Churches and Gay Youth

 

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: A personal moment of prayer for Joey Heath, a Master of Divinity student at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. There was a time it seemed very unlikely he would be where he is today, a time when he was praying for God to make him whole, make him so he wasn’t gay.

JOEY HEATH: At the time I believe that it was something I needed to be healed from, and so I would pray every day that God would just heal me of this, this evil part of me, and that this would be just removed and I would be cleansed and made whole again.

SEVERSON: Today, Joey says he feels whole, but he’s still gay and still facing the kind of condemnation he faced in his United Methodist church when he first came out.

HEATH: I was involved somewhat in the leadership of the campus ministry, and then my campus minister said I can no longer speak on behalf of the ministry because it’d be an endorsement of my lifestyle, which for me was devastating.

Pastor Heidi Neumark
Pastor Heidi Neumark

SEVERSON: Pastor Heidi Neumark says that condemnation has led to outright discrimination. She says too many churches have created an environment where it’s okay to bash gays or lesbians or bisexuals or transgenders, known collectively as LGBTs.

PASTOR HEIDI NEUMARK (Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan): Churches have played a huge role, probably the largest role in fostering homophobia. The church encourages these young people to be viewed as less than human, dehumanized and even demonized, and it creates an atmosphere where it’s okay to be verbally abusive, be physically abusive. So these young people, many of them, suffer profoundly, physically, psychically, spiritually.

SEVERSON: During the day, Pastor Neumark runs a school for young children at her New York City church, which is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. At night she operates a shelter for LGBT kids, because she says since churches have been a big part of the problem, they should be part of the solution. Jonathan Sawyer, who sleeps in the church basement every night, represents an alarming statistic. Nationwide, 20 to 30 percent of homeless kids are LGBT. In New York City it is one in three, according to Zak Rittenhouse, who works in a homeless shelter for gay and straight youths.

ZAK RITTENHOUSE (Green Chimneys): Here in New York City, 7,000 kids identify as gay or lesbian, and they’re on the streets for various reasons, and there’s definitely some religious ties to that.

SEVERSON: Zak is gay. He grew up in a Baptist church, where he says he was taught that being gay was sick and an abomination. He says many kids who come out are forced out the house by parents who accepted that doctrine from their churches.

RITTENHOUSE: The parents don’t know how to react when their kids come out, so they push them out on the streets. The kids don’t feel safe at home, so they run away.

Zak Rittenhouse
Zak Rittenhouse

SEVERSON: Matt Gromlich went to a private Christian school and says what he had been taught in church made it traumatic when he discovered he was gay.

MATT GROMLICH: At some churches that I’ve visited, you know, there’d be messages about how homosexuality is wrong, or they’d throw it in with a list of sins, and, you know, I wouldn’t really say anything, but just not go back. In that time I was really struggling with faith and being gay, you know, and well, if I accept that I am gay, which I had at that point, then how can I still be Christian?

HEATH: The church says these things where, you know, if you don’t change, you’re going to hell, and people get to a point where they feel like, well, I can’t change, so I guess there’s no hope, and so they abandon the church.

SEVERSON (speaking to Pastor Bob Perdue): If I came to you and I said, “Pastor, I am gay,” what would you say to me?

PASTOR BOB PERDUE (Senior Pastor, Old Dominion Baptist Church, Bristol, Virginia): I would say that’s against the creative order of God. It violates the way God has set it up, and so while I understand that you have that attraction and that it developed maybe by no fault of your own, you’re not free to act upon that.

SEVERSON: Bob Perdue is pastor of the Old Dominion Baptist Church in Bristol, Virginia. Like many other Christians, he believes the Bible makes it clear that living a gay lifestyle is a sin. But he doesn’t believe it’s any worse than any other sins.

PERDUE: A lot of times the church will quote Leviticus 18:22 and say, you know, man lying with man is an abomination. What we forget is that Proverbs also says pride and lying and gossip are also abominations to God.

Pastor Bob Perdue
Pastor Bob Perdue

SEVERSON: Nor does he believe, like many Christian conservatives, that being gay or lesbian is a choice. But he does believe that acting on an attraction to the opposite sex is a choice and a sin to God.

When Zak Rittenhouse came out, his parents sent him to a six-week camp that promised to make him interested in women.

RITTENHOUSE: They had told us all that by the end of this six weeks we would all be heterosexual men and women walking in the light of the Lord.

