How do I know this? Simple. God made him the way he is, and last time I checked, God doesn't make mistakes.
A while ago I had a friend who came out to his parents. They decided that this thing was enough of a reason to no longer talk to their son. How any parent can not be aware of their child's sexual preference at 22 and then on top of that decided to no longer include them in the family when they are just looking to be honest and find a safe haven in the family is completely beyond me. So, for him I made this little statement of my faith, and how being homosexual is just as natural as being heterosexual.
The prophets, Jesus, and the Biblical authors say nothing about homosexual orientation as we understand it today. But, they are clear about this one thing. As we search for truth, we are to "Love one another."
Historically, people’s misinterpretation of the Bible has left a trail of suffering, bloodshed, and death. Over the centuries people who misunderstood or misinterpreted the Bible have done terrible things. The Bible has been misused to defend bloody crusades and tragic inquisitions; to support slavery, apartheid, and segregation; to persecute Jews and other non-Christian people of faith; to support Hitler’s Third Reich and the Holocaust; to oppose medical science; to condemn interracial marriage; to execute women as witches; and to support the Ku Klux Klan.
Shakespeare said it this way: “Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
Most people who misuse the Bible DON’T search the Scriptures. They simply find a text that seems to support their prejudice and then spend the rest of their lives quoting (or misquoting) that text.
Even when we believe the Scriptures are “infallible” or “without error,” it’s terribly dangerous to think that our understanding of every biblical text is also without error. We are human. We are fallible. And we can misunderstand and misinterpret these ancient words—with tragic results. The authors of the Bible are authorities in matters of faith. They can be trusted when they talk about God. But they should not be considered the final authorities on sexual orientation any more than they are the final authorities on space travel, gravity, or the Internet.
It took a blinding light and a voice from heaven to help the apostle Paul change his mind about certain Hebrew texts. A sheet lowered from the sky filled with all kinds of animals helped the apostle Peter gain new insights into Jewish law.
If heroes of the Christian faith could change their minds about the meaning of certain biblical texts, shouldn’t we be prepared to reconsider our own interpretations of these ancient words when the Holy Spirit opens our minds and hearts to new truth? That’s why we study the Bible prayerfully, seeking the Spirit of Truth, God’s loving Spirit, to help us understand and apply these words to our lives.
Over the centuries the Holy Spirit has taught us that certain Bible verses should not be understood as God’s law for all time periods. Some verses are specific to the culture and time they were written, and are no longer viewed as appropriate, wise, or just.
In fact, the Bible accepts sexual practices that we condemn and condemns sexual practices that we accept. Lots of them!
• LEVITICUS 18:19: The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman’s period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.
• MARK 12:18-27: If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
The Bible clearly that sex with a prostitute is acceptable for the husband but not for the wife. Polygamy (more than one wife) is acceptable, as is a king’s having many concubines. (Solomon, the wisest king of all, had 1,000 concubines.) Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11–13, and treatment of women as property are all accepted practices in the Scriptures. On the other hand, there are strict prohibitions against interracial marriage, birth control, discussing or even naming a sexual organ.
During the last three decades, for example, organizations representing 1.5 million U.S. health professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and educators) have stated definitively that homosexual orientation is as natural as heterosexual orientation, that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of yet unknown pre- and post-natal influences, and that it is dangerous
and inappropriate to tell a homosexual that he or she could or should attempt to change his or her sexual orientation.
Taking a closer look at the things used against Gay relationships:
This creation story is primarily about God, a story written to show the power of God who created the world and everything in it. It teaches us that ultimately God is our Creator, that God shaped us, and that God said, “It’s good.” Isn’t this the heart of the text? Now what does the creation story say about homosexuality? The creation story says a lot about God’s power and presence in the universe—but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today. Because the text says it is “natural” that a man and a woman come together to create a new life, some people think this means gay or lesbian couples are “unnatural.” They read this interpretation into the text, even though the text is silent about all kinds of relationships that don’t lead to having children:
• couples who are unable to have children
• couples who are too old to have children
• couples who choose not to have children
• people who are single
Are these relationships (or lack of relationships) “unnatural”? There’s nothing said here that condemns or approves the love that people of the same sex have for each other.
The story of Sodom
Jesus and five Old Testament prophets all speak of the sins that led to the destruction of Sodom—and not one of them mentions homosexuality.
Ezekiel 16:48-49 states, “This is the sin of Sodom; she and her suburbs had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not help or encourage the poor and needy. They were arrogant and this was abominable in God’s eyes.” Today, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike do well to remember that we break God’s heart when we spend all we earn on ourselves, when we forget the poor and hungry, when we refuse to do justice or show mercy, when we leave strangers at the gate. I admit, there are a lot of gay folk who are Sodomites (and a lot of straight folk as well). Sodomites are rich and don’t share what they have with the poor. Sodomites have plenty and want more. While millions are hungry, homeless, and sick, Sodomites rush to build bigger homes, buy bigger cars, and own more property - putting their trust is safer stock portfolios and more secure
retirement accounts. Sodom was destroyed because its people didn’t take God seriously about caring for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, or the outcast. The sexual act that occurs in the story of Sodom is a gang rape-and homosexuals oppose gang rape as much as anyone. Rape is not about homosexuality, its about power, and dehumanizing. That’s why I believe the story of Sodom says a lot about God’s will for each of us, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.
