THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH AND ACCEPTANCE OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY

My focus here is on Christians and the LGBTQ Community because over 80 percent of Americans Identify as Christian.  It is not purposely meant to exclude any major faith group.  In my opinion, the Christian Rightwing of the Republican Party is responsible for most of the discriminatory, hostile and insightful behavior endured by the LGBTQ community.

There is overwhelming evidence to conclude that homosexuality is not a choice, but rather the way people were born.  They are as God made them, for reasons unknown.  Many churches now allow gays to actively participate and hold pastoral positions within the church.  For these reasons and the information that follows, we have a duty to make sure people are treated fairly regardless of their sexual orientation.

According to a website called INFOMORY.COM, there are 34,000 Christian Denominations and 1,200 in the United States alone.  According to The Pew Research Center, overall, a solid majority of white mainline Protestants (62%) now favor allowing gays and lesbians to wed, with just 33% opposed, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey.  A similar share (63%) say there is “no conflict” between their religious beliefs and homosexuality.

Why are there so many Christian Denominations and why the disagreement on Gays and Lesbians?  I think the answer is in the Hermeneutics or the biblical interpretation of scripture.  Almost all mainline Pastors have had to study Hermeneutics either as part of their Bachelors or Masters Seminary program.

Hermeneutics is a systematic process by which one examines whether something is meant to be 1) Figurative or Literal (thought to be the biggest source of disagreements) 2) Descriptive (History) or Prescriptive (Directed by God) 3) Who was the intended audience and what was the intended message 4) What was the Genre 5) Is the writing Cultural (addressing laws and cultural norms of the times) 6) Is it a Jewish Idiom (sarcasm) and of course 7) If facts later find an original interpretation was incorrect, you reassess your original interpretation.  This list is by no means inclusive but intended to make a point of why there are so many areas of disagreement.

For years it was taught that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was because of Homosexuality.  However, the actual sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is found in Ezekiel 16:49 “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, an excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and the needy.”

Verses that condemn homosexual conduct are addressing the cultural laws of the time, and not necessarily any God-given prescription or directive.

Neither the American Psychiatric Association (APA) nor the American Medical Association considers homosexuality a mental or physical disorder.  The American Psychiatric Association took homosexuality off the list of mental disorders in 1973 or 1974.

The ministry focused on “Saving” Gays and Lesbians, helping gay Christians become straight, the flagship, pride and joy of the religious rightwing, Exodus International that had up to 250 ministries in the United States and Canada and over 150 ministries in 17 other countries ceased activities in June 2013 after determining that they were wrong.  

The group's president, Alan Chambers, issued an extensive apology to the LGBTQ community.  "I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn't change," Chambers said.

"I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents," he added. "I am sorry that there were times I didn't stand up to people publicly 'on my side' who called you names like sodomite -- or worse."

With everything we now know about the LGBT community, we have to ask ourselves why there are still Christians out there that discriminate and insight hostility against the LGBTQ community.  I must wonder if their feelings towards the LGBTQ community are because of their religious views, or do they claim to be Rightwing Christians because it gives them an excuse to act out their predisposition to be bigots?  Proper Christian behavior demands that others be treated with respect and tolerance, regardless of one’s personal feelings or prejudges.

Jason Upton summed it up perfectly with his song “They will know we are Christians by our love.”  The famous quote by Billy Graham also nailed it.  “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” – Billy Graham

 

 

 

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