Was Jesus wrong about homosexuality?

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gods_design_for_marriage_umjrThis is written for those who consider themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ.

Gay marriage has dominated the headlines in every major media source these past few days. Equal signs are everywhere in social media. Lawyers debate the “legality” of same-sex marriage. Proponents of gay marriage proclaim this as the new “civil rights movement.”

Often missing in this conversation is what God has to say about it.

That makes sense, I suppose, because the focus has been on the legality and not the spirituality of it. The Supreme Court doesn’t care what the Bible has to say. In a legal system that intentionally separates itself from the Church and Church teachings, how could one argue against it? Arguing against same-sex marriage without the foundation of God’s revelation is an uphill, if not impossible, battle. The lawyers tried to do that before the Supreme Court last week, and in a few months will see how that works out.

I’m not here to talk about the legal issues—I think those have been talked to death enough in the media. As a Christian, I’m happy when the law coincides with my faith, but I don’t necessarily expect it to happen. We who follow Christ are, “in the world but not of the world” (cf. John 15:19.)

What is more troubling to me is the common argument that, were Jesus Christ alive today, he would support same-sex marriage and homosexual activity. Few people are brazen enough to say that statement so boldly, but I find that underlying many arguments.

Take for example Dan Savage’s speech in his anti-bullying talks. He says, “the Bible was wrong about slavery and its wrong about homosexuality.” As if the slavery mentioned in the Bible had any comparison to the horrific kinds of slavery that was legal in the United States or currently goes on in the world (slavery in Scripture was more of an indentured servitude than a lack of freedom and rights. If anything, Scripture made it clear that even if someone is a slave, they are still part of the family of God should be treated as such.)

The heart of his argument is that even the Old Testament is out of date with the New Testament. Laws changed from the Old to the New, so why not homosexuality as well?

He has a point there. The morality expected of followers of Jesus Christ is different than what was expected of the Jews. But it wasn’t “changed.” It was elevated.

For example, the Sixth Commandment stated, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” For the Jews that was a specific action: you cannot sleep with another man’s wife. Jesus, however, elevated and fulfilled that commandment: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28.)

He did the same with marriage. “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery” (Matthew 19:8.)

The impression that some have that the Old Testament is “really strict” but the New Testament is “really loose” couldn’t be farther from the truth. Jesus not only cared about our outward actions but also our inward ones. That means the morality of Christ is elevated, not weakened. He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Profits. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17.)

And yet when it comes to homosexuality, many suggest (explicitly or implicitly) that Jesus “abolished” that law. I don’t see that anywhere in the Bible.

Of course, it’s a common argument to suggest that if Jesus were alive today he might say different things, as if he was “held back” by the culture at the time. Such a statement is ridiculous. Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes, told the Jewish people that the Temple would be destroyed, and knew that He would be killed in the most violent and reprehensible way a person could be killed. So at what point do you think He was scared to tell the truth? At what moment was He worried and thought to Himself, “Wow, I can’t say that! I’ll just have to wait for humanity to mature a bit.”

Jesus said that He was, “the Way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6.) He was either right or He wasn’t.

There are billions of people in this world who think that he was wrong. In fact, many specifically don’t believe in Christ over this very issue (though most other world religious agree.) I respect that. But what concerns me is the growing amount of Christians who are silent, or even becoming supportive of, these cultural issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Did Jesus ever specifically speak about homosexuality? No, He didn’t use that word. But He did speak about the importance of marriage and what it was really about: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’” (Matthew 19:4-5.) In the context of that teaching, His message was clear: marriage is for a man and a woman, and sex is a part of marriage.

Though it sounds culturally harsh to even state this simple truth, people of the same gender can’t have sex with each other. They can simulate it, but that’s all. Their bodies weren’t made for such an interaction. They were not “made for each other.”

Again, saying things like that in today’s culture makes you sound like a bigot. It’s not “right” to suggest that the sexual activity between two men or two women are any different, or better, than a man and a woman. But there is a difference.

