The uproar over gays and lesbians in church is not very Christian

In 1977, I appeared on a panel about religion and media at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, joining a priest, a rabbi, a fundamentalist Baptist minister and an atheist to discuss religion in a modern-day, media-driven environment.

At one point, a student asked the priest: “Father, why are there so many religions?”

The priest replied: “Many religions are based on which portions of the Bible that particular religion chooses to accept and believe.”

So I asked: “Father, if you can accept the fact that some believers in God can pick and choose sections of the Bible as truth how can you condemn an atheist who chooses to accept none of the Bible?”

He didn’t have an answer.

I thought of that panel discussion this week while covering Circuit Court for The Floyd Press. One of the cases on the civil docket concerned a lawsuit between Indian Valley Presbyterian Church and the regional Presbytery over the church’s desire to leave the fold because it disagrees with the Presbytery’s recognition of gays and lesbians.

Indian Valley is not alone. Other Presbyterian churches want to go out on their own over the issue. They don’t want homosexuals in their flock.

From where we sit – as flaming heterosexuals – the whole uproar seems blatantly anti-Christian.

At the center of the argument is the belief of fundamentalists that homosexuality is a sin. That point of view comes from Leviticus 18:22 “Thal shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

The Bible is that kind of document, a wide-ranging collection of articles and stories that are often quoted and misquoted to support a particular point of view. It is called the “word of God” but one could argue that it is – in fact – the words of mortal men who wrote what they thought or were told was the word of God.

On that panel in Illinois 35 years ago, I argued that the authors of the Bible were – in fact – the journalists of their day, reporting what they saw, heard and were told. God did not write the Bible. Men did. They were mortal men, men with biases, perhaps less-than-perfect memories and particular points of view.

As a Christian, I believe in God. I do not, however, necessarily believe in organized religion because I feel various religions have subverted a belief in a divine power to fit various pre-defined agendas.

And I do not believe – for one second – that an understanding and forgiving God would condemn a man or woman for their sexual orientation any more than he (or she) would condemn us for the color of our skin or variations in our beliefs.

Refusing to welcome someone into a hall of worship because they love another of their sex is neither Christian nor holy. From our point of view, it is more of a sin or abomination than anything cited in the book of Leviticus.

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4 thoughts on “The uproar over gays and lesbians in church is not very Christian”

  1. Wow doug what a topic surprised no responses?
    The Bible was written by man inspired by God in what to write
    take it for what it says not what a clan (demonitation) as I call it or a religion sometimes mis-interprets.
    noting is more of a sin then any other, sin is sin it separates Us from God that is why we have his Son Jesus as the only way to be forgiven for any sin regardless of what it is.
    Through Christ we have forgiveness for ALL our sins not any one over any other.
    find yourself a non denominational church which is about impossible in Floyd area, that just teaches out of the Bible, and teaches on what it says not an interpretation from what a man thinks, sometimes there are so many wrong interpretations, that is what all the religions are, usually mis-interpretations of the word,
    The whole idea is only Christ for salvation and nothing else, it’s just that simple, through Him you can know your going to heaven.
    The thing I missed the most when living in Floyd was a non-demonatioal church wow we have several excellent ones here in Tn. where we are now.
    we used to drive all the way to Christians burg to the high school one met there in the auditorium.
    Hope your well buddy-Oh yeah the Gay thing just something the Lord just despised , remember Sodom and Gomora? he destroyed it all because it was an abomination , it was pretty much all Gay and lesbian.
    but again Sin is Sin none greater then the other, thats the real problem we all have, and why only Christ can save Us.

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