I Went to Gay Pride

OK, so I am drawn to what is controversial.  I want to be there, to see for myself, to make my own judgments.  If an event divides decent people into sides that condemn each other, I want to understand both perspectives from their own voices.  When presented with the newest fad in teaching, I cautiously weigh it against my 25-year collection of fads and pick and choose what will best prepare my students for life outside the classroom.  When confronted with Biblical arguments, I am not satisfied to be told what the Bible says.  I carefully read it cover to cover, taking lots of notes and recording many questions; and even attain a master’s degree in ministry.  When I study other religions, I’m not satisfied to learn about them from the biased perspective of my own religion, but I want to hear directly from a real Mormon, a real Muslim, a real Jehovah’s Witness, and if possible, visit their worship centers. I wonder if I’m the only Baptist to have ever spent an afternoon in Salisbury’s regional training center for JWs. Fascinating really.

Still, as an introvert who is quite uncomfortable going alone to somewhere new, I probably would never have walked into a Pride event (or any other community event) without having some “job” to do there.  I tend to back out at the last minute otherwise.  So I volunteered to work the PFLAG* table for a couple of hours, donned my “God loves us all” button, and off I went.  As an aside here, if you have read many of my writings, you know that I have come to adamantly believe the Church’s teachings on homosexuality are misguided, although having spent 49 years as an active Southern Baptist, I have struggled, studied, prayed, and listened firsthand to hundreds of personal stories to get to where I am.

Now, having never attended such an event in any other city, I am no Pride expert, and I offer the following observations as just that, observations.  Impressions of my personal experience as recorded through my own tinted glasses.  (We all observe the world through our own experiences, our own religious and academic teachings, our own biases, and we all grow by taking those glasses off once in a while and looking directly at them.)

First, here’s what I didn’t see.  I saw nothing that alluded to sex, except for one young man’s T-shirt.  I saw no lewd behavior.  I saw no nudity, actually even less nudity, despite the almost 90-degree temperatures, than I see every day in my college classes.  I did see one other T-shirt that I don’t think I’d ever see in a Baptist church, and there was one teenage girl wearing an attention-getting but body-covering black outfit, like maybe a biker would wear?   As she walked around holding her boyfriend’s hand in the high temps, I imagine she questioned her own choice of attire.

What I did see:

1)   I saw face-painting, balloon sculpture, art displays, a drum circle, a rollerblade team, food/drink/ice cream venders, information and/or freebies provided by a local grocery giant, a local medical provider, a local political party, two churches, a local animal shelter or two (with adoptable pets I think), even a gourmet doggie treats vender.  I saw a center stage from which speeches were made by leaders of Equality NC, PFLAG*, etc., and local dancers, musicians, and drag queens entertained the crowd.  If you’re from this area, by the way, and have never heard the Ashley Jo Farmer Band, watch for an opportunity!

Related by Ian Ebright It is Time for the American Christian Church to Surrender the Gay Marriage Fight, Apologize & Share Love

2)  I saw families.  Gay teens walking around with their parents.  Straight couples with small children in strollers.  A couple of people separately walking their dogs.  Gay adults sharing the event with a parent or a sibling.  Gay couples.  Straight couples.  Friends.  I saw a lot of laughter, happy greetings, and hugs.
It was a family-friendly atmosphere, and most of what I observed could very well have been a county fair or any other community gathering.  I noted, however, three observations that distinguished it as a gay pride event:

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3)  There was a lot of rainbow-colored attire – shirts, jewelry, headwear, I saw 2 people wearing rainbow colored tights . . .

4)  I saw 2 or 3 drag queens who were a part of the entertainment, one acting as the event emcee.  I admit I don’t quite get drag queens, but they are an entrenched part of the gay culture, an art form of sorts perhaps, and probably we all have to admit if we’re honest that we have enjoyed drag queens at some time.  Look at the success of womanless weddings and womanless beauty pageants in any local community.   Look at the success of the Madea movies, or Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire.  Even as a young child I remember loving Flip Wilson when he was in his Geraldine character.

5) The biggest indicator that this was not just any other event, however, was not inside the event, but the religious protesters outside the gates.  Just a handful of them and mostly ignored, but they held up their Bibles and their protest signs and shouted warnings and damnations to hell for all who were there.  It was easy to walk by them without even acknowledging them, but you might guess that I didn’t.   I attempted to engage three different ones in dialogue, as if it could have possibly made any difference.  I wanted to tell them that they were not turning people toward the Gospel but away from it, giving them a distaste for church people in general for preaching something those who are gay know to be wrong.  But the protesters had no ears, only mouths.  They seemed to be “professional” protesters, all from out of town, traveling from one Pride event to another, well practiced in their responses, most refusing to give the name of their church, where they’re from, etc.  One did tell me he was from Taylorsville, and the only female I saw told me she was married to the man who couldn’t even have a conversation with me, with no one else around, without shouting Ezekiel verses at the top of his voice as if he were a robotic foghorn.  They were from no particular denomination, they said.  All three told me I was going to hell for supporting such a sinful event.  The woman said God revealed that to her.  I told her that she has been deceived, and that I was glad my destiny did not depend on what she thought.

Her comment reminded me of the four men when I was in seminary, who told me, separately of course, that God had told them that they would marry me.  I jokingly say that was when I learned God was a polygamist.  I told them all that when God told me the same thing, we’d get married.  Or the time I was serving on a pastor search committee and one of the committee members was ready to hire an applicant because the applicant said God told him we were supposed to hire him.   We Christians put so many words into God’s mouth.  It’s like a power tool.  Ministers use it.  We use it.  What a dangerous disservice to God.

Church people, are you listening?  Is it enough for you to continue oppressing 1 in every 15 people you meet, because your church leaders have repeatedly quoted to you that homosexuality is an abomination?  Have they also told you that, according to the same Bible, eating shrimp is an abomination, and would they reward you for warning everyone heading into Blue Bay Seafood that God loves the sinner but hates the sin and that they are all destined for hell?  (Surely you would not eat in such a place yourself!)  Have they also told you that it’s a sin for women to adorn themselves with gold and pearls, and would they applaud you for protesting in front of Kay Jewelers at the mall?

Please hear me, my brothers and sisters.  God created us as thinking beings.  Please don’t accept everything you are told, even by someone in a trusted position.  Do your own thinking.  Ask your own questions.  Have coffee with someone whose views are the opposite of yours, and listen closely to his story, closely enough to hear his unspoken pain.  Go home and pray alone, just you and God, not for an immediate miracle answer, but with openness to hear however God might speak over the rest of your lifetime.  Oppressed people are hurting.   Allow God to work in you.

*PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is a support organization for anyone who has a gay loved one. (That would be all of us.  Some just don’t don’t know it.)  Check for a chapter near you, and be brave enough to step that first time into a meeting.

—-
Kathy Vestal is a college educator in Salisbury, NC.  She has a Master’s of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master’s of Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  An avid writer, gifted teacher, and occasional public speaker/preacher, her passions include civil rights, social justice, church reform, and education.  She has traveled to Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Ecuador, and The Gambia, Africa, and enjoys reading, nature, and history.

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  • Anonymous

    Sexuality issues aside, one thing I always wonder about in relation to these “Pride” events is the elevation of any kind of pride as a virtue.

    • tarl_hutch

      This is always an interesting parsing of words to me. On the one hand we have the sin of pride, I believe referring to one’s sense of superiority and total self reliance, and the other sense of taking pride, the opposite of shame, in who one is and what makes one unique. Events like this can leqd to either, but I think the latter definition is in the spirit they are shooting for. Further thoughts?

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

        Yes. I love this comment, too.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

      Like most English words, pride has more than one meaning. The LGBT community has been forced to live in shame for centuries. Announcing that they are no longer ashamed of who they are and that we will no longer be telling LGBT youth to hide in shame is really what is wrapped up in this use of the word pride.

      It’s actually a good, positive statement. But it is shorthand. So like, I love my smartphone but please don’t hold me to all definitions of the word love.

      • tarl_hutch

        Great minds think alike, huh?

    • Frank

      Exactly pride is a sin and so is affirming and tolerating sinful behavior.

      • tarl_hutch

        Not to really argue about what is sin and what isn’t, but I wonder why we don’t see more church protest and addressing of all sin, like gluttony, greed, hate, lying, et all?

        What are your feelings about the church’s overall silence on some of these suns that have know become common place? Should we not affirm the overweight? Should we not protest those that pervert our businesses into greed machines? What about those of us who tell thise “little white lies” on a daily basis to spare the feelings of others?

        I guess I am confused as to why we pick this as the end all, be all sin, that we must rail against, harder than all others. What about all the other sins, that we all commit and even accept as par for the course, why do these only get a passing mention once a year in our services?

        I understand the desire to be on the side of God and truth, one in the same, but it seems like we develop a myopic approach that leaves us unbalanced. Either we make sure we are as strict and pure on all issues or we will have to realize that we all have issues and sometimes grace is required, maybe no need to be affirming, but at least covered in grace and desire to love one another. Or at least a slightly more conversational tone in your stance. Either way, I look forward to your response.

        • Frank

          When supposed Christians start claiming that lying, gluttony, greed, etc… are not sins then people will stand up and correct them.

          There is nothing loving about encouraging and affirming sinful behavior in any form.

