"I went to see my sister
She was staying with a friend
Who had turned into a preacher
To save the world from sin
He said 'First deny your body,
Then learn to submit
Pray to be made worthy,
And tithe your ten percent'
I said 'Is this all there is,
Just the letter of the law?'
Something's wrong ..."
I spent my teen years bombarded with the idea that my hidden sin was greater than most. I was an abomination and should be stoned to death. I really thought I had given myself up to ungodly things and deserved everything that life had dealt to me. I was under punishment for not towing the line. My judgment was clear. Whether this was actually true or not never crossed my mind. My entire religious life I had been indoctrinated into believing in the infallible nature of Scripture, both Old and New Testament. Passages from Leviticus, Romans and 1st Corinthians chased me as if they were demons. I came out to my family because I would no longer deny the love I had with my late partner, but with him gone, I chose to allow God to take this weight from me. I no longer had a reason to rest in my sins.
I swore to battle my shame and tried chemical castration. After all, Jesus expected me to be a eunuch, stating clearly that "there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” (Matthew 19:12b, NIV). I believed that if I could not control myself then this was demanded of me. Although the physical part of me that I felt was tied to my sin stopped its normal function, within me there was nowhere left for me to hide. I cried out, I begged, but God did not take it from me. This sin was of me and no saviour came to free me from it. I had given my all and that was the best I could do. If God didn't want me, regardless of any penance I made in atonement, then I didn't want God. It was bad enough being an outcast in society. The free thinking and moral moderation which flourish in our modern landscape did not when I first revealed my greatest sin. As time passed, I learned to love myself despite the demons still running, still chasing me inside my head. Along the way it got easier to be gay in our society. It matters little the social changes. Everywhere I look people still condemn gay men and women for the sin of being who they are. We know we can't change it no matter how we try; no matter what they claim. It is not that it sits there, quietly waiting to unleash some ungodly thing. It is just there, a part of what we are. Most gay people will tell you that it was there from their start. Regardless of our social evolution, gay people still heed the condemnations and gay people still jump off the sides of buildings because Jesus doesn't love them.
"Something's wrong in heaven tonight
You can almost hear them cry
Angels to the left and the right
Saying 'What about the love
What about the love
What about the love?'"
(What About the Love?, Amy Grant 1988)
One of my teenage nephews once asked me, "Why don't you act like other gay people?" I had to explain to him that I am like most gay people. You can't tell who we are or recognize our sexuality from the shoes we wear. The most effeminate of men may well be heterosexual. The most masculine man may well be the most homosexual. You just can't guess, or assume, you have to hear it from the source. The stereotypes and attitudes he perceived as true (towards gay people) are not some foreign virus that trickled down from heaven. Gay people are still treated with the same underlying ignorance as when I first discovered my orientation in the early 1980s. Characters like Jack McFarland, from Will & Grace, may no longer be the homosexual norm on television and in movies, but mass media still allows itself to be an agent of shameless moral judgments and agendas. People still hate gay people and you can tell so from the nightly news.Countries like
There is good news. An enlightened state of empathy and understanding has crashed upon many shores across this planet. In safer lands, gay people are now free to be who they want to be, love who they want to love and live as they see fit. We too seem free at last. Freedom, unfortunately, comes with a price. There is still a danger for gay people who leave the confines of that freedom. In many states, provinces and other countries, hatred is tolerated as long as you suck cock or wear your hair in a mullet. For all the benefits of this enlightened age, we still have much to fear. Their fear is built on ignorance. When Evander Holyfield claimed that homosexuality could be fixed like a gimp leg would be, I took notice. When ABC's The Bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis, expressed that gay people are a bad influence on kids, I shuddered. Every Wednesday, I sit down to watch a couple of fruit-loops prance about with their Modern Family. I firmly believe this type of exaggeration, this newly defined but stereotypical gay lifestyle, may ultimately bring more harm than good, regardless of modernity. Backward, redneck, Muslims and Christians watch that crap and that crap defines us in their minds. It's bad enough that we have to overcome
