The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Gay Rights (Theologically Speaking)

You knew it would come sooner or later… :smiley: Um, basically, I know this isn’t a theocracy, but if it were, what would your opinions be on rights of homosexuals, marriage, etc.?

Well, in some way, all governments are subject to the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. I’ll begin with God’s plan for the Church. In short, God calls believers regardless of sexual orientation to abstain from sex apart from the marriage of one man and one women. Concerning civil laws, I can accept civil unions. I suppose that I don’t want them extended to polyfidelity commitments.

I praise the Lord that Christ will eventually redeem all people.: )

I wrote a blog article on sexual morality

I just have a couple of statements regarding your article, James. And please excuse my rant. I do tend to get a little ranty sometimes. :slight_smile:

First, I commend your objectivity. You were able to look at the situation with a clear, level head. It was a mature, responsible look at the moral and immoral relationships between people. I also respect your openness and willingness to accept alternative lifestyles. I’ve found that to be one of the pinnacles of universalism-- a higher level of acceptance and tolerance for others.

If the Bible restricts us from both immoral sexual actions and sexual cognitions, doesn’t that include being attracted to someone? And therefore, if two men or two women are attracted to one another, then they are sinning, correct? But I don’t believe this, because I have a deep conviction that our God doesn’t restrict Love in any form. I also have a deep conviction that our God does not operate a double standard. Which despite your objectivity, I seem to miss the justice in your argument.

It’s just I’ve heard this argument that homosexual love is okay but homosexual sex is not so many times and I disagree with it entirely. First of all, if you’re going to consider your orientation at all, you’re already thinking about what you prefer sexually. And so if you choose heterosexuality, then you admit yourself to finding the opposite gender sexually attractive. The same with homosexuality. And once you choose a partner, you’ve admitted once again to being sexually attracted to them. Here’s the problem. Heterosexuals can marry to solve this problem. Homosexuals cannot.

Now, I know you’ve heard argument after argument to prove that homosexuality is not a sin, etc. and so forth. So I won’t bother with that mess. Mostly because I haven’t found a convincing argument myself. But as I said, it’s in my deepest heart to think that somehow, it’s justified between two same-sex life partners. There is an undeniable bond there that many people don’t recognize as Love. I can’t explain it, but I take that leap of faith that God will understand it.

Amanda, I strongly disagree with this premise that sets the tone for the rest of your post. This premise looks like a straw man to me. For example, a married man can be faithfully married and still feel sexual attraction for many women while he avoids sin. Feeling tempted isn’t a biblical sin. I stand by my paper linked to my last post in this topic. Can you revise your view without suggesting that sexual temptation is sin?

Please pardon my youthful stupidity: I do tend to think with passion instead of logic and it’s a flaw that’s cost me many times. And honestly, that question does sound bad when re-read. But the difference between temptation and sin is seriously a cyclical argument that I sometimes get wound up in.

I still don’t understand the difference between temptation and sin. Christ tells us that if we think about sinning, then we are sinning. (matt. 5:27) Unless, of course, I have misunderstood scripture, which may very well be so. However, if I’m correct, then what is temptation? Is it merely the availability of a sin? And so if you acknowledge the availability of that sin, then in doing so haven’t you acknowledged that you would like to sin? Please explain this to me, because in straight up honesty, I’m pretty confused right now.

But yes, I would be glad to revise my view for you. If we restrict sexual relations to the confines of marriage, then we must define marriage which I believe you identified as a union between one man and one woman. However, from my understanding, the bible defines marriage as a union between one man and however many women he wants (or in some cases, whether he wants them or not). For instance, if a woman is raped, the man must marry her regardless of whether or not he is already married. Or if a woman is widowed, she must be wed by her brother-in-law. The laws that define marriage are over 2,000 years old, misogynistic, and meant for a culture that no longer exists.

So we must redefine marriage. Unless I’m to be the property of my future husband who will be picked for me without my consent. No thanks, I own myself with the exception of God’s Creator-Creation bond.

So what should be the defining standard for marriage? Most say it’s a union between one man and one woman. Why? We can note that the bible acknowledges this type of union and says nothing against it. But the bible also acknowledges a polygynous union and says nothing against it. And on homosexual union, it’s completely silent.