          • tarl_hutch

            What I mean, is that we give lip service to many of these sins, but actually do very little to address them in any practical form. A great example is the state of the current business world. Don’t get me wrong, business is great and necessary for us to live and maintain any lifestyle at all, but it is one now primarily guided by greed. Yet most main stream churches do not require their parishioners to give up and condemn their business practices, in fact many churches mirror these practices. We also talk about the sin of lying, but most do it on a daily basis, mostly to spare the feelings of others, but we do it none the less.

            I am not saying you have to condone the behavior, you can state your desire for the person to change and even work with them to help, but we should be careful in how we address people as our witness. It is true Jesus didn’t pull punches, but he did use his most serious condemnations on the religious, while spending time with the “sinners” to allow his presence to change them. In the end, if a person rejects their sins and overcones them, it is from having a relationship with Jesus, not from being confronted by others. Yes, when the person is in the church forms of counseling and discipline may be used, but should be considered prayerfully. In thus issue, the translations of the original text is still in certain question, which you can see multiple examples of with a Google search, so maybe we should proceed in prayer and grace, allowing the spirit to guide us, and providing welcome for all.

            Have your stance, as long as it is prayerfully considered, but maybe think about the best way for helping lead people to the truth. Do you think there may be a better way than confrontation to speak the truth, or do we need to be unwaivering in our denouncements? I know I cannot change your mind, but am more interested in having you examine why and how you do things. Plus, I do want to know how you feel about all this.

          • Frank

            I agree with you.

            I am only unwavering towards those Christians that fallaciously claim that homosexual behavior is not a sin with a shred of scriptural support.

            And there is no scriptural case for nonsinful homosexual behavior. Not an iota!

          • Frank

            “with” should read “without.”

          • tarl_hutch

            In your opinion, what would be the harm if the church said, “homosexuality is not a sin, come one, come all”? What do you think would happen in that instance?

          • Frank

            Same thing that happens when we lie about other things. We lead people down the wrong path when we deny Gods word.

          • tarl_hutch

            I guess that raises the question of, can you be a “saved”, committed Christian without having all the right ideas down and without overcoming all your sins?

            Or, can you be a Christian with even one unrepentant sin? Or, are you still saved if you ask for forgiveness, but still sin anyway?

          • Frank

            Of course you can be saved without overcoming your sins. We cannot overcome our sins that’s why Jesus had to die. Commitment is determined by our obedience to God’s commands.

            As to your last two questions…

            Yes and yes.

          • tarl_hutch

            Based on your answers, what does it matter if someone is gay, but still wants to follow Jesus, even if they cannot or will not give up being gay? If they are still “saved”, why does it matter if they are gay or not? Does that make it wrong to confront gays in a judgmental manner which may cause them to never encounter Jesus or step foot in a church? Is it worth being “right” if it costs someone their soul?

            Or am I way off base and misunderstanding you?

          • Frank

            We cannot follow Jesus and stay right where we are.

            I do not confront people,who have same sex attraction. I confront those who distort Gods Word by claiming that homosexual behavior is not sinful.

            One way we know we are actually saved is that we stop wanting what we think we want and start wanting what God wants for us. Homosexual behavior is not what’s God wants for anyone.

          • tarl_hutch

            I am glad to hear you don’t try to beat non believers over the head about it and it is certainly okay to engage your brothers and sisters if you feel worried about their path. I am curious about your thoughts regarding gay Christians who have struggled with this issue and who have prayed and prayed to be free of their feelings, but get no relief. Are they really not saved, or does God allow them to struggle? What about those who are so ashamed and afraid of themselves that they feel like His doesnt love them and has abandoned them, to the point were they commit suicide? I know that is extreme, but we must include all possibilities.

          • Frank

            Great questions and not extreme at all since their struggles are not only real but have been publicized, manipulated and used for political gain. Those kids and those around them are the victims twice-over.

            Every case is unique and circumstances play a key role so its hard to generalize but I would say this:

            Regarding gay Christians who have struggled with this issue and who have prayed and prayed to be free of their feelings, but get no relief I would say….

            Welcome to Christianity we all struggle with sin, some struggles are more painful than others but it all hurts.
            What kind of relief are you looking for? Have you made your sexuality your identity? Have you made anything other than Christ the center of who you are? If so that’s the heart of the sin. When you see yourself how God sees you, as an extremely special creation that’s worth dying for, and you let God reflect your identity, you will start to see yourself as the holy vessel of the Spirit that you are. And you will want for yourself, body and soul, what God would be pleased with.

            Whatever it is you are doing is not working so try something different but do not give in to your feelings or your struggle. You are struggling because you know its wrong, deep down in your heart you know. That knowledge is a God placed thing. It is holy.
            Know when you struggle deeply like that you are most like Jesus. Its a painful place but know that you are closest to Jesus during those times.

            Anyone who feels lost in their struggles needs to know this: God did not nor will not abandon you so don’t abandon Him.

          • tarl_hutch

            Frank,

            I like your answer, I really do, and I think there is truth there, but I am not sure it goes far enough. The picture you paint, of a God that loves us so much and is with us through the darkest nights, is beautiful, but I think sone of the problems gay Christians face is more from misguided Christians than from God. Maybe God does want them to change or abstain, but so often well mraning Christians drop the condemnation hammer and cause more guilt than God would ever give. My orayer and hope is that no matter how one feels about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality, that they will leave it to God to work in that persons life and instead offer love and grace to help gay folk follow Christ, regardless of how we feel. It is a personal issue for them to work out with God, and they should be afforded the liberty to do so. It is an issue that deals more with who one is, than something like lying or greed, so we need to let Christ show them the way and not try to be their personal jesus. Thank you for your beautiful response and I hope i have given another thing to consider.

          • Anonymous

            This exchange is touching on my misgivings about framing the issue around “pride”, in terms of how it’s polarized: rather than allowing people a safe space to struggle, we tend to set up a false dichotomy between defining one’s sexuality as the absolute core of one’s identity on the one hand, and social ostracism and shaming on the other. And we all need that room to struggle, with whatever our struggles are, within a caring community, so I don’t think it should be reduced to a “personal issue”. Isn’t being Jesus for each other what we’re called to do as a community of disciples?

          • tarl_hutch

            I love that you ate touching on the space to figure things out, it is such an important thing. As you said we all have things to figure out and work on, and we need the space and grace to be allowed to do that. It is also true that we believers can minister and help each other through these challenges, which should be done, as you pointed out, without shame and separation.

            My point is, that a person’s sexuality is different than other issues or sins we deal with, at least in certain ways. Is your sexuality all you are? Of course not, but we have made it such an issue that gay folk can’t help but be viewed at least initially by there sexual orientation. This causes a linking between personality and sexuality, so no wonder it becomes such a huge ordeal. After all, if you view it as a sin, no one identifies themselves as a liar, gluttony, or thief, but with homosexuality many will gladly proclaim this as part of who they are.

            So we must allow them room to wrestle with their faith, and yes, be there to offer advice, teaching, and love. But we must keep in mind how we address them, so as not to risk driving them away from Jesus. After all the church is for people who struggle and who face life honestly, we all have issues to deal with, but when we work together out of truth, love, grace, and patience we can be assured of following the way of Christ. My main point is that we can do this as a church while welcoming all and reserving our condemnation, after all none are perfect and none of us has it all figured out. If i am misreading you or you have more to add, I would love to hear it. Thank you for bringing this idea to light.

          • Anonymous

            Beautifully said on helping each other in our struggles and addressing all people with pastoral sensitivity. That is what the community of faith is for. And that’s why I think “gay pride” is an overcorrection to the shaming. Both force people into assumptions about their sexuality and define them by those assumptions, rather than allowing (or better, helping) them to work through whatever attractions or temptations or questions they may be wrestling with.

        • Mr.Chubs

          What is the point of the Parade to begin with? It is the polar-opposite of contrition. Is it not to band together to say, “this is what we are about, and this is our solidarity. We will continue to go on this way”? Nobody is saying this act is any more (or less) grevious than the others. Sin is sin and God will deal with it according to who he is and what he must do about it because of what he stands for, lest his name be mocked. But where this goes beyond sin into a strident wickedness is that they take what is wrong — and call it right. Where there is no admission of wrongdoing there can be no forgiveness. If I steal, we all agree I was wrong. If I kill we all agree I did wrong. But if am a homosexual, wsome of us have now called it right. It is not the sin that is calling attention to itself, it’s defending what is wrong and calling it right. Who of a right mind would say a Klan meeting is a good thing (hate), or who would in their right mind celebrate being grossly obese (gluttony) — A person in that state usually is saddended by their condition and wants help, which is a normal response to their condition and whatever it was that drove them their.

          • tarl_hutch

            How should the church respond/treat gay members, in your opinion? Also, how should the church witness to people who are gay?

    • SayBlade

      From the point of view of someone who has been marginalised and others who have experienced physical violence because of who they are, “pride” is very important. Not the haughty hubris kind but the joyful, confident, grateful for the gift of being kind.

  • http://twitter.com/modernpastor CMendoza

    Awesome! Thank you.

  • Charles

    You wrote all this because of a handful of Christian protesters? This article confirms how how out of touch most professors are.

    Irrelevant.

    • tarl_hutch

      Hey Charles,

      I was wondering if you could explain what is irrelevant about thus article? I am not sure by your comments, which part you think is unnecessary in this conversation? Thanks for any clarification.

      • Charles

        Christians protesting at Pride marches is something that used to make news years ago. The numbers have dropped considerably and there is now a Christian counter movement (See the Marin Foundation). We are beyond that and it’s time to relegate the hateful folk to the sidelines.

