This issue came up in a discussion on this blog, and I felt some justification is needed for my stance. For those who aren’t familiar with how I feel about the issue of homosexuality and Christian churches, here it is. I don’t care if somebody is gay, it’s hardly going to affect my life. But most people will throw their arms up and say I should take a stance, so I’m going to attempt to explain.
There is much made of the gay debate in Christianity, mainly by those who are opposed to homosexuality. This has raised debates in liberal denominations. Within these denominations, the liberal viewpoint has provided texts, such as Matthew 19:12, that they claim support a more liberal view of homosexuality. I really haven’t put that much thought or effort into it, I glanced over a summary of the debate on Britannica once, and I happen to remember that text.
There are of course many anti-gay verses in the Bible, but of course issues have to be examined closely to ascertain, what the final word might be. Some may say that this means that a Christian version of morality is not absolute, but that is overly simplistic. It is true, the Bible says that people should be stoned for certain things, but Christians don’t stone people, well not recently as far as I know, not even the highly fundamentalist denominations. The reason being John 8:7, and if Jesus wasn’t willing to have someone stoned, or get involved in a stoning, then why should we? This rhetorical question comes from the fact that Jesus was the one without sin, and chose not to. Romans 3:23 makes it clear that the rest of us aren’t in the position to actually make that call.
Back to homosexuality, one reason I haven’t looked into it that closely is because I’m not gay, so it little affects me. Homosexuality isn’t going to make a victim of me, or, so far as I can tell, anybody else. The effects on society, are, as far as I know not really measurable, people don’t install burglar guards or alarm systems because of homosexuality. Thus, it is difficult to examine objectively (see here.) So my question is, how much of an imperative is the issue, for fundamentalist Christians who aren’t actually gay? It probably isn’t. There are issues that many fundamentalist Christians choose to ignore while using energy on the homosexuality issue. If you’re a Catholic and choose to accept Papal primacy, that’s your thing, but if you’re a fundamentalist and claim that the Bible is the only rule of faith, then consider the following. The Bible only supports seventh day worship, this is not negotiable, it is one of the Ten Commandments. There is not one text in the Bible supporting the moving of sanctity from the seventh (Saturday) to the first (Sunday) day. You don’t need to accept the word of an adventist, just read Cardinal Gibbons’ (a Catholic) The Faith of our Fathers, where he confirms this unambiguously.
Further issues fundamentalists have to deal with include the fact that the Bible doesn’t support separation of body and soul at death, in fact, it expressly contradicts it. It also expressly contradicts the idea of a Hell never-ending, and expressly teaches annihilism. These issues are actually crucial to the understanding of a fair and loving God, for by popular Christian teaching, God sends people to Hell at death, but Christ will return to judge the wicked. Seriously? Sentencing prior to judgement? Once you’ve spent a couple of thousand years (or whatever it may be) suffering while awaiting judgement, then your loving Father sends you back to the flames for time never-ending.
My reasoning for giving little thought to the homosexuality issues can thus be summarised: every Christian who is against it is straight, and therefore it doesn’t matter to them. At least one of the Ten Commandments is overlooked weekly by a large majority of the noise makers. The death and punishment teaching actually distorts the image of a loving creator, and is therefore a greater issue. I just wonder why as a straight vegetarian adventist, I should be expected to worry about homosexuality and pork, when there are greater issues than that, like showing a loving creator, and following that creators main instructions: love God; love others, and be content with being yourself, and be the best yourself you can be. Once Christians can get these right, then energy will be available as to what a Christian response to homosexuality should be, although, I doubt gay bashing will be an issue if people learn to love others.