I’ve been going through the comments, and Adam writes,
You wrote in your about page that you believe the church made a colossal error regarding homosexuality. I am a Christian and I agree with you on this, but I haven’t found a post about this topic (probably because it isn’t about (a)theism). Long story short, I used to be firmly against homosexuality, then wavered when my wife’s father was a homosexual, decided to give it a fair shake for the sake of family and found that I wasn’t uncomfortable with his sexuality or willing to reject him completely based on his position. The man is also a minister and loves God and I do not see his sexuality interfering with thus.
My request is if you could spell out your case for why you believe the church made an error in this area (I always hear people who are against homosexuality say that it is condemned in the Bible and I have no answer for that), I am most interested in your response as opposed to the liberal Christian moderating the faith for the culture because you approach these things with logic that is well beyond my own capabilities.
Thank you for the compliment. I’ve never posted on this subject because it’s an overcharged topic that tends to encourage binary thinking. It’s part of the whole “culture war” thing I really want to avoid (though one can’t help stumbling over the occasional land mine). On top of all that, “gay marriage” is actually a very complex issue that requires one to think deeply through their own positions, lest one be found inadvertently attacking another. Today I’ll try to explain my views on the whole “gay” thing, then answer Adam’s questions.
In the About page, I wrote,
Unlike many Christians, I believe the church is guilty of a colossal failure with respect to its treatment of homosexuals.
I said this in the context of orthopraxy, not orthodoxy. Orthodoxically, I agree with the church that the Bible treats homosexuality as a sin, but guess what? The Bible treats a lot of things as sin, right down to the harboring of hatred against a neighbor. So why in the world has the church near-collectively crusaded against a single type of sin when we are all guilty of many types of sin? Where is the example of Jesus pointing out a specific type of sinner and publicly condemning that person? Contrary, did He not say, “may he who is without sin throw the first stone?” Should we disallow convicted felons the right to marry next? Christians may respond that “gay marriage” is a different type of sin, because it involves God’s sacred institution of marriage. Well, okay, but doesn’t adultery do the same? Why is Christian backlash to “divorcee marriage” negligible or nil compared to the mean-spirited fervor against “gay marriage?”
If someone asks whether or not I think gay people should be allowed to get married, I usually don’t take the bait and simply defer to my belief that everyone needs their basic rights. We’re all sinners who need health care, right? I’m not going to get up-in-arms about the state recognizing a gay couple as a financial unit. Sure, the concept might not jibe with my religious beliefs, but I can live with that. After all, nobody is going to answer to me, so what difference does it make what I think? I never expected that society would conform to my beliefs anyways, so I don’t feel the least bit wronged or enraged because some people want to do this.
One can argue that disallowing gay marriage for no other reason than appeasing conservative Christian backlash actually constitutes a breach of separation, because “rights” would ostensibly be denied on nothing more than a refusal to adopt a Christian tenet. In the other direction, I would strongly object if gay people were allowed to take recourse against clergy who refused to marry them, for that would also seem to breach the spirit of separation as I believe the forefathers intended it. It’s a tricky subject, indeed. I say if two gay people find a pastor willing to marry them, well… whatever. It’s between them and God. It ain’t my business. Now, start pushing pro-GLBT normative claims around grade schools, and the story changes. There is way too much agenda of every sort in schools it seems, and I’m well aware of the ideological force and scope of the GLBT community. Democracy can only work so long as everybody treads softly. So everybody should chill out and just teach the facts.
Anyways, getting to the nitty-gritty of Adam’s question: When I said the church made a colossal error, I meant that they lapsed into the type of collective, Pharisaical judgment that Jesus seemed to condemn in the New Testament. As for how he handled this situation, I think he did the right thing. I don’t think we should dismiss people on account of what *WE* observe to be sin in *THEIR* life. At the same time, there are very tough questions to wrestle with here: should Adam speak out and rebuke his relative here? Some would say so. The Bible does give clear-cut rules for being a pastor, and it seems a bit of a stretch to say “man of one wife” was also meant to cover “man of one husband,” but ultimately this is between the involved parties and God.
Adam, I hope this answers your question(s), but if not I’d be glad to continue in a discussion with you.