        BTW, the writer wants to paint a hetero-friendly description of a Pride Parade. Kid-friendly parades are on the rise BUT Pride Parades are a protest movement and folks dressed to challenge. They still do. The writer will do well to warn that this description is not the norm. She does everyone injustice when she does that.

        Other than that, the article was super awesome. Happy?

        • tarl_hutch

          Thanks for the clarification, Charles. It really helped me to understand your previous post. The internet makes it tough to fully comprehend meanings sometimes.

          You raise some great points and i hope we truly are past the point of giving credence to these protesters, but we are still seeing a lot of the same attitudes pervading our churches. I think this is what the author was really aiming at, though I could be wrong.

          It also seems like this may have been her first pride event, so maybe she is unaware of the tone many other events take, also referenced by another person above. Also, living close to salisbury, I know the environment there is very different from many larger cities in the US. This could account for the more family friendly environment, it is NC after all.

          All in all, i am glad you have me a little more info, because I had understood you a completely different way. I gotta say, I hope you are right. Looking forward to hearing more from you in the future.

          • Charles

            I doubt that those church goers read Red Letter Christians.
            Here’s the truth – a large percentage believe that God has clearly said homosexual acts are a sin just as lying is. And that group does not want to be obnoxious or rude. How do you reach them? How will they get their message across?

          • tarl_hutch

            That has actually been a large focus of mine, starting dialogue with more conservative Christians. As someone who is probably closer to a Christian moderate, I have found that most people are willing to at least discuss different ideas, as long as you don’t come at them too extreme. So I use social media, talking with friends, and meet-UPS, as well as church, to bring my ideas to the table. It is a slow, laborious process, but the best way to plant seeds of thought and love. Of course, this is not the only issue I care about, but it does seem all some people care about. Not everyone will ever agree, but as long as enough people start acting out of love and respect, we will see much progress.

            Also, I think you would be surprised at the number of more conservative Christians that come to this site. U know i have.

    • SayBlade

      A handful of Christian protesters at ONE pride event. There are many who do not protest, but sit in churches fuming and need to be reached.

  • Anonymous

    Have mercy on our hyper-sophisticated, culturally-bound, human-centered, status-conscious souls, Jesus.
    What’s your opinion re the “B” part of GLBT events like this?

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

      The church has been cultually-bound to a state that outlawed homosexuality for centuries. It will probably never be resolved whether the church initiated the oppression of LGBT persons or merely caved to the popular cultural fear for centuries. Chicken or the egg? At this point it doesn’t much matter.

      When the world changes to the point that the vast, overwhelming majority (>80%) support initiatives like Gay Marriage, then and only then can one credibly call into question the motives of someone reversing their stance and accepting LGBT people as they are.

      Until then, however, anyone (like Kathy Vestal) standing with the oppressed minority (in this case, the LGBT community) is counter-cultural, much like Jesus.

      • Anonymous

        Ric, I’m of the mind-set, that the only opinion that really counts is what the Father has had to say about His creation. I’m not critically, Biblically illiterate. I’ve read the best of the redactions re the passages on homosexuality and still find them altogether unconvincing. I have no problem in separating the fact that God can love gay and lesbian individuals perfectly and none-the-less grieve over the fact that their lifestyle choice, or “orientation” is unrighteous. No less so than assenting to the truth that He grieves over any and all of my own unrepentant, unrighteous proclivities.
        Separate question: I’ve still not heard someone who advocates for GLBT justify the “B-part” of the LGBT community from a Biblical standpoint. From a Biblical perspective, how does one do this?

        • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

          The fact that the church and the culture have been in bed together for centuries is not opinion. Denial or ignorance (or perhaps stubbornness) is the only refuge here.

          And what bizarre images do you have of bisexuals?

          • Anonymous

            Not sure how your response addresses my challenge unless you’re saying that we cannot objectively know the mind or will of God? – or that God is incapable of revealing His will to the human spirit?

            Re: Bisexuality – You’re fogging the issue. How does one justify Bisexual behavior/lifestyle/orientation from scripture?

            http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/05/health/05sex.html?pagewanted=all

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            What is bisexual behavior? What is bisexual lifetime?

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

    Thank you for covering this event in a manner unlike the typical 6 o’clock news sound-bite. These are real, oppressed people. Your post paints a touching picture that is rarely, if ever, seen inside the typical church.

  • Frank

    Is this what a Masters of Divinity produces? Ignorance about Levitical law? Getting theology from talking to sinful people instead of the word of God?

    How embarrassing!

  • David

    Lovely read and right to the heart of the issues that I’m wrestling with. Thanks for taking the time to pen this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ShannonJohnson717 Shannon M Johnson

    As an attendee, observer, volunteer and photographer at various large and small Pride festivals, parades and events in various parts of the country, I see the description of Salisbury’s Pride festival as an example and testimony of what Pride festivals COULD BE/SHOULD BE … but, unfortunately, in my experience, Salisbury’s Pride festival is atypical.

    As a fairly progressive, non-prudish gay dad of three smart, progressive-minded, culturally aware kids, I would not take them to any of the Pride festivals I’ve been to.

    I’m consistently embarrassed by (and for) the abundance of over-the-top, exhibitionistic, anything-goes behaviors and displays.

    Pride festivals have always left me wondering, “Why does the community “proudly” display and perpetuate stereotypes and caricatures of the GLBT communities? Why squander these opportunities to live out positive testimony and example; to be welcoming and embracing rather than shocking and offensive?”

    Many GLBT community members avoid Pride festivals for these very reasons. It’s a shame that public perception of what it means to be part of the GLBT community is skewed by nudity, fetishes, profanity and other obscene extremes on display at Pride festivals.

    Of course we’re different. We are as diverse as the rainbow. Yeah, I get that … but … so is the “straight” community. We can celebrate it all without shame — guys hand-in-hand with guys; girls hand-in-hand with girls; entertained by drag shows and outrageous costumes; observing and appreciating our culture’s diverse take on music, art, and good times while being responsibly conscious of the fact that we are putting ourselves out there, in public, making our case, by example, for (or against) achievement of equality and respect.

    Part of the battle for equality and respect is to emphasize that we are not only creative, colorful and diverse, but respectful, considerate and responsible. Publicly celebrating and displaying extremes and distortions is doing nothing to advance the cause.

    I’m not faulting or criticizing anyone, gay or straight, for ways they choose to live out their social, entertainment and sex lives in the privacy of their homes or appropriate venues; but so much of what is on PUBLIC display at Pride festivals does nothing but harm and hinder the achievement of credibility, equality and rights.

    If Pride festival marketing and PR announces, “Come one, come all; all are welcome, bring your kids and family members!” then please do something to discourage and limit the overt displays of sex, fetishes, nudity, profanity and obscenity.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

      I agree, for the most part Pride Festivals/Parades are outlandish and over-the-top. I view it from from the straight side of the fence, so I don’t feel the same things you feel. But I get it, I think.

      I do see the Pride events as a reaction to the anti-gay oppression that runs pervasively through society. In that sense, I see the outlandish, absurd, and over-the-top actions as merely an equal and opposite reaction to the truly repulsive state and church sanctioned oppression.

      As the actions of us as a church and society begin to more faithfully exhibit Christ, the Pride events will no doubt reflect the same. Maybe Salisbury is a glimpse of things to come.

      So to my friends in the conservative, homosexuality-is-a-sin camp: If you don’t like the absurd reflection, ignoring and outlawing the mirrors is not actually helping.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ShannonJohnson717 Shannon M Johnson

        I appreciate and agree with your insights. Thank you for your work and testimony in this important and volatile arena.

  • 21st Century Episcopalian

    Dear Fellow Red-Letter Christians,

    If JESUS was mistaken (or worse, a liar) about sexuality/homosexuality, then he shows himself to be not much of a credible teacher let alone a pure and perfect savior. Therefore, if he was wrong about sexuality/homosexuality, there’s no reason to believe or follow him in any other way. The Cross wouldn’t have redeemed, and all “red letters” would simply be wasted words on a page of an old book.

    Mt 19:4-6; and Mark 10:6-12 Referring to OT Gen 2:24-25, Jesus said, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

    Jesus had every opportunity to widen the marriage covenant language here and did NOT. One man, one woman, for life. Yes, for life.

    Is it true some men and women have been born with a genetic, or raised with an environmental (or both), predisposition towards same sex attraction? Likely. Does that mean that God has given those individuals freedom to ignore the red letter words of Jesus (among other OT and NT speakers and writers, all guided by the spiritual movement of the Holy Spirit)? Of course not. Otherwise Paul wouldn’t have said (1Cor6:9-11) “and that is what some of you WERE”.

    Having cravings and urges does not equate freedom to pursue those cravings and urges, especially when in direct disagreement with clear passages that direct us to God’s “best way” for human relationships.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

      Dear Fellow 21st Century Episcopalian,

      Everyone has heard this sermon before. It has been refuted many times over. Regurgitating this sermon and the rebuke and rebuke of the rebuke, ad nauseum, is playing like a worn out pop-song on the radio.

      Here’s the short version: Taking Jesus’ admonishment of divorce and of profiting on human pain is not germane to homosexuality. Believing otherwise only reveals the thinly-veiled, anti-gay agenda going in.

