• How a conservative christian can have a loving approach to homosexuality –

    By not giving you the attention you crave.

  • Ben in oakland

    “There are a few things I disagree with that Henderson said in his sermon. Most notably, is the idea that some people can “choose” to be gay or have a non-heterosexual orientation due to sexual abuse are egregiously inaccurate. ”

    Well, kudos to the good rev for at least calling for something resembling love, at least in a vague, general, sort of a way, towards gay people.

    But you miss the entire point here, mr. Cruz. The very idea that sexual orientation is chosen is one of the most pernicious, fact free statements by ignorant people, and it is used to deny us our humanity, our participation in society, and is the basis of all the “homos is icky” crap to many theologians deal out. Neither the mormon nor the catholic churches peddle this fact-free crap, but admit that homosexuality is inborn– something that could easily be proved just by asking people who actually know.

    You know– GAY PEOPLE.

    The idea that it is caused by childhood abuse– quite apart from the fact that this is also completely detached from reality, and therefore just as pernicious a lie– is just a lie dressed up in its finest sunday-go-to-meetin’ drag, like most religious homohatred is. It’s purpose is not to account for homosexuality, because religious-based homohatred doesn’t really care much about the cause, only stopping gay people from existing.

    It’s purpose is to make us broken, and broken in such a way as to need a cure. And of course the cure is just an expression of love for our alleged brokenness.

    Or putting it another, more accurate way, it’s the kinder, gentler way for our alleged moral superiors to ignore facts and impose their wholly imaginary superiority as humans, as Christians, and as moral people, on us poor benighted broken sinners.

    In my entire life, I have met exactly three gay people who were sexually abused as children. A woman who was repeatedly molested by her father. My late partner, who was “willingly molested” by his father when he was 13; dad also molested two of his daughters– at least. The third was a man who was repeatedly raped by his allegedly heterosexual father in order to stop the boy from acting like a faggot. right.

    In all three cases, the child knew he/she was gay long before he was attacked by his/her thoroughly heterosexual father. As with so much of what passes for a Christian understanding of homosexuality, it’s always a matter of people who fancy themselves our moral betters telling us all about our lives

  • Frank

    Condoning, accepting, celebrating, affirming or remaining silent over sinful behavior is an act of hate.

    Yes we are all a called to love and accept sinners but not their sin Any practicing homosexual who recognizes their sin are more then welcome to receive forgiveness.

  • The other Ben

    In your sample, you don’t know very many that were abused, or that chose to be gay, I accept that. In the people I know very well, I include some that became gay as a result of parental abuse, resulting in something breaking in their sexuality.
    There are also some who choose to be gay, though they seem to be one of the smallest segments, at least from my experience. And it could be argued that they were born that way, but they are people who can have a normal hetero relationship, but then decide to have a gay relationship to see what it is like.

    My point is that, while it is not the most common scenario, to deny that there is any possibility of anything other than naturally born that was is just as hurtful to the cause, as well as to those who WERE broken, as saying that you all choose to be gay.

    It is interesting that Henderson is getting attacked for not being loving enough, and that he wasn’t heard clearly so one of several ways of people becoming gay is being claimed to be his main point, and to try to protect your right to be gay, you are denying those who were broken and not born gay the acceptence they also deserve.

    Saying that some are broken to be gay is not the same as denying that most gays are born gay, it is including another group, and whether or not you think that group exists, there are many gays that identify with that group, so please allow them acceptence too.

    And remember, we ALL DO need a cure, because gay or straight, Pharisee or sinner, we ALL are sinners lacking in love, and without the Cure, we are all doomed.

    So please show some more love and grace towards Henderson, even if you don’t agree with everything he said, remember he said he is still learning, and he stuck his neck out and risked his job and support for his family to preach a message that isn’t heard in the church, and even if it doesn’t reach as far as you like, reacting in this way of attack, instead of talking to Jonathan himself, shows a negative spirit and hurts your cause further.

  • Larry

    “How a conservative christian can have a loving approach to homosexuality”

    Why bother?

    Conservative christians don’t have a loving approach to ANY subject.

    The whole point of conservative Christianity is to give a socially acceptable sheen to all sorts of maliciousness and hatred. To excuse hatred of other sects, faiths, of women, gays, the poor, the educated…. To give the believer the false impression of being spiritually superior to anyone who disagrees with their views.

  • Bee

    Jesus preferred to commune with sinners than the self-righteous hateful people of his day. Did you even listen to the sermon? Make the right choice and think about how in-Christlike what you just said is.

    I support you Eliel, forget the conservative “Christians” who think they’re better because their struggles are different.

  • Bee

    My thoughts exactly. We shouldn’t need to re-introduce Conservative Christianity to Jesus but that’s how it will need to be if they as a community decide to actually serve man and love God.

