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Part of a series on
LGBT topics and Christianity
Christianity and Homosexuality

Transgender and Christianity

History of Christianity and homosexuality

The Bible and homosexuality
Queer theology
Blessing of same-sex unions
Ordination of LGBT clergy
LGBT-affirming churches

Denominational positions
Anglican · Baptist · Eastern Orthodox · Latter-day Saints · Lutheran · Methodist · Presbyterian · Quaker · Roman Catholic · United Church of Christ · Uniting Church in Australia · Metropolitan Community Church
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Part of a series on
Christianity
and Gender
Theology

Women in Christianity
Women in the Bible
Jesus' interactions with women
Female disciples of Jesus
Paul of Tarsus and women
Image of God
List of women in the Bible
Women as theological figures

4 Major Positions

Christian Egalitarianism
Christian Feminism
Complementarianism
Biblical patriarchy

Church and Society

Christianity and homosexuality
Ordination of women
Women in Church history

Organizations

Christians for Biblical Equality
Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Evangelical and Ecumenical Women's Caucus

Theologians and authors
Feminist:
Letha Dawson Scanzoni · Anne Eggebroten · Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
Egalitarian:
William J. Webb · Kenneth E. Hagin · Gordon Fee · Frank Stagg · Paul Jewett · Stanley Grenz · Roger Nicole
Complementarian:
Don Carson · John Frame · Wayne Grudem · Douglas Moo · Paige Patterson · Vern Poythress

Christian denominations hold a variety of views on the issue of homosexual identity or activity, ranging from outright condemnation to complete affirmation of equality to heterosexual persons. In accordance with the traditional values of Abrahamic religions,[1] some Christian denominations welcome people attracted to the same sex, but often teach that same sex relationships and homosexual sex are sinful.[2][3] These denominations include the Roman Catholic Church,[4] the Eastern Orthodox church,[5] the Methodist Church,[6][2][7][8] and many other mainline denominations, such as the Reformed Church in America[9] and the American Baptist Church,[10] as well as Conservative Evangelical organizations and churches, such as the Evangelical Alliance,[11] and fundamentalist groups and churches, such as the Southern Baptist Convention.[12][13][14] Pentecostal churches such as the Assemblies of God,[15] as well as Restorationist churches, like Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, also take the position that gay sexual activity is immoral.[16][17]

Other Christian denominations do not view monogamous same sex relationships as sinful or immoral. These include the United Church of Canada, Church of Norway, United Church of Christ and, as of August 2009, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.[18] In particular, the Metropolitan Community Church was founded specifically to serve the Christian LGBT community.

Some denominations of the same Christian school of thought state opposing positions. Various parts of the Lutheran Church hold stances on the issue ranging from declaring homosexual acts as sin to acceptance of homosexual relationships. For example, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Lutheran Church of Australia, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod recognize homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful and seek to minister to those who are struggling with homosexual inclinations.[19][20] However, the Church of Sweden conducts same-sex marriages, while the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America opens the ministry of the Church to gay and lesbian pastors and other professional workers living in committed relationships.[21] The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is also much like Lutheranism in regards to homosexuality. For example, the Friends United Meeting and the Evangelical Friends International believe the sexual relations are condoned only in marriage, which they define to be between a man and a woman.[22] However, the Friends General Conference and the Friends in Great Britain approve of same-sex marriage.[23][24] Most of the Anglican Communion does not approve of homosexual activity, with the exception of the Episcopal Church, which is facing a possible expulsion from the See of Canterbury over the issue.[25]

In addition, some Christian denominations such as the Moravian Church, believe that the Holy Bible speaks negatively of homosexual acts, although it is still working on establishing policy for the issue of ordination and homosexuality as research on the matter continues.[26]

Contents

Homosexuality in the Bible

In the Old Testament, some readers believe homosexual behaviour is mentioned in the story of the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by God in the book of Genesis (RSV):

>>> Chapter 19

Gen.19,1    The two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth,
Gen.19,2    and said, "My lords, turn aside, I pray you, to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise up early and go on your way." They said, "No; we will spend the night in the street."
Gen.19,3    But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
Gen.19,4    But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house;
Gen.19,5    and they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them (NIV: can have sex with them , NJB: can have intercourse with them)."
Gen.19,6    Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him,
Gen.19,7    and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.
Gen.19,8    Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof."
Gen.19,9    But they said, "Stand back!" And they said, "This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them." Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door.
Gen.19,10    But the men put forth their hands and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door.
Gen.19,11    And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves groping for the door.
Gen.19,12    Then the men said to Lot, "Have you any one else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any one you have in the city, bring them out of the place;
Gen.19,13    for we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it."