      • 21st Century Episcopalian

        Dear Ric, Thanks for your reply. I agree; everyone has heard this sermon before. That, however, doesn’t make it either accurate or inaccurate that it’s a longstanding and/or repeated conversation point. I’ve read the Sermon on the Mount countless times, but haven’t hit any type of expiration date for freshness.

        And if given you’re right about Jesus’ admonishment on divorce (which you must agree does indeed validate the OT covenantal language of one woman one man), maybe you’d prefer the Apostle Paul’s more direct words on the topic:

        Rom 1:24-27 Paul wrote, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

        1 Cor 6:9-11 Paul wrote, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

        Here too Paul had every opportunity to address and widen the covenantal language related to human relationship and sexuality (as known to do regarding race/gender/socio-economic/etc. equality), but did NOT.

        As much as contemporary Western individualistic self-centered culture would like to revise and revamp and retool the historical doctrine in order to reverse engineer an approval of lifestyle, it doesn’t make it valid.

        Try convincing this revisisionist (and/or reductionist) view of scripture to the billions of other humans living across millenia as well as those currently living in Africa, Asia, Middle East, etc. They wouldn’t buy it, and neither should we.

        Having said that, we must love all brothers and sisters as we all fall short of the mark in various ways. Homosexuality isn’t on a pedestal of badness; it’s just the issue du jour for our society these days.

        • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

          We need to abandon the Jesus-said-divorce-is-bad-so-homosexuality-must-be-bad-also argument. It shows a blatant attempt to put words into Jesus’ mouth.

          So yes, I and everyone else on the planet can admit that Jesus’ words do endorse heterosexual marriage. So we can all agree there is nothing sinful about heterosexual marriage.

          The argument that Jesus or Paul “had every opportunity to …” and didn’t is not a valid argument either. Jesus and Paul had every opportunity to address contraception and endorse it but they didn’t so it must be sinful. Jesus and Paul had every opportunity to address [fill-in-the-blank] but didn’t. Saying that everything that was not brought up (like twitter and blogging) is wrong is reading something that is not there to be read.

          Paul’s words admonish the greek and roman orgies, prostitution, and promiscuity. To claim his admonishments of “religious rites” of multi-member orgies is an admonishment of all homosexual sex, we must (by applying the same rule) claim it is an admonishment of all heterosexual sex as well.

          The acceptance of the LGBT community as real and valid is indeed a radical shift in centuries old church doctrine, as was the abolitionist movement. Simply because it has been accepted as true doctrine for centuries, doesn’t make is correct doctrine.

          I would claim (agree) the church has historically been guilty of caving into the anti-gay cultures the world over, and conformed itself to the world-view that is quite anti-male-gay all by itself. As you inadvertently point out, the current movement to correct this wrong is, indeed, counter-cultural. It is the church taking a stand with the oppressed and marginalized.

          • 21st Century Episcopalian

            Dear Ric, thanks for your thoughtful response. You’ve clearly decided in your mind what you feel is correct and are skillful in communicating your argument. Skillful, but not convincing

            Re: The Pauline dismissal is a common argument these days among the LGBT circles, but misses out completely on Paul’s intended message.

            1Cor6:9 Malakos and Arsenokoites are two greek words with clear reference to homosexual activity. Per Arsenokoites, from New Intl Commentary on NT: Arsenokoitai –Paul’s use is first instance in preserved literature and subsequent authors are reluctant to use it, especially when describing homosexual activity. The word is a compound of “male” and “intercourse”. The word for intercourse is actually a vulgar slang of the word (also see 4:13 & Phil 3:8) which probably why not prevalently used. What is not certain is whether “male” is subject (=males who have intercourse) or object (=intercourse with males). Fee (Editor) goes on to describe counter arguments based on this ambiguity, then undercuts them with… “what may be true of the words individually may be one thing. But they are not individual. They are placed side by side in a vice list that is weighted heavily towards sexual sins. For Paul’s attitude on homosexuality, one needs refer to his Jewish background with its abhorrence of such”. Etc, etc.

            Now, I hesitate continuing the discussion as I sense that your mind is made up and there’s no convincing you otherwise. Ultimately, given we are two “Red Letter” Christians, followers and lovers of Jesus Christ (and resting on his finished work on the Cross), we have far more in common than this issue where we clearly disagree.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Actually, I think once we dismiss the Pauline verses as not germane to homosexuality as we know it today, we can more completely focus on Paul’s intended message.

            We will not persuade each other here in blog comments. However, those of us like myself see the “homosexuality-is-a-sin-theology” as the anti-gospel much like how the abolitionists viewed “slavery-is-condoned-by-scripture-theology”.

            We will not simply agree to disagree when we see people being oppressed simply for being different.

          • 21st Century Episcopalian

            Ric, as much as you (and other LGBT supporters) would like to, we can NOT dismiss the Pauline verses as not germane to homosexuality because that’s EXACTLY what they refer to. No amount of revisionism can change the text. You really need to read beyond your circle. They’re wrong.

            One other quick item: Many of us “Thinking Christians” don’t buy into the literalist hermaneutic that you’re espousing here, where if Jesus did not use the specific word “homosexual”, then he wasn’t authoritatively relevant or applicable to same-sex rships. Of course he was confirming that hetero marriage was NOT sin, as you say; but he was also confirming that hetero marriage is the ONLY marriage.

            As you said, the Bible doesn’t need to specifically address issues like blogging or twitter for thinking people to be able to parse out, based on other scriptural texts, what we should believe re: current issues. And the same goes for space travel, nuclear war, chemical pollution, child-sex-trafficking, drones, and same-sex marriage. Enough with the literalism. Thinking people can and should exegete the full body of scripture, and then apply to current issues. Regarding Jesus’ red letter words in Mk/Mt, that would be — one man and one woman for life = marriage.

            And please stop comparing kidnap/race-based 18th century slavery with homosexual marriage. It’s offensive to African Americans, as well as all thinking people who more properly exegete God’s Word. Nobody is stopping homosexual individuals from experiencing freedom of being with and loving other individuals. Sure, there are both civil and spiritual limits to that expression, but definitely not comparable to African slavery.

            I intimated yesterday that I would be done replying/posting, and I will with this last post on this particular subject. Peace to you, Ric, and may the Holy Spirit guide all of us, the people of Jesus, into accurate understanding of his Word, proper application to issues in our time, and to do so with great care, grace, and compassion to all people as all are in need of the Savior.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            >>You really need to read beyond your circle. They’re wrong.

            I LOL-ed at this one. I come from your circle, 21st Century Episcopalian. I firmly believed homosexuality was a sin. I read beyond my circle and discovered I was wrong.

            I do not compare the oppressed LGBT community with the slaves of any century. I do, however, most certainly compare the oppressive theologies that spawn the systematic subjugation of an entire people simply for being different. I do compare, even liken, the oppressors.

            By the way, it is weird to be accused of literalism and revisionism in the same comment. Ironically, it is probably my literalism training in how to read my bible that led me out of the circle that taught it… The revisionism preceded me.

            Good advice: You really need to read beyond your circle. They’re wrong. …. Or more accurately, we were wrong. And proud. Very, very proud.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            And by “the revisionism preceded me” I mean the transparent insertion (read: addition) of the term homosexuality into the bible in the latter half of the past century. That revisionism highlighted and elevated homosexuality to the deal-breaker status it so enjoys today. Undo that revisionism and this whole raging debate dissipates.

            I summarized this bizarre, fear-based reaction of the previous generation here:

            http://ricbooth.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/cultural-fears-influence-translation/

          • MichaelJ

            Ric, Ally, 21st, You guys are deep… Last night my counselor reminded me unwanted advice is criticism. His comment was about how to communicate effectively as a husband and dad but it seems the same applies in a forum like this too doesn’t it? The freedom we have to discuss our different beliefs is a gift and I hope it leads us to better understand each other. I suspect not many people change their beliefs from these forums however, have you found they help teach us how to love each other better? In His grace,

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Hi MichaelJ. I think it is safe to say that those who voluntarily enter into a discussion here are doing so with the foreknowledge that not all will agree.

            As far as the benefits of online discussion go, I have actually come to change my outlook on this issue and others through blogs and comment discussion. I have seen other cases of mindsets changing as a result of online discussions or as a result of background research prompted by online discussions. I believe discussion, however difficult, uncomfortable, or electronic it may be at times, is the way forward.

          • MichaelJ

            Hey Ric, Did you read KGs story from a day ago that opens with “Exactly! A homosexual man who dresses in drag has come to our church for about five months”?
            The love of Christ delivered though His people like this always amazes me. I suspect deep theological discussions about our sexuality have the potential for bringing us closer however, I’m reminded of Josh Garrells verse “the older we grow we must be more like a child”. Discussions are a way forward and the scriptures, especially Jesus teachings support that however, too often our words do more to distance us rather than bring us closer to the Cross. This doesn’t mean we stop trying but I sure want to learn how to speak the truth in love. Lord help us,

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Yes, I read it. I’m sorry, I don’t get your point in asking.

          • Michael J.

            Just curious to learn what you think about it?

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            I think it is great that the people at KG’s church welcomed Sunshine/Corey as s/he is and have been there spiritually and emotionally for this person. I am really glad there is a safe place at KG’s church for Sunshine/Corey.

            I do not have enough information to conclude that a miracle is taking place. KG may feel he/she has enough. I think we Christians need to be careful about to whom or what we ascribe outward, behavioral change.

            I good friend at my church has a similar story. He ascribes his change as internal and Holy Spirit led.