The even deeper issue regards our gender. Does being a man mean I just have a penis? If I’m surgically altered can I be a woman? Same-sex marriage argues that gender is irrelevant in marriage. It also argues that gender difference is unnecessary for raising a child. Decades of sociological research that said a child was best served by being raised by a man and a woman, a mother and a father, are being ignored. “That was just in reference to single mothers,” the critics say.

And now we get to the difficult issues. Am I saying that a homosexual couple can’t raise a child with love and support? No. Because a single mother can raise a child with love and support. But it’s not the ideal. There is a reason why God created us as man and as woman, created man and woman for each other, and why their sexual union brings about life. Children should be raised by the mother and father who created them.

But what of all the children given up for adoption? If the mother and father aren’t available to raise those children, then another man or woman becoming their mother and father is the next best thing.

I imagine I’ve upset and even offended some people by writing that last statement. Some writers like to write offensive things to get attention. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to highlight the truth of what Christ taught. And God did not give us his revelation to belittle us or enslave us. He came to give us the truth, “and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32.) God’s truth is often in contrast to what the world believes. But He came to tell us what was right, not what we want to believe.

Again, there are many who don’t agree with what the Bible or Jesus taught. And so their support of same-sex marriage makes total sense. If we were not created in the image and likeness of God, if we were just amoebas who crawled out of some primordial soup, if there is no plan and purpose for our lives and our gender is merely a biological accident, then what does it matter?

If you are a follower of Christ, then it does matter. Gender matters. Sex matters. Marriage matters.

I am heartbroken to hear that many psychologists today are not allowed to help people overcome their same-sex attractions. There are many who argue people are “born that way” when it comes to same-sex attractions, but that’s not accurate. (To be clear: the Church teaches that same sex attractions are not sinful.) There are many who manifest same-sex attractions and behaviors because of conditions, and even trauma, in their life. I know a number of them who through counseling have been restored to heterosexuality.

I actually had to think a bit before I got to the word “restored” because I know “cured” or “healed” would be offensive. And that’s why many psychologists aren’t allowed to deal with the issue. If you can be “cured” of same-sex attractions, aren’t you suggesting it’s a disease?

But I wonder what would happen if a heterosexual came in to a counselor’s office and said, “could you help me have same-sex attractions?” If we truly believe in freedom and equality, and we acknowledge the power and benefit of psychological counseling, why can’t somebody use that science to help them be the person they want to be? If someone doesn’t want to have same-sex attractions, why can’t they have a professional help them?

Christians who are silent on these issues often try to have a “live and let live” mentality. But the real issue here is not about accepting diversity—it ends up being about forcing conformity. In Massachusetts, Catholic Charities had to stop providing adoptions because they were being forced to place children with same-sex couples. In England, Christian and Catholic schools are not allowed to teach what the Bible teaches about sexuality because the Bible is “anti-gay.” Already in public schools in the United States children are taught that gender doesn’t matter.

The equality that’s being talked about so much these days ends up being quite “unequal” where Christians are concerned. And here we find the problem with a society that pretends to embrace everybody’s diverse beliefs. When someone believes something is “true,” that implies that there are also things they believe that are “false.” There’s a serious conflict here. And if people of Christian faith aren’t more vocal and respectfully engage in this conversation (which is what I’m trying to encourage with this blog) then being silent means losing our “rights.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, talking about the second coming of Christ, says that, “the persecution that accompanies (the Church’s) pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of inequity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy against the truth” (CCC 675.) The definition of “apostasy” is: “the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief” (The New Oxford American Dictionary.) There are many followers of Christ who are tempted to abandon their religious (and political) belief because it seems the easy solution or because they are deceived into an false image of Christ who taught us to “accept everybody, challenge nobody.” But Jesus was never afraid to challenge his followers, even when it led to persecution.

John Paul II wrote, “Following Christ, the Church seeks the truth, which is not always the same as the majority opinion” (John Paul II, Familaris Consortio, 11.) Though it’s unpopular to say, I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe Him when He said that marriage was made for a man and for a woman. I believe God when He spoke that we were made as male and as female, and that man and woman were created to be one flesh.

