Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For the Bible Tells Me So

I recently was able to view "For The Bible Tells Me So" which is a documentary film about gay and lesbian people's journeys as people of faith raised in Churches which gave them various (usually negative) messages about themselves and how they claimed their lives as l/g/b/t people (or didn't).
Recent Prop 8 "post mortem" reports from California claims that the coalition of Mormon, Roman Catholic and Fundamentalist Churches caused its defeat. Alas.

It is hard for gay Christians to stand firm in all of this, knowing the truth deep within them, knowing that it was not "choice" but innate wiring that is not bad, evil, perverted or intrinsically disordered. I hope that things are changing--it seems they are, no matter how slow and ponderous the movement forward may seem. I grieve those who are still filled with self-hating and self-loathing because of what God made them to be. A gay teen is twice as likely to kill themselves even with the loosening of societal prohibitions.

I am not one that is fixated on "Gay Marriage", I believe that the word "marriage" itself is somewhat wounded by heterosexuals, and is so wrapped in religious tradition, that it may be faulty language to do battle over. I do believe that there needs to be legal, religious and social mechanisms for two people of the same gender to receive the same benefits--inheritance, child custody, medical visitation/decision making, tax credits, health benefits etc etc---that heterosexuals receive. If they call it "Civil Union" or "Civil Partnership" and it has the same benefits for same-gender couples as heterosexual marriage, then that is OK --- if it walks like a duck....

Until we have role models for LGBT Youth, heterosexual society, and the larger gay community, then LGBT couples will be considered marginal and freaky by the culture. Until a Church can truly celebrate its same gender couples --- their union and anniversary --- then we have not come that far from Stonewall.

It is my daily prayer that this issue will be resolved soon, as it is divisive in our communities and destructive to people of both orientations. I do not believe that it can be a "states rights" issue. What if that were true of heterosexual couples--you would be married in Massachusetts, but when you move to Pennsylvania you would have no relational status. No. It must be decided by national law and will most likely end up in the Supreme Court (as all civil rights issues do). Its too important and too large to leave to state legislatures.

Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. What he did say was that faithful and long-term love was the highest value. Its what he showed, its what he lived. I would not have been surprised to find Jesus in a gay bar. An Episcopal Bishop once asked one of his gay priests if he would wear his collar into a gay bar. The priest responded that he would not as he felt it might bring scandal to the Church. The bishop replied "Well, that's what separates you from Jesus".
Its pretty clear that St. Paul and the other epistle writers were unclear in what they meant when we translated it to mean homosexual relationships. They had no idea that there was any other category than heterosexual orientation. We ignore much of scriptures "irrational passages"....but take as Gospel truth those that do not effect us, but another class.
I know Christianity has a great deal to offer the gay community and vice versa. I just fear that neither will have the chance to truly know and love each other.


At 5:32 AM, Anonymous Raycol said...

You say that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality.

While we do not know Jesus’ views on this topic, we can surmise his probable views.

Jesus’ ideas on same-sex behavior would have been partly formed by his Jewish background and religious education. This would include his acceptance of male-female sex as the usual practice and his knowledge of the condemnation of full sex between males in Leviticus. Therefore Jesus probably agreed with his culture’s view that male-male penetration is bad. It is likely that his views would have been expanded by the occupying Greco-Roman culture, reinforcing his culture’s basic values of purity and male honor. Hellenistic Jews around Jesus’ time were hostile towards sex between males.

The Gospels report Jesus as saying very little about sex. He did condemn adultery, illicit or immoral sex and sexual debauchery (Mark 7:21-22) He also emphasized the permanence of male-female marriage (Mark 10: 6-8) while rejecting traditional family values (Luke 14:26 and Matthew 12:47-49).

Jesus’ only implied reference to same-sex sexual activity is its possible inclusion in his condemnation of illicit or immoral sex (assuming that illicit sex is any sexual activity condemned in the Old Testament). On the other hand, it is possible that Jesus was referring to gay men when he mentioned "born eunuchs" – without any condemnation (Matthew 19:12). In Bible times, such men were anatomically whole but were unable or unwilling to have sex with women. They either were not at all interested in sex or were interested but only with other men.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so if Leviticus is to be used as a prohibition rather than a need for Isreal to get larger in population to defend their territory, then Lesbianism is OK? Women were not prohibited. Also penetration is not the main diet of same-sex male relationships in my experience...much like many heterosexual couples (who call it "heavy petting")


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