            Another friend has had no such change, outward or inward, which is more the norm for 99.9%. I want to be very careful when addressing this 0.1% group that I never imply the 99.9% have very weak faith or the churches they attend are worthless or that God seriously must hate them the most (for not changing them or answering their prayers).

            If Corey shows up as Sunshine next week, I hope KG’s church doesn’t blink. It would not mean they have failed or that Sunshine “backslid.” It would not mean God is punishing anyone or that God loves anyone less. Our obsession with outward appearance and behavior is a human thing. God is more/primarily concerned with the condition of our hearts, agreed?

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            Ric, you just said what i would’ve said. Sexuality isn’t an on/off switch. For the vast majority of us, we can no more “turn” straight than any of y’all can “turn” gay.

            i feel like the problem i have with this story is that it’s just like any other story i’ve heard at church: sinner comes to church, accepts Jesus, makes a 180 lifestyle change. It’s sentimental, but it’s too posh– and it doesn’t speak to, as Ric said, the 99.9% of the LGBTQ community who never have that change occur. We’re left out, we’re told we don’t have a place at the table… all because this is one mess we’re unable to clean up.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Exactly, Ally. We, as Christians, should not hold up these examples of 0.1% as proof of anything.

            Outward behavior is affected by too many factors. LGBT people have been modifying their behavior to appear just like the rest of us for a few centuries now. The really great news in KG’s comment is that Sunshine was accepted with love and that s/he felt loved.

          • frank

            Unable or unwilling? And what does “clean up” mean too you?

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            Frank, are you unable or unwilling to be gay?

            In this context, I meant “clean up” as in, the impression I get from Christians that I am not welcome unless I “repent” from the “sin” of my orientation

          • frank

            Unable or unwilling? And what does “clean up” mean too you?

          • MichaelJ

            Hi Ric,
            Thought provoking and Thank You. I agree 100% with your closing point that the condition of our hearts is a primary concern God has for us however, I have a different understanding on some other suggestions you make about outward changes He enables us to realize in our life. I’m working this afternoon and will put some of those thoughts in writing this evening. Since accepting Jesus as Lord I haven’t blogged a lot and appreciate the study it leads to to better know and follow Him. Isaiah 61:3

          • MichaelJ

            Ric, wait a minute, only 1/10 of 1% who experience life change? Is this based on people you’ve met or is there another source for that estimate? Sex. God gave us the desire but geez, what a difficult part of our
            identity to manage. Another great reason to look forward
            to Heaven right? For perspective I confess, before and after accepting Jesus as my savior, on more
            than one occasion I neglected my relationship with Him on many levels and this weakened my
            resistance to licentious behavior. This led me to being unfaithful in my marriage and only by the grace of God and the forgiving spirit he blessed my wife with did we survive as a family. Like many of us, I suffered sadly broken parts of my childhood and credit my lack of values to behavior I witnessed in my dad(s) and older brothers. These distorted views of what sex meant to me were pushed deeper into my mind and emotions through pornography. All this made it impossible for me to be comfortable in a loving monogamist relationship. My suggestion is, I could say I just wasn’t made to be content with 1 person just as easily as one could say they were made to be homosexual because I’m just made that way. Now I’m gonna leave the door open a little on this because I recently learned there’s a percentage of us where the X Y chromosome balance could explain a persons attraction to the same sex but for the majority, that’s not the reason for same sex attraction. I believe our our hearts and minds are transformed as we grow in our relationship with Christ. And in that life, although I admit walking in the Spirit is a humbling (but joyful) one day at a time time experience, I can gratefully say I’m in the blessed company of the 1/10 of 1% transformed. One love,

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            I’m sorry, tell me again what the cause is for same-sex attractions?

          • MichaelJ

            Hi Ally, I believe we choose the type of sex we want based on a learned rather than biological behavior. The x y chromosome science suggesting some of us may be biologically prone to homosexuality was recently mentioned to me by a wonderful pastor who I see for family counseling. Sorry, I don’t have much more for you on this x y theory but it makes sense to me and the web has some fascinating material I found recently based on medical studies explaining how chromosome anomalies can give us a higher likelihood of physiological vs psychological attraction to the same sex. Grace and peace,

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            @081e7dc6b5ae4b689f643ee1289d8192:disqus

            i’m a psych major who reads up on this stuff not just because it pertains to me but because human behavior fascinates me– virtually all the current (legitimate) scientific data points to a biological or very early environmental cause (teratogens, such as excess testosterone in utero, etc). In other words, orientation is innate, not chosen.

            i do want to point out that sexual orientation and sexual behavior *are not* interchangeable terms. Orientation refers to attractions- so whether one is straight, gay, or bi. Behavior refers to actions- whether one has sexual relationships with people of the opposite or same sex. It’s possible to be heterosexual and have sex with someone of the same gender, just as it’s possible to be gay/lesbian and have sex with someone of the opposite gender. Orientation, again, is innate and not chosen. Very few people are able to truly change their orientation.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            I was speaking specifically about the % of people claiming to have changed the sexual orientation. Ex-exodus international leaders/ministers have actually admired the number is closer to zero percent.

            The chance of God delivering us from sin = 100%.
            The chance of God delivering us from some arbitrary
            Characteristic like left-handedness or sexual orientation is close to zero. He must want us to love ourselves as we are… When it come to non-sinful characteristics.)

          • MichaelJ

            This circles us back to the question, is sex outside of a married man and women Gods plan for us? If so, this makes anything else something we need to turn from and do our best to love and accept those who struggle with it. The dialog you and 20th Century had on this was amazing. You both articulated your positions very well and I could feel the empathy you both showed for each other. For me, the natural plan of man and women rings true.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            It rings true to us because it is the norm for 90 – 95% of us. Just as mixed-race marriages look abnormal to prior generations (with plenty of scripture to support it too, btw). Their were laws prohibiting interracial marriage on the books through the 1960s. Marriage within ones own race (a.k.a., biblical tribe and/or nation) was the only marriage blessed by God at one point. It was the only one that “rang true” for the vast majority of Christians.

            They were wrong. Of course. Obviously. Hindsight is 20-20.

            The scripture usually cited that they claim defines marriage is the passage where Jesus is answering a question on divorce. His main point was taking money to effect a divorce is a sin. His next point is remarrying is adultery, which is another sin.

            From this we’re told it is also a definition of God’s model plan for all marriages for all time. Even that that was not the question nor his point.

            But let us assume that is what he meant. Then are biggest threat to this is divorce. Far and away. 50% of all marriages end in divorce. If we are serious about our interpretation of this passage, we had better start getting divorce bans on our states’ constitutions asap.

            But if we just want to oppress the LGBT community because they are different that us, well then we can just apply the implied gender restrictions and call it good enough.

            There are other issues with blindly applying an implied strict literal set of restrictions with this passage.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Btw, your delivery from sexual sin is encouraging. Praise God. If you experienced an internal change in your sexual orientation, you are indeed one of the rare few.

          • MichaelJ

            The “rare few” comment reminds me of Elisha when he asked God to bring him home cause he thought he was the only one left who believed in Him. It’s so easy for us to feel alone in our suffering and miss much of the good were surrounded with. Hope, tells me there’s many men and women walking in victory and more are rising to the call every day.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Another correction: it was not only Ex-Exodus leaders making the 99.9% claim. The sitting head of Exodus, Alan Chambers, is the ‘source’ of that specific, alarming statistic.

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            Ric- Why is it that our interpretation is incorect? Is it not possible that you might be wrong in your beliefs? Let me ask you, how would you feel if someone were to tell you that they could see that your mind was made up so there was no reason to continue a discussion? i’d imagine you’d feel defensive, if not upset that someone would shut down a conversation in such a manner. Why is it that your interpretation is the only one that is correct– why should i believe you over my own study?

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            I’m confused, Ally C. Are you asking me these questions? I just want to be sure before wandering off…

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            Ah, Ric, i am so sorry… i meant to address 21st Centruy Episcoplian!

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            Ric- Why is it that our interpretation is incorect? Is it not possible that you might be wrong in your beliefs? Let me ask you, how would you feel if someone were to tell you that they could see that your mind was made up so there was no reason to continue a discussion? i’d imagine you’d feel defensive, if not upset that someone would shut down a conversation in such a manner. Why is it that your interpretation is the only one that is correct– why should i believe you over my own study?

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Actually, I think once we dismiss the Pauline verses as not germane to homosexuality as we know it today, we can more completely focus on Paul’s intended message.

            We will not persuade each other here in blog comments. However, those of us like myself see the “homosexuality-is-a-sin-theology” as the anti-gospel much like how the abolitionists viewed “slavery-is-condoned-by-scripture-theology”.

            We will not simply agree to disagree when we see people being oppressed simply for being different.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Actually, I think once we dismiss the Pauline verses as not germane to homosexuality as we know it today, we can more completely focus on Paul’s intended message.

            We will not persuade each other here in blog comments. However, those of us like myself see the “homosexuality-is-a-sin-theology” as the anti-gospel much like how the abolitionists viewed “slavery-is-condoned-by-scripture-theology”.

            We will not simply agree to disagree when we see people being oppressed simply for being different.

          • 21st Century Episcopalian

            Dear Ric, thanks for your thoughtful response. You’ve clearly decided in your mind what you feel is correct and are skillful in communicating your argument. Skillful, but not convincing

            Re: The Pauline dismissal is a common argument these days among the LGBT circles, but misses out completely on Paul’s intended message.