I have, on occasion, considered whether my late partner's suicide would no longer be necessary for him had he lived in these modern times. The compassion of Pope Francis, and his mission to reshape the
"I make you uncomfortable
When I'm around
You always find a reason
To shut me out
You don't understand me
So you push me away
And you claim
Jesus lets you live that way"
When I was growing up, I understood that homosexuality was frowned upon by God because it was not natural. Once I had grown up, I discovered how to use the dictionary. Something that is natural (adj.) is "present in or produced by nature." It relates to or concerns nature. To be natural is "conforming to the usual or ordinary course of nature." Homosexuality is not exclusive to homo sapiens. Researchers have found that "various forms of this [homosexuality] are found throughout the animal kingdom." More than "1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, have been observed engaging in same-sex behaviours." Homosexuality is a part of nature. It is a naturally occurring behaviour in animals, not the peccatum contra naturam (sin against nature) that thousands of years of religion would have us believe. There is great error in the assertion "that being a homosexual is not a commonly occurring event in humans." If nothing else, clearly that is not the case. Those things which manifest in nature are by definition natural. Scripture would have us believe that any thing that doesn't occur in nature is an "abomination." If homosexuality wasn't apparent in nature then it would be abnormal, like getting a tattoo or speaking in unintelligible tongues.Scripturally, even when homosexuality was not recognized there have been gay people. In biblical passages, there are ambiguous instances of same-sex love. The relationship between King David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1) was "more wonderful that that of women" (2 Samuel 1:26, NIV). After Jonathan's death, David went on to become one of the greatest biblical heroes, flaws and all. In the book of Ruth, Ruth and Naomi share a regard for each other unseen in other biblical stories. From the story of Ruth (1:14, NIV), the word dabaq ("clung") is used to describe Ruth's feelings towards Naomi. The same word, dabaq ("clung"), is used in Genesis 2:24 to describe how Adam felt about Eve. In the case of Ruth, "her feelings are celebrated, not condemned." Ironically, the word dabaq, from the Hebrew, is primarily associated with "how spouses are supposed to feel toward each other." It has even been suggested that the relationship between Jesus and John, "the disciple Jesus loved" (John 13:23; 19:26; 21:7; 21:20), was more than a casual fondness. This interpretation seems highly suspect to me. Regardless of how we perceive biblical teachings about homosexuality, nowhere in the pages of the Bible are people condemned for having homosexual tendencies. Some homosexual relationships, it can be argued, were as valid as heterosexual relationships.
Sexual Orientation is not a sin. Certain actions, which are prohibited by specific teachings from the Bible, are considered abominable. When these unnatural acts are presented in varying scriptures, they are accompanied by some form of chastisement or punishment by god or his agent. It was not homosexuality that produced destruction for
Also from the book of Genesis comes a tale of woe upon the patriarch Noah. It is suggested that Ham, one of his three sons, raped his father while he was sleeping. Noah was apparently passed out from a drunken binge (9:20–27). There can be little question that a sexual transgression occurred for "when Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, 'Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.'” (9:24-25, NIV) For some reason, Noah cursed Ham's son
Why am I not welcome in your company?
Why do you treat me like an enemy?
If you believe the way you say you do
Then why am I unlovable to you?"
(Unlovable, Plumb 2013)
In both the Old and New Testament, acts of homosexuality were "strongly associated with the idolatrous practices of the pagan nations surroundingIn the New Testament, Paul clarifies the argument. The book of Romans addresses this idolatry: "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator" (Romans 1:25, NIV). Because they have worshipped other gods, "God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual 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 shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error." (1:27, NIV). This was not a "blanket condemnation of homosexual acts," but suggests "that the passage condemned heterosexuals who experimented with homosexual activity." We must remember that Paul was "relative to his own culture," and his culture did not understand homosexuality "as an orientation" but one "in which being penetrated was seen as shameful." Even in 1 Corinthians (6:9-11), it is "certain actions that are prohibited by Bible teachings, not tendencies or feelings." Those who will not inherit the kingdom of god vary in their sin but each one (sexual immorality, idolaters, adulterers, "men who have sex with men," thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers) is seen as a physical, unnatural act against God's law.
