Perhaps believers, if they are honest at least, would do well to consider this article and what it means for their convictions against homosexuality. I include those opposed to same sex relationships in this group, irrespective of whether they welcome gays into their congregation, “as long as they don’t act on it”.
I realize many believers (Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc.) don’t fall into this camp. As a believer committed
to equality for gays, I would invite you to share why you believe as you do.
Not that I expect anyone to change their opinion, but honestly ask
yourself how consistently you are applying the teachings of the bible.
Why do you wink at some things like divorce, hair length, women
speaking in church, celibacy, etc. while focusing your hatred toward
homosexuality? Why not at least be consistent in what you choose to
believe and enforce?
[quote]June 21st, 2011
10:10 AM ET
My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?
Editor’s Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of Broken Words: The
Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics.
By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN
Growing up in the evangelical community, I learned the Bibleâ??s stance
on homosexuality is clear-cut. God condemns it, I was taught, and
those who disagree just havenâ??t read their Bibles closely enough.
Having recently graduated from Yale Divinity School, I can say that my
childhood community’s approach to gay rights-though well
intentioned-is riddled with self-serving double standards.
I donâ??t doubt that the one New Testament author who wrote on the
subject of male-male intercourse thought it a sin. In Romans 1, the
only passage in the Bible where a reason is explicitly given for
opposing same-sex relations, the Apostle Paul calls them “unnatural.”
Problem is, Paul’s only other moral argument from nature is the
following: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long
hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her
glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”
In short, Paul objects to two things as unnatural: one is male-male
sex and the other is long hair on men and short hair on women. The
community opposed to gay marriage takes one condemnation as timeless
and universal and the other as culturally relative.
I also donâ??t doubt that those who advocate gay marriage are advocating
a revision of the Christian tradition.
But the community opposed to gay marriage has itself revised the
Christian tradition in a host of ways. For the first 1500 years of
Christianity, for example, marriage was deemed morally inferior to
celibacy. When a theologian named Jovinian challenged that hierarchy
in 390 A.D. â?? merely by suggesting that marriage and celibacy might be
equally worthwhile endeavors â?? he was deemed a heretic and
excommunicated from the church.
How does that sit with “family values” activism today?
Yale New Testament professor Dale B. Martin has noted that todayâ??s
“pro-family” activism, despite its pretense to be representing
traditional Christian values, would have been considered “heresy” for
most of the church’s history.
The community opposed to gay marriage has also departed from the
Christian tradition on another issue at the heart of its social
Unbeknownst to most lay Christians, the vast majority of Christian
theologians and saints throughout history have not believed life
begins at conception.
Although he admitted some uncertainty on the matter, the hugely
influential 4th and 5th century Christian thinker Saint Augustine
wrote, “it could not be said that there was a living soul in [a] body”
if it is “not yet endowed with senses.”
Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic saint and a giant of mediaeval theology,
argued: “before the body has organs in any way whatever, it cannot be
receptive of the soul.”
American evangelicals, meanwhile, widely opposed the idea that life
begins at conception until the 1970s, with some even advocating looser
abortion laws based on their reading of the Bible before then.
It won’t do to oppose gay marriage because it’s not traditional while
advocating other positions that are not traditional.
And then there’s the topic of divorce. Although there is only one
uncontested reference to same-sex relations in the New Testament,
divorce is condemned throughout, both by Jesus and Paul. To quote
Jesus from the Gospel of Mark: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries
another commits adultery.”
A possible exception is made only for unfaithfulness.
The community most opposed to gay marriage usually reads these
condemnations very leniently. A 2007 issue of Christianity Today, for
example, featured a story on its cover about divorce that concluded
that Christians should permit divorce for “adultery,” “emotional and
physical neglect” and “abandonment and abuse.”
The author emphasizes how impractical it would be to apply a strict
interpretation of Jesus on this matter: “It is difficult to believe
the Bible can be as impractical as this interpretation implies.”
Indeed it is.
On the other hand, itâ??s not at all difficult for a community of
Christian leaders, who are almost exclusively white, heterosexual men,
to advocate interpretations that can be very impractical for a
historically oppressed minority to which they do not belong -
Whether the topic is hair length, celibacy, when life begins, or
divorce, time and again, the leaders most opposed to gay marriage have
demonstrated an incredible willingness to consider nuances and
complicating considerations when their own interests are at stake.
Since graduating from seminary, I no longer identify with the
evangelical community of my youth. The community gave me many fond
memories and sound values but it also taught me to take the very human
perspectives of its leaders and attribute them to God.
So let’s stop the charade and be honest.
Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bibleâ??s values. They’re
using the Bible to defend their own.[/quote]