  • I’ve followed this sermon closely, as this intersection of faith and sexuality, especially in the context of Adventism is very near and dear to me (I’m the co-producer/director of the documentary, “Seventh-Gay Adventists”). I encourage people to actually watch this sermon–it really is incredible, even though Eliel has understood it correctly as being rooted in a conservative theological paradigm. Conservatives need to be reminded of the basic Gospel when it comes to this topic because it’s been high-jacked by extremists as a wedge issue. And this sermon is a marvelous call to get back to the basics of the Gospel. (And for those upset about the pastor’s “choice” comment and sexual abuse, please watch the whole sermon to hear that in context. I agree that we need to correct that misinformation, but his point was that some people believe that is the underlying cause of their orientation. But most people do not, and he also says that and goes on to say that we need to hear their stories too. In a conservative church context, it was actually a call to listen to all of the voices that need to be at the table.)

    The good news is that this message was seen over 33,000 times in three weeks all around the world, and it clearly resonated. Of course there was some pushback from very conservative/fundamentalist spaces, but I saw it being posted all over, often by people who surprised me with messages like this one, “This is what it’s all about—love!”; “I feel this sermon has to potential to bring families back together,”, “Thank you to Pastor Jonathan, you have given me hope,” “I’ve felt loved for the first time since realizing I am gay, and I even went back to church this week,” and “Absolutely beautiful. I’ve watched it twice and cried both times.

    It was a remarkable sermon that was humble in the face of the complexity of sexuality and lived experiences; honest about the different views held by many sincere believers; courageous in dismantling long-held assumptions, stereotypes, and fears; and radical in the same way the Gospel was (as this article states) by simply insisting that our job is not to judge but to trust God and love each other.

    Despite the institutional pressure for administrators to act, well, institutional, this sermon has been an incredible moment that I’ve seen do much good. It’s a sermon that belongs to us all now. It’s a moment that can’t be undone, and that’s a good thing.

  • Ben in Oakland

    “In the people I know very well, I include some that became gay as a result of parental abuse, resulting in something breaking in their sexuality.” There is not a single scientific source– real science, not pseudo-science– that supports this idea. If this were true, then each of these people would be able to say, “I knew I was heterosexual from an early age. then my parents abused me, and I became homosexual.” far more likely, as with my friend, was the parents recognized their child’s difference, and abuse became the modus operandi. In point of fact, since the vast majority of people who are abused to not become homosexual, and the vast majority of people who are gay were not abused, to claim any kind of correlation is simply nonsense.

    “There are also some who choose to be gay, though they seem to be one of the smallest segments, at least from my experience. And it could be argued that they were born that way, but they are people who can have a normal hetero relationship, but then decide to have a gay relationship to see what it is like.” It’s called bisexuality. It’s a known phenomenon. I tried heterosex twice to see what it was like. It didn’t make me hetero, but it did confirm that my heterosexuality was limited to .001% of my sexuality. My brother in law, thoroughly heterosexual, tried gay sex once. “It wasn’t for me.”

    “It is interesting that Henderson is getting attacked for not being loving enough, and that he wasn’t heard clearly so one of several ways of people becoming gay is being claimed to be his main point”. I’m sure he is being as loving as he can, but claiming some sort of universal truth as the basis for what he has to say is a falsehood. I notice that even you don’t have a single study to cite for your contentions about broken sexuality, and people choosing to be gay. I don’t have a study either, but I do have the statements of virtually every truly scientific medical, psychological, and social science organization in the west. I also have the statements of virtually every gay person I have known in my life, as well as my own experience. I also have the statements of some evangelical and scientific luminaries as Francis Collins.

    I’m a gay man. I’ve met exactly one person in my life that claimed to choose, but even she admitted she was bisexual, which she most emphatically didn’t choose.

    “And to try to protect your right to be gay, you are denying those who were broken and not born gay the acceptance they also deserve.” They can have all they acceptance they wish, but it isn’t going to make them heterosexual. The exgay industry is full of people who lead what we both would agree are broken luives. They are known for trying to pin their bad decisions on their sexual brokenness. If they were heterosexual, they would be doing no such thing.

    The one half-way decent study on the subject– Jones and yarhouse– basically admitted that no one changes, though they did say that people were ambiguously, complicatedly and with difficult, heterosexual. In other words, they didn’t change, but just really, really wanted to. Alan chambers, head of Exodus, also admitted that NO ONE, including himself, changes. Neither Freud nor jesus has ever turned anyone from homo to hetero– or vice versa.

    “And remember, we ALL DO need a cure, because gay or straight, Pharisee or sinner, we ALL are sinners lacking in love, and without the Cure, we are all doomed.” No, YOU need a cure. That’s your theology, not mine. I’m perfectly fine. I’m just not perfect. I can live with that. My question is, why can’t homo-obsessed Christians?

    I agree with you about appreciating what Henderson has to say. And as you notice, the only issue I have a difference with is the idea that gay people are abused into homosexuality, or choose it. I appreciate it whenever a certain class of so-called Christian makes some effort to grant me, and millions of people like me, the right to live our lives as we see fit, authentically as we are made, without the roadblocks they usually throw in our paths to living our lives fully.

    I do appreciate it, but I am tired of ignorance masquerading as love and truth.

  • I’m skeptical about the whole “You’re still sinning, but we love you anyway” approach a lot of moderate evangelicals take. If you still think my identity is an abomination, it ain’t really helping! However, I do like the way this guy says it’s not just about sex.

