Why Is Homosexuality Singled Out?

I read an article today entitled “Stop Policing the Borders” of Christianity.  In it, the author talks about how many people in the LGBT community reject Christianity because there is an “overt condemnation of homosexuality from the pulpit or anti-gay protests”. I think the overall premise is that, while a sense of community and belonging is at the heart of Christian doctrine, the church body has ultimately failed to meet the unmet desire for belonging amongst those in the LGBT community. Which brings me to my question/issue (sorry so long-winded). I am a Christian and I believe in the absolute truth and inerrancy of the Gospel and that there’s evidence that homosexuality is condemned by God. But one of the main issues that I deal with is the fact that homosexuality is singled out as the lone, cardinal sin in many instances. So, is it Biblical justifiable for me to NOT make issue of someone’s sexual preference in hopes that the Holy Spirit will convict them if they experience the same Grace the I, a heterosexual male, experience? Is it OK for me not to support laws prohibiting gay marriage, as I feel it is not my responsibility to prohibit choice–because love of God without choice isn’t really love at all? If I speak out against oppression of the LGBT community, am I in essence, endorsing sin or simply refusing to compromise Grace? Where do you draw the line? If any of this even makes sense. I might not even be posing this question to the right place but I thought you all may be able to shed some light, providing evidence that I’m unaware of.

Dear Trey,

Thank you for writing. I think you’re asking some very important questions.

“Why is homosexuality singled out as the lone, cardinal sin in many instances?”
Good question. And yes, this is a serious problem that we Christians need to work to correct and I see you are trying to do. But I also see you are trying not to overcorrect. That’s good too. I’ll tell you why I think homosexuality is singled out. I think people are afraid. What people do not make any effort to understand, they fear, and what they fear, they demonize. People are also afraid that the gay agenda to normalize homosexuality is a threat to marriage and the worldview of our children. But what if we spent time actually engaging the nuances of the issue, equipping our people, including our kids, to engage lovingly too? I also think the gay community is an easy target. Frankly, Christians have no business pointing the finger at homosexuality and rolling over on divorce. But it’s just easier to point at “them” than to deal with the messes in our own house.

So, is it biblically justifiable for me to NOT make issue of someone’s sexual preference in hopes that the Holy Spirit will convict them if they experience the same Grace the I, a heterosexual male, experience?”
Tricky. I definitely think it’s important not make an issue right of the bat—-“Hello. I’m Trey. You’re gay, right? Did you know that’s a sin?” Probably a bad strategy. But I think when you’re friends with someone, it’ll come up naturally, so you definitely want to be prepared to speak the truth in love to your friend.

Think about how the Holy Spirit convicts you. Sometimes he’ll do it through the Bible or through a book or a song, and sometimes, probably most of the time, he’ll offer loving conviction through other people. Right? God uses people to spread his message of Grace-Truth. It’s messy and imperfect because people are imperfect messes, but that’s how God has always chosen to work. And when I think about how God accomplishes his work through us! I’m amazed at his power.

Is it OK not to support laws prohibiting gay marriage, as I feel it is not my responsibility to prohibit choice–because love of God without choice isn’t really love at all?”
Yes. It’s okay not to support laws against gay marriage. But the reasoning you give is a bit shaky. After all, it is illegal to do lots of things that people technically have the choice to do… murder and speeding, for (extreme) examples. Personally, I think we do more damage than good in trying to legislate gay marriage. Even when we win the battles, I think we’re losing the war. But most Christians, especially in the South, won’t agree with me. The Culture War seems to focus on fighting certain types of people; where I come from: democrats, abortionists, gay activists… Ephesians 6 instructs us that our fight isn’t with people, even when they are attacking us—and they are. We’re not to play by their rules. We have another Ruler.

“If I speak out against oppression of the LGBT community, am I in essence, endorsing sin?”
Certainly not! Look to Christ who spoke out (remarkably calmly and with remarkably few words in this instance) against the oppression of the woman used by the Religious Leaders as a trap for Jesus in John, chapter 8. “Let he who has not sinned throw the first stone,” Jesus says to the Religious. And to the woman he says, “I do not condemn you. [In order that you may be able to] leave your life of sin.” Christ neither compromised grace nor truth; and of course, neither exists apart from the other: “truth” without love is not an extension of Christ, the Word, but merely a clanging noise, an irritation; and “grace” without truth is not at all a kindness.

