Home > Christianity, Homosexuality > My position on gays and gay rights

My position on gays and gay rights

An opinion piece ran in The Onion called, “If God Had Wanted Me To Be Accepting Of Gays, He Would Have Given Me The Warmth And Compassion To Do So.” Although I know The Onion is satire, I sometimes get this vibe off of other Christians.

I am unequivocal about my position on gay rights. Although I’m a Bible-believing Christian, my personal views don’t always line up with God’s. (Bad, I know.)

pride flagI’m not sure why I’m so passionate for gay rights. I don’t have any close gay friends who I see struggle with discrimination. I’ve come into contact with gay people at various points in my life (I’m friends with a few on Facebook) and always wish I had that token gay guy friend (think: My Best Friend’s Wedding).

The closest reasoning I can come up with that makes sense is that my favorite uncle (and godfather), who passed away from complications due to AIDS in March of 1994, was gay. My uncle was married to a woman and had two kids but for some reason, never felt the freedom to openly be who he was. In some wacky family drama, he brought his lover, Gus, into his life (and his home) and a few family functions. Gus died not too long after my uncle.

I guess ever since, I’ve had this hang-up about homosexuality. Not only with other Christians but with God. Within the first six months of becoming a born-again Christian by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I seriously questioned whether I wanted to be part of a religion that didn’t allow two consenting adults—regardless of gender—to love each other. As a Bible-believing Christian, Romans 1 is clear. Homosexuality is sin. But so is unrighteousness, evil, coveteousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossiping, slandering, atheism, insolence, haughtiness, boastfulness, disobedience, etc.

So yes, I know the truth of God’s word.

But when I look at two men or two women who genuinely love each other and want nothing more than to spend the rest of their lives together, I have to stop and think, “God, why would you want to keep two people who love each other apart?”

I always get the same pat answer from Christians: “Because it’s not what God designed.” No emotion. No feeling. Just the facts, ma’am.

When I was a junior in high school, I took a freshman-level theater class. One of the assignments: we all had to write a one-act play and then our teacher would select people to do a cold first reading for each one.

I waited in anticipation of my one-act to be done. Maybe I waited a day or two. Regardless, I remember it was the last one performed before class ended. Maybe even before the day ended.

A few classmates were up on the stage. Two girls on one side, two guys on the other. One of the girls admitted to her best friend that she liked a boy. Nothing about that should be shocking. But to the other girl, as she read it, it was.

You see, I wrote a one-act play in which everything was a parallel universe and it was a sin for straight couples to be together. (Somehow, I got away with this in a Roman Catholic school.) By the end of the play, my classmates on stage (with the exception of two) discovered they were really playing gay characters. The rest of my classmates muttered  that I was (to put it in semi-PC terms) “screwed up”; my theater teacher thought it was brilliant. I still happen to like it. It makes me put myself in someone else’s shoes.

lesbian coupleThis then, makes me wonder: Where do straight people get off thinking they can dictate the lives of gay people? I certainly wouldn’t like the neighbors down the street telling me who I can and can’t marry. If two women love each other and want to commit to spend the rest of their lives together, so be it. I’m not in the relationship and it doesn’t affect me. If a gay couple wants to adopt a child and raise it in a loving home, that’s fine by me. Better a loving home with two guys than an abusive home with a woman and a man.

On Facebook, some people have settings so that friends of friends may view pictures. Well, a woman I met through a local writing group (who happens to be a lesbian) attended a wedding this weekend. She was tagged in pictures that someone else posted. Since marriage isn’t legal in Pennsylvania, I was curious to see where the wedding took place. It, in fact, did take place in Pennsylvania so I assume the wedding was more a “commitment ceremony.”

As I looked through the pictures, I saw two happy women facing each other, both looking positively radiant and full of love. And again, I went back to that pesky question I badger God with:

“Why is this wrong?”

One of my favorite shows of all time is Queer As Folk. I came to fall in love with the characters and the raw emotion that actors and actresses so wonderfully portrayed. And so often, the dialogue was beautifully written. Through that show, I learned that while there are some pretty sleazy and skeezy gays out there, there are — guess what? — gays who want a private, quiet life with their partner and perhaps, raising a family.