  • Eliel Cruz

    I agree that they’re not statements based on facts which is why i mentioned that. But have you watched the sermon? I think you’ll find he didn’t actually mean harm from it (though i agree the statements do cause harm). The sermon as a whole is still quite impressive coming from a conservative view point.

  • Kari Stickle

    Yesterday I went to a Q&A with the PUC administration where I asked them why GASP isn’t allowed to publicly advertise meetings and the fact that it is there, let alone be official. I spoke about how difficult it was for me to even confirm GASP’s existence and how I had to search in SA minutes to even find mention of it. The explanation I was given was that GASP was a “support group” and not a club, that publicly displaying signs that told of its existence and where and when the meetings are could endanger the students. We are kept from letting other rainbow students know that there is a place where we can gather and be together with Christian allies. I have mentioned GASP to other students many times. They are always surprised it exists.
    Basically, President Knight has taken on a “If we don’t mention it then it’ll all go away” approach to this ordeal. No. No it will not go away and no matter how much people, including my parents, disapprove of my activism and me speaking up, I will not stop. Yes, once the older conservatives die off things will liberal out a bit but I refuse to wait. I will not let the many who suffered in silence or suffered while speaking , those who came before me, I will not let their pain and effort go to waste.

  • ben in oakland

    I absolutely agree that he didn’t mean any harm from it. A great deal of the harm inflicted on gay people is not intended as such. But also, as you note, it is nonetheless harmful.

    I should underline something here. I absolutely do appreciate the baby-steps that conservative Christianity is making towards righting a wrong of two millennia’s duration, recognizing my full humanity, and perhaps, eventually, accepting that whatever they believe the bible to say on the subject– and that is a whole other discussion– I still have the rights to my own religious beliefs, and the right to live my life fully and authentically– AS I AM MADE…

    WITHOUT their use of the law to enforce their purely theological beliefs upon my life, let alone the lies and stories they have made up about it in order to support those theological beliefs.

    The problem is that they really don’t wish to believe that I am a gay man, constitutionally, inherently, and thoroughly. It is not something I chose, nor is it a character defect, or the result of some trauma, nor has my life much to do at all with all of the stories they tell themselves about my life.

    The greater problem is in fact those stories, especially the ones that make me out to be a threat to family, faith, children, liberty, marriage, heterosexuality, and western civilization, such as it is. I have little issue with people whose religious belief tells them that I am some kind of a sinner– other than what years of study have told me: that that belief is in service to a myth about homosexuality, an ancient and durable prejudice, and in this an abuse and misuse of badly translated scripture.

    I have a much greater issue with the obviousness of this. Corinthians 6:9-10– and I won’t get into the parts immediately following– allegedly, in ambiguous and unknown language, condemns me to hell. That very same passage most assuredly, most definitely, condemns slanderers and revilers. Yet nary a peep do we hear from so-called Christians about the lies and slander of the likes of Tony Perkins, Peter LaBarbera, Pat rpobertson, Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard (before he got religion), Jerry Falwell, John Hagee, Kevin Swanson, “Bishop” Harry Jackson, Brian Brown, Cardinal George, Cardinal O’Brien (before he was found out), pastors in Uganda, Pope benedict, Mike Huckabee, World congress of families, and on and on and on and on and on. Not one so-called Christian calls out homo-obsessed Frank or fact-distorting Doc Anthony on these very pages. Not one seems to be concerned about gay kids killing themselves, except to blame those children for their defects as human beings.

    so again, I do appreciate the baby steps that conservative Christianity is making. Rev. Henderson has certainly made an effort. But until he can see my full humanity, and not as some broken sinner with broken sexuality, then baby steps is all that he is taking.

    “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

    Another relevant passage from Paul.

  • I’ll offer the young man a dollop of the toughlove from which he might benefit. You’ll offer him blancmange flavored with saccharin.

  • Bee

    Christianity requires love, neither tough nor with an agenda. You are using both an ulterior agenda of homophobia and an air of sanctimony to make your point. Jesus never said “whoever knows best shall cast the first stone”, he said it was only His place to judge. Remember, accusing people of their own admitted wrongs is doing Satan’s job for him.

  • Eliel Cruz

    I really appreciate your comments on the blog. They’re a good change to the mix we have going on in here 🙂

    I have a question, in seeing your full humanity– does that mean believing that the bible is not condemning of same-sex relationships? For you, does seeing your full humanity require theological affirmation?

  • Eliel Cruz

    I’m really not attacking Henderson, I would say i’m lifting his sermon up as an example. I’m sorry you misunderstood my piece by saying i was attacking him. He’s read the piece and really liked it so i promise you that it wasn’t translated to him that way.

    I made one comment about the variety of ways he said homosexuality was caused. I do not agree with your premise that parental/sexual abuse makes someone gay and neither does science. So i wanted to make that clarification before posting it on my blog.

    Besides that, the piece is hailing him for a great sermon from a conservative/traditional approach.

