Sunday, October 10, 2010

LGBTQ Support

Tomorrow is national coming out day.  And I think that deserves some comment. 

Until very recently, I believed that my faith mandated opposition to alternative sexual orientations.  I have since been convinced that this interpretation is not in line with the broader truths I find in scripture and the traditions of the Christian faith, and I am in support of loving and accepting members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer communities.  At the same time, I know that this newer interpretation of my Christian faith is something not shared by many fellow Christians.  Though I wish all Christians joined me in a new understanding regarding the appropriate Christian response to alternative sexual orientations, I know this is unlikely.

Though I wouldn't mind getting into a discussion about why I changed my mind, and why I now think that acceptance, love and compassion are the appropriate Christian responses to LGBTQ lifestyles, I think something needs to be said about why Christians disagree with the LGBTQ lifestyle.  All too often, Christians who are opposed to the LGBTQ lifestyle are painted with the same brush as bigots like Fred Jones.  Oddly enough, characterizing these Christians as bigots is often done out of ignorance and intolerance.

All too often, Christians who are opposed to LGBTQ lifestyles are torn about their position.  Opposition to these lifestyles is usually due to an interpretation of scripture, coupled with a commitment to obeying the authority of those scriptures.  In short, they have good, and dare I say, honorable reasons for their opposition.  The Bible does in fact state in a handful of places that homosexual orientations are not acceptable.  Christians who are committed to the authority of scripture are required to respond to these verses, and often conclude that these verses mandate that their opposition to LGBTQ orientations.  These Christians aren't bigots, they aren't judgemental, they aren't hateful and angry homophobes.  They are simply trying to have integrity in their belief that scripture is authoritative.  And, even though such opposition is regularly and emphatically frowned upon by the greater culture, many Christians remain opposed because they are committed to submitting to the authority of scripture.  Rather than demonizing them for being intolerant, judgmental and bigoted, I honestly think that such Christians deserve credit for trying to maintain integrity in their beliefs concerning the Bible, even though I think these beliefs are mistaken.

I disagree with their interpretation of scripture.  I could spend a lot more time talking about why I am no longer opposed to the LGBTQ lifestyle—why I still accept the authority of scripture, but no longer accept that scripture mandates my opposition to LGBTQ communities—but that's my point here.  My point here is not why Christians should accept the LGBTQ lifestyle, my point rather is that many Christians who are opposed to the LGBTQ lifestyles are trying to do what they think is the right thing.  As much as I wish they were more tolerant and understanding, I similarly wish that their interpretation was more widely understood and tolerated.  I wish we could see these people not as judgmental bigots, but as people trying to the right thing even when that means doing something deeply unpopular.


Brian said...

Well said, sir, well said. I appreciate your courage; you have stepped into the fray from a position of follower of Jesus and one who extends his love to others despite "Christian" cultural norms. You are also most gracious in your extending the tension that Christians live in about this issue. Perhaps I'm jaded, but my experience with a good deal of Christians around the LGBTQ lifestyle reveals less tension. There is really no room for anyone w/out a heterosexual lifestyle, and living outside the literary construct of "following the Bible" -interacting with the LGBTQ community- is almost never part of their life. I hope I'm bumping into the exceptions, and your eloquent post is closer to the norm...

Joshua said...

Thanks Brian. I hope so too, perhaps I'm too optimistic... I don't know.

Darren W. Carter said...

I know many people that are of the mindset you now have. I can't say I agree but I do feel that Christians have been much to harsh on the LGBTQ community and not loving as it should be. The LGBTQ lifestyle is no different a sin as any other mentioned in the word of God. Yet people want to harp on how bad LGBTQ lifestyle is. If you are a straight single and having sex outside of marriage you are no different than someone who is of the LGBTQ community who is doing the same. Fornication is what it is regardless of the community you reside. And according to opinion of scripture they both need to be dealt with the love of Christ not the damnation of hell. We as Christians forget to love the person but dislike the sin within. It is obvious scripture can be dissected many ways and the evolution of time has shown this to be true. Only time and the final judgement will tell I suppose. Life is a journey taken were we find new revelations everyday and correct some we thought we had in the past. Continue the journey Josh.

QuentinTsu said...

There is no integrity in simply believing in the Truth of the Bible, any more than there is integrity in believing your father or grandfather tell you that blacks are sub-human and should stay as slaves or that womenfolk should serve their husbands like servants.

Any inability or unwillingness to see people for who they are, what they are, and instead take on faith that this is what you have been told deserves no respect and has no integrity. Your understanding of their ignorance does not lessen their bigotry. Call it like it is if Truth is what you are after and not political correctness. A bigot is someone with preconceived ideas about human inequalities. Any educated person who appeals to the Bible either to establish or justify his bigotry is ignorant...and a bigot.

Your graciousness is misplaced.