The book of Leviticus also mentions homosexual behaviour (RSV):

Lev.18,22    You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination (תועבה) (וְאֶת זָכָר לֹא תִשְׁכַּב מִשְׁכְּבֵי אִשָּׁה תּוֹעֵבָה הִוא to'evah").
Lev.18,23    And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it, neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it: it is perversion.
Lev.18,24    "Do not defile yourselves by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am casting out before you defiled themselves;
Lev.18,25    and the land became defiled, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.
Lev.18,26    But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you
Lev.18,27    (for all of these abominations the men of the land did, who were before you, so that the land became defiled);
Lev.18,28    lest the land vomit you out, when you defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.
Lev.18,29    For whoever shall do any of these abominations, the persons that do them shall be cut off from among their people.
Lev.18,30    So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs which were practiced before you, and never to defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God."

The book of Leviticus also mentions homosexual behaviour here (RSV):

Lev.20,13    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination (to'evah); they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them (וְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁכַּב אֶת זָכָר מִשְׁכְּבֵי אִשָּׁה תּוֹעֵבָה עָשׂוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם מוֹת יוּמָתוּ דְּמֵיהֶם בָּם).

In the New Testament St. Paul writes about homosexual behaviour in his letter to the Romans (RSV):

Rom.1,24    Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
Rom.1,25    because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
Rom.1,26    For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural,
Rom.1,27    and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
Rom.1,28    And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.
Rom.1,29    They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips,
Rom.1,30    slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
Rom.1,31    foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Rom.1,32    Though they know God's decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

St. Paul also talks about homosexuals in his first letter to the Corinthians (RSV):

1Cor.6,9    Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts (NIV: nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, NJB: the self-indulgent, sodomites),
1Cor.6,10    nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Finally, St. Paul talks about homosexuals in his first letter to Timothy (RSV):

1Tim.1,8    Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully,
1Tim.1,9    understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
1Tim.1,10    immoral persons, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
1Tim.1,11    in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

The Church and homosexuality

The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church[27] and most Fundamentalist and Evangelical Protestant churches do not sanction same-sex sexual relations.

LGBT-affirming denominations regard homosexuality as a natural occurrence. Many Mainline Protestant churches are open and affirming to gay and lesbian couples. The United Church of Christ celebrates gay marriage, and some parts of the Anglican and Lutheran churches allow for the blessing of gay unions. The United Church of Canada also allows same-sex marriage, and views sexual orientation as a gift from God. Within the Anglican communion there are openly gay clergy, for example, Gene Robinson is an openly gay Bishop in the US Episcopal Church. Such religious groups and denominations interpretation of scripture and doctrine leads them to accept that homosexuality is morally acceptable, and a natural occurrence. For example, in 1988 the United Church of Canada, that country's largest Protestant denomination, affirmed that "a) All persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, who profess Jesus Christ and obedience to Him, are welcome to be or become full member of the Church; and b) All members of the Church are eligible to be considered for the Ordered Ministry."[28] In 2000, the Church's General Assembly further affirmed that "human sexual orientations, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are a gift from God and part of the marvelous diversity of creation."[29]

Historical views on homosexuality

7th Century icon of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (feast day of October 7th). Tortured to death for refusal to worship Roman gods. According to Yale historian John Boswell, their relationship was an example of an early Christian same-sex unions which reflected early Christian tolerance of homosexuality. Icon is regarded as depicting a wedding with Jesus as best man.[30]

The late Yale University Church historian John Boswell argued for the existence of a rite of adelphopoiesis as a religiously sanctioned same-sex union.[31][32] His views have not found wide acceptance, and opponents have argued that this rite sanctified a Platonic brotherly bond, not a homosexual union.[32] He also argued that condemnation of homosexuality began only in the 12th century.[33] Critics of Boswell have pointed out that many earlier doctrinal sources condemn homosexuality in ethical terms without prescribing a punishment, and that Boswell's citations reflected a general trend towards harsher penalties from the 12th century onwards.

Contemporary views on homosexuality

Franciscan religious supporter of same-sex marriage

The many Christian denominations vary in their position on homosexuality, from seeing it as sinful, through being divided on the issue, to seeing it as morally acceptable. Even within a denomination, individuals and groups may hold different views.

