining homosexuality in an unfair way. We feel that if we simply include homosexuals they will feel accepted in church. This may be wishful thinking, since people don’t want to be tolerated, they want to be approved of and validated. This is where our definition of love is called into question. We feel that requiring people to change before we will love them is wrong, and rightly so. The church should be revolted by that attitude. However, the entire foundation of our faith implies that true love DESIRES changes and progression of its beloved. The love is given freely, yet this love acts to bring change. Please do not mistake me: this is NOT a statement about how we should treat homosexuals, but a misconception about love that we often argue from.

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