            1Cor6:9 Malakos and Arsenokoites are two greek words with clear reference to homosexual activity. Per Arsenokoites, from New Intl Commentary on NT: Arsenokoitai –Paul’s use is first instance in preserved literature and subsequent authors are reluctant to use it, especially when describing homosexual activity. The word is a compound of “male” and “intercourse”. The word for intercourse is actually a vulgar slang of the word (also see 4:13 & Phil 3:8) which probably why not prevalently used. What is not certain is whether “male” is subject (=males who have intercourse) or object (=intercourse with males). Fee (Editor) goes on to describe counter arguments based on this ambiguity, then undercuts them with… “what may be true of the words individually may be one thing. But they are not individual. They are placed side by side in a vice list that is weighted heavily towards sexual sins. For Paul’s attitude on homosexuality, one needs refer to his Jewish background with its abhorrence of such”. Etc, etc.

            Now, I hesitate continuing the discussion as I sense that your mind is made up and there’s no convincing you otherwise. Ultimately, given we are two “Red Letter” Christians, followers and lovers of Jesus Christ (and resting on his finished work on the Cross), we have far more in common than this issue where we clearly disagree.

          • 21st Century Episcopalian

            Dear Ric, thanks for your thoughtful response. You’ve clearly decided in your mind what you feel is correct and are skillful in communicating your argument. Skillful, but not convincing

            Re: The Pauline dismissal is a common argument these days among the LGBT circles, but misses out completely on Paul’s intended message.

            1Cor6:9 Malakos and Arsenokoites are two greek words with clear reference to homosexual activity. Per Arsenokoites, from New Intl Commentary on NT: Arsenokoitai –Paul’s use is first instance in preserved literature and subsequent authors are reluctant to use it, especially when describing homosexual activity. The word is a compound of “male” and “intercourse”. The word for intercourse is actually a vulgar slang of the word (also see 4:13 & Phil 3:8) which probably why not prevalently used. What is not certain is whether “male” is subject (=males who have intercourse) or object (=intercourse with males). Fee (Editor) goes on to describe counter arguments based on this ambiguity, then undercuts them with… “what may be true of the words individually may be one thing. But they are not individual. They are placed side by side in a vice list that is weighted heavily towards sexual sins. For Paul’s attitude on homosexuality, one needs refer to his Jewish background with its abhorrence of such”. Etc, etc.

            Now, I hesitate continuing the discussion as I sense that your mind is made up and there’s no convincing you otherwise. Ultimately, given we are two “Red Letter” Christians, followers and lovers of Jesus Christ (and resting on his finished work on the Cross), we have far more in common than this issue where we clearly disagree.

      • Frank

        Ric you may have heard this sermon before but clearly you didn’t listen. It’s points are correct so you should listen. Refuted? Hardly!

    • Questioning

      I am not sure what your point is. Are you trying to bring same sex marriage into the discussion? As far as the “best way” comment, assuming it is genetic, chemical, enviromental, or physical, in other words out of their control, why would God allow people to come into this world with a natural orientation that is contrary to His plan? Isn’t sin learned behavior? Well, we do not know why this happens. I do not know… you do not know. What’s left is how we respond to it and I believe this is where God is watching. I am going to assume, based on the tone of your post, that you are straight, as am I. To call this natural orientation a “craving or an urge”… well I hope you will consider that this is more than just a tad arrogant. It’s like you being injured and me telling you how much pain you are in. To resist this “craving or urge” is to resist any chance at having a life of love and companionship. It’s also risking a life of denial and potential hurt to others whom you are misleading, including yourself. The most important thing anyone can have is love for and to be loved by the Savior. The question becomes are we pointing them to that loving Savior or are we somehow pointing them to a Savior who says they are not welcomed? I think we as Christians, have forgotten what it’s like to see the Church from the perspective of the world. In many ways to the world I fear we look like just another social club with rules for entry and by-laws to follow. God can change any heart, but before change can occur there has to be a desire to meet God. That desire should come from the sweet aroma and example of His people walking in this world. The world should want what we have not be repelled by it. To what extent God changes hearts and minds comes from a flowering relationship with Him and is really between Him and the believer. We love, but only God judges.

      • 21st Century Episcopalian

        Thanks for your comment. Yes, we love… but do we blindly accept? Must we rewrite or reverse engineer the timeless words of Jesus (not to mention Paul et al) to fit our thoroughly modern Westernized individual-is-king sociological mindset?

        And what is Love? Is it not our Lord dying on the cross on behalf of our sins and to redeem the fallen planet? And… apart from the general doctrine of current non-Western cultures, and apart from millenia of Judeo-christian cultural and religious belief, where does the text of scripture fit in as guiding our current understandings of human nature, defining sin, and/or dealing with urges or desires that don’t lead us closer to God?

        • Questioning

          We blindly accept all the time. Some sins are hidden, some are harder to hide. Also, I don’t see anyone trying to rewrite or reverse engineer the words of Jesus or Paul. What I see are people continuing to try and understand the scriptures in light of the changing world we live in. I suggest you read the author’s excellent blog in the link above about the church’s teaching on homosexuality. She has some very good examples of where we have gotten it wrong before. I’m not sure what the “Westernized individual-is-king sociological mindset” is or how it might apply here. If it means each individual has worth, is a child of God, and never out of His reach, then I agree.
          What is love? Good question. Some like to argue that pointing out people’s sins is more loving than just loving them, and more often than not it’s brought up as a response to this topic. If that’s truth then let’s apply it to all sin situations. Let’s warn the fat person about gluttony. Let’s remind the person who has divorced and remarried that they are adulterers. Let’s tell the gossip to stop gossiping. Let’s rebuke the proud, the envious, the sloth. Let’s all of us without sin cast as many stones as we can, since that is love. Doesn’t much seem like love to me. So maybe we partly define “what is love” by defining “what is not love”. And what if it is our urges, desires, and prejudice I might add, that are leading people away from God.

        • Questioning

          We blindly accept all the time. Some sins are hidden, some are harder to hide. Also, I don’t see anyone trying to rewrite or reverse engineer the words of Jesus or Paul. What I see are people continuing to try and understand the scriptures in light of the changing world we live in. I suggest you read the author’s excellent blog in the link above about the church’s teaching on homosexuality. She has some very good examples of where we have gotten it wrong before. I’m not sure what the “Westernized individual-is-king sociological mindset” is or how it might apply here. If it means each individual has worth, is a child of God, and never out of His reach, then I agree.
          What is love? Good question. Some like to argue that pointing out people’s sins is more loving than just loving them, and more often than not it’s brought up as a response to this topic. If that’s truth then let’s apply it to all sin situations. Let’s warn the fat person about gluttony. Let’s remind the person who has divorced and remarried that they are adulterers. Let’s tell the gossip to stop gossiping. Let’s rebuke the proud, the envious, the sloth. Let’s all of us without sin cast as many stones as we can, since that is love. Doesn’t much seem like love to me. So maybe we partly define “what is love” by defining “what is not love”. And what if it is our urges, desires, and prejudice I might add, that are leading people away from God.

        • Questioning

          We blindly accept all the time. Some sins are hidden, some are harder to hide. Also, I don’t see anyone trying to rewrite or reverse engineer the words of Jesus or Paul. What I see are people continuing to try and understand the scriptures in light of the changing world we live in. I suggest you read the author’s excellent blog in the link above about the church’s teaching on homosexuality. She has some very good examples of where we have gotten it wrong before. I’m not sure what the “Westernized individual-is-king sociological mindset” is or how it might apply here. If it means each individual has worth, is a child of God, and never out of His reach, then I agree.
          What is love? Good question. Some like to argue that pointing out people’s sins is more loving than just loving them, and more often than not it’s brought up as a response to this topic. If that’s truth then let’s apply it to all sin situations. Let’s warn the fat person about gluttony. Let’s remind the person who has divorced and remarried that they are adulterers. Let’s tell the gossip to stop gossiping. Let’s rebuke the proud, the envious, the sloth. Let’s all of us without sin cast as many stones as we can, since that is love. Doesn’t much seem like love to me. So maybe we partly define “what is love” by defining “what is not love”. And what if it is our urges, desires, and prejudice I might add, that are leading people away from God.

      • KG

        Exactly! A homosexual man who dresses in drag has come to our church for about five months. He went by the name “Sunshine” About a month ago, he gets up and says that he has been rejected by his dad who is a bishop and has been rejected by many churches, and that we were the only church that treated him equally and accepted him and, he told us a bit of his testimony of how he had a life threatening disease and the only person that helped him was his next door neighbor ( who is a member of our church). He then said he wanted to join the church. My pastor then proceeded to go through the process we always do in joining new members. My pastor was kind of confused how to address ” Sunshine” so he just called him a her to avoid too much conflict. After Sunshine joined, we all proceeded to go up, hug, talk to, and make him feel welcome. Fast forward about two weeks ago, after my mom preaches a sermon on the true Gospel of Christ, out of the blue he tells my mom “Corey is coming out”. My mom didn’t know what that meant, but Corey was Sunshine’s real name. He was telling her that he was coming out of homosexuality and cross dressing. Last week he came to church dressed in what we would deem “male” clothes and gave a testimony and thanked us for our love and support. He says it will be very hard, but we just continue to pray for and love him. I used this example to show that people don’t respond to finger pointing, they respond to the gospel and God’s love. Not one time did we preach a hell fire brimstone message, not once did we say you are wearing inappropriate clothing, not ever did we turn our noses to him and say he was living is sin, people had done that long enough. The Bible says God’s goodness should lead you to repentance (which is just the changing of one’s mind) not Christians planting guilt. I believe that just by showing God’s love people will be more susceptible to the Gospel. Corey is proof of this.