When it comes to marriage, I don’t think gay marriage has a place in a church that’s not accepting of it (as is the case in Bible-believing Christian churches). However, when it comes to legal rights, I support gay marriage.

I am amused by conservatives who insist that the government should keep its grubby hands off of nearly everything yet hail the the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which would federally mandate that legal marriage is between a man and a woman. I am also baffled when straight people desperately want to determine how gay people should live (as in Prop 8). I’ve heard some straight people say they want gay activists to simply “shut up.” Well, they’re not going to “shut up” if you’re just going to keep them from what they want. Anyone remember the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18?

As a teenager, I often saw parallels between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement. The majority constantly made decisions to determine what impacted the minority, leaving the minority little room for say or control. In that same vein, it was only when the majority finally gave the minority a voice that many forms of discrimination were finally put to rest.

I want a man whose partner is dying of cancer at the hospital to be able to be considered a spouse and visit him with all the rights and privileges that a straight couple has. I want a woman who has been faithful to her female partner of 26 years to receive the same government benefits that straight couples are entitled to. Call me a liberal if you want to; this discrepancy is inequality.

So when I think of the title of today’s Onion opinion piece, I think God actually DID give me the warmth and compassion to be accepting of gays because I certainly know of a lot of people who don’t.


“I think God appreciates it even more because he created you in his image. At least that’s what I was always taught. And since God is love and God doesn’t make mistakes, then you must be exactly the way he wants you to be, the way he intended you to be. And that goes for every person, every planet, every mountain, every grain of sand, every song, every tear, AND EVERY FAGGOT. We’re all His, Emmett. He loves us all.” —Ted, Queer As Folk

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  1. Bridgette
    October 13, 2009 at 5:33 PM

    Actually, I don’t think your disagreement is with God at all.

    I have also struggled with understanding what Scripture means when it comes to homosexuality. To me, the core of the Gospels can be found when Christ says that the greatest commandment is that we love God with our all our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbor as we love ourselves–in this all the other laws are fulfilled.

    So how do we explain Paul’s statements to Romans? Is it culturally based? Was he speaking to a specific audience only? Was it part of the translation that was Platonized like much of his epistles to reflect the biases of Plato and Aristotle?

    Does Paul’s opinion in this place represent his own opinion or God’s (for there are places he tells us that it is him speaking, not God)? Was he narrowly condemning the sex acts performed in Roman temple worship? Was he speaking out against specific kinds of homosexual activities that are sinful not all of them?

    I have found this site to be very helpful:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibc.htm

    It really tries to look at all sides.

  2. Rachael
    October 13, 2009 at 5:36 PM

    excellent writing here. you know i struggle with these same ideas – it’s so difficult to understand why the Bible says it’s wrong. we’ll have to discuss this more tomorrow. 🙂

  3. October 13, 2009 at 6:04 PM

    I disagree with you. (but that’s not exactly a secret now is it? 🙂 )

    I’ll agree wholeheartedly that not loving people regardless of their choices and sins is wrong — but pretending that something is fine when God calls it sin isn’t very loving because sin “brings forth death.”

    We can argue the politics of this forever. In the end, the majority will will make the rules and the rest of us will live with them as best we can.

    • Kass
      October 13, 2009 at 7:25 PM

      Feel free. My husband called me to say he didn’t comment because he doesn’t agree either.

  4. October 13, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    I have some thoughts to share but don’t have to brain power to do so well at this moment. I think there are two issues here: dealing with the fact that our emotions are affected by our sin nature; and how do we interact with discrimination/rights based on a biblical viewpoint in a secular (and, imho, what has always been a secular) system of government. I will get back to you with greater thoughts when I’m not sinking in a ship of my own design. haha

    • Kass
      October 13, 2009 at 7:01 PM

      Renee, some very good points you bring up. Especially “discrimination/rights based on a biblical viewpoint in a secular system of government.”

  5. Rachael
    October 14, 2009 at 12:52 AM

    i am interested to read more of what others have to say!

