"What a joy it brought me to be part of making the church and the world more welcoming to some of my dearest friends who are gay and lesbian," said the Rev. Kim Wells, delegate to the synod and pastor of Lakewood United Church of Christ in St. Petersburg."
The world must be thinking, "hurray! what a day for human rights!", I thought to myself. This article moved me in such a way that I felt compelled to write about this.
Homosexuality is such a touchy, politically correct subject that any comment on it is almost sure to incite a flame war in the ensuing posts, with insinuations of sinful immorality on one side and blatant bigotry on the other, complete with misquotations, false accusations, and out-of-context rants that end up comparing the other side to Nazi Germany or some other fascist organization, as all internet arguments eventually do (see Arguing On the Internet, stategy #3).
Those kinds of discussions are pointless. For the believers in Christ, it's better not to condemn homosexuals, easy as that is, because frankly most of us have done things on par with what we consider as evil: lying, cursing, pornography, pedophilia, promiscuity, adultery, drugs & alcohol addictions, whatever your vice, every one of us has fallen short, myself included.
With that obvious truth, why are we believers in Christ so concerned with homosexuality when we're so busy doing our own sins, keeping our evil ways secret by pointing the finger at everyone else? Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. Who are we to say that someone who practices a certain sin should be shunned in society, let alone banned from houses of God?!
We have no right. Because if we shun people for practicing something we believe to be immoral, by the same rule, the whole world should be shunned and ashamed of its bottomless pleasures.
In the court case of homosexuality and its detractors, this is the opening arguments from the detractors: homosexuals should be shunned in society because of their disgusting, unnatural behavior; they ought to be hidden from the public eye, banned from worshipping God in churches, and condemned to hell because of it.
This argument is on thin ice: the head of the body of believers, Jesus himself, did little 'condemning to hell' sort of preaching, he was more about love and forgiveness. Furthermore, Jesus's own followers were the skim-off-the-top, greedy tax collectors, the prostitutes, the low life and the poor; belief in God has never been limited to an elite moral class, on the contrary, it is usually those who have little pride left, the broken in spirit, the humble hearts, these are keen to hearing and following the ways of God.
So let's just throw that rather bigotted argument out the window right now. Let's assume that homosexuals are just like the rest of us: sure they sin (like us) but hey, they're just normal people. Leave the "sick & disgusting" kind of arguments at the door because we are all guilty.
With petty arguments in the clear, here is the brunt of the argument, folks, for acceptance or rebuke of homosexuality, this is what's at the core of the issue: whether homosexuality is right or wrong.
Think about what that means for a minute, don't just skim over it because you've heard it before. Is homosexuality an immoral practice? I'm not talking about the relativistic, politically correct, always changing version of morality portrayed in the modern media. Our modern, western idea of morality is, "If it feels good, and you want it, go right ahead."
How fortunate that our western ideas are totally wrong!
Just because you want something doesn't make it right. The fact that a pedophile is extremely attracted to small children does not give him the right to molest them. And if everyone who desired to have an extra-marital affair would go ahead - what would our society look like? Don't be confused, I'm not equating pedphilia or adultery with homosexuality, but rather, realize that merely wanting to do something does not make it right.
No, we believers are truely blessed to have a never-changing standard of right and wrong, a 4000-year-tested chunk of pure God-inspired wisdom, which we call Scripture. This Scripture, in particular, the Law (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) lays out for us a righteous, healthy way to live: covering everything from best dietary habits to human sexuality to having a personal relationship with God. The Law is confirmed in the New Testament: the Law affirms sound doctrine, is holy, righteous, good, and is used for recognizing sin, and finally, the Law coincides with love, joy, peace, not giving up, kindness, goodness, having faith, gentleness, and being the master over your own desires.
I am addressing believers here. If you believe that something inspired by God is worth keeping note of, listen carefully. This God-inspired writing which would strut around as our Bibles states quite clearly whether homosexuality is or is not immoral. If we take that God-inspired word seriously, should we not follow it regardless of what the world believes?
Now, I have yet to reveal whether our God-inspired "what is right and wrong" way of living says about homosexuality. Yet as honest believers in the Messiah, we know that it is better to follow God regardless of what the world thinks; even if only a single person knows the truth, it is still the truth regardless of the millions that may oppose him.
What, then, is the truth? Is homosexuality really immoral to our God? Rather than answer with my own prejudices and biases, allow me to point you to the truth itself and let you decide for yourself whether homosexuality is immoral from a Scriptural point of view: Paul talks about this to the Romans, and also in his letter to Timothy. Or how about the code of Law by which we are to live, which states quite clearly whether or not homosexuality is acceptable to God. Finally, Jesus lays out a simple way to determine the best course of action: the world follows evil, few truely follow God; given that truth, we reason that evil is recognizable by what the world follows.
The world doesn't know right from wrong because it follows the law of the world: do whatever feels right. Some churches and many believers don't follow God either despite knowing better, it's easier to follow the world -- fit in and be politically correct -- than it is to follow God and do good. I can't say I blame them, following God is no easy thing! While I can't blame the Church, I can neither excuse them: we can't just say that it's too hard to follow God, so we should just give in to the world and its empty pleasures. Churches like the Church of Christ may excuse their own beliefs for the sake of justifying themselves through human reasoning, yet their scrambling to justify their stance is evidence of the Church's knowledge of its own godless reasoning.
I hope believers who read this come to a clearer understanding of whether homosexuality is immoral to God. For unbelievers, I don't judge homosexuals according to the law of the world; for one, it's hard to judge people against a moving target, but also because it's better not to judge anyone in the first place since we are all equally guilty of our human, bottomless, empty sin-seeking. I'd rather convince unbelievers of the truth of our Messiah before judging and condemning them. When someone finally turns back to God, you can then, at last, start on the right path that naturally diverges from our tired old vices.
Toward the end of the article, a United Church of Christ minister announced the true freedom his church's ruling has set loose:
"If we had put it to a vote of the people in the pews, it would have failed overwhelmingly," he said. "This is truly Independence Day for the UCC: We have declared ourselves independent from the teachings of Jesus and the clear teachings of Scripture."