There are examples in the bible, for instance in Romans where it discusses sexual relations between homosexuals as being sinful, but are these actions sinful because they are homosexual or because they are outside of marriage? I feel the text is unclear on that detail.

In I Corinthians 7, apart from actually saying that it’s better not to marry at all, Paul says that if you cannot keep yourself from living a sexually immoral lifestyle, you should marry. But if you can’t keep yourself from living a sexually immoral lifestyle and you’re gay, should you still marry a woman? How would that help your lack of control? It won’t.

I guess it all really brings us down to how we define marriage, which among people everywhere is changing quite rapidly.

I’ll chime in a bit. I am one who does not believe that the world should be held accountable to christain faith. They have no obligation to God therfore how and why (above all) would they care to adhere to christian law. So I find restricting them to be a vain attempt in “keeping” america or europe morally accetpable.

I believe they should be allowed not on the grounds that homosexual marriage is good and righteouss before God rather as a concession. God hates divorce but we don’t try to force our views of divorce on people. Should it be legal to divorce simply because one person now loves another? Why would the church suddenly not want that?

I believe there is a sterotype that happens here. I’ve discussed this issue with two close people (1 at church, and 1 family member) and the response was the same. “Two people of the same sex being married is equivelant to Sodom and Gamorah.” I find this utterly false.

I don’t quite understand the approach that civil unions are ok but gay marriage is not. If God disapproves or two people of the same sex being in love and having sex then what is the difference? Is it calling it “marriage” that bothers people?
I don’t care what they call it. They can call divorce “divide” or whatever, I don’t care.

I guess I’m saying I see inconcistency by the church on this issue and so I’m not comfortable with simple discrimination at the front door. If christians will act to make divorce legal ONLY UPON INFIDELITY then perhaps I will be convinced of their words.

Please believe me, from experience, when I say that there is a very strong difference between an idea occurring to me, and acting to foster that idea. The context of the Matthean quote involves acting to foster the sin even though the action doesn’t have public results.

Put a little more directly (and personally): there is a big difference between ideas of adultery arriving more-or-less unconsciously in my mind, and my intentional wish to commit adultery. The former isn’t a sin–being tempted is not the same as sinning. The latter is a grievous sin, even if I never act externally toward an external fulfillment of it.

Or, as the colorful saying (from Martin Luther??) goes: you can’t stop a bird from pooping on your head as it flies over. But you can at least try to stop it from building a nest there! (And even in the former case, you can sometimes stay away from high-poop locations or wear headgear if you have to be there.)

“Misogynistic” is a little strong. Most of the Biblical marriage laws were set up to protect the women, within the context of the culture at the time; combined (and sometimes in tension) with the duty to be fruitful and multiply.

Ideally, though, monogamy helps ensure that neither partner is being shorted for quality personal attention and devotion. (And notice that the term itself is restrictive on the husband: only one woman!) If I and another man married the same woman, he and I might agree to do so out of our devotion to her, but it would be a sacrifice on our part proportionate to our love for her, because each of us would be partly shorted the full personal attention of the woman we adore. We would be better off each finding a different woman to serve and adore. The situation is even worse for polygamy (multiple wives) than for polyandry (multiple husbands), because aside from the reduced personal attention in other regards, men have much more limited sexual ability than women. A woman I love might feasibly be even more pleased to have two husbands (though each of us would be shorted in personal attention in other regards); but if she asked me to marry her best friend as well as her, then neither of them is going to be as pleased in personal relationships with me including sexually as one of them alone would be.

And yet, in certain emergency cultural situations (typically having to do with unusual depopulation), polyamority might be the best that can be done for the women. It’s still supposed to be about helping the women, though. (There’s a reason why circumcision was chosen by God as a sign of religious commitment from a man. :sunglasses: )

This is aside from some important religious typographies inherent in various possible marital combinations. But, to give an example (though not a personal one): if I chose to foster homosexual instead of heterosexual inclinations in myself, I wouldn’t only be rejecting the sexual care of women, I would also be enacting a typological rejection of Nature and Creation by God, instead of cooperating with God (in my own derivative way) in the providential care for Creation. That kind of typography isn’t limited to Judeo-Christianity, of course, but it’s linked in the Jewish and Christian scriptures to the providential care of God for Israel, the Church and ultimately all people.