  6. October 26, 2009 at 10:12 PM

    Ok. Food for thought on this…

    The first point I think that must be considered is that our emotions are affected by sin. Now, I am not one of those who holds that the heart (meaning emotions) is somehow still deceitful and shouldn’t ever be considered in our decision-making post-redemption. Some people seem to be of the mindset that somehow our emotions were not a part of justification and redemption. I disagree emphatically. However, like every other part of us, our emotions still succumb to the effects of being weighted down by our own predilection to sin. I apply this phenomena to both those who are homosexual and those of use who must form a scriptural opinion and response to that lifestyle. I do not, in any way, doubt the authenticity of the love that homosexual couples have and feel for each other. I am certain that just as there are lust-based heterosexual relationships there are love-based homosexual relationships. I believe those emotions are completely authentic; as authentic as heterosexual love. Herein lies the rub: authenticity does not imply legitimacy. I can have completely authentic love for a married man, but that wouldn’t make my relationship with him ethically/morally legitimate. I could (to use a more socially risqué analogy) have completely authentic love for a seventeen-year-old, but again, that would not make a relationship with him legitimate legally (and thus ethically/morally). The thing is, as humans, it is quite difficult to look at a very authentic love between two men or two women and say, “I know your feelings are authentic and devoted, but that doesn’t make your sexual relationship morally legitimate.” The fact is, we are all predisposed to some form or other of sin. For some of us, this results in illegitimate affections. It is, arguably, one of the most difficult dilemmas of humanity: holding that something we know is authentic is not morally legitimate.

    That said, I don’t feel that it is my place to run around with a sign or a statement pointing out the illegitimacy of authentic attraction and emotion. Instead, it is my place to live a life based on scripture, show the love of Christ, and be ready to answer in love should I be asked. God’s got the rest.

    Now, as the rest, the “how do we interact with discrimination/rights based on a biblical viewpoint in a secular (and, imho, what has always been a secular) system of government” part, here’s my take: in our system of government, we have certain laws that protect both our own and others’ right to live, to possess liberty, and to seek happiness. These laws set certain boundaries in order to prevent my pursuits from infringing on these stated rights as they belong to others. Thus, while it might further my pursuit of happiness or liberty to murder someone else, I may not, because it violates his right to life. Likewise, we have laws against theft, fraud, rape, etc., all for this reason. I can’t see how any of them should be applied to marginalize homosexuals. If we believe that law should be equitable and just, then we should respect that secular law must seek to provide justice and equity for every individual in society, provided that the equity they seek doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. I am unsure how governmentally recognizing same-sex couples does that. As you say, churches should be allowed the right to choose whether or not they will perform any marriage (as they already do with heterosexual couples based on their standards), but a secular government has no requirement to distinguish between civil marriages. Of course, I also feel that based on our system of government, the boundaries and allowances should be handled state-by-state/vote of the populace. But I”m not convinced that it’s my “Christian duty” to oppose civil recognition of homosexual couples as long as religious venues are able to continue making their own choices.

    I hope all that thinking while typing was clear. haha. I think that we, as Christians, need to be careful about confusing moral delineations with the responsibilities of a secular government charged with equity, just as we must be careful of equating authenticity with legitimacy. That’s where I am right now, anyway. 🙂

    • Kass
      October 26, 2009 at 11:05 PM

      Renee, you are one of my favorite commenters here (and elsewhere). 🙂 You have given me quite a lot to think about and dare I say it, I kind of agree with you…

      • Bill
        August 9, 2010 at 12:57 PM

        As a gay man, I appreciate your thougthfulness and willingness to recognize our brilliant Constitutional Law system, Renee. Authenticity vs Legitimacy. Interesting idea and I can see how it may present a Christian with a quandary about homosexuality. Here’s another one for you. Christians so quickly point out Paul’s admonishments about homosexuality in Romans (which are unquestionably open to interpretation) and, when it comes to this subject, conveniently ignore his comments about love. The following really should resolve the quandary: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2005/219_Love_Is_a_Fulfilling_of_the_Law_Part_3/

        Also, “God is Love. He who lives in Love, lives in God and God in him.”