I also believe it when He said that we were all made in the image and likeness of God. I believe it when Jesus said that we are to, “love one another as I have loved you.” I don’t believe anyone should be denied the respect and dignity that comes with being a child of God because of their beliefs, their sexual attraction, their ethnicity, or any reason. That’s not just my opinion but also the Catholic Church’s: “(People with same sex attractions) must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC 2358.)

That’s not a small point. The greatest commandment is love. There are those who believe the source of the bullying, discrimination, and violence against people with same sex attractions is the fault of Christianity and the Bible. I won’t deny there are some who claim to be Christian but act like the devil, especially on this issue. But they’re not the majority, and even if they were, they’re not right. Christianity teaches to love those you disagree with, even those who persecute you. I’ll be the first to admit that followers of Christ (like me) don’t often live up to His teachings. But Christ is the only way we can live with our differences and live in peace. For an example of what happens when you completely remove Christian morality from politics, see at what happened to Germany under Hitler. Jews, Catholics, and homosexuals all perished together in those concentration camps.

We all have the right to be treated with dignity. But Christ tells us that sex and marriage isn’t a “right.” It is a gift, and should be honored and protected as such. I’m sure it is painful for people with same-sex attractions to not have been given that gift. To not be able to have sex with each other. To not become “one flesh” and create life together. But changing the legality of marriage does not change the reality of marriage. And the consequences of doing so are far reaching.

PS. This blog wasn’t intended to give a complete overview of the Catholic Church’s teaching on sex and homosexuality. For a fuller treatment, go here.

(As always, you are welcome to post comments. I’m not sure how many will read this blog, or how many want to comment, but the last time I wrote a controversial blog I spent the whole day monitoring and editing and responding to comments. As a married man with kids and a full-time job, I’m afraid I don’t have time to do that. I said what I wanted to in my blog; you can say what you like in the comments. Unlike previous blogs, I’m allowing all comments to go unfiltered, and I ask that everyone would be respectful in tone towards each other, free from profanity, and not necessarily feel that every statement has to be responded to. I reserve the right to remove anything vulgar, demeaning, or obscene.)

45 comments on “Was Jesus wrong about homosexuality?

  1. Peter Cunha says:

    Awesome stuff to read! I work with a lot of youth in my parish, and many times it can be mentally exhausting not only to try and unweave the deceptions of society, but at the same time so many young kids are being taught by society to reject the Church, and what “they” believe the church stands for. Glad you provided some excellent teachings here, thanks Bob! God bless!

  2. HeatherAnn Howie says:

    Thumbs up Bob!

  3. Bonnie says:

    Thank you for writing this blog! As a DRE I have been searching for good articles on this topic to share with my catechists, some of whom have jumped on the “equal rights” bandwagon out of a misguided attempt for justice and compassion. I will share your blog with them and others and continue to pray that all of us Catholics will find the courage and humility to address same-sex marriage.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Preach on, Bob, preach on and thank you!

  5. Excellent honesty and well said.

  6. Wow. I never thought of this:

    “But I wonder what would happen if a heterosexual came in to a counselor’s office and said, “could you help me have same-sex attractions?” If we truly believe in freedom and equality, and we acknowledge the power and benefit of psychological counseling, why can’t somebody use that science to help them be the person they want to be? If someone doesn’t want to have same-sex attractions, why can’t they have a professional help them?”

  7. Tim Messenger says:

    Nice post! Thanks for speaking Truth, especially when a lot of people today have a hard time hearing it.

  8. ren'ee says:

    As Catholics, we are to love every child of GOD. Not to necessarily agree with their feelings or beliefs. We are all unique in our ways under HIM. Our time, talents and treasures are to be used to help others with love. I agree with what you have said Bob and am very proud to repost this. I too feel that some people may not like all of what you have said, but you are very to the point and respectful to all when you say it. Thank you. I look forward to celebrating with you at Steubenville again this year!