I hope that’s helpful, Trey. Please write again if I can ever be of service, and may the Lord bless you as you continue to think through your Christianity.

Renea

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16 Responses to Why Is Homosexuality Singled Out?

  1. justin t. says:

    I find it interesting that Jesus never said one direct word about homosexuality, period, in the entire Bible, yet one of the few commands he gave explicitly and without reservation was “sell your possessions and give the money to the poor,” yet most Christians do not do so.

    Also keep in mind that legislation about gay marriage based on religion is effectively allowing the government the ability to legislate your religion, and I know you guys don’t want the government involved in your religion any more than we want your religion involved in the government.

    • reneamac says:

      Thanks, Justin, for your comment. (Sorry for my delayed reply.) I don’t want to get too derailed on this, but it’s important to note, I think, that Jesus’ comand to “sell all your possessions…” was given to a specific individual, showing Christ’s remarkable ability to see into the heart of each individual person past his or her fascade, or as Frederick Buechner would say, past our various false selves into our true selves. When asked the same question by different people, Jesus responds uniquely to them as well.

      Nonetheless, I agree with what I take to be the spirit of your comment: it’s easier to point the finger at “those people” and ignore our own “whitewashed tombs” comprised of greed and materialism, for example.

      Also, I am largely libertarian in the way your comment seems to lean. I am a Texan after all. 😉 But so called separation of Church and State seems muddier, less black and white, then you have suggested above. Like I said, this post is not the place to get into complicated discussions about the separation of Church and State, and again, I think the main point here is that generally, we agree.

      Thanks again.

  2. darcisimpson says:

    Love this Renea! I have had gay friends since the age of 15 and the thing that has always broken my heart is how I have seen “Christians” treat them. I have seen some deep healing come though, by just loving them and listening to them — and assuring them that there is NOTHING they can do to make God love them more or less than He already does! I love this line – “Frankly, Christians have no business pointing the finger at homosexuality and rolling over on divorce. But it’s just easier to point at “them” than to deal with the messes in our own house.” I believe that if everyone who speaks out so strongly against homosexuals actually got to know the heart of someone who is a homosexual – it would change the intensity in which they speak about “those people” — and they would have love & compassion for someone that is hurting and struggling!

    • reneamac says:

      I couldn’t agree more, dear friend. Your boundlessly compassionate heart has always been for me a light in dark places.

  3. Sisyphos says:

    Sexuality is much more complicated than either/or. Most are both/and. The reasons how we relate to the other are complex.
    Basically, we want to fit in. We search for identity and most of us have been told that one source of identity can be found in clear-cut gender roles. So we set up distinction to have some sort of identity and individuality. “I am a man”, “I am a woman” places me already within half of mankind. Now within the rest we can go on: “I am American” “I am an academic”, “I am from the South” etc.
    But there are people very different who do not fit into this polarization and we do not like “the different other” but we like scapegoats, and we like to throw stones on outsiders. “She is a witch” and they tortured her, “he is muslim” and they stoned him, “he is a Jew” and they killed him, “he is something” and the blind mass will follow. “Give us this day our daily scapegoat” they cry.
    And there is fear, fear to be faced with the truth: to be faced with their insecurity about their own sexuality. We had been told to be a certain way and we have become a certain way but we anticipate that the truth lies beyond “either/or” and we are afraid of it. “Who am I then, if not either/or? Don’t push me into the grey mist, give me some anchor!” they cry, and they take the “different other” and kill him because he faces them and in his face they can see the truth. By killing him, they believe to kill their doubts, to be complete, to rest in peace.