SEVERSON: He says of the 80 kids who went to camp, to his knowledge none came out straight. Though there are no reliable statistics on whether these ex-gay ministries actually work, many, including Pastor Neumark, think it is cruel to try to force change on these young people.

PASTOR HEIDI NEUMARK: There’s members of the congregation here who have been in therapy to try and get them to stop being gay and, well, I haven’t talked with anybody that that’s worked for. I think that’s abusive.

SEVERSON: Pastor Perdue says both he and the church are there to help heal those who are broken, whether it’s sex, pornography, gambling.

PERDUE: I would first ask you why you considered yourself gay, and I would expand that identity to include other parts of who you are and hopefully get you to see that you’re so much more than just that sexual attraction, you know, just like an alcoholic. I do the same thing with them.

SEVERSON: Like an alcoholic, says Perdue, homosexuals need to learn how to control their yearning so they can, in his words, “experience life to the fullest.” The pastor knows of what he speaks.

PERDUE: I was sexually abused at 10 or 11, and those were my first sexual memories, so I developed an attraction, a same-sex attraction, which obviously at first—my first response to that was to suppress it. And then the kind of guilt and shame of all of that led me to a suicide attempt.

Couple holding marriage equality poster

SEVERSON: After 30 days in a psychiatric hospital, Pastor Perdue says he came to terms with his sexual proclivity. He’s now married and the father of five children.

PERDUE: I can’t say that my attraction has completely changed. I liken it to my fellow ministers who are married. Their attraction for other women hasn’t gone away, but they’re choosing not to act on that attraction because they’ve made a vow and a commitment in a certain direction. It’s the same for me.

SEVERSON: There are a number of denominations that accept practicing gay ministers, and Pastor Neumark says as more young people come out, and homosexuality becomes better accepted by society, ever more churches will have to eventually teach tolerance, even if they believe the lifestyle is sinful.

NEUMARK: What really makes me angry is to know that church people—because I love the church, I’m a pastor of a church—have a real hand in creating so much pain.

SEVERSON: Pastor Perdue agrees the position of many churches against homosexuality has been harmful but says he doesn’t know many other pastors who share his view.

PERDUE: They haven’t walked where I’ve walked. They haven’t been where I’ve been. While I haven’t changed my theology on what homosexuality is that I have definitely changed my attitude toward people who struggle.

SEVERSON: After Joey Heath completes his theological education, he hopes to be ordained a pastor.

HEATH: I feel called by God to minister to those that have been pushed out and neglected by the church, and the church to a certain point has created a class of people that are not worthy of church, and I want to go to those people.

SEVERSON: But before he can go to those people, he needs to be ordained, and the United Methodist church, his church, does not as yet ordain self-avowed, practicing homosexuals. For Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, I’m Lucky Severson in Washington.

  • Margie Ettinger

    I just viewed this segment, and what occurs to me is that the homosexual community is always seeking justification for the practice of its tendencies. The Church universal calls for sexual purity. That can be in marriage, Holy Orders, or the single life. It is a dedication that must be purposefully undertaken (no matter what one’s orientation). One can be of homosexual orientation but that does not excuse one of sin, which is an action taken in free will against God’s given laws. This applies to heterosexuals as well as homosexuals.

  • Paul Murphy

    While I greatly appreciate Lucky Severson tackling this important subject matter, I’m concerned by what I see as a subtle and creeping sense of homophobia that pervades Mr. Severson’s reporting.

    First of all, at the core of this entire issue is the status quo assumption in mainstream Christianity that being gay is inherently sinful. This assumption permeates every level of this story, and it is unevenly addressed by his reporting. For example, while Severson allows in his narration that “some churches accept gays” he never really expands on this. In fact, the only direct reference to this core theological question is addressed by the anti-gay Pastor Purdue. Of course, Purdue claims that being gay is “…against the creative order of God” and that it ” …violates the way God has set it up…” Fine. But, why in the world doesn’t Severson allow someone from the opposing view to directly challenge this charge? After all, an increasing number of Christians – including leaders like Pastor Neumark- would passionately dispute such an assumption.

    Furthermore, it seems to me that Severson subtly frames this story with tired stereotypes and homophobic language that was out-dated decades ago. For example, he consistently favors homophobic terms in his narration like “lifestyle,” “practicing homosexual,” and even refers to sexual orientation as “sexual proclivity.” These biased terms have been outdated for some time, and reveal a subtle anti-gay bias.