  • Neon Genesis

    I want to know why homophobic Christians like Art Deco, Doctor, and Frank keep coming to this site and spamming every article on homosexuality with their vile. Look, fundies, RNS isn’t a fundamentalist site. You’re never going to have your bigotry refinforced here so why are you posting here? Do you think your hateful approach is really going to save anyone’s souls? Do you think anyone cares what you think about anything? Do you think you’re helping Jesus by being so hateful and ignoring the core of Jesus’ message to love your neighbor as yourself? What is it you’re seeking from this site that you have to keep coming back to spread your bile?

  • Doc Anthony

    Here’s my own favorite “How a conservative christian can have a loving approach to homosexuality” resources (online; I’m omitting print resources for now).

    There are two specific websites, and BOTH of them lead by example, with real people, real issues, and real life stories. That’s what many or most readers seem to be interested in.

    I usually offer the first resource when there is some sort of socio-political or “Question-and-Answer” issues on the table (in addition to an interest in hearing personal testimonies.)

    I usually offer the second resource when people indicate they are interested primarily in hearing people’s life stories apart from any political discussions or “Q-and-A” explanations.



  • Doc Anthony

    Hey, Neon, don’t forget me! Please attack me too; I don’t want to be left out of your official list of “homophobic”, “bigotry”, “bile”, “fundie”, etc etc.

    I promise to provide only quality examples that are worthy of your list, and I apologize for being so late with my current submission (see below).

  • You are using both an ulterior agenda of homophobia and an air of sanctimony

    I think most of us lack your talent for self-parody.

  • Shawnie5

    I’ve yet to see any admitted wrongs around here. That is largely the point,

  • Shawnie5

    This isn’t an atheist site either but that doesn’t stop them from bombing every thread with hatred of religion. Grow up and learn to deal with diverse opinions.

    And the core of Jesus’ message, as recorded by all four gospels, was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

  • Larry

    And this is why addressing conservative Christians on the subject of loving is a waste of time. There is nothing of the sort from their approach.

    Somehow in their condemnation of everyone else they desperately avoid important bits like:

    “‘ Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

    “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
    Mark 12:30-33

  • Larry

    That is the most honest thing you have ever posted Doc 🙂

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  • ben in oakland

    I have to agree with Larry– the most honest thing I have seen you post yet.

    awakenmanhattan– the original dominionist screed, stating that protections of gay people– the same protections that religionists would be outraged if they were denied to THEM.

    Restored hope– founded by Anne Paulk, the not-really-a-lesbian married to the never-was-heterosexual John Paulk, who has since recanted his alleged conversion to heterosexuality. Anne is still milking that cash cow. RHN was fou nded in the wake of the closure of exodus, whose leader admitted that no one changes.

    Including, most importantly, himself/.

  • Frank

    There is no love in supporting sinful behavior.

  • Frank

    Doesn’t the editor realize that marking posts with a low rating makes people, want to see what it says? So your attempt at censorship fails miserably.

  • ben in oakland

    And seriously, “Doc”? Manhattan KANSAS? Talk about intentions to deceive. One has to do a great deal of searching to find out it is not about NEW YORK.

  • The Great God Pan

    I guess if a KKK chapter (the Rocky Mountain Knights) can declare itself open to racial minorities, Jews and LGBT people, then conservative Christians can have a “loving attitude” toward us.

    Personally, I’d suggest remaining leery on both counts.

  • The Great God Pan

    Frank, this column seems to be written for the self-proclaimed “social justice” crowd, who really will ignore something if it is marked “verboten” by a trusted authority.

    People who would click and read a hidden comment–people who are curious and seek out contrary opinions–are “problematic” and decidedly not the intended audience for columns like this.

  • Shawnie5

    The quote is: “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31.

    Love of neighbor (those created in Imago Dei) is like love of God, but love of God trumps all. And you can not love God with heart/soul/strength/mind and willfully practice or approve that which He says is evil.

    Repentance is about turning from love of self and choosing to love God and all His designs and purposes above all.

    This is why Jesus said He came to call sinners to repentance. Mark 2:17.

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  • Larry

    Since we are all sinners, there is no practice willful or not which isn’t part of what is declared evil. You are merely looking for excuses to avoid basic tenets of your faith. But that is really the point of referencing scripture. To validate your beliefs and give it an air of authority.

    “Love thy neighbor” is not a qualified statement in any sense. Its not “love this neighbor over that one”. Its not “love only pious neighbors and despise the others”. Some Christians understand that concept (as Neon Genesis and Ben From Oakland have pointed out to me). You choose not to.

    Your version of faith seems to exist to find excuses to be malicious to one’s neighbor with scripture. There is no loving in supporting discrimination or ostracism of others. Your “Imago Dei” seems to have a lot of exceptions (including excusing genocide and slavery). Everyone allegedly is made in God’s image, but some people are more so than others. Especially Conservative Christians who consider themselves the only rightful adherents. Those who aren’t need to be attacked.

    As I said before, there is no point in looking for a loving approach from Conservative Christianity. From those like yourself. Its a waste of time. You don’t have it in you, nor would be interested in such things.

  • Ben in Oakland

    First, thank you for your welcome. I used to see you writing at huffpost, and appreciated what you had to say then. However, as you know, huffpost is not anything like it was, and I don’t bother to go there any more.

    second, I started answering your request last night, but it began to turn into a much longer post than I thought. I still haven’t finished it, and may not be able to do so today. But I’ll try.