        • MichaelJ

          KG, Love this story. What a testimony for the power of love and understanding, Wow! Thank you.

      • KG

        Exactly! A homosexual man who dresses in drag has come to our church for about five months. He went by the name “Sunshine” About a month ago, he gets up and says that he has been rejected by his dad who is a bishop and has been rejected by many churches, and that we were the only church that treated him equally and accepted him and, he told us a bit of his testimony of how he had a life threatening disease and the only person that helped him was his next door neighbor ( who is a member of our church). He then said he wanted to join the church. My pastor then proceeded to go through the process we always do in joining new members. My pastor was kind of confused how to address ” Sunshine” so he just called him a her to avoid too much conflict. After Sunshine joined, we all proceeded to go up, hug, talk to, and make him feel welcome. Fast forward about two weeks ago, after my mom preaches a sermon on the true Gospel of Christ, out of the blue he tells my mom “Corey is coming out”. My mom didn’t know what that meant, but Corey was Sunshine’s real name. He was telling her that he was coming out of homosexuality and cross dressing. Last week he came to church dressed in what we would deem “male” clothes and gave a testimony and thanked us for our love and support. He says it will be very hard, but we just continue to pray for and love him. I used this example to show that people don’t respond to finger pointing, they respond to the gospel and God’s love. Not one time did we preach a hell fire brimstone message, not once did we say you are wearing inappropriate clothing, not ever did we turn our noses to him and say he was living is sin, people had done that long enough. The Bible says God’s goodness should lead you to repentance (which is just the changing of one’s mind) not Christians planting guilt. I believe that just by showing God’s love people will be more susceptible to the Gospel. Corey is proof of this.

      • KG

        Exactly! A homosexual man who dresses in drag has come to our church for about five months. He went by the name “Sunshine” About a month ago, he gets up and says that he has been rejected by his dad who is a bishop and has been rejected by many churches, and that we were the only church that treated him equally and accepted him and, he told us a bit of his testimony of how he had a life threatening disease and the only person that helped him was his next door neighbor ( who is a member of our church). He then said he wanted to join the church. My pastor then proceeded to go through the process we always do in joining new members. My pastor was kind of confused how to address ” Sunshine” so he just called him a her to avoid too much conflict. After Sunshine joined, we all proceeded to go up, hug, talk to, and make him feel welcome. Fast forward about two weeks ago, after my mom preaches a sermon on the true Gospel of Christ, out of the blue he tells my mom “Corey is coming out”. My mom didn’t know what that meant, but Corey was Sunshine’s real name. He was telling her that he was coming out of homosexuality and cross dressing. Last week he came to church dressed in what we would deem “male” clothes and gave a testimony and thanked us for our love and support. He says it will be very hard, but we just continue to pray for and love him. I used this example to show that people don’t respond to finger pointing, they respond to the gospel and God’s love. Not one time did we preach a hell fire brimstone message, not once did we say you are wearing inappropriate clothing, not ever did we turn our noses to him and say he was living is sin, people had done that long enough. The Bible says God’s goodness should lead you to repentance (which is just the changing of one’s mind) not Christians planting guilt. I believe that just by showing God’s love people will be more susceptible to the Gospel. Corey is proof of this.

  • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

    i went to my first gay pride fest last month. Ours didn’t have any protesters (thankfully!) but my experience was similar to yours– lots of families, lots of rainbows, lots of tables of community organizations. i’m a lesbian but not in with the LGBT community, so for me, it was the first time i’d been around so many other LGBT people– i can’t even express the emotions i felt over this, that we could all come together in mutual support and celebration of each other, our lives and our stories… it’s what i’d want from a church, y’know?

    Kathy, thank you for this piece.

  • Michael J.

    Attending a gay pride event is TMI for me even when the more family friendly members of the community are present. The Psalm that suggests we not hang too close with those who reject Christ for their own desires comes to mind. On the other hand, when God anoints someone to wallk in the love of Christ in a compassionate way (no condemnation signs or screaming about burning in hell please) so we just don’t “blend in”, that’s different. The confession booth scene at the Portland gay pride festival from the film Lord Save Us From Your Followers is a brilliant example of this love in action. It’s on YouTube if you want to take a look. Grace and peace,

    • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

      Uhm, you are aware that there are Christians who are gay and thus not every gay has “reject[ed] Christ for their own desires”, right?

      • MichaelJ

        This question reminds me of Matt 7:21 where Jesus tells many Christians
        “only those who do the will of my Father will enter the kingdom”. Not limiting this conversation to our choices about sex, I
        haven’t found any habitual sin in the scriptures that reconciles with doing
        the will of the Father and think this speaks to how easy it is for
        us to deceive ourselves by thinking we can compromise our love for
        Him and still demonstrate the type of unbridled love He requires of
        us. Praise God His patience runs deep as in some ways all of us
        are like the thief on the cross aren’t we?

        • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

          @Michael

          i don’t know whether you’ve seen any of my other posts, but you need to know that a) i am a Christian who b) does not believe that homosexuality is a sin and c) is a lesbian. (i feel the need to differentiate because i came to that theological conclusion years before i made the realization that i am gay)

          That said, i don’t believe my acceptance that i am a lesbian compromises my love for God… to paraphrase a friend, whether or not homosexuality is indeed a sin (or perhaps not God’s intention for humanity)– i fully believe God would rather i am honest to myself and in that honesty and vulnerablity allow myself to love and be loved than deny this and live a lie. Even if it’s sin, it’s not the unforgivable sin– in no way does my sexual orientation does not keep me from Christ.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Your gracious responses amaze and encourage me.

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            Thanks, Ric. i often feel like the “token gay reader” on blogs like this (as in, there’s an unspoken assumption all readers are hetero), so it always encourages me to read comments from Christians who aren’t gay, but still affirm and welcome us. So thank you. :-)

          • MichaelJ

            Ally, it’s true, I haven’t read your earlier posts and had no knowledge of your sexual orientation before meeting you here. Your 2nd point is also true for me, I welcome the opportunity we have to acknowledge our differences, pay more attention to things we have in common and better our chance to bless each other regardless of all that. One absolute truth, we all need Christ and I trust He desires we come to know Him regardless of how right or wrong we may be at any point along the journey. “I have learned to misunderstand a little less completely.” C.S. Lewis,

          • MichaelJ

            Ally, it’s true, I haven’t read your earlier posts and had no knowledge of your sexual orientation before meeting you here. Your 2nd point is also true for me, I welcome the opportunity we have to acknowledge our differences, pay more attention to things we have in common and better our chance to bless each other regardless of all that. One absolute truth, we all need Christ and I trust He desires we come to know Him regardless of how right or wrong we may be at any point along the journey. “I have learned to misunderstand a little less completely.” C.S. Lewis,

          • MichaelJ

            Ally, it’s true, I haven’t read your earlier posts and had no knowledge of your sexual orientation before meeting you here. Your 2nd point is also true for me, I welcome the opportunity we have to acknowledge our differences, pay more attention to things we have in common and better our chance to bless each other regardless of all that. One absolute truth, we all need Christ and I trust He desires we come to know Him regardless of how right or wrong we may be at any point along the journey. “I have learned to misunderstand a lllittle little less completely.” C.S. Lewis,

          • MichaelJ

            Ally, it’s true, I haven’t read your earlier posts and had no knowledge of your sexual orientation before meeting you here. Your 2nd point is also true for me, I welcome the opportunity we have to acknowledge our differences, pay more attention to things we have in common and better our chance to bless each other regardless of all that. One absolute truth, we all need Christ and I trust He desires we come to know Him regardless of how right or wrong we may be at any point along the journey. “I have learned to misunderstand a lllittle little less completely.” C.S. Lewis,

          • MichaelJ

            Ally, it’s true, I haven’t read your earlier posts and had no knowledge of your sexual orientation before meeting you here. Your 2nd point is also true for me, I welcome the opportunity we have to acknowledge our differences, pay more attention to things we have in common and better our chance to bless each other regardless of all that. One absolute truth, we all need Christ and I trust He desires we come to know Him regardless of how right or wrong we may be at any point along the journey. “I have learned to misunderstand a little llllittle less completely.” C.S. Lewis,

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            Mhm. i’ve often said that God desires orthopraxy (right practice) over orthodoxy (right beliefs)— in other words, if God demands perfect theology, what hope do any of us have? i, too, appreciate the opportunity to acknowledge our differences, yet pay mind to what we share in common as believers.