  9. RJ Schratz says:

    Hey Bob!
    I’ve seen you perform at the Youth Conferences the past three summers and I am very happy to see the intellectual side of your faith by composing this blog post. I was very much in agreement with most everything I saw. The one thing that I do question is whether people are born with homosexual tendencies. I thought coming to college this year that I had begun to accept that as logical – I just found it hard to believe that people would chose such a difficult path for themselves. Out of my respect for you, I might explore the idea a bit more. However, I can say is that I take great comfort knowing that I am not the only one who is not of this world. Christ wanted us to have life to the full, not some lesser imitation of love. It is very difficult to tell people that they are settling for less by living outside God’s plan these days.
    Keep up the inspirational work that you do. Sorry I can’t attend this summer!

    RJ Schratz

    • I think some are born with a tendency toward it, but most are triggered by trauma, neglect, poor parental relationships, etc. The bible gives us a measuring stick for our own health and well-being. If we are having those tendencies, or temptations, the bible lets us know that that is out of harmony with God, who (if we turn to Him) can and will heal us. I speak from experience, not theory.

      • RJ Schratz says:

        Thank you very much for the honesty and insight Liz! I think that a bit part of anything in life is being willing to be submissive to God’s will. With sex, and building families, this is vital but frequently overlooked because sex is such a great gift. I mean, would we be willing to accept imitations if it wasn’t?! I definitely think there is at least a tendency that can exist within a child. But so many of our problems, potentially that as well, could be traced back to weak parenting.

      • Julia says:

        Liz, your concept of the origin of homosexuality is somewhat antiquated. Numerous studies have shown that homosexuality is the result of a predisposition that is no different from the kind that determines handedness or eye colour. If “most” gay people were gay because of “trauma, neglect, poor parental relationships, etc.” gay people would make up MUCH more than 10% of the population considering the number of people who suffer childhood traumas and neglect. Many gay people grow up in stable, heteronormative households and there are many studies of twins in which one twin is gay and one is straight which confounds the argument that is learned or acquired. Nurture has been almost categorically ruled out as a “cause” of homosexuality.

      • Melissa Thompson says:

        Liz – research disputes those ideas. If you’d like examples from the American Psychological Association’s studies I can provide them. Homosexuality does not need healing. We also have evidence that homosexuals are born not made. Again if you’d like to see the research I’d be happy to share this.

      • bill miles says:

        Its unfortunate that gods healing power did not work on the homosexual PEDOPHILES that ran rampant thru the clergy for decades OR gave the governance the wisdom to deal with them harshly.

  10. Joseph says:

    You bringing up Jesus and his views on divorce undermines your entire argument. While you say you aren’t speaking about this as a political issue, that’s exactly what it is. You see, divorce is a perfectly legal option for married Americans despite Jesus’s very clear prohibition against it. Jesus has no clear prohibition against gay marriage, BUT EVEN IF HE DID, this would not make your point. Because Christians are not out there demanding divorce be outlawed, to be in line with Jesus’s teachings.

    And so here we are at why this issue is where it is. Just as many Catholics accuse their fellow Catholics of “picking and choosing” which parts of the church to follow, so too do all Christians “pick and choose” which parts of the law they want to reflect their morality. If you want to be logically consistent, you should be speaking up about outlawing divorce if you are going to say that gays cannot get married.

  11. Cory says:

    Thank you for writing this.

  12. Melissa Thompson says:

    Bob,

    Thank you for your blog. I will be re-reading it and praying about it.

    I’dike to make one point that I hope you will consider reflecting on.

    Our country is not a Catholic only country. And while, as Catholics, we have the freedom to believe in every aspect of our faith, this does not provide us with the right to project our faith I to others in a cou try based on freedom of religion.

    This gives us the right to biwve in sacramental marriage and define it as our church wishes to. But the discussion happening is surrounding the civil rights nor religious rights to marry. The church is not being asked to provide sacramental marriages to those whom do not meet their criteria. But society is being asked to consider a civil right.

    We have the right to believe our savior is present in the Eucharist. We do not have the right to tell our Jewish friends nd relatives that they cannot freely biwve what they wish.

    As a practicing Catholic and one who was called to the field of social work, I am disheartens to read you suggestion about what is know as reparative therapy which was banned by the American Psychological Association. I promise to get the data on this. But it is illegal to practice this in our country and id loose my license if I did tht as it was deemed psychologically harmful.

