I’ve said before that I would someday comment on my stance on homosexuality. And since North Carolina’s proposed Amendment One has made the news – an amendment that would ban gay marriage, as well as domestic partnerships, in that state – I think it’s time for me to man up and share my opinion, such as it is.
Yeah, so. I’mma do that right now. But first – check it out! A pastor in North Caroline “didn’t say” it was okay to punch your kids when they’re acting “gay!” In case my quotes made that confusing, Pastor Sean Harris totally said that parents should hit their kids when they’re “dropping that limp wrist.” He says that he doesn’t endorse beating kids, but hey, some people lie. It happens. Either way, I haven’t seen someone backpedal so furiously since that one time I got super drunk on the “Pedal Pub” in Minneapolis.
What a relief, man. I was afraid that the bible did not support abusing my children when they act fruitier than Carmen Miranda’s hat.
Anyway, my stance – the Bible does not take any clearer a position on homosexuality than it does internet usage. Anyone who says that the Bible is “crystal clear” on the subject of homosexuality is, in my humble opinion, not researching this shit. I use the word “research” deliberately, because many people do not know that there is an argument against the sin nature of homosexuality. But there is.
Now, I have, in the past, mentioned that Jay Bakker got flack for taking a “radically inclusive” stance that basically states that homosexuality is not a sin.Well, much of Jay Bakker’s position on homosexuality is influenced by Rev. Mel White, who wrote this extremely helpful pamphlet about it. And while I do not feel that White has definitively answered the “gay” question once and for all, I think he presents data sufficient to cast doubt on the traditionally-iron-clad assumption that homosexuality is a sin.
Some people don’t see it that way, of course. The day after the article about the North Carolina “go ahead and beat your young flamers” pastor came out, Billy Graham made the news by publicly supporting Amendment One. Because he loves me, and he loves giving me things to poke fun at, Mr. Graham used my all time favorite catch phrase about the scripture.
“The Bible is clear — God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.”
What I find so funny about the phrase “the Bible is clear” is that it is never used about things that are actually clear. Nobody ever says, “Dude, stop murdering people, the Bible is clear on that.” Idolatry – that is a sin the Bible is crystal clear on. Not taking care of the poor is definitely poo-poo’d. These are things for which the above statement can be appropriately used.
But how clear is the Bible on the definition of marriage, Mr. Graham?
Now, I’ve been accused of being a cynic, and I want to own up to that. In my cynical mind, I think the problem that most people (not just Christians) have with homosexuals is that the idea of two guys kissing is something that many people (not me) find gross. That image I put up, of the two guys holding hands? I almost put up an image of two men kissing. I didn’t because even while I’m putting a post that I know could generate controversy (among my literally dozens of readers) I didn’t want to include an image that might be too “offensive” to people.
But you know what? I really don’t care. Being “grossed out” is no excuse, and we should be grown-up enough to get over it. People’s lives can be broken by a hateful response to their sexual orientation, and no single organization in human history should be more responsible for loving and caring for people than the body of Christ. When that guy in North Carolina talks about punching your sons if they act in an effeminate manner, I’m not upset because he’s just some asshole. I’m upset because he’s an asshole pastor.
Honestly, it’s time like this that I wish I had a mega-blog – not because I have an ego (although God knows) but because I wish I could be a loud voice in speaking out against this kind of anachronistic nonsense. I wish that anyone cared how I feel about Sean Harris’s hate-filled sermon. I wish more people knew that there is good, solid room for doubt about how the Bible addresses homosexuality. If you don’t know why that is, and you didn’t read the link I put up about Mel White’s pamphlet, seriously, read his pamphlet. Maybe you won’t agree with it one hundred percent, but it can’t hurt to see an opposing viewpoint, right? At least it could start a positive conversation.
And for the record, I don’t think that it’s as easy to get into Hell as some people believe it is – so I don’t think being on the wrong side of a theological argument is going to get anyone damned. But that being said, the Bible is important. If there is any possibility that you have understood something inaccurately, is there a good reason not to explore that further, maybe hear out the other side’s argument?
Even if you think it’s gross?
One last thought.
Yes, we’re all human. I know that to be human is to be broken. As Brandi often tells me, the Bible is the story of imperfect, finite human beings trying to relate to a perfect, infinite God. And I know that Sean Harris isn’t really a bad guy. Neither is Billy Graham. Both of them are people who have dedicated their lives to doing a very difficult job, and they are my brothers in the Body of Christ.
But here’s the thing – part of a brother’s job is to tell people when they are being an asshole. It’s especially important now, because all those little kids who might get their wrist “cracked” because it was “limp”, they’re my brothers and sisters, too. And I love them just as much.
So, Pastor Sean Harris – I love you, brother, but you have some reading to do.
You can start right here.