The Holiness Code
So what’s a holiness code? It’s a list of behaviors that people of faith find offensive in a certain place and time. In this case, the code was written for priests only, and its primary intent was to set the priests of Israel over and against priests of other cultures.
Leviticus 18:6 reads: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination.” A similar verse occurs two chapters later, in Leviticus 20:13: “A man who sleeps with another man is an abomination and should be executed.” On the surface, these words could leave you feeling rather uneasy, especially if you are gay. But just below the surface is the deeper truth about God- and it has nothing to do with sex. Leviticus is a holiness code written 3,000 years ago. This code includes many of the outdated sexual laws I mentioned earlier. It also includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics, eating pork or shellfish, getting your fortune told, and even playing with the skin of a pig. (There goes football!) What about this word abomination that comes up in both passages? In Hebrew, "abominations” (TO’EBAH) are behaviors that people in a certain time and place consider tasteless or offensive. To the Jews an abomination was not a law, not something evil like rape or murder forbidden by the Ten Commandments. It was a common behavior by non-Jews that Jews thought was displeasing to God. Jesus and Paul both said the holiness code in Leviticus does not pertain to Christian believers. Nevertheless, there are still people who pull the two verses about men sleeping together from this ancient holiness code to say that the Bible seems to condemn homosexuality.
For Jewish writers of Scripture, a man sleeping with another man was an abomination. But it was also an abomination (and one worthy of death) to masturbate or even to interrupt coitus (to halt sex with your spouse before ejaculation as an act of birth control). Why were these sexual practices considered abominations by Scripture writers in these ancient times? Because the Hebrew pre-scientific understanding was that the male semen contained the whole of life.
With no knowledge of eggs and ovulation, it was assumed that the man’s sperm contained the whole child and that the woman provided only the incubating space. Therefore, the spilling of semen without possibility of having a child was considered murder. The Jews were a small tribe struggling to populate a country. They were outnumbered by their enemy. You can see why these ancient people felt it was an abomination to risk “wasting” even a single child. But the passage says nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.
Natural and unnatural
Paul is writing this letter to Rome after his missionary tour of the Mediterranean. On his journey Paul had seen great temples built to honor Aphrodite, Diana, and other fertility gods and goddesses of sex and passion instead of the one true God the apostle honors. Apparently, these priests and priestesses engaged in some odd sexual behaviors—including castrating themselves, carrying on drunken sexual orgies, and even having sex with young temple prostitutes (male and female)—all to honor the gods of sex and pleasure.
The Bible is clear that sexuality is a gift from God. Our Creator celebrates our passion. But the Bible is also clear that when passion gets control of our lives, we’re in deep trouble. When we live for pleasure, when we forget that we are God’s children and that God has great dreams for our lives, we may end up serving the false gods of sex and passion, just as they did in Paul’s time. In our obsession with pleasure, we may even walk away from the God who created us—and in the process we may cause God to abandon all the great dreams God has for our lives. Did these priests and priestesses get into these behaviors because they were lesbian or gay? I don’t think so. Did God abandon them because they were practicing homosexuals? No. Read the text again. You’ll also note that Romans 2 begins with “Therefore, [referring to Romans 1], you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself…” Even after he describes the disturbing practices he has seen, Paul warns us that judging others is God’s business, not ours.
After quoting from the Jewish law, Paul reminds the Christians in Corinth that they are under a new law: the law of Jesus, a law of love that requires us to do more than just avoid murder, adultery, lying, cheating, and stealing. Paul tells them what God wants is not strict adherence to a list of laws, but a pure heart, a good conscience, and a faith that isn’t phony. That’s the lesson we all need to learn from these texts. God doesn’t want us squabbling over who is “in” and who is “out.” God wants us to love one another. It’s God’s task to judge us. It is NOT our task to judge one another.
Although the prophets, Jesus, and other biblical authors say nothing about homosexual orientation as we understand it today, they are clear about one thing: As we search for truth, we are to “love one another.”
We may not be able to use the Bible as our final authority on sexual orientation. But as we search for the truth, we can and should use the Bible as our final authority on how we should treat one another along the way. A young Jewish scholar asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?” Quoting the prophets, Jesus replied, “The great commandment is this...to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second command is like it, to love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “This is my commandment,” Jesus said, “that you love one another, as I have loved you.” On this the Bible is explicitly clear. Even if we disagree about what the Bible seems to say about homosexuality, we can agree that above all else we are commanded by the Scriptures to love God and to love one another.
There is a growing body of evidence from science, psychology, history, psychiatry, medicine, and personal experience that leads to a clear verdict: Homosexuality is neither a sickness nor a sin.
Unfortunately, the church has always been slow, if not the last institution on earth, to accept new truth. In Romans 1:26–27 the apostle Paul describes non-Jewish women who exchange “natural use for unnatural” and non-Jewish men who “leave the natural use of women, working shame with each other.” This verse appears to be clear: Paul sees women having sex with women and men having sex with men, and he condemns that practice. But let’s go back 2,000 years and try to understand why.