    Here are the short answers to your questions. The longer will follow.

    Seeing my full humanity is not reducing my life to a sex act, or me to an unrepentant sinner. Those alleged heterosexuals who do so would be outraged if the same standard were applied to them.

    No, the bible does not condemn same sex relationships. It cannot condemn what it doesn’t know a thing about. It may possibly, in a vague, general sort of a way, condemn some aspects of some same sex sex acts. That’s debatable.

    No. I’m not interested in theological affirmation. I’m interested in theological silence outside of the churches, people minding their own goddamned and god-damning business, and keeping purely theological (in the worst sense of the word) beliefs out of our secular laws.

    I’m interested in pastoral silence by the ignorant or the bigots or both on a subject they clearly know nothing about, based upon bad translations of vague scripture, ignorance, stupidity, and their own individual biases, income streams, and fears.

    what all of that means will have to wait until I finish the larger piece. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Shawnie5

    “Its not “love only pious neighbors and despise the others”. Some Christians understand that concept (as Neon Genesis and Ben From Oakland have pointed out to me). You choose not to.”

    “Some Christians” (and I use the term VERY loosely) believe that loving one’s neighbor means effectively lying about the word of God and instead patting them on the head and assuring them that whatever they are doing is OK and will have no ultimate consequences. They believe it also means participating in whatever they want to do whether it’s contrary to the word of God or not.

    Jesus, for one, loved in the opposite way (“Now you are healed. Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you.”). So did the one whom He declared the greatest of all men before Himself, his kinsman John the Baptist, who ALWAYS shot straight about sin (“It is not lawful for you to have her.”)

    Jesus often talked of those who persecuted the prophets who had been sent before Him. One of those was Ezekiel, who was told: “When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.” Ez 3:18.

    I don’t mean people like you who don’t know any better, but those who willfully and knowingly perpetuate lies about the homosexual behaviors being OK despise their “neighbors” most of all.

  • The Great God Pan

    “Look, fundies, RNS isn’t a fundamentalist site.”

    Mmm-hmm. Supposedly. And yet most of the regular commenters (and virtually all of the Christian commenters) seem to be what you’d call fundamentalists.

    Remember the pesky “New Atheist” argument that “liberal” and “moderate” religion enables “extremist” religion? This site provides a prime illustration.

  • Larry

    The fact that you use the term “Some Christians” in a derisive way, as if to imply they are not as much a part of the faith as yourself tells me that looking for a “loving approach” is a waste of time for those like yourself.

    You are simply willing to declare those who search for one, not authentic or sling some patronizing or insulting language their way.

    “I don’t mean people like you who don’t know any better, but those who willfully and knowingly perpetuate lies about the homosexual behaviors being OK despise their “neighbors” most of all.”

    Merely a euphemistic way to say you support malicious actions against gays, despise them as people and declare anyone who disagrees with you as being allegedly ignorant. A nasty mix of bigotry and hubris in one shot.

    You are not going to accept gays as human beings or treat them with humanity and respect. No amount of Biblical interpretation will sway you. It doesn’t gel with the aspects of the religion which appeal to you. So it must be wrong in your eyes. Anyone who doesn’t agree isn’t really Christian or is not doing it right.

    In the end you are agreeing with me. That trying to instill a loving approach to dealing with gays, among conservative Christians, is a big waste of time.

  • Shawnie5

    Larry pulled out the white “bigot” flag signalling that she is out of answers. Time to move on, I guess. Thanks anyway.

  • This was marked by ‘the editors’ as a ‘low quality comment’. If I wanted to know why this site attracts blowhards whose self-assurance is in inverse proportion to their actual knowledge interspersed with utterances by members of the League for the Reflexively Lachrymose, well, maybe you all have the same understanding of ‘quality’.

  • Anne is still milking that cash cow.

    Is she employed there?

  • Larry M

    As I mentioned several days ago I am so glad that you are on RNS. Your perspective is so very necessary. And I don’t mean merely your perspective as a gay person but also your perspective of loving openness. That is what is often lacking in this entire conversation.

    I also agree with you that the pastor is making some rather great strides from a conservative angle. Some people only choose to see how far things have to go. Too many of us have neither the desire or ability to honestly see things from a different perspective. And as obvious as this is…that conservative Christians do not understand being gay… Equally obvious is that many other people in and out of the gay community are not able to recognize the great distance the pastor Henderson is bridging.

    You obviously recognize it and are a builder of bridges yourself. Although I agree that Christians will always have different opinions and different hermeneutics I don’t really think this will be the case concerning gays in 15 or 20 years. I think the tide is turning and evangelicalism and eventually they will reinterpret the Bible accordingly.

  • Neon Genesis

    For the record, I think trolls like Atheist Max are idiots too and I don’t know why RNS hasn’t banned him yet.

  • Neon Genesis

    And yet the majority of the articles on this site are either promoting moderate Christianity or outright attacking fundamentalist Christianity. There are plenty of other Christian sites to go to that reinforce your worldview like The Christian Post and Christianity Today, so why post here if you hate what they write about on their site so much?