Many of the debates among Christians have roots in questions about the sources of authority different Christians believe represent God's purest or most definitive message. More generally: which kinds of arguments should be persuasive to Christians, and which do not possess the weight necessary to determine opinions and policies. Such is also the case with the issues related to the morality and inclusion of LGBT persons in Christian life.

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianities regard Sacred Tradition and Ecumenical councils as co-authoritative with scripture, and the ordinary Magisterium is authoritative in Catholic theology.[34] The Roman Catholic Church, maintains what it regards as early Christian teaching on homosexuality, that sex is meant for both procreation and pleasure, and that one without the other is sinful, therefore making homosexual acts sinful: "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."[35]

Methodism derives doctrine from the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, which consists of an evaluation of the synthesis of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.[36] There are also differing positions about how great a role is played by continuing revelation (see Cessationism and Secular theology).

In conservative strains of Protestant Christianity, Scripture is understood to be the only truly definitive authority (a position called Sola Scriptura). Exegesis, or the reasoned study of the text to discover its own meaning, is the central concern for believers in Sola Scriptura. The classic formulation of Sola Scriptura regards "good and necessary consequence or deduction" from Scripture as authoritative and morally binding; what these deductions might be is a frequent subject of controversy.[37][38][39]

Liberal Christians tend to regard the Bible as the record of human doings, composed of humans encountering the Divine within their specific historical context. They often interpret passages of the Bible as being less a record of actual events, but rather stories illustrating how to live ethically and authentically in relation to God. Some might, for instance, see Christ's death and resurrection in terms not of actual physical reanimation, but in terms of the good news of Jesus' teaching: that God's children are no longer slaves to the power of death.[40]

Some professional exegetes consider the Bible, to a greater or lesser degree, to be a document of its time, taking on attitudes which may not be God's. While they may hold the document as sacred, and most certainly as central to Christianity, they are also aware of the historical and cultural context in which it was originally written through archaeological and from critical study. Some scholars feel that in addition to its spiritual components, portions of the text merely reflect the human authors' beliefs and feelings about God at the time of its writing, and their cultural sensibilities. The influence of such persons may reflect a heightened spiritual consciousness, or may simply represent people attempting to explain the world as best they could given the tools of the time. Such scholars purport that passages in scripture related to slavery, war, genocide, female marginalization, and sex between men may not necessarily be about God's wishes, but rather about the predominant culture's opinions at the time of the passage's writing.

Views critical of homosexual behavior

Many American Christians believe that marriage is defined by the union of a man and a woman, and that any sexual act outside of the marriage relationship is inherently sinful.[41] Most American members of the Christian Right consider homosexual acts as sinful[42] and think it should not be accepted by society.[43] They tend to interpret biblical verses on homosexual acts to mean that the heterosexual family was created by God[44] and that same-sex relationships contradict God’s design for marriage and violate his will.[45][46][47][48][49] Christians who oppose homosexual relationships sometimes contend that same-gender sexual activity is unnatural.[50]

Christian objections to homosexual behavior are often based upon their interpretations of the Bible. Some Christians believe that the book of Leviticus contains prohibitions against male-male sexuality.[51][52][53][54] Some Biblical scholars interpret Genesis 19:5 as indicating that homosexual activity led to the destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.[51][55] Other Biblical passages that address the issue of homosexual behavior include Romans 1, I Corinthians 6:8-10, and Jude 1:7;[51] the relevant portion of Romans 1 reads as follows:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men ... For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Romans 1:18a, 21-27)[56]

Christian author and counselor Joe Dallas notes that the Biblical passages relating to homosexual acts uniformly prohibit that behavior.[57] Exodus International and others take the view that I Corinthians 6:9-11 offers Christian believers freedom from the sin of homosexual activity.[58][59]

- The Catechism of the Catholic Church states "men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies ... must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity."[60] Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." They oppose criminal penalties against homosexuality.[61] The Catholic Church requires those who are attracted to people of the same sex to practice chastity, because sexuality should only be practiced within marriage, which it regards as permanent, procreative, heterosexual, and monogamous. The Vatican distinguishes between "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" and the "expression of a transitory problem", in relation to ordination to the priesthood; saying in a 2005 document that homosexual tendencies "must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate."[62] A study found that 64% of committed white American Catholics consider homosexual activity a sin.[63] However, a different study found that 55% of American Catholics do not consider homosexuality sinful.[64]

