As our frequent commentator, John Farnham (user name: "opit") might view it, the following is conveniently framing a debate (one of John's themes with which I concur).
The conservative narrative frames the homosexuality debate as a fight for biblical conviction in a relativistic and sexually confused culture. In this view, homosexual behavior is clearly sinful, like all other sexual behavior outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage.
Some conservative pastors, scholars, and activists treat the homosexuality issue as a pivotal matter in church life (and culture). They believe that we must hold the line right here, right now, or Christian sexual ethics (and Christian biblical commitments) will be compromised irreparably. Others try to treat it as one issue among many, but still hold the moral rejection of homosexual behavior with certainty. The "moral of this story" is that homosexuality is a sin that must be resisted even against powerful cultural currents demanding its acceptance.
At the other pole of the homosexuality debate within the Christian community is a justice-and-liberation understanding of the issue. This view holds that homosexuals are a population victimized by a bigotry rooted in irrational prejudices and a misreading of Scripture. The injustices homosexuals experience are, in this view, a cruel violation of the Christian values of love and justice. These values, in turn, are viewed as either overriding biblical prohibitions on homosexual conduct or as leading to a re-interpretation of those Scripture passages.
Those who hold this view of the debate believe that Christians should side with homosexuals and act on behalf of their liberation from such oppression and victimization. The moral of this story is that homosexuality is one of the biggest human-rights issues of our time — and that the church must join the fight on the side of the victims.
Source:by David Gushee. Associated Baptist Press. May 1, 2008.
The above falsely framed the debate, meaning it terminated consideration of other views before even beginning to discuss the issue. It put the Christian debate as one of being between so-called conservative Christians on one side and everybody else professing Christianity on the other. However, such is not all encompassing of the actual range of views, far from it.
I won't even attempt to list all the different views on this issue. They are as varied as there are human beings, and many individuals have multiple views on it and have yet to take an ultimate stand.
The Real Liberal Christian Church (RLCC) is not "conservative" or "liberal" in the sense those two terms have been commonly used in the mainstream over the span of my lifetime. The RLCC takes its definition of liberal (real) from Isaiah as understood in view of the further enlightening example of Jesus of course. The real liberal is harmless as a dove and therefore beneficial only. The RLCC position is that homosexuality is harmful on all levels. It definitely promotes physical illnesses and what are termed psychological and spiritual illnesses too, all though the RLCC holds that the brain and flesh are manifestations of spirit and the psyche is "soul." I don't differentiate except for the sake of establishing definitions. Otherwise, we might never learn to share and speak the same language: The language of the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The author of the above quote wrote, "The church must join the fight on the side of the victims." I agree. It remains though to identify the victims. All are the victims. All are the victims of selfishness.
Homosexuality brings disease (dis-ease). For those who put great stock in science, the medical profession as a long list of diseases directly promoted by homosexual behavior. See: "Homosexuals: What they ignore" for an introduction. The material may be a bit dated due to time constraints, but the point is still valid. The RLCC holds with the position that homosexuality is a pathogen.
One of the arguments for siding with homosexuals is that they don't have a choice, but that is totally untrue. Absolutely no one must engage in homosexual behavior. To contend otherwise is ridiculous.
So, we have the indisputable fact that homosexuality promotes diseases and it is a non-starter to propose that any one must perform homosexual acts. Now, in cases where one does engage in such behavior, who then are the victims?
The victims are all those who are negatively impacted. The costs or consequences are measurable by God alone. They radiate harm outward in a cascade dragging down the whole in the aggregate.
Many will stop far short of even beginning to have an appreciation for the negative impact. One aspect of the homosexual condition is that it proselytizes. It works to spread itself via what may be thought of as akin to thought viruses if you will. The quoted material above is a case in point. The homosexuals have developed what at first may appear to be a sophisticated propaganda campaign to re-frame the issue. The author (David P. Gushee) may or may not be a homosexual or bi-sexual, but he is certain restating the homosexual propaganda. It is however very crude when analyzed by Jesus's perfect tool (results). The results of homosexuality are all bad. There is nothing inherently redeeming about it. That's why it has been repeatedly rejected over the millennia.
Homosexuals will say that they are just as anyone else with the exception that they engage in homosexuality. Well, there are homosexuals doing very nearly the range of things others do with the exception of those things that preclude homosexuality. A murderer may say the same thing. A pedophile may say the same thing. It is a non-point. The fact that homosexuals have things in common with non-homosexuals doesn't serve to demonstrate that homosexuality ought to be protected in the sense of being welcomed and that homosexuals are not to be expected to stop in order to remain members of the body of Christ. To think otherwise is to open the floodgates of Hell exactly when we are to be shutting and locking them tightly and forever.
We aren't to do that though before everyone is given the word of truth that is the word about what is ultimately unselfish and harmless versus selfish and harmful. That's what is going on now. The word is going out. Things are being put into stark contrast. The line between unselfish and selfish is being drawn clearly. Sides are being chosen. With whom will you take your stand? The real issues are coming out. They don't fall on the false spectrum upon which David P. Gushee has falsely framed this particular issue that goes to the heart of all issues including war and greed, etc.