    I’m not certain that Severson is consciously aware of his anti-gay bias, but what pushes it over the top for me is a moment towards the end of the story. In this segment, the anti-gay Pastor Perdue outrageously implies that his own sexual abuse as a child somehow led to his own gay sexual orientation. (An orientation which he feels is inherently sinful, and therefore has attempted to reject) It’s fine to quote Pastor Perdue, but linkages between sexual abuse and homosexuality have been WIDELY disavowed in the scientific community for DECADES, and yet, Severson not only lets this misinformation slip into the story unchallenged, but further frames Perdue’s anti-gay propaganda with the authoritative narration “the pastor knows of what he speaks!” Again, I don’t think that Severson is necessarily aware of his anti-gay bias, but his language seems steeped in an ignorance that was disavowed 10-20 years ago.

    Note to editor. I respect that we haven’t all had a chance to learn as much as we should about issues surrounding the struggles of the LGBT community. But such blatant homophobic framing of stories like this is beneath the high standard of reporting I’ve come to expect from an organization like PBS. I’m disappointed.

    Sincerely,

    Paul Murphy
    New York, NY

  • Hugh (Bart) Vincelette

    To say that “too many churches have created an environment where it’s OK to bash gays , lesbians…..” doesn’t begin to cover it. The defining moment for conservative Christianity came during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. They successfully opposed the use of any public funds for HIV research. The subsequent delay in acquiring effective treatment options denied thousands even a fighting chance at survival. So much for respect for human life and Christian compassion. It is a myth.

  • Leonardo

    Your segment about “Churches and Gay Youth” is another example of your outstanding ability to “do” exceptional reporting. At the end of Lent, I hope I can say that I became a more compassionate person. As ever…Leo

  • Donny C. Hampton

    I just watched Lucky Severson’s report on outreach to Christian LGBT youth. While I’m pleased that this topic was covered (I wish you’d cover it more), several things bothered me about it:

    1) There was no discussion of transsexual teenagers in this report at all. Transsexual persons (mislabeled “transgender”) may or may not be homosexual. They possess a gender identity that doesn’t match their biological appearance, which is a different issue from same-gender attraction . . . so Religion and Ethics News Weekly has yet to address this particular kind of outreach.

    2) “Ex-Gay” programs weren’t touted in this report, but in my opinion, they weren’t cautioned against strongly enough. These “ministries” are a cruel joke, and there is no Scriptural justification for their existence. Rev. Perdue, the minister who said he suffered from “unwanted” same-gender attraction is dangerously deluded. He claims that a male child predator afflicted him with homosexuality. This is impossible. Homosexual or bisexual orientation existed within him prior to the abuse, and that fact was likely recognized by his abuser, who took advantage of it. I have long believed that Gay children are targeted by pedophiles because they see them as the most vulnerable kind of prey. At any rate, a rapist does not have the power to change his victim’s sexual orientation.

    I sympathize with Rev. Perdue’s plight, but if he is conducting a marital relationship with a woman and feels no physical attraction toward her, then he is committing a sin. Christians are forbidden to bear false witness! He may mean well, but teaching believers to live a lie is anything but Christ-like. I would not recommend that Lesbian and Gay faithful come under sway of this man’s misguided ministry. He has unresolved personal issues that he refuses to come to grips with.

    3) If Gay people are ever going to do what Rev. Perdue says they must do, see themselves as full human beings not defined by their sexual attraction, then society must stop calling them “Gays” and “homosexuals”. This widespread habit narrows human beings down to their sexuality and equates them with sexual behavior. They are Gay men and women! Adjectives are being inappropriately used as nouns, and people are being demeaned in the process.

    In summary, I want to stress that when it comes to recognizing Gay men and women as children of God, fully entitled to compassion, respect and spiritual sustenance, 99.9% simply won’t do. A flawed interpretation of the Bible (the laws of Leviticus have NEVER applied to Christians) is leading countless conservative evangelists and their trusting flocks down the road to Hell! They’ve caused and are causing immeasurable harm to the ones Jesus Christ called “eunuchs because they were born that way” (Matthew 19:12), and much repentance is required of them.

  • Rev. David R. Froemming

    The most insightful conversation I have found on the issue of LGBT was when NPR interviewed James Alison, a gay Roman Catholic theologian whose work in scripture and Renee Girard is exceptional. See for example his article on Romans 1 & 2, “But the Bible Says….” It can be found on his website.