  13. Ron says:

    Hi Bob, my mom is Catholic and is divorced from Dad and her second marriage did not work out either. Infidelity the second time and other reasons the first. She aches for the impact of those failed marriages and deals with the pain of how those situations affected her kids and grand kids. One of her struggles is with the lack of sensitivity parish life has around divorced people and single parents who love God, His church, & uphold the teachings on marriage and family yet were in abusive situations that they suffered in for years before their marriages finally dissolved. Do you have a blog on this topic and the pastoral sensitivities and teachings that I could reflect on with this topic? We have so many Catholic parents who are divorced and they work so hard to make things right, to be accepted and to live up to the churches expectations of them as parents. Love to hear your thoughts. … great article by the way. You are a gifted communicator with a pastoral sensitivity that lends itself to tricky topics. Keep up the good work!

  14. Melissa Thompson says:

    From the American Psychological Association: Sexual orientation conversion therapy refers to counseling and psychotherapy to attempt to eliminate individuals’ sexual desires for members of their own sex. Ex-gay ministry refers to the religious groups that use religion to attempt to eliminate those desires. Typically, sexual orientation conversion therapy is promoted by providers who have close ties to religious institutions and organizations.

    The terms reparative therapy and sexual orientation conversion therapy refer to counseling and psychotherapy aimed at eliminating or suppressing homosexuality. The most important fact about these “therapies” is that they are based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,6 published by the American Psychiatric Association, which defines the standards of the field, does not include homosexuality. All other major health professional organizations have supported the American Psychiatric Association in its declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973. Despite the general consensus of major medical,health, and mental health professions that both heterosexuality and homosexuality are normal expressions of human sexuality, efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy have been adopted by some political and religious organizations and aggressively promoted to the public. However, such efforts have serious potential to harm young people because they present the view that the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth is a mental illness or disorder, and they often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure.

    Because of the aggressive promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy, a number of medical, health, and mental health professional organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of this approach. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured.”

    Because of the aggressive promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy, a number of medical, health, and mental health professional organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of this approach. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured.”

    Those of us in the field are seeing a large increase in self harming and suicidal youth because those in their religious communities are sharing that something is wrong with them, they cannot fully be who they are, and that they are morally flawed.

    Below is the link from the APA listing more than 43 other organizations that support youth. Jesus made us in his likeness. Are we going to tell our LGBT family members and friends that this only applies to some of us, not all of us?

    http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/just-the-facts.pdf

    • M says:

      A lot of people are confused about what the church means when it says that homosexual desires are “disordered.” What it doesn’t mean is that homosexuals are somehow especially messed up or not made in God’s likeness. We are all made in God’s image and likeness and are fundamentally good, however, we are all also corrupted by original sin. All humans have disordered desires (it’s called concupiscence and it’s a result of original sin). We desire things that do not lead to the good, true, and beautiful. In some people that manifests itself as same-sex attraction. Their bodies are ordered towards the opposite sex but their desires are ordered towards the same sex. There is a mis-match here: literally a dis-order. Their desires seek a full sexual union (procreative and unitive) with a person of the same sex which is impossible (it can only be approximated through other sexual acts). These acts are not pro-creative (open to life) and are not fully unitive. Remember that the church also teaches against heterosexual couples substituting other types of “sex” for full sexual intercourse. Those other sexual acts tend to encourage lust and place one person as the user and the other as the used, so they aren’t healthy for anybody.