Black people were by and large slaves in the U.S. Being Black isn't a disease. Being Black, engaging in living while being Black, doesn't promote disease any more than being any other race or ethnic group. Some Black's may be predisposed to certain conditions by virtue of DNA, but the same applies to non-Blacks. One doesn't choose one's DNA.
Being Black isn't a choice. One may attempt to hide it, but (barring spiritual or technological intervention) one issues from the commonly understood egg and sperm of ones human parents. The terminology here can become difficult to confine semantically, so forgive me if I appear to be over qualifying for the sake of clarity or more so in anticipation of pointless refutations by those who have not considered the points for any appreciable length of time.
The other classifications that are mundanely protected all share the lack of choice on the part of the class members with the exception of religion. Age is not a choice. Gender is not a choice, although part of the crude propaganda campaign includes twisting the definitions of male and female. Granted, there are hermaphrodites. They are human beings. Contrary to engaging in homosexuality, engaging in living as a hermaphrodite including being sexually active is not inherently disease promoting. It depends upon the particular activities.
We protect the disabled and rightly so. They don't have a choice on the mundane level. I don't say they don't have a choice at all, because that would be precluding faith miracles, which would be denying my own personal experiences — not a very bright thing to do. Yes, faith heals, but it is situational, conditional, and at first subject to negation by the doubts of those in the vicinity, all of which Jesus made clear.
Now, I feel compelled here to add that I am using the term "disease" in this article as the medical profession typically uses it. I am not covering the theological and philosophical area that questions the fallen condition of all matter. It is not that I am avoiding the subject or haven't delved into it in detail elsewhere. For those unfamiliar with this concept, consider for instance that Moses said that a woman is unclean after child birth. He made no distinctions. It was a blanket statement. All women are unclean after child birth for a set number of days depending upon whether the baby is male or female. It is longer concerning female babies. Of course, if that was his view then what did he think about the sex act from which pregnancy and child birth results? The very act of procreation contains uncleanness for Moses. Also, Jesus termed bones unclean. There are many other examples, but let those suffice for purposes of this discussion.
Frankly, the farther away from harm we move individually and collectively, the closer we move to God who is spirit according to Jesus's own words.
Now, the important thing here is that homosexuality is not analogous to race, gender, age, disability, or even religious choice. Even the protection of religious choice is subject to whether or not the choice is discernibly harmful. A religion based upon child sacrifice ought not to be protected, obviously, even though the Christian cannot coerce but rather confine himself or herself to leading by example that if all follow, all will be set right. Violence and coercion by other means are not perfect methods of conflict resolution. They do not lead to salvation from evil, because they are themselves offenses against perfection.
Those caught in the midst of such profound moral conflicts have three options: they can clearly side with one narrative, they can clearly side with the other narrative, or they can seek a kind of in-between position in an effort to take some of the rough edges off of the debate — and, in doing so, perhaps prevent irreparable divisions in churches and denominations.
But in the end, as the examples [slavery, equal rights, and civil rights] above indicate, on the most significant issues, the middle-of-the-road position almost always fails.
There you see that the position of the RLCC isn't even offered. It is denied existence. It is set outside what you are allowed to consider and to choose. This doesn't mean David realized this when he wrote his article.
Will he now add to the range of choices the RLCC position? Will he cite the RLCC as the source of another choice his earlier work didn't see or overlooked?
The author, David P. Gushee, goes on to discuss the issue in ways that are un-Christian (antichrist). He advocates for a church of the following:
[H]omosexual behavior is sinful, but so are many, many other things that people — including churchgoing Christians — do. Leading church sins include anger, factionalism, lovelessness, greed, luxury, selfishness, gluttony, gossip, and pride. Therefore, a church can either practice a consistent church discipline in which every sin is met with resistance and accountability by the congregation — leading, when necessary, to exclusion of the offending party (a rare position in today's churches). Or a congregation hewing to the middle-road position can opt for a form of church life in which believing sinners congregate for forgiveness, instruction, and community. If it chooses this latter stance, homosexuals can be quietly accepted in the community as believing sinners like everyone else.
Now, this has been the problem all along since Jesus left the Earth in his resurrected and ascended state or condition. The problem has been and remains a lower standard and a lowering of standards. This trend leads to more problems. It doesn't lead through the strait gate and up the narrow way.
Jesus said be perfect as God is perfect. That's the standard he set by example. That's the standard for entering the New Heaven and New Earth to come and to be next to and one with God. The problem with David Gushee's preaching is that it leads in the opposite direction to settling on an insufficient, lukewarm at-best, position.
The Church may welcome sinners of course. To remain and join, those sinners must repent and convert and subject themselves to Church discipline as Jesus outlined clearly and plainly. Members of the Church call upon each other to resist falling and to rise above. Those who don't are visited by a delegation as witnesses. They witness to each other about the highest (not something less). Those who still refuse, face the whole congregation of adult membership.
What the congregation looks for is repentance and forgiveness all the way around. It looks for earnestness. It looks for breaking recidivism. It looks to protect the innocent. It looks for everything Jesus held up. He didn't hold up homosexuality. He rather made clear that he was quite strict in sexual matters.
Even science concurs.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)