In opposing interpretations of the Bible that are supportive of homosexual relationships, conservative Christians have argue for the reliability of the Bible,[65][66] and the meaning of texts related to homosexual acts,[47][67] while often seeing the diminishing of the authority of the Bible by many homosexual authors as being ideologically driven.[68]

As an alternative to a school-sponsored Day of Silence supporting homosexuality, conservative Christians organized a Golden Rule Initiative, where they passed out cards saying "As a follower of Christ, I believe that all people are created in the image of God and therefore deserve love and respect."[69]

Views favorable to homosexuality

"Jonathan Lovingly Taketh His Leave of David" by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld

Some Christians believe that marriage is the union of two people[63] and that homosexual behavior is not inherently sinful.[64]

In the 20th century, theologians like Karl Barth, Jürgen Moltmann, Hans Küng, John Robinson, Bishop David Jenkins, Don Cupitt and Bishop Jack Spong challenged traditional theological positions and understandings of the Bible; following these developments some have suggested that passages have been mistranslated or that they do not refer to what we understand as "homosexuality."[70] Clay Witt, a minister in the Metropolitan Community Church, explains how theologians and commentators like John Shelby Spong, George Edwards and Michael England interpret injunctions against certain sexual acts as being originally intended as a means of distinguishing religious worship between Abrahamic and the surrounding pagan faiths, within which homosexual acts featured as part of idolatrous religious practices: "England argues that these prohibitions should be seen as being directed against sexual practices of fertility cult worship. As with the earlier reference from Strong’s, he notes that the word 'abomination' used here is directly related to idolatry and idolatrous practices throughout the Hebrew Testament. Edwards makes a similar suggestion, observing that 'the context of the two prohibition in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 suggest that what is opposed is not same-sex activity outside the cult, as in the modern secular sense, but within the cult identified as Canaanite'".[71]

Some Christians believe that Biblical passages have been mistranslated or that these passages do not refer to LGBT orientation as currently understood.[72] Liberal Christian scholars, like conservative Christian scholars, accept earlier versions of the texts that make up the Bible in Hebrew or Greek. However, within these early texts there are many terms that modern scholars have interpreted differently from previous generations of scholars.[73][74][75] There are concerns with copying errors, forgery, and biases among the translators of later Bibles.[73][74][75] They consider some verses such as those they say support slavery[73] or the inferior treatment of women[74] as not being valid today, and against the will of God present in the context of the Bible. They cite these issues when arguing for a change in theological views on sexual relationships to what they say is an earlier view. They differentiate among various sexual practices, treating rape, prostitution, or temple sex rituals as immoral and those within committed relationships as positive regardless of sexual orientation. They view certain verses, which they believe refer only to homosexual rape, as not relevant to consensual homosexual relationships.[75]

Following the lead of Yale scholar John Boswell, it has been argued that a number of early Christians entered into homosexual relationships,[30] and that certain Biblical figures had homosexual relationships, despite Biblical injunctions against sexual relationships between members of the same sex. Examples cited are Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, Daniel and the court official Ashpenaz, and, most famously, David and King Saul's son Jonathan.[76] There has also been discussion about the significance of the selection of the Ethiopian eunuch as being the first gentile conversion: inclusion of a eunuch, representing sexual minority in the context of the time.[77]

Al Sharpton, former Pentecostal minister, now a Baptist minister and Civil rights leader,[78][79][80] during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 said that asking whether gays or lesbians should be able to get married was insulting: "That's like saying you give blacks, or whites, or Latinos the right to shack up – but not get married [...] It's like asking 'do I support black marriage or white marriage'... The inference of the question is that gays are not like other human beings".[81]

Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and a Nobel Peace Price winner, has described homophobia as a "crime against humanity" and "every bit as unjust" as apartheid:[82] "We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about; our very skins. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. ... We treat them [gays and lesbians] as pariahs and push them outside our communities. We make them doubt that they too are children of God - and this must be nearly the ultimate blasphemy. We blame them for what they are."[83]

Others consider that Christ made the commandments to "love God and one's neighbour," and to "love one's neighbour as oneself" touchstones of the moral law; that these imply a radical equality, and that, by this principle of equality, the Law of Moses is to be adjusted. Jesus exemplified this principle in his teaching on divorce. Furthermore, it is said that Jesus Christ instituted a virtue ethic, whereby the worth of one's action is to be adjudged by one's interior disposition. For these reasons, it is said that to condemn homosexuality is to fall into a pre-Christian "Pharasaical" legalism.