    On another note: “Think about how the Holy Spirit convicts you. Sometimes he’ll do it through the Bible or through a book or a song, and sometimes, probably most of the time, he’ll offer loving conviction through other people. Right? God uses people to spread his message of Grace-Truth. It’s messy and imperfect because people are imperfect messes, but that’s how God has always chosen to work. And when I think about how God accomplishes his work through us! I’m amazed at his power.”
    Renea, I don’t get it. The Holy Spirit does not speak on a personal level. If he did, then why is there so much confusion about “right and wrong”, about the right interpretation of Scriptures etc. What does he contribute to mankind? What does he do – beyond words which make us feel good?

    On another note: The passage you quoted was added later. What is your criteria for authentic Scripture? Certainly not written by one of the disciples because it wasnt. I am just curious.

    Thank you for your thoughts.
    Good bye

    • reneamac says:

      I agree that our selves, including our sexuality, are complicated; and I agree that as a result, how we relate to one another is complicated. I agree that it is in our fallen nature to seek refuge anywhere we can find it, and that such desperate searching often leads us to false absolutes, such as social conceptions of gender. I agree that we are often afraid of anyone who dares live outside of the small conceptions of reality we have created for ourselves and relegated ourselves to, and I firmly believe that this kind of life of fear is antithetical to the life of faith. I agree that the brave souls who sometimes choose but have often been born or thrust into the margins are like mirrors, showing us the very insecurities which drove us to shelter among false absolutes in the first place.

      I am not one who fits very often into normative Western gender stereotypes. I have felt those stones. It’s why I wrote “unfit ones” and “Black Sheep.” I also wrote “Black Sheep” because I have seen friends pushed out of the church and into the homosexual community by the conservative church’s narrow and hard-line definitions of masculine and feminine. You can read more about what motivates me in this area in the comments.

      So, we seem to agree on the central concern of this post. As to your more peripheral but just as important questions on the Holy Spirit and the canonization of Scripture, I would prefer to continue that discussion via email so as not to siderail this post—those are large and complicated topics after all. May I contact you via the email address you provided in order to comment? If so, expect to hear from me within the next few days.

      Respectfully,
      Renea

      • Sisyphos says:

        Hi Renea

        now it is me who took some time off. I would be interested in your take of God’s interaction human beings. The canon is a big topic but I think we should leave that out because the “God and his interaction” topic is already very tough.
        Take your time to respond. I am busy, you are busy. If you have some time and are interested in some mail discussion you can contact me. I will give you my first e-mail adress because the other one I check very often.

        Thank you and all the best

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  7. Sisyphos says:

    Dear Renea,

    I waited for a week. I checked every day your blog, usually several times a day. No response. Either you are very busy, or you don’t care about my post, or you don’t know how to respond to it, or you think I don’t care about your response to my post. If the last one is true, I want to assure you that I am very interested in your opinion.

    • reneamac says:

      Thanks for following up, Sisphos. I assure you, I do care and am normally much quicker in responding, but yes, have been a bit busy catching up from the holidays. I’m interested in giving your response the time and energy it by its nature requires. I offer my sincere apologies. I do promise you’ll get a response within the next few days. Thanks for hanging in there.

      • Sisyphos says:

        Hi Renea,

        I was a bit inpolite. I am sorry.

      • Jon Davidson says:

        Renea,

        I believe that you are a heartfelt Christian; you are also a very cute hearfelt Christian.

        I don’t think you realize, or can realize, how much damage being a heartfelt Christian (or Jew, or muslim) can do.
        A girl wrote you an email about being in love with a Jew, and that her situation was driving her crazy. Your answer started out talking about open-mindedness, compassion, growing, etc., then said:

        “Here’s the thing. The Bible is pretty clear that it is unwise to create intimate partnerships with non-Christians”.
        You then quoted several passages from the bible warning Christians of the dangers of being with non-Christians.

        Renea, I used to be a Christian; now I am an atheist. For one reason:
        Christians. Christians who use the bible to explain why love can only triumph if you are both of the same faith; the same way that Jews, muslims (place your religion here) say that you both have to be the same religion. The True Religion; that is, your religion (whatever it happens to be).