  • Neon Genesis

    And you’re aware Jesus gave this commandment to the religious authorities, not gay people, right?

  • Shawnie5

    He gave it to everybody. The “religious authorities” were no different from everyone else except that they were less likely to acknowledge their own sinfulness and need for repentance and forgiveness.

  • Frank

    Homosexual behavior will always be sinful. There is no way to change that fact.

  • Ben in oakland

    Here’s what I promised you. I’m sorry about it’s length, but let’s just say that sometimes, I have a lot to say.

    First, thank you for your welcome. I used to see you writing at huffpost, and appreciated what you had to say then. However, as you know, huffpost is not anything like it was, and I don’t bother to go there any more.

    I will be happy to answer to each question, but I suspect this is going to be a long, long answer. Please keep in mind that my frequent use of the word “you” refers simply to a generic “you”, not you personally, except as clarified by context. And if I sound angry? Well, it’s because I AM.

    By seeing my full humanity, I mean NOT seeing me as a walking sin, defining me as a human being completely by what YOU THINK is my sexuality. I am not a walking sex act, and you (generic) would be outraged if I defined YOU by that– a perversion personified, a corruption of nature, human or otherwise, a human or moral inferior, or a threat. In other words, seeing my full humanity is NOT seeing me as one or more of the many fairy stories that antigay bigots tell themselves must be true. They use these fairy stories to justify what they do to innocent others in the name of what is simply an ancient and vicious prejudice. Sometimes this prejudice is disguised as “sincere religious belief”, as if that were any sort of an excuse. Often, refreshingly, it is admitted for what it is. That’s why I prefer Westborough Baptists to Albert Mohler Baptists.

    Here are a few of my denials of those fairy stories you tell yourselves. I was NEVER heterosexual; like many gay people, I knew I was gay when I was THREE, long before I knew sex even existed. I just didn’t know what to call it, but I KNEW. I’m not broken, theologically or otherwise; I am as fully functional a human being as you are likely to meet. Your desire to have me be a “broken” person, all the while admitting that you are just as awash in sin as I allegedly am, says a lot more about you and homobigotry than it says about me. YOU might be broken, but then, that’s what your theology tells you. And the very fact of your obsession about my sexuality is a very good indicator of how broken you are. Specks and beams, my brothers. Specks and beams.

    I wasn’t molested, nor have I ever molested anyone; I am appalled at people who do, and even more appalled by people who claim that as a gay man, this is what I MUST DO. No, it is NOT what I do. It is a damnable lie, and damns you for repeating it. (Corinthians 6:9-10). You merely give cover to the Jerry Sandusky’s and child raping priests of the world, doing your part to perpetuate these crimes against children, and causing slanderous, reviling harm to my life. I’m not a drug addict, an alcoholic, a sexual compulsive, or suicidal. I’m not unhappy; I have a great life, full of wonderful friends and family, a successful career, and spiritual peace.

    I’m a human being who happens to be gay, a perfectly normal part of humanity. We have always been here, and always will be, not because of a sinful world, but because it’s a fact of existence, and not merely human existence. Read a book called “Biological Exuberance” by Bruce Bagemihl. Unless you’re claiming the dolphins and 500 other species are also tainted by original sin, ya got nothin’. I am citizen, a tax payer, a law abiding and productive member of my community, well liked and respected. I expect to be treated like one.I am not a threat to anything or anybody, except perhaps religious dominionists, their antigay cash cow, and their anti-human agenda.

    Most importantly, I am not in rebellion against your particular, peculiar version of God, who particularly and peculiarly is always in agreement with those who claim to speak for him. Why is my alleged sin so extra special? We’re all doing the backstroke in sin, remember? So shouldn’t you be concentrating on your own sins, rather than mine? Didn’t someone who used to be important have something to say about that? No, I am in rebellion against YOU, and all religious dominionism. It’s no longer considered classy to beat up on Jews, or blacks, or the Heathen Chinee. We’re still considered fair game, and there is a great deal of money to be made and power to be accrued in antigay bigotry. Brian Brown earns $200K each year “protecting” marriage from the horrors of people affirming the value of marriage by getting married.

    Not to mention a means for the homo-hating-homos to deflect attention from themselves, and to exorcise, for a time at least, their own demons. Or to exercise them. Ted Haggard, Lonnie Latham, Cardinal O’Brien, and a host of others: I am talking to YOU!

    To answer your question directly, whatever the bible condemns is certainly NOT same sex relationships. Apart from the centurion and his “pais” that Jesus blessed, and possibly David and Jonathan, none of whom is condemned, the bible is silent on that issue. Not one of the alleged passages deals with same sex relationships. NOT ONE. The bible cannot condemn what it clearly doesn’t know a thing about. Of course, that never stops the class of so-called Christians (and Jews, Muslims, and others) who also clearly know nothing about gay people or our lives.