On the other hand, it has often been argued on the basis of religious typology that polygamy is superior to monogamy because (analogically speaking) we’re all the brides of God. Consequently the man, enacting the role of God, ought to devotedly marry many wives. The practical problem of this (especially in shortchanging the wives), I’ve already noted above; theologically I would add that I’m not God and that I ought to be content to operate within my own natural limitations as a not-God entity: especially if a woman is going to receive less than she ought by any insistence of mine otherwise.

Actually, Jesus does teach in favor of monogamy in a fashion that is superior to polygamy. (Though the context at the time is more about divorce, since by the 1st c CE polygamy of living wives had long since ceased to be a Jewish concern.)

Only because it’s much less than completely silent on homosexual activity per se. A blanket condemnation of the fostering of homosexual activity would logically preclude homosexual marriage/union by default.

Which is different from saying that God, and the parties involved, cannot bring something good out of devoted homosexual marriage. But that would be despite the attending circumstances. The same could be true of bestiality, too, in theory and maybe even in practice, and other strongly condemned practices in the scriptures.

All this having been said, I tend to agree that the United States shouldn’t make laws against homosexual union or homosexual marriage either one, on specifically religious grounds at all, and not at the federal level in any case.

Amanda, I’ll begin by revising my question: Can you revise your view without suggesting that merely experiencing sexual temptation is sin?

Perhaps that doesn’t yet clarify everything, but now we’ll go to a verse about Jesus in Hebrews 4:15 (NIV):

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Here we see that Jesus experienced temptation but never sinned.

There is a difference between somebody experiencing temptation versus somebody giving his or her heart or mind over to the temptation. In the case of Matthew 5:28, the lustful look at a woman goes beyond the initial temptation. It looks to me that it’s an issue of how much we let our thoughts and desires dwell on our temptations. I also recall reading a commentary which said that the lustful look in Matthew 5:28 was a calculated stare used to arouse sexual interest. In this case, a man can strikeout in his attempt to pick up a women for a sexual encounter while he’s still guilty of sexual immorality in his heart. Anyway, merely experiencing sexual temptation apart from marriage isn’t sin. Sin always involves immoral contemplations beyond the initial temptation.

I hope I made this a little clearer. At least, we can deduct from Hebrews 4:15 that merely experiencing temptation isn’t sin.

Now I’ll go to the heart of your view. I’ll begin by saying that you bring up a good point about 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 (NIV):

8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.
9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

I agree that Christian orthodoxy has no equivalent for people who burn with homosexual or bisexual passions. According to Christian orthodoxy, people who burn with homosexual or bisexual passions can follow verse 8 but find no help from verse 9. On the other hand, heterosexual people who burn with sexual passions while single typically still need to keep their sexual passions in check while married. Paul never comes close to claiming that marriage is an exhaustive cure for burning sexual passions. Anyway, the lack of equivalency in verse 9 for people who burn with homosexual or bisexual passions doesn’t imply that homosexual or bisexual marraiges are okay according to God.

Now I want to look at how Jesus defined marriage per Matthew 19:3-9 (NIV):

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’
5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?
6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Jesus appealed to the original design of marriage according to Genesis 1-2, one man indivisibly married to one woman, apart from gross violation of the marriage covenant. For example, all of the polygyny of the incarnate angels in Genesis 6:1-4 and the Hebrew Kings were a corruption of the Lord’s plan for marriage. I don’t completely understand why the Old Testament tolerated polygyny, but Jesus and the Church stopped tolerating polygyny. You can argue for changing definitions of marriage in the Old Testament and the world, but not in the New Testament.

Romans 1:24-27 describe problems with the giving over to homosexual passions and homosexual sex. This giving over is more than mere homosexual temptation. I’ve read some commentators describe it as a frenzied lust.

I strongly doubt that anybody could develop a strong, balanced biblical argument for alternative marriages in the New Testament Church. And if you try to argue that Jesus could have been including the marriage of one man and one man or one woman and one woman, then you’d need to explain why other combinations are outside New Testament boundaries. Or are they?