    Rev. David R. Froemming (ELCA)

  • Daniel Leyva

    Thank you for this wonderful report about this rather ignored problem! Many of us have been hurted by the teachings of some churches, yet we remain faithful to God. We need to bring light to the fact that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

  • Rick

    7,000 kids identify LGBT and in streets of NYC

  • Bradley Barnhart

    My wife & I watched this program this evening. At first I wasn’t so sure as I thought it would not be objective & fairly consider both sides of the issue. We personally support the position of Mr. Perdue on homosexual behavior & appreciate his personal/direct experience & struggle with this issue. This has been a difficult struggle for many who I have a similar church heritage with (Community of Christ). Thank you for your insightful treatment of the topic.

  • Ryan

    I have to say that as a Reformed Christian… one who recognizes that the Bible identifies homosexuality as sinful… I know nothing or anyone who has this “homophobia” or “fear of the same” as you say. I promise you that homosexuals or bisexuals do not cause me to have any amount of fear. How silly to label those who see that homosexual sex acts and relationships as sinful as fearful.

  • John Thompson

    This is SO GREAT. God bless all of you involved in ministering to the GLBT youth who are just “thrown out”. And, also thanks for continuing to call the church to its great sin of prejudice and bigotry and hurting. No wonder Jesus was so hard on the religious leaders of his day…..and ours????]

  • Aaron Ashcraft

    For 40 years, I prayed every day to be delivered from same sex attraction. Like Pastor Perdue, I married, fathered two children out of fear about society’s rejection of homosexuality; my wife died of cancer after 32 years of marriage; she never knew of my internal battles. After 1 year of counseling, I finally embraced my homosexuality and became comfortable in my own skin. When I cam out, my Presbyterian pastor told me I could no longer be in any leadership position because I am gay and in a relationship. I was forced to resign as a Church Elder and gave up my position as chief fund raiser for the church. I left the Presbyterians and joined an accepting Episcopal congregation.

    Tomas and I have been together for 9 years in a 100% monogamous relationship & it isn’t all about sex: we care for each other, work, laugh and cry together; we both accept who we are as children of God, no matter what the church says.

    Religious homophobia carries over into American laws; the Defense of Marriage Act (1996) does not allow American gays to sponsor their foreign partners for immigration. As a consequence, at age 67, I was forced to move to Spain in order to maintain my relationship with Tomas. It is a travesty that mainstream religious beliefs have become embedded in USA statutes that legally discriminate against gays and lesbians.

  • Joseph Norquist

    I can understand a pastor who can defend their attitude that sexual orientation is not sinful because it is a given, not chosen, but that any sexual activity with another person of the same sex is sinful because the Bible calls it an abomination IF that pastor also is consistent enough to say the any work on the sabbath is an aqbominationa dn the Bible says that person shold be putto death. Then they are consistent. And if they refuse to accept marriage after divorce, as Jesus recommended; then they are consistent in their own (perhaps intolerant) beliefs. I have yet to find such a person.

  • JimmyH

    I like what pastor Purdue says about helping people expand their identity in the hopes of getting them to see that they’re so much more than a particular sexual attraction.

  • Stephen S

    I appreciate PBS bringing this topic to light. The church and it’s interaction with the LGBT community is a topic that must continue to be explored and expanded as awareness and enlightenment continue in the US. I am a gay Christian, and it pains me to see how the LGBT community remains the final bastion of the unwanted and unwelcome in America’s churches. Just as the African American community only recently found welcome in predominantly white-saturated faith communities, the LGBT community remains isolated, with very few churches and denominations possessing outreaches to our community. Instead, we are made to feel like we are not welcome, unless we enter with the intent of “curing our illness.” It’s so easy for heterosexual churchgoers to forget grace and mercy when the issues isn’t one they’ve struggled with all their lives. We can forgive those divorced and remarried, smokers, alcoholics, single mothers, etc, but NOT the homosexuals.

    I thank God for saving me, showing me He loves me, and putting me in contact with those who have shown me that there is no condemnation in the Gospel. I pray that America will experience revival in this area. That the church can reach out and treat others as Christ would have treated them. After all, Christ said nothing on the subject of monogamous, loving LGBT relationships :^)

  • jonathan payne

    How should an “enlightened” Christian respond to a young man struggling with lust for girls and bedding them to satisfy his urges? What if he felt totally morally unconcerned in having as much casual sex as he could get and also considered himself a practicing Christian… and was a leader in his church youth group?

    I think sin is sin. It is one thing to struggle with sinful urges and failing and needing help and support from others. It is another thing to insist that one has no sin when the bible clearly says otherwise.