Modern gay Christian leader Justin R. Cannon promotes what he calls "Inclusive Orthodoxy" (not to be confused with the Eastern Orthodox Church). He explains on his ministry website: "Inclusive Orthodoxy is the belief that the Church can and must be inclusive of LGBT individuals without sacrificing the Gospel and the Apostolic teachings of the Christian faith."[84] Cannon's ministry takes a unique approach quite distinct from modern liberal Christians, yet which still supports homosexual relations. His ministry affirms the divine inspiration of the Bible, the authority of Tradition, and says "...that there is a place within the full life and ministry of the Christian Church for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians, both those who are called to lifelong celibacy and those who are partnered."[85]

For those who accept that Christians can be homosexual, the sexual ethic aspired to corresponds to the model indicated in scripture and the tradition of the church for heterosexuals; this entails commitment and fidelity expressed through monogamy and life-long partnership or union.[86]

Homosexual Christians and organizations

Rev. Troy Perry preaching in 2006 at a Metropolitan Community Church.

George Barna, a conservative Christian author and researcher, conducted a survey in the United States in 2009 that found gay and lesbian people having a Christian affiliation were more numerous than had been presumed. "People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts," he said. "A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today."[87] The study of 20 faith-oriented attributes revealed significant differences between the United States heterosexual and homosexual populations sampled, homosexual respondents being less likely to be born again Christians than heterosexual respondents (27% compared to 47%), and the degree of commitment to their faith and families also differed. Other significant contrasts were seen in regards to "liberal" versus "conservative" social positions, as well as in one’s understanding of God, with 43% of homosexual participants sharing the "orthodox, biblical" understanding of God which 71% of heterosexual participants indicate they do. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as "born again", but as is standard in Barna studies, this classification was defined according to basic standard criteria.[88] Barna concluded, “The data indicates that millions of gay people are interested in faith but not in the local church and do not appear to be focused on the traditional tools and traditions that represent the comfort zone of most churched Christians." And that "Gay adults clearly have a different way of interpreting the Bible on a number of central theological matters, such as perspectives about God."[88]

Candace Chellew-Hodge, liberal Christian lesbian founder of online magazine Whoseoever, responded to the findings:

All in all, I'm grateful for Barna even wandering into the subject of gay and lesbian religious belief. I think his study is important and can go a long way to dispelling the old "gays vs. God" dichotomy that too often gets played out in the media. However, his overall message is still harmful: Gays and lesbians are Christians — they're just not as good as straight ones.[89]

She argued that Barna had formulated his report with undue irony and skepticism, and that he had failed to take into account the reasons for the data which enkindled his "arrière pensée." The reason why far fewer homosexuals attend church, she argued, is that there are far fewer churches who will accept them. Equally, gays and lesbians do not see the Bible as unequivocally true because they are forced by its use against them to read it more closely and with less credulity, leading them to note its myriad contradictions.[89]

Several organizations have developed up to help homosexual Christians who do not want to have gay sex, or attraction; the goals of these organizations vary. Some Christian groups focus on simply refraining from gay sex, such as Courage International and North Star.[90] Other groups additionally encourage gay members to reduce or eliminate same-sex attractions. Exodus International and the associated Love Won Out are examples of such ministries. Originally, these groups were referred to as ex-gay organizations, but they no longer use the term. Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus, says the term incorrectly implies a complete change in sexual orientation.[91] One organization that refers to itself as ex-gay is PFOX. Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality is a coalition of organizations that have the goal to "help people with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) realize their personal goals for change – whether by developing their innate heterosexual potential or by embracing a lifestyle as a single, non-sexually active man or woman."[92]

IntegrityUSA represents the interests of lesbian and gay Christians in the Episcopal Church;[93] lesbian and gay evangelical Christians have Evangelicals Concerned.[94] In Europe, lesbian and gay evangelical Christians have a European forum.[95] Working within the worldwide Anglican Communion on a range of discrimination issues, including those of LGBT clergy and people in the church, is InclusiveChurch.[96] The longest standing group for lesbian and gay Christians in the UK, founded in 1976, is the non-denominational Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement;[97] specifically aimed to meet the needs of lesbian and gay evangelicals, there is the Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians;[98] specifically working within the Church of England is Changing Attitude,[99] which also takes an international focus in working for gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender affirmation within the Anglican Communion.[100] such as gay Anglicans in Nigeria.