      Now I agree, that we need to make sure that we reach out our LGBT youth and support them in a way that helps them to avoid depression, suicide etc. and most importantly help them know they are loved by God and his Church. But this does not mean telling them that their desires are healthy and natural (natural meaning in line with human nature. Someone born blind is in one sense “naturally” blind but in another sense their blindness is unnatural because the nature of an eye is to see properly. I’m using the latter sense here. It is the nature of sexual desires to seek the “complementary other” for the purpose of carrying on the species).

      also, I’m aware that there are many biological factors that cause and/or influence homosexual attractions. but there are some people (a minority to be sure) who have successfully been “restored” to use Bob’s phrasing. Is there not a way to help those who are capable of “restoration” without demonizing those who aren’t?

      peace to all

      • Melissa Thompson says:

        M,

        Not ethically or legally can we “restore” someone to heterosexuality. More than 43 professional organizations have made this unethical because it harms. Unethical and banned. Who are we to decide that someone who is made in Gods full likeness, in his image, to say that they need to be restored? To encourage this in you g people and adults alike is to communicate the concept that they are disordered and broken. So our faith wants us to psychologically harm someone to match our ham view of the spectrum of sexuality?

        They are not diaorderes. God made these people. In His likeness and image. He made them. Jesus loved all and says nothing about homosexuality. Nothing. But I often wonder how he feels about the humans and organizations that collectively oppress their brothers, say the are not accepted in our church community? I can’t see Jesus coming to Eaeth and saying “Stop! You sinners! Let me stone you for loving each other. !” I thought that was his message.

        Again circling back. The church has every right to define sacramental marriage, but we live in a civil society based on religious freedom and not only Catholicism. Society in America has the right to vote for the rights of others.

        Our church is a big tent but the tenants are based on love, not cling our brothers and sisters in Christ flawed, broken and disordered. To do that is harmful and against Christ’s message

      • Jeremiah H says:

        *This comment is a response to Melissa Thompson’s below. For some reason there was no ‘reply’ option by her comment.*

        Melissa, you said the following: “Jesus loved all and says nothing about homosexuality. Nothing.”
        As a short, (tl:dr) answer, you’re incorrect because you misunderstand Christ’s moral teachings.
        As a longer answer, the *only thing Jesus ever said about marriage explicitly stated that it was meant for a man and a woman. The only thing he changed about Jewish marriage customs was to make divorce *almost* impossible. While you’re right that he said nothing explicitly about homosexuality per se, his explicit command on marriage implicitly indicated his beliefs about pretty much all the rest of Jewish sexual morality, and quite a bit of moral law.
        Basically, we are called to follow the law to the best of our ability. But, since it is now a law of love and grace, (Indeed, “Jesus loved all”, but modern people often assume his love is almost identical to theirs) we are able to follow it, and are to call others, (of all orientations and temptations,) to holiness.

        *Jesus also mentioned marriage in the context of a discussion about the general resurrection. Following up on Professor Rice’s comment about Christ’s controversial statements, Christ’s silence on homosexuality is a case of silence giving consent to Judaeo-Christian morality, modified by a Catholic understanding of human dignity, on this particular issue.

  15. Tim says:

    Your post definitely has me thinking about this issue, and that’s a good thing. But something didn’t sit right with me while I was reading it. I could be mis-interpreting what you said, but I sensed an underlying assumption in this post that the term “marriage” has only one meaning – regardless of whether you are talking about civil marriage or Catholic sacramental marriage. But they are two very different things with somewhat different purposes/goals. I think that’s why I found your arguments a little confusing. However, I very much appreciate the post and am looking forward to reading more of the responses.

  16. Brad says:

    Frankly, I am gay and it’s blog posts like this that have driven me to Atheism. By telling fellow Christians to be more forceful with their beliefs you are just driving more people away from the Church. Thank you to Melissa for interjecting some sane and scientifically backed information. I am seriously disheartened when I read that Christians want to practice “restoration therapy” on anyone, and I am so glad that it is illegal because it is harmful. Gay people have taken their lives over being forced into such reprehensible practices. What you are advocating is a dangerous practice and that’s what makes me think you are a bigot. I don’t even need to go into gay marriage, or gay adoption, or anti-discrimination laws because I frankly don’t need to. Outside of your deeply conservative Christian enclave you look so foolish it’s not funny. If you were to come to my college campus people would probably laugh at you.

    I am gay, but I can partake in everything and everything my straight friends can do. I can have romantic relationships, have sex, get married (well in the future here in the US, or if I move to Canada of course), and even raise healthy children if I so choose (which I would not). To say anything else is just silly. I may be gay, but I was raised in a loving home with two parents and never faced any trauma. I’ve known that I was gay before any trauma could have happened anyways.