        I think that belief in God shouldn’t require this kind of separation and alienation from someone you love, simply because they don’t worship God in the same way you do. If worshipping God in the same way, the same religion, must come above loving someone, then there is something wrong either with God or the religion.

        There is nothing wrong with God. There is everything wrong with religion.

        I once had love with a Christian girl, for four years in college. It was four years of breaking up and getting back together, because her religion and minister told her that she couldn’t be with a non-Christian. (“If she had brought you into the Church and you had been saved, you would have seen the Light and have your love”.) Why can’t I see the light of God in my own way, in my own religion? Isn’t God bigger than that?
        No, he isn’t; because He is Only a Christian god, and demands that.
        No, Renea. The Christian Church demands that, just as all the other religions do, and has made millions of people miserable, just as it has made gay people miserable who it opposes not just having the right to marry, but being gay, being with the person you love, regardless of their gender.

        “But being gay is a sin”. Wonderful. God made us each individually, which means he made some of us homosexual. So why would he “make us” so sinful? I know you may say that the gays must “resist their temptation”. Why should they? If God made some people gay, why should they resist their temptation for a same-sex relationship,
        when the rest of us straight people can get married and enjoy sex while the gay people are “sinning” if they do, since God made them that way?
        Pretty arbitrary, capricious and mean God, wouldn’t you say?

        Only if you believe he feels that way. As an atheist, I give God far, far more credit than that for compassion and goodness, than to put some people into a trap like that.

        Christianity made me an atheist. I hope for you that you will free yourself of this superstition that causes you to give terrible advice to someone in love who came to you for help.
        Or at least stop advising people to give up their love, if their love doesn’t go to their same church.

        It isn’t very Christian of you. Or if it is, that’s worse.

        Sincerely,

        Jon Davidson
        Los Angeles

        • reneamac says:

          Hi Jon. Thanks for commenting; and apologies for my delayed response. Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom of trying to maintain this blog whilst trying to keep my head above water in grad school…

          You’ve put a lot of words in my mouth (though I’m sure you’re heartfelt and well-meaning 😉 ), some of which are commentary beyond the scope of this particular post, but which I’d be happy to discuss via email so as not to deter from the emphasis of this entry. Hit me up if you’re interested.

          So; there is, I think, at least one major assumption—related to homosexuality—in your argument about the argument, or narrative, of Christianity that the Christian narrative does not espouse, and therefore makes a bit of trouble—rhetorically if nothing else—for the conclusions about God’s character you’ve proposed. If we can clarify these assumptions, we can at least avoid misrepresenting each other’s views, even if we disagree with those views.

          The assumption is: God makes people gay and then punishes them for something they can’t help.

          Firstly, while some Christians deny, or at least eschew, the idea that biological factors might influence an individual’s sexual orientation, I am not of that stripe. However, I am also wary of the odd biological determinism that presently dominates our broader cultural thinking on this subject. Either extreme, I think, oversimplifies the matter; and, more importantly oversimplifies, that is to say, reduces, people.

          Secondly, the idea that God creates homosexuals therefore homosexuality is God-sanctioned or should be, forgets, or neglects, the Christian presupposition that all of God’s creation is marred by sin. Again, you may disagree or choose not to believe this presupposition about human nature (I think the hurting in the world, caused by religious and non-religious folk alike, makes a good case for it); but you can’t use the, in this case, Christian concept of God the creator of all things, which cannot exist outside of the Creation-Fall-Redemption motif framework, to conclude God is capricious and arbitrary. The Christian narrative places the blame with humans, not God. It’s easy to understand why we humans don’t like that version of the story.

          Like I said, my goal in this particular response is not to address each of these kinds of misunderstood assumptions about the Christian narrative in your comment (which Christians themselves often have!), nor to necessarily convince you of my position in this short exchange, but I do hope you’ll be able to avoid these sorts of category missteps regarding other folks’ belief systems as you continue to engage with people who have different beliefs than you do. Incidentally, you don’t sound much like an atheist the way you talk about right and wrong and how there’s nothing wrong with God, only religion. I know lots of religious folks who feel the same way. Sometimes I feel that way myself. Any rate, thank you again for your sincere comments.

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