    Jesus said:
    And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. Matthew 18:9

    The Apostle John said about sin:
    8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:8-10

    What is so difficult to grasp about these statements? Nothing. The real problem is a heart problem.
    PBS is obfuscating the real issue; this heart-issue by injecting Gay-rights into the mix. What about mens’ other lust-rights? Somehow we all understand that men shouldn’t give in to their every sexual lusts, or their anger and violence, or their greed etc. But it’s somehow different with homo-sex.

    One last thought; the bible says that there will be a day when people claiming to be followers of Jesus will depart from His teachings and the bible and look for other sources of “truth” to satisfy their own desires.

    3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

    Could this be that time, that moment the Apostle Paul warned about?

  • Jasper

    i think that this is the reason why i got pushed away from church and religin so much. i realized i was gay by the age 8. im 18 now. being gay is not a choice. i did not choose to lose mi mom and dad. i did not choose to live on the streets. and all becuz i am atracted to the same sex.?? that jus alil messed up. why cant i live the way GOD decided me to live. no one can tell me why. why is it a sin? why? why? why?

  • Lia T.

    I’ve never responded to entries like this before and I felt like I might as well share my opinions or facts . We are living in a nation that gives us the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to pursue our own happiness what more can you ask for. With the many changes we face day to day with the many people that come to our states to prosper and build a new life in a nation they call home. We the people are concerned about homosexuals? I understand this whole bias about homosexuality, but do you(homosexuals) ever look in the mirror and ask yourself “Am I Bias?” and “Am I Selfish?”. There is so many issues in this world yet homosexual rights is always being highlighted. I find this unfortunate that people or social elite parties change laws for personal gain. It’s only natural and factual that your physical presentation proves you are what you are, scientist can rig theories and influence a society. But in the eye of the beholder you are what he wanted you to be, not just physically but spiritually as well. Churches and temples have been vandalized by homosexuals as they claim they are being mistreated by church members or people who don’t agree with their lifestyle. I find this as a wrongful tactic to influence society for an immoral support and I’m not going to just support anything that I don’t believe is right.
    I fear “God” and regardless what goes on in this world my main concern is raising my family, friends and helping others. I have to say that as an American and a law abiding citizen this is not something that should concern me. When comes down to my values and belief, I do have my rights to oppose to those I feel are harming these morals. With all this self deprivation of understanding and consideration for each other, I’ve seen that individuals want to take this matter into an extent that will affect anothers life and allow some to gain personal preference rights. I must admit I do not believe that homosexuality is hereditary or that it’s a born condition, it’s a choice that even anybody can make. However, I do know that Steve and Edgar are human beings that should be treated equal regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation. And to change the laws to conform to homosexuals is undermining America and its constitution. And it’s opening the doors to other parties that will want to add their personal preference conformities to the constitution to where it is going to be speculated, and our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to pursue our own happiness can possibly be jeopardized. Think about it, I see that America is tolerating a lot but where does it draw the line from moral and immoral values?

  • Esther

    As a balance of the representation of gay men and women, it would have been very interesting had the interviews included people who are no longer gay because of their Christian faith, as well as those that are gay and have chosen not to act upon their sexual feelings. These people do exist, and it would have been more fair to show both sides of the coin.

  • David M.

    Some people really need to study God’s word ,Steven S.for example states”I am a gay christian” but if he really understood the laws of God he would repent and be saved because as long as he claims to be gay and pratices such then he is not a christian at all in biblical terms. People are always trying to find a way to justify their way of living if it is contrary to Gods way therefore they think they can escape condimnation and the guilt that goes along with it ,may God help you all.

  • Lisa Wickens

    While I believe that this topic should be more often talked about and reported on, this particular little segment had alot of minformation and holes in it. I’m still not completely sure what I am but about four months ago I came out to more then just a few friends. I accepted that I’m not straight in the fact that I found a closeness and possibly even love with a beautiful young woman named Sarah.

    I haven’t been to church since.

    Though I still retain my faith and love for my heavenly Father I’m almost afraid to go to church now. Not afriad of the looks and whispers becaues who honestly hasn’t dealt with looks and whispers for something in their lifetime. I don’t wish to be prayed over. I’m not sick, this isn’t some disease. I am who I am. I have to wonder, if I truely was born the way I am (like I believe in my heart I was) then didn’t God create me this way? If this is true then am I not the way he meant me to be? “and He said it was Good.” a direct qoute from the bible, Genisis I believe.