    Oh, and you can’t change your sexual orientation anymore than I can.

  17. Kelly says:

    Bob, Thanks for the encouragement. I have been silent for a week. Feeling inadequate in my ability to express what I believe. I just posted your link in an attempt to stand up to the pressure I have been feeling to remain silent, to not be labeled.

  18. Nicole says:

    I think what’s most important here is that Catholics (and members of any other religion that is against gay marriage) are free to think whatever they want to think on this subject, but that their beliefs should not be made law.

    This is not a Catholic nation. This is not a Christian nation. This is a nation of freedom and equality. If you personally are against gay marriage, fine. Don’t marry a member of the same gender. But do not try to prohibit others from marrying the person they love. The Bible is not our constitution (thankfully) and should not be treated as such.

    Also – no you should not “restore” people. That is not only a ludicrous practice, it’s a very harmful one. In the same way that I very much doubt someone could “restore” you to homosexuality, you should not expect homosexuals to be tortured into thinking that there is something wrong with them that needs to be fixed. There have been numerous studies that have shown that there is a biological component that helps to determine sexuality.

    Religion in general (not just Catholicism) has to modernize if it doesn’t want to lose all credibility. Among 18-29 year olds, 81% support gay marriage*. In a generation that is already far more secular than generations past, religion is doing little to make itself appealing to young people.

    There are a million other arguments that can be made for gay marriage, but I won’t go into them. Mostly because the legalization of gay marriage is inevitable. It will happen, it’s just a matter of how soon. It would just be nice if we could all agree that no matter what your sexuality is, you are a human and therefore entitled to the same rights as every other human.

    *http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/03/18/gay-marriage-support-hits-new-high-in-post-abc-poll/

    • Josh says:

      Nicole,
      I just wanted to point out that in your post you jump from the argument of saying Catholics should accept the actions of others and not try to make them illegal; just don’t do them if you don’t wan’t to…to an argument telling Catholics that nobody should seek to be restored to heterosexuality. If your position is that freedom and equality means we all should live and let live…why try to prohibit a person from seeking that therapy…even if you think it is stupid or wrong? Aren’t they just as free and equal?

      • Melissa Thompson says:

        Because this type of therapy has been found harmful and unethical? Because professionals are banned from doing that kind of therapy because it has been found to be so harmful.

      • Nicole says:

        Because my position is live and let live *so long as your actions are not hurting another person*.

        Allowing gays to marry doesn’t hurt anyone. It just allows more people to be happy and marry whomever they love.

    • Melissa Thompson says:

      Outstanding Nicole! So well said

    • ren'ee says:

      As a nation, Are we not founded on “One Nation Under GOD”? We are all different, thankfully, but does that mean that we should all believe and make laws on what is not right? Abortion is already a horrible law, is it right to kill an innocent child when so many can not have one? Being gay or straight, if you have love to give, a child should grow in love, not abuse or foster home after foster home. Making gay marriage a law is not upholding “One Nation Under GOD”.

  19. The One says:

    How interesting that atheists and homosexuals would come to a religious blog to complain about how they are perceived by the religious people. Why do they care? If these religious people came to an atheist or homosexual webpage and ranted against their views, then they would be denounced as bigots! What a bunch of hypocrites… Go be gay, disbelieve or hate God and suffer any consequences of your actions if there really is a God but stop trying to make everyone accept your sins as normal!!!

    • Melissa Thompson says:

      Go be gay and hate God… How do those things even go together? Again if someone is made in Gods image how can you say that about your brothers and sisters in Christ?

    • Nicole says:

      “Why do they care?”

      As an atheist, I’m generally treated with a mixture of condescension and a “holier than thou” (literally and figuratively) attitude by the very religious people I know. And while I find that attitude frankly disgusting, I don’t let it bother me because I have my beliefs and they have theirs and that is how the world works. Your religion does not determine whether you are a “good” or “bad” person – your actions do.