pagan gods were worshipped using "vile" acts and therefore
idolatrous. In Leviticus 18:22,
God is not warning homosexuals of His judgment. Gay men and Lesbians are not
even mentioned. Use of the word abomination, tow' ebah, "means something morally disgusting, but it also has a strong
implication of idolatry." Bible scholars agree, "the condemnations in
Leviticus are more a condemnation of the idolatry than of the homosexual acts
themselves." In Leviticus
20:13, God is not addressing some Israel gay bar. God is in fact addressing
heterosexual men (but not women). He doesn't even condemn one who should sleep
with women, or is supposed to sleep with women, the wording is clear, "as
one does with a woman" (NIV). In the Old
Testament, there seems to be a difference between gay love and
homosexual acts committed by heterosexual men. God's sentence is passed upon men
with a natural inclination towards women; their actions go against their
Jesus never mentions homosexuality or any sexual practice outside of the general term "sexual immorality" (Mark 7:21, NIV) and the very heterosexual act of adultery (7:22). He is clear, it is “what comes out of a person" that "defiles them" (7:20, 7:23). He is also clear, throughout his ministry, that we are not to judge other people for what we see as their sin (Matthew 7:1-5). He refused to cast the first stone (John 8:1-10). He promises to love us all despite our ungodliness. If in fact homosexuality is a sin, then it differs only from others in the manifestation. All people sin and all sin is equal in God's eyes (Romans 3:23). As Paul put it, "None is righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). Anyone who follows the Bible, "but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it" (James 2:10-11, NIV). Something like comparing homosexuality to bestiality may come from ignorance but it is also placing a judgment on other human beings with total disregard for their place in the kingdom. There is no reason to condemn gay men and women. If the observation of nature has taught us anything, homosexuality is as normal and natural as heterosexuality. Apparently, certain members of the heterosexual community should be paying more attention to where they lay their heads.
People of faith, whether Christian or Muslim, or the pick of the litter, need to remember that when it comes to sin, they are in exactly the same boat as everyone else, including homosexuals. All these semantics regarding who gets to go to heaven are nothing but that. After all, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3-4, NIV). Although the tide seems to be turning in our favour, we have much reason for trepidation. It is not the heterosexuals who get hung from a tree for just being. Gay teens continue to slaughter themselves all the while thinking they are not worthy of God's love. When was the last time a hater bashed then stabbed a breeder simply for the act of kissing his girlfriend? It was not heterosexuals who were gassed in those concentration camps. It makes you wonder just who is ungodly? People who profess to follow Jesus, or Allah, or whatever monster they serve this week, tend to be hypocrites. They go against what their god has instructed. Perhaps they should leave all the condemnation to Him and mind their own damn business.
"Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don't you know
The hardest part is over
Let it in,
Let your clarity define you
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels"
Our civilization is changing and with those changes people are recognizing that members of the overall gay community are really no different then the rest of mankind. We all make mistakes and we all sin, regardless of what sin it may be. Men of God beat their wives, rape children and they steal and make war, yet they condemn others because in their minds the Bible tells them that it is okay. In many parts of the world, gay people can marry, have equal rights and freedoms and are finally being recognized for their contributions to history and society. The message is clear for all the haters who remain defiant of the modern movement towards enlightenment. Clearly, homosexuality has been a normal occurrence in nature and throughout history. Finally, we seem to be winning the struggle. Those who cannot find it within themselves to allow others those same rights and freedoms they have are about to be left behind, all the while clutching to their holy books and crying out for justice. I say you get exactly what you give. The times are changing. People are evolving. Mankind is becoming better, although it is taking us an awful long time. All these twists and turns are leading us in the right direction. I am convinced that it is the heart that really matters in the end.
"All of my regret
Will wash away some how
But I can not forget
The way I feel right now"
I suppose I have always been a fortunate son. While I worried what might happen when I came out to my parents, considering their religious association and conservative views, this benchmark was nothing like what I had feared it would be. It was their unconditional love and support that helped me through the hardest period of my life. They never judged, they never condemned me. They never even told me that I needed to change my sinful ways. Every aspect of their relationship with me remained intact. Actually, the entire experience only made us that much closer. For me, their reaction and understanding reflected what a true person of God is supposed to be like.Regarding my sexuality, outside of God, I have only ever cared what my Mom and Dad thought of me; nothing else really mattered. It is the example and manifestation of this type of love from them that has left a lifelong impression on me. It represents just how a person of God is supposed to be. I stand firm that this is how God wants us to interact with and treat our fellow man. Most religious people seem to take pleasure in reminding me I am not good enough. Those voices can still haunt me from time to time. I am glad that time now falls away. I am grateful that my parents let their lives be a picture of Him. It is these tiny morsels of God's love that are reflected in how we treat each other. For me, they mean the most. This is how Jesus behaved. It is the landscape of the kingdom and the real nature of the Divine. No longer do I feel ungodly.
"Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain."
(Little Wonders, Rob Thomas 2007)