          • MichaelJ

            Hi Ally, that’s our second daughters name, : ) I heard a good interview last night where the subject critiqued the idea “we should love the sinner but hate the sin”. I’ve heard that too many times haven’t you? He explained Jesus never taught this in fact, His teaching was more like “Love the sinner but hate your own sin.” Sounds to me like we should all pray for more humility and understanding. God knows I could use more of that, married with 3 twenty something daughters, 1 w/ bi-polar, and 1 beautiful 2 year old granddaughter. Prayers always welcome. One love,

          • MichaelJ

            Hi Ally, that’s our second daughters name, : ) I heard a good interview last night where the subject critiqued the idea “we should love the sinner but hate the sin”. I’ve heard that too many times haven’t you? He explained Jesus never taught this in fact, His teaching was more like “Love the sinner but hate your own sin.” Sounds to me like we should all pray for more humility and understanding. God knows I could use more of that, married with 3 twenty something daughters, 1 w/ bi-polar, and 1 beautiful 2 year old granddaughter. Prayers always welcome. One love,

          • MichaelJ

            Ally, it’s true, I haven’t read your earlier posts and had no knowledge of your sexual orientation before meeting you here. Your 2nd point is also true for me, I welcome the opportunity we have to acknowledge our differences, pay more attention to things we have in common and better our chance to bless each other regardless of all that. One absolute truth, we all need Christ and I trust He desires we come to know Him regardless of how right or wrong we may be at any point along the journey. “I have learned to misunderstand a little llllittle less completely.” C.S. Lewis,

          • MichaelJ

            Ally, it’s true, I haven’t read your earlier posts and had no knowledge of your sexual orientation before meeting you here. Your 2nd point is also true for me, I welcome the opportunity we have to acknowledge our differences, pay more attention to things we have in common and better our chance to bless each other regardless of all that. One absolute truth, we all need Christ and I trust He desires we come to know Him regardless of how right or wrong we may be at any point along the journey. “I have learned to misunderstand a little llllittle less completely.” C.S. Lewis,

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            Thanks, Ric. i often feel like the “token gay reader” on blogs like this (as in, there’s an unspoken assumption all readers are hetero), so it always encourages me to read comments from Christians who aren’t gay, but still affirm and welcome us. So thank you. :-)

          • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

            Thanks, Ric. i often feel like the “token gay reader” on blogs like this (as in, there’s an unspoken assumption all readers are hetero), so it always encourages me to read comments from Christians who aren’t gay, but still affirm and welcome us. So thank you. :-)

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Your gracious responses amaze and encourage me.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

            Your gracious responses amaze and encourage me.

  • Mary

    Thanks for writing this. I have been struggling for years on this issue. I have turn the corner now after studying for some time. One of the things that I really struggled with was loving my Lord and loving my daughter. I was always made to feel that there was a line in the sand. Don’t cross over or … there was no peace in my life, no joy. Today our family is at a healthy spot. Some would say we are deceived. I think we can all say that. We go to church and cry and sing for the lost but we would walk by a homeless person on the street. The bible says if we don’t bridle our tongue we are deceived ,yet we can be so full of gossip and hatred.
    We look at the visual sins, yet are hearts are so full of prejudice, secretly hidden.
    It feels good to be where I am at, where our family is at. One day I will have to stand before my Lord and give an account of my life, not to the church or other people. It is people like yourself that help others along there path that may turn away from God because they feel so torn.
    Thank you again, Kathy. Oneday, i too, will walk in a Gay parade!

    • http://www.facebook.com/kvestal Kathy Vestal

      Mary, your daughter is blessed. The hardest place to reach is realizing that you don’t have to choose between loving God and loving your daughter. There is plenty of love for both. If you haven’t read
      http://kathyon.blogspot.com/2012/04/b36-sexual-orientation-its-not-sin.html you might find some healing there, and if you send me a private message ncprof579 at hotmail with where you are, I’ll let you know if I have any speaking engagements near you. Hug.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kvestal Kathy Vestal

      Mary, your daughter is blessed. The hardest place to reach is realizing that you don’t have to choose between loving God and loving your daughter. There is plenty of love for both. If you haven’t read
      http://kathyon.blogspot.com/2012/04/b36-sexual-orientation-its-not-sin.html you might find some healing there, and if you send me a private message ncprof579 at hotmail with where you are, I’ll let you know if I have any speaking engagements near you. Hug.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kvestal Kathy Vestal

      Mary, your daughter is blessed. The hardest place to reach is realizing that you don’t have to choose between loving God and loving your daughter. There is plenty of love for both. If you haven’t read
      http://kathyon.blogspot.com/2012/04/b36-sexual-orientation-its-not-sin.html you might find some healing there, and if you send me a private message ncprof579 at hotmail with where you are, I’ll let you know if I have any speaking engagements near you. Hug.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sabrina.jennings.338 Sabrina Jennings

    Thank you for taking the time to be open minded and truly searching for God’s word on difficult issues. I’m a lesbian and a Christian and really appreciate that you recognize your own background and biases and continue searching for the truth. I wish more people did this!

  • Mark

    Wow, the more I see on this site the more sick I get. Listen people we need to see some serious context to law and behavior during the time Paul wrote about homosexuality. The law at this point had not changed it was completely unacceptable and against the law to sleep with somebody of the same sex. Now when Paul writes in Corinthians it is possible that the word homosexuality could be referring to male prostitution, that is indeed the debate. However lets have a little think about this. There were many old laws that were fulfilled through Jesus that we no longer have to do. One of them happens to be eating pig, we can now eat pig. This was a big thing people, it was so big that Paul even made a point of writing that this was something that is now fine. My question is simple, if homosexuality was such a big no no, and then it became ok, why did Jesus and Paul and others choose to be quite on this issue. That is of course if we interpret the current verses we have on it from Paul in a different way, the question remains, why the silence over it? Did Jesus get up to heaven going oh flip, I forgot to tell them all that its ok to sleep with another man, oh well I am sure they will learn it is fine.

    No, it is wrong. It is straight and plain sexual immorality and that angers gay people because they want to not be challenged over the way they feel. It is possible to be prayed over and to change, it might not also happen and you live with it just as any other man with somebody who struggles with specific sin.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

      Jesus and Paul never got around to okay-ing figs, tattoos, and cloaks of more than one cloth either. Yet their is no ban on these “sins” that may readily be found in the law.

      The only viable, theological path is to stubbornly maintain that the prohibition of male prostitution in Corinthians meant to prohibit all same-sex sexual contact. Of course, since there is a prohibition on female prostitution as well, we would be forced to apply the same rule and prohibit all opposite-sex sexual contact as well. You know, to be consistent. Theillogically.
      As far as changing ones’ sexual orientation goes, I refer to the 99.9% failure rate cited by the leader of Exodus International … the organization that once made the same claim as you are now making. The founders left and admitted the actual conversion rate was even closer to zero.

  • Mike

    I agree in principle with you. As Christians we should oppress NO ONE, in any way. Why? We all commit sin that hurts ourselves and each another. Homosexuality is one of the many sinful compulsions (along with premarital sex, adultery, etc.) that kills us–slowly. However, when a man engages another male sexually, and likewise women with women, the net effect is a protracted destruction of the human organism that dwarfs the destructiveness of even the most promiscuous heterosexual behavior (source: Centers for Disease Control). Romans 1:27 (regardless of how you interpret it) is –practically– prophetic in light of the facts.

    In conclusion, all sin is suicidal. It’s for this reason, that while I do have close gay friends and relatives whom I love and treasure, I would no more “celebrate” their homosexual “pride” any more than I would celebrate adulterous heterosexual pride of others.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

      Mike, you obviously don’t know this but your comment is about the most insulting and oppressive statement anyone can make about LGBT people.

      • Frankf

        The truth is often painful to deniers of truth.

    • http://aredemptionofhope.blogspot.com Ally C

      @aabfb3e40995d278e20c528300447e2c:disqus

      If you want to “cite” the CDC, let’s start with the fact that lesbians have the lowest risk of HIV/AIDS out of any other group. What a list of statistics about STI and HIV/AIDS infection rates, etc won’t tell you is that there is nothing intrinsic to homosexual orientation that is destructive to humanity.
      Correlation isn’t causation. As a cohort, the LGBTQ community is at higher risk for promiscuity, STIs/HIV/AIDS, psychiatric problems such as substance abuse, depression, suicide, etc as a result of the stigma and discrimination we face from society. Remove the stigma, discrimination, and hate crimes and the risk would be much lower.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

        Yeah, Ally, it’s tragic how the church has labeled LGBT as abominations, kick them out onto the streets, where they have few choices other than to reach out to anything and everything that helps take the pain away and then the good Christians tsk-tsk their “lifestyle choices.”

        • Frank

          I am sure a very small number of churches act this way but the reality is the majority of gay people willingly leave the church they are not yhrown out. Tone down the hyperbole it does not serve your cause well.

    • Frank

      Spot on!

  • Pam

    Thank you sooooo much. I, too, share your concerns about the church and how we are perceived……I plan to go to our community’s Gay Pride Parade and Festival this weekend. We are called to love our neighbor and I am thankful for all of my gay friends – they have enriched my life and I can’t imagine my life without them. It is so rare to hear from another Christian who “gets it.” God bless you for being brave and courageous and for challening Christians to think on their own.

  • http://twitter.com/ItsMyFootprint Its My Footprint

    Applause! Applause! Bold actions you took to seek the truth. We
    are often judgemental and ‘holy’ to see people the way God see them, with grace
    and mercy.

  • sstephenss

    For someone that spent his life in bibical teaching, I feel that you have only a shallow understanding of God’s hatred for sin, no matter which or who it is that has sinned. When we reduce sin to an acceptable behaviour, we reduce the magnitude of how much sin divides our relationship to our Father. What’s worse is that we reduce the significance of Jesus’s magnificent sacrifice. Marriage is what God ordained. Others may hijack its meaning, governments may regulate it and polls may approve it but it is what it is.

    God does love the sinner and His heart aches far more that anyone can understand when his holliness must judge. It’s not up to us to judge but we must use judgement (same spelling but much different meaning) as the Holy Spirit and God’s Word moves.

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