A Religious LGBT Supporter. Yes, Really.

Making controversial statements is nothing new for me.  Neither is the reaction that usually follows.

But perhaps no other issue causes as much discussion, debate, and condemnation from others than when I present my position on the issue of homosexuality.

As a known Christian, I have been told that I MUST think a certain way and that I MUST believe a certain way regarding not only people who are gay, but regarding their entire lifestyle as well.

Now I realize the standard position people of faith take when the issue of LGBT folks comes up: ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’.  And, from a theological point of view, that seems fair and acceptable.  We are all sinful, of course.  We all have the opportunity to be redeemed.

Countless times I have heard Christians trip all over themselves explaining how they aren’t judging the person, how they have ‘no problem’ with gay people, etc.  Then many follow up later by verbally discriminating against those very same people. 

We have to be careful here – what might appear as discrimination often times is not intended to be such whatsoever.  Biblical quotes must be placed in context, and there are some very direct words pertaining to the issue.

My own take has been born out of many years as both a Christian and as a supporter of the Gay community. 

My personal faith, as is the case for most people who walk with the Lord, has been a winding road full of glory and difficulties.  I have had moments of great strength as well as times so problematic I was forced to reassess my beliefs.

My experience (as a straight man) with the gay community is quite extensive.  From being introduced to the Calgary scene a few decades ago through a close family member who is gay, through to the present where I know many in the Calgary and Edmonton communities – and have discovered more gay family members – I have never thought of anyone in the gay community as being on their way to burn in Hell.

So therein lies the problem.  Here I am, a self-professed believer in Jesus Christ who also believes that homosexuals should be treated no differently than anyone else.  I happen to lack the sense of acceptable discrimination and compulsion to condemn these people that I have seen emanate from so many other followers of God. 

As a live-and-let-live libertarian by nature, I have never seen it as my place or responsibility to call out gays on any grounds, religious or otherwise.  If what they are is wrong and unacceptable in the eyes of the Lord, then that is between the gay person and the Lord. 

I have nothing to do with it, I have no say in it, and put directly, it is none of my damn business just as my relationship with the Lord is none of anyone else’s damn business.

The way I see it, when Christ walked the Earth He could have spent his time hanging with Kings and other members of the upper-society of the time.  He didn’t.  Instead, He spent his short time in this world with what we would describe today as ‘everyday people’.

Christ didn’t judge.  How could I?

It is interesting to note the reaction I received a few months ago.

A friend of mine from the Edmonton LGBT community was murdered.  Vigils and various acts of remembrance followed, some of which I attended.  A few from the gay community made note of my attendance, and remarked that Jimmy would have loved that I was there. 

Many who I stood and paid respect with knew I was straight and knew of my religious beliefs.  Never – not once – was I made to feel uncomfortable or out of place.

By contrast, I did hear from a few fellow Christians who questioned why I would attend.  One even took the opportunity to question ‘the strength of your faith’ simply because I look upon gays and lesbians as humans, not as abominations.

I wonder what Christ’s response to that would be?

I’m guessing very similar to mine.


Dan Knight said...

Leigh, I suspect the reason's Christ's response would be very similar to yours likely has more to do with the integrity of your following of him.

Although, perhaps His response would have been to raise your gay friend back to life, now wouldn't that have raised the hackles of a great many evangelicals...perhaps we would have been the ones to crucify him instead of the Pharisees.

Rob Low said...

This is why I appreciate you so much - your thoughts and faith are very well grounded and well thought out - thank you.

Contrary to popular belief Jesus actually did judge; He pointed out right and wrong and called people on their stuff BUT He did so with great discernment, wisdom, grace and love AND only when He felt others and/or the Father were being harmed - it was never about Himself or His need to be right. And, as you know, who did He judge the most? - the highly religious. So I don't have a problem with judging - we all do it (can you say, "Alison Redford"?)and we should - the problem is who, what, when, how, and why we judge - are we being humble, discerning and gracious or just being arrogant assholes.

As for homosexuality, more and more you're in the majority of Christians. In fact I'm finding it more and more rare to talk with a Christian who is against homosexuality and even if they are most moderate about it - they don't hate gays and they're not homophobic - another falsehood heralded by the left. The ones who are militantly against homosexuality are becoming increasingly marginalized and less of a concern.

Like you, I am a libertarian so I think people should be free to both disagree with homosexuality and embrace it - that is true freedom and democracy. For decades homosexuals were persecuted and denied equal rights and that is plain wrong but, frankly, the tide is turning and now conservative evangelical Christians who find it difficult to accept homosexuality for theological reasons are less accepted by the media and society at large than gay people. So in the very near future, if not already, I wouldn't be surprised if there are more Christians praising your stance than struggling with it.

I don't know what Jesus thought about it - the truth is no one knows for sure other than assuming He accepted traditional Jewish teaching on it. But we do know He was loving, understanding, gracious and kind (even though He did judge and cared about right and wrong behaviour). We also know He was a fan of freedom ("The Truth will set you free" - and He is the way, the truth and the life). So I too am a great fan of both truth and freedom and that means allowing people to speak truth, disagree about truth and freely think and live in different ways than I. So, like you, I am a libertarian Christian who wishes everybody was more free to be themselves and speak their differences without the government and media censoring people who don't share their current version of the Truth. Let Freedom reign.

GladdBag said...

I can't imagine living a life so banal and boring that I would concern myself with what other consenting adults do with their genitalia.

Me Me said...

Jesus would most likely have said exactly what He said to the woman caught in adultery: "Go and sin no more". There is no way that He could have condoned a homosexual's lifestyle because in doing so, He would have been condoning a life of sin. He simply couldn't do that.

You may not think of anyone in the homosexual (I intensely dislike the term "gay") community as on their way to burn in hell, but that is what the Bible says. Homosexual sex is identified in at least 6 places (both OT and NT) as being serious sins (an abomination before the Lord - Lev 18:22 and 20:13). We are also told in the Bible that people who die in a state of sin are destined for hell. Put the two together and it is an unmistakable conclusion that those who engage in homosexual sex will go to hell if they die in that sin. Yes, they can be forgiven if they seek forgiveness before they die. Unfortunately, more and more Christian homosexuals believe, like you do, that they are not sinning so they make no effort to seek forgiveness for their sins. It is tragic. Also, although not identified specifically in the Bible, where does that put someone like you? You aren't homosexual so you are not, presumably, engaging in homosexual sex but you do support those who are. Does that make you guilty of their sins as well? I honestly don't know but it does seem to be a logical conclusion.

You also talk about Christians "verbally discriminating" against homosexuals. I don't know what, specifically, you are referring to but it seems like you are talking about situations like the flower lady in the US refusing to provide flowers for an SSM or the pizza folks doing basically the same thing. Many people see that as discrimination against homosexuals. But, is it? In order for that to be discrimination against homosexuals, it would have to be shown that these folks would have provided the service to heterosexuals for the exact same SSM. Then, and only then, would they be discriminating against homosexuals. But, that isn't what happened. In both cases (and in many others), the proprietors refused to provide service for a sinful event. It was the *event* that they were protesting against, not the people involved.

In any event, that is my Christian take. If you can show me that I have misinterpreted the Bible or any other flaw in my reasoning, I would appreciate a heads-up.

His Name Was Steven