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Monday, May 25, 2009

“God Hates Gays”


I thought the headline might grab some attention as well as put in clear written words the absurdity, rudeness and arrogance of the sometimes unspoken, and often spoken, sentiments of large sections of the Christian community.

This past week I attended the sub-regional conference of the Metropolitan Community Church. It was a great weekend of networking, worship and friendship. The biggest thing I took away was an increased commitment to support same-sex relationships and stand up for the rights of gay people to live full and active lives as followers of Jesus Christ.

I was privileged to be invited into the private lives of some special people who told me stories of rejection by their families, society but mostly stories of rejection by the Church that call itself Christian. I heard stories from people who were sincere believers who loved and served Jesus in their place in the world.

To say that God hates anyone is a disgusting statement fuelled by a narrow, homophobic worldview. To claim a biblical foundation for this sentiment of bigotry saddens me more than I can say.

Of course, by writing such a post, I am prepared to engage in theological debate but want I want you to understand is that this weekend I have hugged gay men and lesbian women. I have heard stories of despair but also stories of hope and redemption as lives have been touch by the God who is love. Wherever the debate goes I will be there but wherever people need to be affirmed and supported to live lives as children of God I will also be there.

I have seen the power of God’s love and it does not flourish in the dark halls of a conservative agenda.


Neal Taylor said...

Great post brother! I stand by you and expect that you will see some great comments from this post - for and against!

Tim said...

ahhh - great tag line Les - that will lure people in :)

Whilst I too have friends who are same sex orientated and call themselves Christian they live a celebate life.
I think there are many complicated reasons for the make-up of ones sexuality but for Christians I believe the line that can't be crossed is sleeping together. That may sound harsh but all Christians have struggles in this life whether it be greed or pride, I guess this is a struggle for gay Christians.
Yes I know God loves them, yes I have maintained my friendships with Christians who have 'come out', yes I believe they can have a partner to provide companionship but I can't see how the Bible supports them (or Christians)habitually sleeping together which is considered a sin in Gods eyes.

Just my thoughts....

Bless Ya

Tim said...

Onya Tim - I think you put that well. Your point of seeing a link between faith and personal responsibility takes nothing away from God being love - nor from the need for followers of Jesus to love all people the way he does. It does not discriminate: all of us are responsible for what we do. It does, however, distinguish between orientation and behaviour.

The topic Les wrote on made me think of something: At present I am enjoying the early chapters of Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy" - and looking forward to the rest. Willard describes well how the 'gospels' and 'faith' of both left and right theological tendencies "exhibit the very same type of conceptual disconnection from, and practical irrelevance to, the personal integrity of believers..."

It is precisely the challenge of integrating life and faith which intrigues me and spurs me on in this journey, convincing me how thoroughly off-track the institutional church has gotten, among other things. It seems so hard sometimes - no surprise to me that people from all walks struggle with this issue of integrity.

Faced with the prospect of giving up on God altogether, I have searched for models of being which would allow my faith while not requiring me to depend on or work at genuine, conversational relationship with Jesus. The communication seemed too hit-and-miss, apart from anything else. And that relationship changes people - and as such is enormously risky, requiring more trust than many like me can muster, even when the one to be trusted is God.

I think the tendency to disconnect faith and personal integrity is enormously widespread and common to humans - but not what Jesus calls us to.

FishHawk said...

Being gay is no different than being an adulterer of any kind, or a liar, or a cheat, or a murderer, etc., etc, and it all takes to be forgiven is to admit to the unrighteousness and to want to change. Hence, the problem. For it is being taught that they were created that way, which is true to a certain extent. For our Heavenly Father did not create any of us with the "natural" ability to not sin, and He set the stage for some to fall into the homosexual trap, but to insist that it is okay with Him for us to be happy with who we naturally are is an abomination.

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that you are one of those who are teaching that is it okay to be gay. For I am just submitting what I was given to say.

wayno said...

You may find this apropo.


markjuane said...

I agree that it is disturbing that anyone could possibly and easily declare that God hates any group of people. Why do so many people find it hard to distinguish between the sin and the sinner?!? For example, Scripture says that God hates divorce but it does not say that God hates the divorcees! Thank God there aren't demonstrations and movements that say that God hates divorcees. (btw, I am a child of divorce.)

Studies have shown that for most gay men or women, there is some kind of traumatic event or environment that was the turning point that influenced their homosexuality. Saying that they were born that way is sure a good way to hide the pain and the shame. But this should cause us to have compassion on men and women who struggle with their sexual identity.

I've had the privilege of being mentored by a pioneer of inner healing in Asia, Dr. Zonia Tappeiner. And one of the things I have learned is that even after the roots of deep wounds are healed through forgiveness, it is still necessary to call forth the masculine spirit in someone who is recovering from homosexuality.

I think the best solution isn't to bash gays. The best solution is to raise up true men of God who exhibit masculine strength, security, compassion, and purpose.

Anonymous said...

It is so much easier to not think for yourself. To fall in line with literal thinking rubbish. It is so easy.
What I know without doubt that Les is absolutely correct. Gay Christians are just as valid, just as unrivhtwous, just sinful as heterosexual Christians. Heterosexuals are no different. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

If you have any sound biblical knowlege, none of the statements you made would be something
You'd be confident in. You would feel silly for making grand statements that are not true and in actuality make no sense and have no theological standing.