    What does it say regarding homosexuality? Despite the overblown claims of its absolute clarity on the subject, it really says, at best, very little. It might possibly condemn, in a vague, general, sort of a way, one aspect of same sex sex, but only for men. (But that in itself is highly questionable, and a subject for another essay entirely). The Sodom story is no more about homosexuality, as understood then or now, than it is about the price of a pillar of salt. (Yet another sinful perversion of Scripture to make it say something it doesn’t, and yet another essay). When Conservative Judaism consented to accept gay rabbis a few years ago, that was the conclusion of their Old Testament scholars. As far as the rest of the clobber passages go, each and every passage allegedly dealing with the subject has been twisted and stretched to say something it clearly doesn’t say. Pat Robertson recently employed this style of perverted hermeneutics when he blamed the rape of the woman of Gibeah on gay people. Really, Patsy? Now we’re responsible for heterosexual rape? I’m surprised we’re not responsible for hemorrhoids or the fall of western civilization.

    Oh, great. Thanks, Pat! We’re not responsible for your hemorrhoids. It’s just what happens to [expletive deleted].

    I’m not looking for theological affirmation, because 1) I think theology is bunk; and 2) theologians and pastors speak for themselves, AS THEOLOGIANS AND PASTORS. It’s how they earn their livings. There are only three things that theologians are expert at: 1) putting two and twaddle together to end up with 6, or 3, or -1, depending on the theologian. 2) Explaining the unexplainable in order to comprehend the incomprehensible– and the illogical. And 3) putting yet another money-generating barrier between man and the divine. How can anyone hear that “still, small voice” with all that yammering going on?

    If they were actually speaking for God and his “obvious” truths, they would be in agreement, which they are “obviously” not. And I say this not merely because I am an atheist, because I’m not. (I am strictly speaking an it-doesn’t-matterist. But that is also a subject for a different essay). I say this because I have the theologians and the ministers of each faith telling me that all the theologians and ministers of ALL the other faiths are wrong. “My God is better than your God!” “Nyuh-uhhh!” That’s who is supposed to inform us about the nature of divinity and God’s message to the world? I have to believe at least one of them, right? Or none. Or all! Like the Red Queen, I can believe six impossible things before breakfast.

    Imagine if there were tribes of physicists, each claiming a different value for the speed of light, or pi, or Newton’s gravitational constant. No one would be able to build even a cuckoo clock, let alone a rocket ship. Yet we’re supposed to create a coherent picture of God from the doodlings of spiritual children! These are the people who claim that God Who Is Love is also an angry god, and he will punish millions of innocent people because…(fill in the blanks). And because he loves you so damned much! Or better yet, let the theologians create that picture for you! Just add holy water to the mix, bake in a cold oven for a few years, and voila! Spiritual Truth!

    Though we were married by a Christian minister who is a friend of ours, theology was left out of it. He was our officiant to honor him and honor our friendship. I’m not looking for theological affirmation AT ALL, though I don’t begrudge it to those people, gay or straight, who need it or want it. If it is something you want in your life, and it makes your life better, and you a better person, then I’m all for it. What I am emphatically not for is people using their bibles as weapons against other people, in order to justify yet another purely human prejudice. The conservative Christian denunciations of treating gay people well are remarkably similar to the conservative Christian support of segregation in my youth, in both tone and content. Google Rev. Phil Snyder for a real eye-opener.

    If God actually cared as much about my sex life as conservative Christians seems to believe he does, he would have said, “Two people of the same sex shall have no sexual contact of any kind, no being naked together, and no skin on skin.” Now that is clarity befitting the Creator of the Universe! But what do we get? “Sleep the sleep of a woman” in a how-to manual for priests. And “abusers of themselves with mankind”, which I believe Luther thought referred to masturbation. And on this flimsy basis, we have professional hypocrite and sometime john Jimmy Swaggart claiming “It’s the worst sin!”

    No, Jimmy. Hypocrisy is by far worse sin. After all, Jesus didn’t say, “Scribes! Pharisees! Homos!”

    I have said repeatedly, here and elsewhere, that I don’t even have any objection to antigay theology, though I am convinced it is a misuse and an abuse of scripture, based upon bad translations of vague ancient languages, stands in direct contradiction to all that Jesus had to say, and merely gives religious cover to common prejudice, as it did to segregation and 1900 years of virulent anti-Semitism. As I said, I’m not looking for theological affirmation of same sex relationships at all. What I am looking for is theological silence on this question, at least in the political arena.

    It’s not a question of theology, or god’s will, or morality– most assuredly NOT of morality. For that matter, it’s not even a question of god’s will, seeing how often god’s alleged will has been used to justify the murder of witches, slavery, racial segregation, the subjugation of women, 1900 years of anti-Semitism leading to the holocaust, the castration of innocent boys for the musical pleasure of the pope, or any other of the host of horrors visited on humanity. But this time, regarding 1900 years of religious bigotry, you finally, FINALLY have it right about whom God despises almost as much as you do.

    In my experience, God’s word is what some people use to justify what cannot be justified by any method, including God’s word.

    I’m looking for theological silence on the question of my civil rights, my family, and my participation in society. If you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex, and don’t attend my wedding. I won’t be expecting a gift. But stop lying about the alleged affects of that on society. There aren’t any, except to make society a little more welcome to people you have always been able to harm without consequence to yourselves, except to flatter your wholly unwarranted belief in your completely imaginary superioirty. My marriage and my participation in society don’t affect you in the slightest, except to offend you that a despised minority is no longer willing to be cowed. Uppity women, uppity Negroes, uppity queers: it’s all the same.