There is an organization which helps people recovering from ministries that seek to change sexual orientation, Beyond Ex-Gay.[101] Other gay organizations have sprung up to cater to both groups.[102]

Choice and free will

The mainstream mental health consensus in the United States is that "most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation."[103] An alternative view is presented by some ex-gay groups, who say conversion therapy may be helpful for those who voluntarily seek to change their sexual orientation. The American Psychological Association states that conversion therapy "is based on an understanding of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major health and mental health professions".[104] The American Psychiatric Association states, "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."[104] Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, does not promote conversion therapy, but states that LGB people can leave homosexuality through Christianity.[105] There is disagreement among evangelical therapists over the use of sexual orientation change efforts.[106]

Other ex-gay groups make no claim to change sexual orientation, but instead encourage celibacy. Organisations such as Exodus International and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays believe that, regardless of one's sexual orientation, "practicing homosexuality" is always a deliberate choice. They present people who have attained "abstinence from homosexual behaviors" as reflecting the result of deliberate attempts at change.[107] Similarly, the Roman Catholic Church and the LDS Church regard homosexual intercourse, but not homosexual attraction, as sinful. The attraction, or sexual orientation, is considered merely as a temptation to sin.[108]

See also

External links

Supportive of lesbian and gay Christians

Supportive of Christians wishing to change their homosexual attractions

Neutral

Footnotes

  1. ^ "Abrahamic Religions". William A. Percy. http://www.williamapercy.com/wiki/images/Abrahamic.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  2. ^ a b "Human Sexuality". The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1728. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  3. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church"
  4. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 2357,Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation for Persons with Homosexual Tendencies
  5. ^ On Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life
  6. ^ "Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: African Methodist Episcopal Church". The Human Rights Campaign. http://www.hrc.org/issues/4957.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  7. ^ "The Christian Life - Christian Conduct". Free Methodist Church. http://www.freemethodistchurch.org/Sections/About%20Us/Beliefs/Christian%20Life/Christian%20Conduct/Christian%20Conduct%203.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  8. ^ "British Methodists reject blessing of same-sex relationships". The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/c.gjJTJbMUIuE/b.1827285/k.B985/British_Methodists_reject_blessing_of_samesex_relationships.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  9. ^ "Summaries of General Synod Discussions and Actions on Homosexuality and the Rights of Homosexuals". Reformed Church in America. http://www.rca.org/Page.aspx?pid=501. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  10. ^ "We Are American Baptists". American Baptist Churches USA. http://www.abc-usa.org/WhoWeAre/Identity/IdentityStatement/tabid/78/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  11. ^ Evangelical Alliance (UK): Faith, Hope and Homosexuality
  12. ^ Position Statements/Sexuality
  13. ^ Statement on Homosexuality
  14. ^ Position Paper on Homosexuality
  15. ^ Homosexuality
  16. ^ Homosexuality —How Can I Avoid It?
  17. ^ Same-Gender Attraction - LDS Newsroom
  18. ^ NYTimes.com "United Church of Christ Backs Same-Sex Marriage"
  19. ^ "What about Homosexuality?". Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/LCMS/wa_homosexuality.pdf. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  20. ^ "Are homosexuals accepted in WELS?". Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. http://www.wels.net/what-we-believe/questions-answers/christian-living/acceptance-homosexuals. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  21. ^ "ELCA Assembly Opens Ministry to Partnered Gay and Lesbian Lutherans". Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4253. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  22. ^ "History of FUM policy regarding the appointment of homosexuals". Friends United Meeting. http://www.neym.org/FUMworkweb/history.pdf. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  23. ^ "Quakers said same-sex couples 'miss the public recognition of their partnership in a religious ceremony'". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/31/quakers-gay-marriage. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  24. ^ "Homosexuality and Quakerism". New England Yearly Meeting. http://www.neym.org/FUMworkweb/history.pdf. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  25. ^ "ELCA Assembly Opens Ministry to Partnered Gay and Lesbian Lutherans". The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article680066.ece. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  26. ^ "On Homosexuality and Ordination". The Moravian Interprovincial Faith & Order Commission. http://www.moravianseminary.edu/FaithOrder/STHomosexuality1st.html. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  27. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church vatican.va, accessed 13 June 2009
  28. ^ Chronology of Marriage and Equality Rights in the United Church
  29. ^ "Same-Sex Marriage Legislation Offers a Win-Win Solution, Says The United Church of Canada," 2005-FEB-01, United Church of Canada, at: http://www.united-church.ca/
  30. ^ a b Boswell, John (1996), The Marriage of Likeness. Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe, Fontana 
  31. ^ Robin Darling Young, "Gay Marriage: Reimagining Church History", First Things 47 (November 1994), p. 43-48.
  32. ^ a b Paul Halsall, Reviewing Boswell (1995).
  33. ^ John Boswell, The Church and the Homosexual- An Historical Perspective (1979).
  34. ^ CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Tradition and Living Magisterium