  • Adam

    After struggling through all my teen years with this subject, I have come to the realization that a 8 year old boy, (that is when I first noticed I wasn’t like any other boy, specially my 2 brothers) could not have chosen such a path, these people, whom claim that it is a “Chosen” lifestyle, I really pray that one day the Lord will show you that there is not such thing.

    After telling my mother that I was not sure about my attraction to girls when I was 16, she cried, and swore that if I was gay, she would commit suicide, so I agreed to go to therapy and church. I lied to my mom, and my brothers that I was “healed” but there is no such thing as a “healed homosexual” because it is not a disease, I hope that you, who think this is a chosen identity, not one God has chosen for you, I would encourage you to watch or read Prayers for Bobby, or watch “Through my Eyes” produced by Gay Christian Network.

    Today I have come to the conclusion that the past 4 years of tears, countless nights, begging for a cure to this thing that killed my soul and spirit, I have not chosen this path, it was given to me by the Lord, or reasons that I will never understand, because WHO AM I to question the Lord’s judgement, and W

  • Mark E Roberts

    The most thorough and sensitive Scripture study on the subject may be found at http://robgagnon.net .

  • Dave

    On my blog, I’m responding to this news story. I started to respond here and realized that a story like this deserved more attention from me than one combox can provide.
    So far, I’ve written three installments. They were published on March 13th, March 16th and March 18th. More is coming.

  • Erik

    I appreciate that this program represented both sides fairly. Particularly in allowing Pastor Bob Perdue to speak for one side rather than an unsympathetic hypocritical self-righteous fundamentalist like Fred Phelps.

    I have journaled my story, struggles, and victories on my blog for about 3 years and it hasn’t been any easy road. But the blessings I have seen in remaining faithful and the support I have received from my closest friends and the elders in my church has been overwhelming. You can read it on “Journal of A Battling Christian”

    Love, sympathy, compassion and understanding for GLBT people doesn’t require condoning their choosing to act on their inclinations.

    In fact, in my experience it seems we (those with same sex attractions) often have to be the first to extend grace to the church in order to try to get them to understand what we are going through, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    Erik

  • H.(Bart) Vincelette

    A second submission that I feel is significant to the issue discussed, : Following the brutal torture & murder of Matthew Shepard, in Laramie, Wyoming; his mother, Judy, said that she didn’t blame the young killers so much as society for giving them permission to do so. The article describes what we homosexual persons have always known. The relentless & irrational obsession of the religious right with homosexuality & the denigration of gays is responsible for every act of anti-gay discrimination, violence & murder. Most rhetoric from pulpits & TV screens uses the only admonition in the Old Testament that is no longer followed, as the others belong to something they call the old covenant; presumably replaced by the teachings of Christ. Why do they still adhere to the one?
    Additionally, right wing politicians follow suit in order to get elected by the right wing electorate. It has nothing to with theology & everything to do with hatred & bigotry.
    Another point, briefly; despite the actions previously forbidden under the pre-Christian covenant, like wearing clothes made from two materials or more, eating shellfish, or planting two crops in one field; being cancelled; the fact remains that these & other actions were forbidden, often with death called for in response. What sort of deity would ever have insisted on such ridiculous admonitions?

  • Desire Good

    We try not to live in the past … many of us move forward, and we live in the present as if it is the only present that has ever been lived. It is the life that is most real to us … the present. So, let’s go back thousands of years to the present that then was.

    The present, to the Jews, during the time of Moses through the time of Jesus Christ and still today to modern Jews was, is, and will be the law of Moses. In Christianity, we have forsaken the law, which is understandable since our righteousness is no longer judged by the law of Moses. We have a new law, which is a reiteration of the old law … love God – love one another.

    The law under Moses was and is (remember – modern Jews) straightforward concerning LGBT activities: Leviticus 20:13 (KJV), so concerning their religion, they are bound by their law to exclude LGBT participants. Whether they actually do it, is another position. Under modern religions, it is not an overstatement to say that this is normal behavior within that religion – not hatred, not bias, not abusive – it has been their law, their present, for thousands of years. Is it wrong then, well, that’s the covenant that God established with them – so take it up with God, not them.

    I am amazed how, in the USA, we think our way of life is the only way of life, and everyone must tolerate it – those who don’t are mean, bias, rude, etc.

    Christianity works off of love – defining what love is – is truly the problem amongst us.