    Believe whatever you wish, but please, keep your purely theological concerns out of secular law. If you need to believe being gay is a sin, have at it. I don’t really care, though I do have a lot of questions about people who obsess about the sex lives of others, especially when those people swear they have no personal, actual interest in the sex they claim to abhor. But somehow they can’t seem to stop thinking about it, creating the most lurid and surreal scenarios, like the Harlem Hate Pastor who is convinced there is male semen in every latte from Starbucks. I’m sure he can just TASTE it.

    Believe whatever you wish, but stop making up crap out of the cheap material from the darkest recesses of your fears, your hatred, and your ignorance. Stop lying about me, stop slandering me, stop trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator of hatred and fear because of your political, religious, or personal sexual agenda.

    Focus on your own family and your own relationship with god. Stay the hell out of mine. We’ll both lead better lives because of it.

  • Ben in oakland

    I don’t know how this happened, but it ended up in the wrong place. It was supposed to be a stand-alone comment, not a reply to frank.

  • Neon Genesis

    You will always be an idiot. There is no way to change that fact.

  • ben in oakland

    C’mon. with God, all things are possible.

  • Doc Anthony

    Interesting. Apparently Ben In Oakland thought that my post was “honest” to some degree, and at least worth reading and responding to, despite the attempt by the editors to hide my post.

  • Doc Anthony

    I did not say, nor even suggest or imply, anything about the geographical location of the website Ben. The geographical location is immediately evident to anybody who clicks on the “About Us” menu, so that wasn’t even an issue for me.

    My only concern was to provide examples of websites and people who, for me, sufficiently exemplify Eliel Cruz’s topic statement.

  • Eliel Cruz

    The websites are a single narrative and a story that is not representative of the majority of the LGBT community. I’m not sure if it’s celibacy or reparitive therapy they’re promoting. One is a vocation, the other is dangerous. Neither should be forced upon people. They also aren’t examples of how conservatives can approach LGBT people. I’m afraid you’re missing the point.

  • Eliel Cruz

    If the editors wanted, they could have deleted the post.

  • Timothy “The Danger” Hucks

    You know what’s interesting? Being an Adventist for 23 years and hearing many foaming at the mouth this way and that on the topic of homosexuality, and I’ve never in my life heard anyone mention that verse (Matt 19:12) about the eunuchs. Weird.

  • Wilm Roget

    “But can someone have a traditional stance on their understanding of this topic and still be a loving and safe person towards the LGBT community?”

    No. The traditional stance, ‘homosexuality/homosexual sex is sin’ is intrinsically hateful and derogatory and abusive. It is based on distorting passages that demand the death penalty, that proclaim that an entire city of people deserved to be destroyed, that equate our capacity for love with murder, stealing and addiction.

    There is no loving way of telling people that they must spend their entire lives celibate, alone, while everyone else to marry, or else God will send them to hell. There is no loving way to say “your loving, unitive relationship is worthy of death and damnation”.

    Homophobes have been trying to have it both ways for a very long time, and they are still killing and torturing and persecuting GLBTQ people.

  • MadGastronomer

    Telling people that their love is a sin is never, ever loving. Telling people they deserve to burn in hell for who they love is never, ever loving. It can’t be. Don’t lie to yourself. You cannot carry out Jesus’ commandment to love others as you love yourself while telling others they deserve to burn for their love. Especially not when you base that frankly and nakedly hateful claim on things Jesus did NOT say. Are the words of others more important than the words of Jesus himself?

  • Shawnie5

    We know from Josephus that Herod Antipas loved his second wife Herodias. And yet the man whom Jesus called the greatest of all men ever born up until Himself (His cousin John the Baptist) was murdered for telling Herod the truth –that it was not lawful for him to have her.

    Truth can never be superceded by earthly loves, and it is not loving to attempt to do so. It is only lying.

    “He who rebukes will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue.”

  • Nathan

    I saw the video of the Chaplain and my first reaction is that a sermon like this would be very rare from “Conservative” Christian churches.

    As a Conservative Christian who grew up in the church my whole life and being a pastor’s kid, I would say that the sermon, “Adam and Steve” was needed and is needed to be preached. The church shunning gays and hammering gays has done more harm then we may think.

    For my wife and I we too have been confronted with having a gay teen son who came out at 13. We, just like any other parent had a choice once he told us he was gay. We can take the easy roughy and kick him out or accept him and learn together as a family. We choose to accept our gay son and learn from one another.

    The church needs to realize that gays are not going away and that many families like us choose our gay children over their doctrine. There are those one both sides of the spectrum who will not agree and quite frankly I don’t care. What I do care is that my son figure out what he wants and not be so easily swayed by the one who screams and yells the loudest.

    Finally, I do welcome and appreciate the sermon because it opens up the reality that gays are people who are made in the image of God and also are loved by God. It is incumbent upon all of us, especially Christians to realize that gays want a seat at the table and as a result how are we going to love the way Christ loves us.

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