  35. ^ See 2nd Edition, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ss. 2357-2359, posted online at http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a6.htm#2357.
  36. ^ The Wesleyan Quadrilateral — In John Wesley
  37. ^ CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Scripture
  38. ^ http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/history/chicago.stm.txt
  39. ^ http://www.mbrem.com/bible/sufficn.htm
  40. ^ Warren Carter. Matthew and the Margins: a Sociopolitical and Religious Reading. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2000.
  41. ^ http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/general_current_events/religious_denominations_weigh_in_on_same_sex_marriage
  42. ^ LifeWay Research study
  43. ^ U.S. Religious landscape survey, 2008 The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
  44. ^ Social Issues: Marriage and Family
  45. ^ http://www.apacny.net/The%20Christian%20Case%20Against%20Same-Sex%20Marriage.pdf
  46. ^ Marriage and Family in the Biblical World By Ken M. Campbell
  47. ^ a b Straight & Narrow? By Thomas E. Schmidt
  48. ^ Homosexuality By James B. De Young
  49. ^ Robert A. J. Gagnon Articles Available Online
  50. ^ "Anti-Gay Backlashes Are on 3 States' Ballots". The New York Times. 1992-10-04. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE0DE1731F937A35753C1A964958260. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  51. ^ a b c http://www.leaderu.com/jhs/dallas.html
  52. ^ http://www.citizenlink.org/FOSI/homosexuality/theology/A000008030.cfm
  53. ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2020:13;&version=31;
  54. ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2018:22;&version=31;
  55. ^ "Genesis 19". New International Version. BibleGateway.com. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2019%20;&version=31;. Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  56. ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%201&version=31
  57. ^ http://www.joedallas.com/resources/Relevance%20&R.pdf
  58. ^ http://exodus.to/content/view/313/87/
  59. ^ http://home.messiah.edu/~chase/h/articles/art1.htm
  60. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church", see the "Chastity and homosexuality" section.
  61. ^ STATEMENT OF THE HOLY SEE DELEGATION AT THE 63rd SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS ON THE DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY (18 DECEMBER 2008)
  62. ^ Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders, Congregation for Catholic Education, November 04, 2005
  63. ^ a b "Religious Beliefs Underpin Opposition to Homosexuality". Pew Forum. 13 November 2003. http://pewforum.org/publications/surveys/religion-homosexuality.pdf. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  64. ^ a b Kelly, Mark (4 June 2008). "Poll: U.S. split on if homosexuality is a sin". Baptist Press. http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=28186. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  65. ^ The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, by Bruce M. Metzger
  66. ^ Inerrancy By Norman L. Geisler
  67. ^ The Bible and Homosexual Practice: An Overview of Some Issues Dr. Robert Gagnon
  68. ^ Authority of Scripture, by Joseph P. Gudel
  69. ^ Leichman, Aaron (April 28, 2008). "Christian Golden Rule Bridges Divisions in 'Day of Silence'". Christian Post. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080428/christian-golden-rule-bridges-divisions-in-day-of-silence.htm. 
  70. ^ See generally http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibl.htm and subpages therein.
  71. ^ Homosexuality and the Bible, Rev. Clay Witt, Holy Redeemer M.C.C., 1995
  72. ^ "The Bible and Homosexuality". SisterFriends Together. Grace Unfolding Ministries. http://www.sisterfriends-together.org/the-bible-and-homosexuality/. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  73. ^ a b c What the Bible says about slavery
  74. ^ a b c ReligiousTolerance.org.
  75. ^ a b c Jesus, the Bible, and homosexuality; by Jack Rogers
  76. ^ ReligiousTolerance.org
  77. ^ Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality, Revised and Expanded Edition; by Jack Rogers
  78. ^ [Freedom Is Not Enough by Ronald W. Walters]
  79. ^ Rev. Al Sharpton gets Baptised
  80. ^ Al Sharpton interview
  81. ^ Sharpton Chides Black Churches Over Homophobia, Gay Marriage, Dyana Bagby, Houston Voice, January 24, 2006
  82. ^ Desmond Tutu: "Homophobia equals apartheid"
  83. ^ Sex, Love & Homophobia, published by Amnesty International UK, 2005, foreword by Desmund Tutu.
  84. ^ INCLUSIVE ORTHODOXY: Gay Christian Ministry- Bible and Homosexuality?
  85. ^ http://www.truthsetsfree.net/index.html
  86. ^ Integrity USA on Report to general Convention on Same Sex Blessings
  87. ^ Quoted in Chellew-Hodge, Candace. "New Poll Shows Gays and Lesbians Believe in God." ReligionDispatches. 25 June 2009. (accessed June 27, 2009).
  88. ^ a b Spiritual Profile of Homosexual Adults Provides Surprising Insights
  89. ^ a b New Poll Shows Gays and Lesbians Believe in God, Candace Chellew-Hodge, ReligionDispatches, 25 June 2009 (accessed June 27, 2009).
  90. ^ North Star web site
  91. ^ Approaching agreement in debate over homosexuality
  92. ^ http://www.pathinfo.org/index2.htm
  93. ^ Integrity (US Episcopal)
  94. ^ Evangelicals Concerned: Gay Christians
  95. ^ European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups
  96. ^ InclusiveChurch (Anglican)
  97. ^ Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (UK)
  98. ^ Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians (UK)
  99. ^ Changing Attitude (UK)
  100. ^ Changing Attitude (International)
  101. ^ Beyond Ex-Gay Group for survivors of Ex-Gay ministries
  102. ^ The Gay Christian Network
  103. ^ "Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality". American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/orientation.html. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  104. ^ a b "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation & Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel". American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/justthefacts.html. 
  105. ^ Consensus Between Gays and Religious Conservatives?
  106. ^ No Straight Shot
  107. ^ Exodus International - What's your "success rate" in changing gays into straights?
  108. ^ [1] God Loveth His Children