One could note the Temptation in the Wilderness as well. Just as courage doesn’t mean never feeling afraid, fidelity doesn’t mean never experiencing temptation. (Though neither does fidelity require experiencing temptation.)

So much has been learned about sexual orientation since the Biblical authors wrote what they did on the subject. And while it pains conservative Christians that the Biblical authors may have been xenophobic and/or homophobic in their discussion of homosexuality, nonetheless this seems very much the case.

Decry promiscuity. Decry dehumanization.

But the fact of homosexual sexual identity (and relationships) cannot be so simply relegated to “thats bad” because it seems weird or different to heterosexual people (i.e. the majority).

As such, all decent people, regardless of their religious leanings should support equal rights under the state for all of its citizens, including the right to be civilly married to the person whom they are committed to for a lifetime.

As an aside, it always struck me as strange that the people who decry homosexuals for having promiscuous sexual attitudes (which is, I assure you, a terribly inaccurate stereotype) are the same to turn around and deny that homosexuals should be married.


I know I’m a little late on this one but, thought I’d add my two cents.
Just a thought, could the reason there isn’t a whole lot written about homosexuality in Bible be that, in a Jewish culture with strong national history the “remembrances” of the practice was, the cursing of Ham by Noah, Lot’s dealings with the men of the city concerning his heavenly guests, etc.?
Also, in the Torah . . .
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
(Lev 20:13)
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
(Lev 18:22)

Is it any different than adultery, coveting, stealing, killing, idol worship, etc.? If not, perhaps the state can sanction murder. Oh that’s right, many do. It’s called abortion and mercy killing.
Sin is a slippery slope. The lot of God’s people is to speak truth. The truth sets everyone free. It is not limited to the elite elect. Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. (Pro 14:34). Why bring reproach on a people who do not yet know God? We have a responsibility to care for our neighbor, believer or not.

It may be overly simplistic but, I know my real friends because they tell me if I have a booger in my nose. They don’t go on about how wonderful my lipstick is while everyone else in the room snerts and talks about my booger. :confused: It may seem mean when they tell me but, I’m glad they did. Also, even if I don’t believe in boogers, it doesn’t change the fact that the “law of boogers” still applies to me and affects me.

Why is homosexuality a sin? Because God says so :slight_smile:
okay seriously:

1 Cor 15:44
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being (soul)”;e the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.

The natural things, things of this realm, are given as signposts to point us to spiritual truth.

1 Cor 10:1
For I want you to know, brothers,a that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

6[size=150]Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.[/size] 7Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8**We must not indulge in sexual immorality **as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

The law (including prohibition of homosexuality) were given for our examples of spiritual truth
example: The passover feast was only a sign of the truth which is Christ

Luke 17 :33
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35There will be two grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.
(I’ve removed women from grinding, since the word is supplied, and is not there in the Greek)

The two are Adam and Christ. Old man, new man. earthy, spirity :slight_smile: ,

“There can be only one” (The Highlander) :laughing:

The old man must die, for Christ to live, we cannot have two men at the helm, in the kitchen, in bed together

Unless I’ve missed something, you then go on to list numerous scriptures, none of which mention homosexuality.

you’re right, they don’t mention homosexuality (although 1 cor 10 does talk about sexual immorality)

My point is about the spiritual principle of why.

do you think there is something spiritually wrong with wearing clothes made of both wool and linen? I don’t think so, I believe the principle behind that law is that we shouldn’t mix the natural/law (wool), with the spiritual/grace (linen). Linen is the clothing of priests, priests could not wear wool in the temple. Like you don’t put new wine in old wineskins, or an unshrunk patch on shrunken clothes.

In the same line of thought then spirit of man/adam/old man and spirit of man/christ/new man cannot inhabit the same the same bed (us)

The most intelligent, fresh and challenging work I have read on this subject is “On being liked” by James Alison. Right from the interpretation of Acts 10 in the introductory chapter it really makes you think. The book also searches for a non-violent explanation of Atonement. The other thing I recommend people do is to meet some gay christians and hear it from their perspective.

