Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Brief Biblical Case



But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."Matthew 22:34-40

10 Bible-Based Reasons to Support LGBT Christians


1.     Condemning same-sex relationships is harmful to LGBT people. 
Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount that good trees bear good fruit, but the church’s rejection of same-sex relationships has caused tremendous, needless suffering to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

2.     Sexual orientation is a new concept, one the Christian tradition hasn’t addressed.
Many Christians draw on our faith’s traditions to shape our beliefs, but the concept of sexual orientation is new. Before recent decades, same-sex behavior was understood along the lines of gluttony or drunkenness—as a vice of excess anyone might be prone to—not as the expression of a sexual orientation. The Christian tradition hasn’t spoken to the modern issue of LGBT people and their relationships.

3.     Celibacy is a gift, not a mandate. 
The Bible honors celibacy as a good way of living—Jesus was celibate, after all—but it also makes clear that celibacy must be a voluntary choice made by those who have the gift of celibacy. Requiring that all gay people remain celibate because their sexuality is “broken” is at odds with the Bible’s teachings on celibacy.

4.     Sodom and Gomorrah involved an attempted gang rape, not a loving relationship. 
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is commonly assumed to have been the result of God’s wrath against homosexuality, but the only form of same-sex behavior described in the story is an attempted gang rape—nothing like the loving, committed relationships that are widespread today. The Bible explicitly condemns Sodom for its arrogance, inhospitality, and apathy toward the poor, but never for same-sex behavior.

5.     The prohibitions in Leviticus don’t apply to Christians. 
Leviticus condemns male same-sex intercourse, but the entire Old Testament law code has never applied to Christians in light of Christ’s death. Leviticus also condemns eating pork, rabbit, or shellfish, cutting hair at the sides of one’s head, and having sex during a woman’s menstrual period—none of which Christians continue to observe.

6.     Paul condemns same-sex lust, not love. 
Like other ancient writers, Paul described same-sex behavior as the result of excessive sexual desire on the part of people who could be content with opposite-sex relationships. He doesn’t have long-term, loving same-sex relationships in view. And while he describes same-sex behavior as “unnatural,” he also says men having long hair goes against nature, and most Christians read that as a reference to cultural conventions.

7.     The term “homosexual” didn’t exist until 1892. 
Some modern Bible translations say that “homosexuals” will not inherit the kingdom of God, but neither the concept nor the word for people with exclusive same-sex attraction existed before the late 19th century. While the Bible rejects lustful same-sex behavior, that isn’t close to a condemnation of all gay people and relationships.

8.     Marriage is about commitment. 
Marriage often involves procreation, but according to the New Testament, it’s based on something deeper: a lifelong commitment to a partner. Marriage is even compared to the relationship between Christ and the church, and while the language used is opposite-sex, the core principles apply just as well to same-sex couples.

9.     Human beings are relational. 
From the beginning of Genesis, human beings are described as having a need for relationship, just as God himself is relational. Sexuality is a core part of what it means to be a relational person, and to condemn LGBT people’s sexuality outright damages their ability to be in relationship with all people—and with God.

10. Faithful Christians are already embracing LGBT brothers and sisters. 
From denominations like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) to organizations like the Gay Christian Network and the Reformation Project, Christians across the country are already putting their commitment to LGBT equality in action. They’re showing their fellow believers what it looks like to be a faithful Christian who fully affirms LGBT Christians.

These ten statements are from The Reformation Project which exists to train Christians to support and affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Through building a deep grassroots movement, we strive to create an environment in which Christian leaders will have the freedom to take the next steps toward affirming and including LGBT people in all aspects of church life.  The Refprmation project was begun by openly gay, LGBT activist Matthew Vines. Vines, who recently released his book God and the Gay Christian, is perhaps best known for the viral YouTube video "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality."

5 comments:

silvereagle said...

Great comments...again, not one from the pulpit on a Sunday morning...a shame it is not from that podium as well...

greenbeltandy said...

You summed it all up with two words "needless suffering". That is exactly what homophobia causes and it is such a shame.

naturgesetz said...

Just to clarify: love does not require or imply marriage or sexual activity. Jesus did not say, "Marry one another," nor "Have sex with one another." The commandment of love does not inherently grant permission for sexual activity or marriage among those who love one another. He's talking about something else.

"Condemning same-sex relationships is harmful to LGBT people." The word relationships does not necessarily imply sex. There can be non-sexually-active same-sex relationships. IOW it is not the relationship but the sexual activity which is problematic for many.

"Sexuality is a core part of what it means to be a relational person, and to condemn LGBT people’s sexuality outright damages their ability to be in relationship with all people—and with God." If by "sexuality" they mean "engaging in sexual activity," I think they're wrong. I think we can be in relationships without engaging in sexual activity. Or do they mean "orientation?" I would agree that the church shouldn't condemn a sexual orientation. Obviously our orientation is something we bring to our relationships, so we have to be able to relate to all those we love as the persons we are, which includes our orientation (call it our sexuality, if you want).

I think the church is still sorting this all out, considering that the concept of a homosexual orientation is something new.

Amanda said...

Thank you for this post. It's very frustrating when people try to twist religious passages for their own bigotry and narrow mindedness. God is love. Love is love no matter the gender. :)

Jay M. said...

Brilliant.

Peace <3
Jay