References

  • Bates, Stephen (2004). A Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 1-85043-480-8.
  • Boswell, John (1980). Christianity, social tolerance, and homosexuality: Gay people in Western Europe from the beginning of the Christian era to the fourteenth century. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-06710-6
  • Crompton, Louis, et al.; Homosexuality and Civilization Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-674-01197-X
  • Gagnon, Robert A.J. (2002). The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Abingdon Press. ISBN 0-687-02279-7
  • Harvey, John F., O.S.F.S. (1996). The Truth about Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful, introduction by Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.. Ignatius Press. ISBN 0-89870-583-5.
  • Helminiak, Daniel A. (2000). "Frequently Asked Questions About Being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender and Catholic" Dignity USA. <<http://www.dignityusa.org/faq.html>>
  • Hildegard of Bingen, "Scivias," Columba Hart and Jane Bishop, translators; New York: Paulist Press, 1990
  • Johansson, Warren "Whosoever Shall Say To His Brother, Racha." Studies in Homosexuality, Vol XII: Homosexuality and Religion and Philosophy. Ed. Wayne Dynes & Stephen Donaldson. New York & London: Garland, 1992. pp. 212–214
  • Saletan, William (29 November 2005). "Gland Inquisitor". Slate.
  • Early Teachings on Homosexuality
  • Summa Theologiae - online version
  • Hildegard of Bingen, "Scivias," Columba Hart and Jane Bishop, translators; New York: Paulist Press, 1990
  • Homosexuality in the Bible
  • The Church & the Homosexual
  • John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980
  • Christian Passage On St. Serge & St. Bacchus
  • Debate: St. Augustine's Sexuality
  • Gagnon, Robert A.J. (2002). The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Abingdon Press. ISBN 0-687-02279-7
  • RobGagnon.net Author & seminary professor's site with many resources
  • Johansson, Warren 'Whosoever Shall Say To His Brother, Racha.' Studies in Homosexuality, Vol XII: Homosexuality and Religion and Philosophy. Ed. Wayne Dynes & Stephen Donaldson. New York & London: Garland, 1992. pp. 212–214
  • Smith, Morton "Clement of Alexandria and Secret Mark: The Score at the End of the First Decade." Studies in Homosexuality, Vol XII: Homosexuality and Religion and Philosophy. Ed. Wayne Dynes & Stephen Donaldson. New York & London: Garland, 1992. pp. 295–307
  • Mader, Donald "The Entimos Pais of Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10" Studies in Homosexuality, Vol XII: Homosexuality and Religion and Philosophy. Ed. Wayne Dynes & Stephen Donaldson. New York & London: Garland, 1992. pp. 223–235.







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