Do you cut your hair on the side of your head? Do you wear linen and wool together? Do you eat shellfish? If you do, then you have lumped yourself in with all those homosexuals according to your theological stance.

I feel sad that you will miss out on the blessing and
Gift of a homosexual transgender bisexual intersex person in your church.
If you are SO sure about this theology then you shouldn't be afraid to visit an MCC. Come this Sunday to MCC Sydney. 96 crystal street petersham at 630pm. You will be loved, you will be accepted and you will experience God in new and profound ways that will never understand until you genuinely show God's unconditional love.

I am
Anonymous only because I have no account. My name
Is jannah.

Anthony Venn-Brown said...

What you have discovered most people do when they get close to gay and lesbian people is that we are not the evil perverted people many make us out to be.

it is much easier for people to stand back and judge and criticise.....particularly some people in churches.

We have made a grave error in condemning people who are same sex oriented. Thank God there are an increasing number , such as yourself, within the church who are educating themselves about sexual orientation.

Two things I'd like to add.

My morality is a choice, My sexual orientation however isn't.

The enemy is not churches or organisations...the enemy is ignorance.

Tim said...

Hopefully it is clear that hating gays is no more an option for followers of Jesus than it is for him.

Interestingly - Anthony makes the distinction between orientation (no choice) and morality (choice). I made a similar distinction between orientation and behaviour.

Wherever we place "orientation" on our various scales of personal responsibility (from 'No Choice'at one end through to 'My Choice' at the other), it seems to me that this distinction between orientation and action is the key issue here.

What do you think??

Anonymous said...

the thing that really gives me the irates is when daft statements like "studies have shown" are said. The only studies that have ever shown familial context and trauma to be connected to sexuality are biased studies that have been thrown out due to bias and non scientific process.

Sally said...

An excellent post Les; I love your last statement; "I have seen the power of God’s love and it does not flourish in the dark halls of a conservative agenda. ", and think that this is highlighted well by your commentors, God's love and grace shine through in the main, only one is hard and harsh.

Mark Juane said...

Jannah, before you label me as daft let me point out this study here:

Specifically, the report under the subtitle "The Prevalence of Sexual Abuse in the Childhoods of Homosexuals."

Also, my own personal contact and conversations with homosexuals along with the experience of my own mentor in inner healing corroborates my early statement.

I am not trying to attack homosexuals. I am not homophobic. I come from a culture that openly accepts gays. And I think that your "attack" reveals more of your own personal pain than clearly derived convictions.

I apologize if I have offended you by my point of view. Peace.

Wickle said...

It's always easier to brand someone else's sin as worse than mine.

I could get, for example, how someone has sex before marriage. I can kind of get cheating on a wife. I can't remotely understand being attracted to another man.

That "ick" factor is mistaken for a spiritual principle, and so I can declare that while God forgives my sins, He hates you for yours.

Great post.

Pastor Karl Hand said...

It's really true that as Psalm 135:18 says, people become like the God they believe in... like Rev. Elder Ken was saying this weekend. You know, people who worship a hateful God become the most awful of people :( People who worship a prudish or anti-sex God, well hmmm, see where that takes you! But a God who loves the Creation s/he has made and wants us to live it to the full - not repressing what makes us unique but giving thanks for it.... that is a God worth following.

And as a gay man who loves Jesus, I am going to stand at the day of judgment without any fear. I'm saved by the blood of the lamb, not by living up to so called "family values."

Anonymous said...

Mark juane. It is easy to take the easy road and label my comments "inner pain". My only pain in this regard is the hurt you cause by perpetuating lies. I am not attacking you personally, but your statements. People who perpetuate these lies are nothing more than murderers. If someone kills themselves based on the deception that they are able to be healed, then anyone who says this is a murderer.
I know people who have killed themselves and I have no grace for this rhetoric and Neither does my God, my Jesus, my saviour.

Your masked hatred is sad.

Your proof you gave from NARTH disturbs that you consider this fact. Especially since NARTH have been stricken from the APA due to their dangerous methods and lies. They have been caught out and all studies ever done deemed biased and unscientific. So, not don't that seriously.
The most amazing Christian woman I know is reverend Shelagh Zincke from newcoast mcc in gosford new south Wales Australia. She expresses Jesus in a beautiful, gracious, integrous, loving way that I've never know another to do. She is also a gay woman, with a family.

Your rhetoric doesn't hurt me it causes me righteous anger!!!

I am closer to God as an out bisexual woman with a beautifulfemale partner and our two kids than I ever was trying to be straight with programs like NARTH. They come to steal, kill and destroy for their own financial gain.


Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post Les. Thank you, because although I am not a christian, or gay, I know folk who are, and the comfort of acceptance, that people like yourself in the church can offer, is a priceless gift.

After reading some of the comments, the phrase "lies, damn lies, and statistics" popped to mind. Studies can be framed to prove or disprove almost any hypothesis. This is especially true in areas human behaviour, where there are many unknown, and uncontrolled variables. No doubt some people who suffer abuse, will be same-sex attracted, just as many will not be.

Simillarly, picking a part of the bible and using it to justify a personal or cultural vendetta against a marginalised group, in my mind calls up the same quote about statistics. It would be nice if when people describe themselves as a "good christian" the emphasis is placed on goodness.

Aaron Cirilo said...

God doesn't hate Gays no more than adulterers, thieves, liars, etc. God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to die for us. He came to set us free from the slavery of sin. Romams 6:14

the whole subject is provocative and inflames.