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{originally titled “Gays & The Church”, an unpublished editorial submission from 22 January 2001}

Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I’m a heterosexual. This doesn’t make me “normal” or a better person, or closer to my God. How I am viewed in the Church is another story. I am Roman Catholic, and although I am proud of my faith, and blessed by all that is good within the “Mother Church”, there are times I must stray from “official” Church positions out of my own conscience. Homosexuality is one of those issues.

I do not represent the Church when I say this, but I personally do not see a God in scripture that hates gays, or even that a gay lifestyle is inherently sinful. It took many years of overcoming the homophobia we all are indoctrinated with to be objective about this. In the Old Testament, we are told clearly that a man should not be with a man. This is quoted all the time by people who eat ham and ignore countless other statutes of Mosaic Law. How convenient. In fact, the underlying values of the Jewish people of that time placed so great a value on bearing forth children that celibacy was an equal displeasure to God. How interesting.

Marriage (incidentally, a sacrament not performed by the Church as a religious rite until the start of the third century) was only for the purpose of raising children. Many Christians today still hold that sex is only for procreation, ignoring it’s God-given power to unite two people. This position not only makes homosexual union an illegitimate act, but also the union of ANY couple who cannot or does not want children.

The only other mention of such a thing in the Bible is in Paul’s letters, who are often interpreted as sexist in general, and in 1 Corinthians Paul even admits it is he, and not the Lord who speaks on certain issues of sexuality. Are we to read scripture blindly, or read it with eyes open? If we believe the Bible is authored by God, we must still admit it is written and edited by men, and men not uninfluenced by the social norms around them. The Church, with its inheritance of scripture and two thousand years of wisdom, I dare to say, needs a few more years to find humility. But maybe it is our own fault. We expect the Church (any church we belong to, for that matter) to be right, infallible. But in the case of the gay and lesbian members of the church, there is an open wound that must be tended.

I know this issue is not that simple, but I implore the Church as a whole to take a step in a new direction and not equate homosexuality with moral perversion. Just like with heterosexuality, there is sin in lust, promiscuity, adultery, and fornication. There is no sin in Love and unselfish desire. And if the Church cannot in its own conscience give its blessing, at least the homosexual members of the Church should not be faced with the extremes of “reprogramming” or alienation.