“It”. What is “It”? I think, given what just happened in Orlando, your mind went straight to what I am talking about here.
I have the same nerves rattling inside as I type this as I did when I revealed my childhood abuses in my blog last week. I’m nervous, because I don’t like confrontation. At all. No, I mean it. Many of you who worked with me probably don’t believe it, but I dread any confrontation. The thing is, when it is important, I can’t walk away from it.
The recent tragedy, attack, terror, murders, whatever label you need, in Orlando sheds light on this brighter than ever before now. I have read too many Tweets and stories about the belief that this is God’s punishment for them being Gay. Thankfully, I have read many more to the contrary, but it still makes my blood boil when I read the former. I can’t keep my mouth shut.
So, here goes.
Homosexuality is not a sin. Is it my opinion? Sure. I also believe it is a fact. When my friends sit across from me, with nothing but love, and positive intent, in their hearts, and say, “I believe homosexuality is a sin, but I am not the one that can judge.” I have to draw a breath. It makes me pause because that sentence contradicts itself. Read it again.
Believe me, I know Christianity isn’t the only religion to teach this. All of the religions believe homosexuality is a sin.
As some of you know, I’m on a spiritual journey right now. My oldest daughter is as well, and at first I thought I was just going along for the ride. However, I am falling in love with the church we attend, and its message. I am at a surprising point in my journey, where I want to take a leap. There is one huge problem. The church, along with every other that I know, has a page on their website talking about its belief that homosexuality is a sin. They love the sinner, and man they are very accepting of gay people, but not the sin. If someone wants to be a partner at the church, they have to denounce their homosexual acts.
And there it is. By saying homosexuality is a sin, you are implying there is a choice. I have had the blessing of having many gay friends. I have heard their stories. If you have never sat across from someone and heard their struggle of coming out, or still being silent, then you may not realize … it is not a choice.
Murder is a choice. Adultery is a choice. Coveting thy neighbor is a choice. Stealing is a choice. Bearing false witness is a choice.
I find it interesting that all these choices are mentioned in the 10 Commandments. Homosexuality is not. In fact, the word isn’t in the Bible because it wasn’t a word back then. I will get to the 7, yes JUST seven, passages that mention something that might mean homosexuality in a minute, but I want to finish this thought.
One of my core beliefs about God ironically solidifies my belief that homosexuality is not a sin. My belief is God created us. He is a perfect God, no? He didn’t make a mistake. I believe He loves us all and we all have a purpose in this world.
So, here I am, struggling. I am truly struggling. In my heart, I will never believe homosexuality is a sin, because I know it is not a choice. In my heart, I can’t be a part of something that believes it is a sin. I love that so many say they love the sinner, but saying it is a sin will always tell that person you don’t love them.
I have a theory, based on facts in the news, that the shooter in Orlando may have been struggling with his own sexuality and it may have led to this mass killing. I don’t know that to be fact, but if it is, can we not see how religion and the belief homosexuality is a sin is creating hate and anger? Sometimes that hate and anger is directed at themselves because they are told they are sinning when they cannot change the desire. Again, it is not a choice.
I needed to search for clues to lead me to conclusions of what the Bible is saying. So, back to the parts of the Bible that mention homosexuality. You have time to look them up, because there are ONLY 7. Compare that to 300 passages that discuss helping the poor, but I will stay focused here.
Here they are:
Genesis 19: Men from the city demand to have sex with the male guests at Lot’s house.
Leviticus 18:22: Having sexual relations with a man as he does with a woman is detestable (defined as something that is strongly disliked: not a sin)
Leviticus 20:13: Says the same as above, but that they should be put to death. Does anyone agree with that thinking today?
Romans 1:26-27: Talks about a group who exchanged their truth about God for a lie, so God gave them over to shameful lusts. They then received in themselves penalty for their error. I’ve read this one several times, and it seems to me they were punished for giving up their truth about God, not for any homosexual acts. I am in no way a scholar, though, as we all know.
1 Corinthians 6:9: This one says that if you do a long list of things you will not inherit the kingdom of God. It depends on what version of the Bible you read to get the list, but one says sodomy. None seems to say anything specific about homosexual acts, though.
Timothy 1:9-10: This is also a passage that has a list of things you do that are against law. None of them is homosexuality, though some translations put that word in there. The word, and the idea of homosexuality, was not known or used until the 19th century, so it is not possible it was in the Bible. Some scholars actually believe Paul was talking about male prostitutes, pedophiles, pimps, sex slaves, and masturbators. (Anyone asked for forgiveness of that last one, and stopped?)
Jude 1:7: This talks about people who go after “strange flesh” will go suffer in eternal hell. The analysis of what exactly “strange flesh” is shows many possibilities. No one can say definitively if it is about homosexuality.
So, what does Jesus say about homosexuality? Nothing.
One of my favorite analysis of homosexuality in the Bible also notes that we need to understand the Biblical times. If you would like to read a better articulation of homosexuality in the Bible, please check out this article written by a Lutheran scholar in 2011 on this subject. I love his take on it all, and I love that he knows so much more than I do about the Bible.