      Where I do take issue is when you start trying to impose your own personal beliefs as law. Wouldn’t you care if a bunch of atheists tried to make the practice of Catholicism illegal? What about if our government decided to throw out the constitution and govern by the Quran or the Vedas? Would you care then?

      I don’t care about your opinion. It is your right to believe whatever you want, and I respect that. What I do care about is the fact that your opinion is being used as a tool of oppression. It is being used by policy makers to deny basic rights to some citizens of our country.

      In the same way that you have a moral code you live by, I have mine. And mine doesn’t stand for intolerance and oppression. That’s why I care.

  20. Dwayne says:

    If you really were to look back at the bible and look at it. You would find that the whole masculine and feminine nouns we use today didn’t exist back then during those times. Stop judging others, Christ did not preach to judge others. He preached to love. “Love one another as I have loved you” He called us to serve to those who need love. Reach out to those brothers and sisters who need love. And it isn’t GBLTs who need to change its “the church” and people who think homosexuality is morally wrong, there thinking needs to change. Exorcisms have been performed and nothings changed, so why change it, why not embrace it. Gays have many gifts of the Holy Spirit to share. Families exist in so many different forms from grand-parents, foster parents, single moms & dads, multiple mixed marriages. And for you that argue that gay couples can’t have kids that is why the surrogate mother was created. Heck there is even expression of gay love in the bible between David and Jonathan in the old testament. What the world needs now is Love, and that my friends is love of all in whatever form it may take and that includes GBLT relationships. An sex my friends is an expression of that love.

    • Melissa Thompson says:

      Here is a link that discusses issue that Dwayne is pointing out from the historical use of masculine and feminine and more.

      http://www.matthewvines.com/

      I’m just struck by the ideas expressed here that is your not like us you cannot be part of us. My heart hurts so much for our church. This debate is an example of religious intolerance. I keep praying that our church becomes more accepting not less.

      For the record I have been a chaperone at 4 youth conference where I have heard nothing but the message that Christ loves our youth as they are. But reading much of what was said here is very concerning, especially the suggestions about reparative therapy.

  21. Jeff says:

    Will be reading this again, Bob. Thanks. I very much like the premise of your article!
    Rom 1:18-27, I Cor 6:7-20; I Tim 1:3-10.

  22. Barbara-Anne says:

    Just wrote a 30 pages senior thesis on this!

  23. Jamie says:

    Thank you, Bob. You are very brave to write this blog post.

    It is really refreshing to see more and more Orthodox Catholics speaking up about the Truth. I am really glad that you are helping to make the distinction more clear: not agreeing with someone’s behavior does not mean that I hate him/her.

    Thank you for speaking the Truth with love.

  24. M says:

    A lot of people are arguing the “believe what you want but keep your religion out of America’s laws” argument.

    I think a lot of y’all missed the part where the author (Bob) said this post was not about the legality of same-sex marriage in America, but rather about Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Same-sex civil marriage in America is a worthy discussion but it’s not this discussion.

    You might find this interesting though. It kind of covers both topics.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2013/04/the-difficulty-with-engaging-gay-marriage.html

    peace to all.

  25. M says:

    As far as reparative therapy and being “restored” to heterosexuality:

    what about the many people who claim to be (for lack of a better term) ex-gay? They exist. And there are a lot of them. Try a google search.

    also there are these articles

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Sex/story?id=117465&page=1#.UVycHFeQPKV

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/us/ex-gay-men-fight-view-that-homosexuality-cant-be-changed.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

    let me reiterate: I don’t think reparative therapy is good for everybody. I don’t think all gay people can change to heterosexual attractions.

    But some can change, and therapy is good for some people.

    Is there not a middle ground here? can’t we find a way for those who want to seek change to pursue it in a loving way?

    peace to all.

  26. Paul says:

    How easy it is to cast stones at gay people when you’re straight. Unless you’re gay and have had to bear this particulsr cross all your life, you don’t know what you’re talking about and have no right to judge.

  27. Bob Rice says:

    I’d like to thank everyone for that discussion. It’s a serious topic and I thought everyone spoke their minds with respect, or at least civility, for others who disagree with them.