In my recent post on both sides of the Arizona “Anti-Gay” Bill SB1062, I tried to lay out both sides of the bill: why it’s scary to have it and why what it was responding to (the Elaine Photography lawsuit in New Mexico) is equally scary. I want to show that the Christian/Bible vs. LGBT/Gay Rights debate isn’t as black and white as it’s been made out to be. What’s interesting is that the standard views on both sides of the debate can’t handle the notion that there is grey area here. The idea of a middle ground, or a third stance, or an elevated conversation seems to shatter the one-sided, only-one-voice-allowed, stance from which each side makes their case and then vigorously launches their grenades from. Here are some things to consider that I hope muddy up the waters for everyone, with the hope that in these muddy waters we might find an agreeable solution devoid of name-calling and abounding in civility and actual love from both sides of the fence: (Not that we’ll all agree–I’m not that delusional! But something agreeable for our overall society and relationship together.)
- Under what paradigm does a 100% Gay, 100% Celibate, 100% Bible-Believing Christian fit under? This is a person who understands their homosexual identity as involving much more than simply the act of sex. They maintain the label of being gay/homosexual because it is being true to who they are. They are born this way. They discovered it at the young age of 7. They’ve tried to not be this way and they can’t. But their identity is bigger than who they are sleeping with and/or if they are sleeping with anyone at all.
- The standard Christian argument can’t handle this. They (the standard Christian side) are heterosexuals (straight). And these heterosexuals, with zero* experience of their own, believe without a shadow of a doubt that people are not born gay. That homosexuals who say they are born gay are lying.
- This Christian side also will not allow a Gay Christian to keep the label “gay”. The reason for this is because they misunderstand what the Bible says about homosexuality. They see the Bible saying it is a sin to “be gay”, i.e. it’s a sin to have same sex attraction. They refuse to see that this is not what the Bible says. The Bible says it is a sin to have sex with the same gender. But regardless of what the Bible actually says, this standard Christian side continues to beat the drum that “being gay” is sinful, thus they have no room for the Gay Celibate Christian.
*A nuance that needs to be noted is that there is a wide spectrum of homosexual attraction and struggle, which I spell out in detail here. There are many cases of those who have been able to change and overcome their homosexual attraction. This does not mean they are the rule, or even the exception to the rule. It is a reminder that every situation is different and it’s best not make “rules” here. Not everyone’s struggle is of the same magnitude and these legitimate cases (which are very important to this conversation in and of themselves) do not negate the countless amount of homosexuals who did not choose who they are attracted to, have tried everything under the sun to change and are unable to, so thus have accepted who they are. While this group does not make up 100% of the LGBT community, they make up a large portion of it and is who I am referring to here.
- The standard side of the LGBT community also has no room for the Gay Celibate Christian. This portion of the LGBT community clings to idea that their ability to have sex with someone of their gender is their identity. This is why names such as “bigot” and “hateful” are thrown at Christians such as myself who identify that the Bible tells us the verb of homosexuality (the acts of sex themselves) are sinful, but the noun (to “be gay”) isn’t. There is no distinction in this portion of the LGBT community between the noun and the verb. But think of the implications of this:
- Does a homosexual cease to be a homosexual when they aren’t having sex or in a relationship? If a homosexual is single, are they then rejected by the homosexual community as no longer being “one of theirs”?
- Think about this if it were a heterosexual. If a heterosexual is single and celibate, which is an extremely normal and very widespread thing to be, do they then lose their “heterosexual” status? Of course not!
- So if I hire a Gay Christian to be a pastor at my church, a Gay Christian who happens to have made the choice to be celibate and single, are they somehow no longer gay? Of course not! They are just as gay as partners in a gay marriage. So if I hire this single Gay Christian as a pastor of my church, how can I possibly be called a bigot, hateful, or discriminatory by the Gay Rights Movement? (And let’s say I also voted in favor of Gay Marriage…) But the Gay Rights Movement loves calling me these names so even though this shatters their paradigm and their argument, they will refuse to let me off the hook.
- And the standard side of the Christian argument would undoubtedly label me as unbiblical for hiring an openly gay pastor, even though this pastor was doing everything the Bible told him to do! He is no more sinful than I am as one who is attracted to multiple women, but chooses to not act on these attractions based on my belief that the Bible is God’s word and says those actions are sinful (and yes, the mental act of lust is an action–very distinct from attraction, which is not an action). So if my gay single celibate pastor is denounced as unbiblical, then every heterosexual pastor who is attracted to multiple women needs also to be denounced. But the standard side of the Christian argument loves to hold their ground, even when it’s in direct contradiction of the Bible they are so vigorously are arguing for. So even though the Gay Celibate Christian shatters their paradigm and their argument, they will refuse to take the crucial and biblical steps forward into this murky muddy middle where we hopefully can reopen the doors for a non-believing world to see Christians as lights for Christ’s love and mercy once more.
And it’s not me, some straight heterosexual pastor, who is championing this message–it’s Gay Celibate Christians themselves. No matter how entrenched the standard LGBT and standard Christian sides are, the Gay Celibate Christians are growing in number and their voice is getting louder. I pray it will be loud enough to puncture the earplugs of both sides. Observe:
- My friend Jim Decke, who is openly gay and is also a Bible-believing celibate Christian, preaching a sermon entitled “Gay Christian?”, alongside of me.
- A blog by Mike Lado entitled Celibate Disciple – An explanation of why he is an openly gay (though he doesn’t use that label), celibate, Bible-believing follower of Jesus, with a link to ask him any question you have!
- The book Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill, an openly gay celibate Christian
Please post in the comments any other Gay Celibate Christian resources that you know of.
Author of Beyond the Battle: A man's guide to his identity in Christ in an oversexualized world
Host of the The Flip Side Podcast
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