        It’s really so simple. Where’s your quandary, Bridgette? Is it really inside of you? Or is it TAUGHT from others outside of you? Upon what is your “faith” based, Love or Tradition?

  7. March 3, 2010 at 10:20 PM

    Hi Kass,

    I’ve been a fan of Depression Introspection and found this blog thanks to the lovely hint you left.

    You are a) an amazing writer b) so honest it’s heartbreakingly beautiful and c) one smart cookie.

    I have a blog about Christian counseling that I’ve kept pretty much a secret from everyone byt my husband and a few friends. Why? Because I’m scared to death of what people from my former fundie church and my current church might think of me.

    Reading your blog has been a cathartic experience, and it has helped me to see that other people question their faith and don’t fit the “Christian” mold.

    I’m basically a libertarian who happens to be pro-life, anti death-penalty, and who has an incredible ache for the way Christians treat the gay community, especially gays and lesbians who love God.

    I also suffer from depression. There are many days where I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere.

    I also have four kids and a quasi mommy-blog. (Though I hate being pegged as a mommy blog. Then I go ahead and join the mom bloggers club. I am a whore for followers.)

    I’ve enjoyed this post, your informative posts about the emergent church (I’ve been wondering about those guys…), and of course you thoughts on depression.

    Keep up the good work. You now have 5-11 regular readers of this blog.

    Holly
    http://www.getoutofthestorm.com

    • Kass
      March 10, 2010 at 5:46 PM

      By the way, I never said thank you for this comment. I love to hear from people who are able to identify with me. I’ll be linking to your blog as well! 🙂

  8. June 11, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    I think the biggest issue is that Christians – people who are actively seeking to follow Christ – are loving and we feel it as an emotion. That doesn’t make love an emotion. We have to be careful – more careful than the world, who is not careful at all – with our application of the word “love”, because it is well defined in the Bible and it has nothing to do with a rush or flood of feelings. It’s a command and a verb and though feelings thankfully come along with that, it is not an excuse.

    We always hear that if two people “genuinely love each other”, then I don’t think that God ___. God already spoke, relieving us of the pressure. People hate to hear it, but that same explanation then should suffice for consentual incest, polygamy, and anything else that makes two people seem very happy and infatuated with each other.

    I have to let God be God.

  9. Bill
    August 9, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    As a gay man, I feel the impulse to respond to this blog in affirmation but it’s all been said so many times one can only surmise that the old adage “there are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see” applies in the case of so many christians when it comes to this subject.
    To the Bridgette’s (above) and all who have such questions and don’t switch off their intellects when the Bible comes under scrutiny, I refer you to “WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY’ by Daniel Helmeniak, a former priest. It’s a small, concise read but most enlightening.
    My psychological and emotional survival as a gay man, thru divorce and agonizing prayer and struggle came about thru much reading and study of the issue including Biblical exegesis, Christian history, theological writings….I have a personal library on the subject longer than twice my arm span and probably have a unofficial Masters degree in my head. I make that point to emphasize what I say next; that Helmeniak’s book is the most definitively convincing I have found on the subject. You simply will never think the same about homosexuality vis-a-vis the Bible again after reading it.

    • Kass
      August 9, 2010 at 12:46 PM

      Thanks for your comment, Bill. I’ll try to get my hands on it.

  10. January 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Hear hear, and very well put.

    I too am a Christian and don’t see why gay people should be discriminated against. I’ve also been a witness to the amount of baseless rumour and misinformation which people in the church use to excuse away their hatred – believe it or not I was once told that AIDS was a punishment from God to gay people. Needless to say I was incensed.

    I don’t think most Christians realize how much their actions hurt people like this.

    The way I see it is, every single person out there is worthy of the same love; God’s fairly clear in that you should love people as you love yourself. Compassion is not a sin, and you’re not committing a sin by choosing to love instead of to ignore.

    There’s many different schools of thought on what the Bible says about homosexuality. One I find interesting is that in the times of the apostles, scientific and social understanding was not yet developed enough to differentiate between what we now know as homosexual love and the common Roman and Greek practice of subjecting boys and young men as a show of power. Maybe this is what was meant in Romans 1.

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