This post is the second in a series about popular Christian issues that do not seem to be supported by scripture or reason.
The original article that introduces the series is at this link: Revival begins in the church… but so does judgment!
Although the issue of homosexuality has become a rallying cry among evangelical Christians, some perspective may be in order. We should realize that “non-typical” sexual expression is not new to humanity at all, as recorded in ancient stone engravings and paintings. At many times in history these actions were quietly overlooked when done privately and the participants posed no threat to society, even though officially most deviant acts would be publicly decried. And yes, there is current scientific evidence (along with the historical record) which suggests that there are biological predispositions to same-sex attraction. There are some suggestions that the tendency toward alternate sexuality are genetically determined, or at least predisposed.
This does not excuse the open expression or advocacy of deviant acts that are considered sinful, dangerous, or socially unacceptable, since prohibitions are usually based on very pragmatic considerations (such as perpetuation of the species vs. widespread homosexual relationships).
However, homosexuality is a sin of practice, not predisposition, even by modern Christian definitions. It is certainly possible to live and function spiritually with tendencies toward same-sex attraction in the same manner as heterosexuals who battle with temptations of lust toward the opposite gender. But just as a married heterosexual commits adultery when having relations with someone other than the spouse, homosexuals (who are not married) commit fornication in practicing same-sex relations. So the root issue seems to be sexual misconduct in general, regardless of the gender of those involved.
From this perspective, all the pastors, elders, deacons, priests, and all others in positions of spiritual authority must accept the same standard for their own behavior as homosexuals or any sexual relations outside of marriage. A review of news stories and blogs by the subject of these illicit relations (often performed under duress or pressure from the religious authority figure) indicates the scope and persistence of the issue in Protestant as well as Catholic groups.
It is legitimate to ask – why are oversight procedures within churches so ineffective? This question is especially troubling if the leaders are claiming to be guided by the “promptings of the Holy Spirit” and exercising the “God-given discernment” (that is supposedly granted to those in positions of authority within the church)! Does the Spirit only grant wisdom and discernment when applied to the sheep, but not the shepherds?
The hypocrisy of the church, especially conservative evangelical and fundamentalist varieties, is illustrated by some very unnerving statistics… Did you know:
- Percentage of unmarried (often teen) mothers is as high or higher among most Christian groups as among the general population.
- Rate of divorce among Christians is generally as high as the rest of (non-Christian) society.
- Rate of pedophilia, incest, rape, and certain other sexually deviant behaviors is higher among fundamentalist, patriarchal, and “purity culture” Christian groups than among the general population.
- Rate of child abuse in general tends to be higher among fundamentalist and patriarchal groups than within the general population.
In other words, when considering all forms of deviant sexual acts and abuses, Christians are equally as bad, or in some cases even worse than, the rest of society. What gives the American Church the right to speak out against one form of deviant behavior when there are many others within our midst that seem to be ignored, tolerated, or condoned? How can we cry out for God’s justice and vengeance against evil-doers when church-goers and Christian leaders are near the top of the list in some areas?
Repentance for sexual sin in this nation must begin with our religious leaders and our own communities of faith before we have the moral right to condemn the sexuality of others!
Let us be very vigilant to clean up our own house before we implore God for justice to be meted out to the sinners, since we are truly among them and equally worthy of judgment.