As a Christian: The Pharisees thought they knew what was spiritually wrong with people. They thought they had the cure, but they didn’t. They were spiritual quacks. They amputated legs to heal a wart, and fed their patients poison. We do the same when we tell others how they ought to behave as Christians. We all are blind guides, unable to see because of the logs in our own eye. Paul asked, “Who are you to judge another man’s servant?” Rather than handing out moral direction, our one concern is to lead people to Christ. He does know what is wrong in our hearts. He knows how to heal us. His medicine never fails. We need to pray earnestly for God to heal both us and those we love. We must determine to drink the medicine and obey his commands, not the least of which is “mind your own business”.

As a citizen: In my grandparent’s day, homosexual activity was a criminal offence, but policemen didn’t peer through keyholes into bedrooms. What was done in private was no business of the State. In the last few decades, this has reversed. It is now a hate-crime to express publically anything but warm approval of homosexual activity. A very vocal, clever and determined minority has silenced the voice of the majority, ostensibly in the name of tolerance and human rights. But they themselves are intensely intolerant of all who oppose their views, and are quite happy to suppress the rights of those who disagree. These people seek to bring the full force of the law to bear in their favor. They seek to re-educate the populace through the media and schools. Their approach is far more totalitarian than democratic. It’s not, “Live and let live”, or “Mind your own business.” It’s “Do and think as we tell you, or else.” I cannot see how this is a good thing.

well, racism is wrong too, and should be fought as well. and intolerance should not be tolerated.

however, i don’t agree with “political correctness”, as that just drives things underground, but many groups are guilty of this…
the real way to fight a prejudice in your life is to meet people that challenge it.
however, prejudiced people are not likely to want to change, so sometimes you have to be sneaky.

i think it’s understandable that a group of people that have no choice how they were born and have been the victims of discrimination for a long time might react with anger when they encounter those old ideas today.

i can’t pretend to understand the theology, however, but i’ve met gay people…and none of them had any agenda beyond love and happiness, just like everyone else. they just happened to like men (or women in the case of the lesbians). only God knows their hearts, their genetics, their experiences, etc etc…so i will just support a fellow human’s right to a fulfilling life, and not worry about the gender. it’s too big an issue for me.

I sympathize and love gay people because they are just humans and we all have sins. Everyone understands what it is like to get comfortable in something and not want to let it go to some degree.
But, as soon as we say that one thing God says not to do isn’t a sin, we start to make up our own rules. I.E. “If it’s okay to do ____, why not _____?”, etc. Then it becomes a free for all.
Should we get to know thieves (Exodus 20:15) just so that we can see things from their (wrong) perspective? I’m not talking about just knowing them as a person but hearing why they think their sin is ok…?

Are you being intolerant to all the intolerant people out there? :laughing:

Because the topic is, Gay Rights (Theologically Speaking), I have only relayed what God does say about it. I am not without worldly experience, ignorant of anything beyond the four walls of my little church and I certainly can identify with other people’s struggles and sins. I wasn’t raised in the church, I have and do know many “sinners” in the world. I’ve lived in “the world” and seen a few things myself. I feel no different toward people because they are gay. They still carry the same good and bad characteristics we all do. They are human beings for crying out loud. I also don’t judge their souls, not my job. However, if we are asking the question, “What does God say about this behavior?”(theologically speaking), then the answer isn’t too hard to find in the Bible. If we want to make up a different answer, then we cease to follow truth and we lose the opportunity to be set free from what truly entangles us. We are a slave to whatever we serve. Sin or righteousness, self or God. Supporting people is not the same as supporting wrong behaviors. Just like “supporting our troops” is not the same as supporting bad governmental decisions in how to move our troops. Further, I have older daughters and girl friends that I hug, kiss on the cheek, walk hand in hand with or arm in arm. I love them with great love. I don’t see anything wrong with this kind of behavior. What is wrong is when it’s about sex instead of love. My best friend and her husband, I have known most of my life, our families go back 3 generations. I love them both, I am affectionate with them both but, I will not corrupt true love by having a relationship with either of them that is not right first with God. Am I intolerant? No, not at all. Am I wanting to walk rightly with God and be blessed? Yep. Do I hope that for others? Yep. :smiley: