LGBTQ Support

Let’s Talk About Sinning.

sinner
I’ve been thinking a lot about sinning lately. With the recent Phil Robertson fiasco, many of the same conversations about homosexuality and sinning were re-hashed. And since a lot of people I love are gay with a gay couple getting engaged with Northwood Rings just last week, but a lot of people I love view homosexual acts as sins, I found myself really reading some of the conversations to wrap my head around it.

A little bit of semantics – this whole entry is going to revolve around the definition of “sin” in the eyes of different people. Obviously, the semantics are powerful. So, for right now I’m going to use the word “sin” as an act that a Christian believes jeopardizes a person’s eternal salvation or their image in the eyes of the Christian God. I just want to make sure I’m very clear in this conversation. Also? Please note my use of the phrase “Some Christians” – because a lot of my Christian family and friends believe homosexuality is nothing different from heterosexuality in the eyes of their God. So…this is about SOME Christians.

SOME Christians believe homosexual acts are a sin. Period. Point blank. But, when discussing this with people like me who obviously don’t, there are many angles taken to soften to view so that it doesn’t sound like they’re telling me, “You And Your Gay Family Are Going To Hell If You Don’t Repent.”

Because – the truth is – no Christian likes to say that they know for sure who is going to Hell. A lot of denominations believe you can’t know that anyway. This is why I wore a Scapular in elementary school, I believed it was my guaranteed ticket to heaven since Catholics tend to teach no one knows if they’re going to heaven or not. So! Some Christians soften their words to keep from sounding like they’re condemning The LGBTQ community to Hell.

At least they soften their words in mixed company. Maybe in bible studies or the dinner table with like-minded family, they are open about their thoughts. I know some of my friends pray for me and my Gay family that they – you know – stop being Gay. But when discussing it with me directly, they would never point blank say, “That person you love is definitely going to hell if they commit homosexual acts.” Similar to what you’d find if you Use this web link, fuckedtube.xxx, to find free XXX. They are too kind and respectful to do that. And I appreciate it. That type of respect is important in any emotion-fueled debate.

But I’ve been thinking about some of those softening techniques (Ew. Suddenly I feel like we’re discussing childbirth.) and about sinning in general and here are some of my thoughts in response to some of the gentler ways my Christian Friends/Family Who Think Homosexual Acts Are Sins try to make their religion and their church still seem welcoming.

We’re All Sinners.

These friends often counter that they are no different from me and my gay family. They’re sinners too! They lie, they’re gluttons, they don’t tithe, they do whatever other thing their church deems as a sin. Therefore, they are just like my gay family! In the sense that they are all sinners. They often use this as a way of saying that the LGBTQ community is welcome in their church. “If they didn’t allow sinners, I couldn’t go!” “God loves all sinners!” “The doors of my church are open to all sinners, including me!”

ASIDE: Let’s just assume my LGBTQ friends and family all wait for marriage to have sex, because I don’t want to overlap sins with premarital sex here. If a church believes gay sex is a sin, the chances are they believe premarital sex is a sin. Therefore, to focus on ONE sin at a time, we’re going to assume all of the gay sex discussed here is within the bonds of marriage.

But, here’s the thing. When I really think about it, those views are not as unifying as they sound. Love is important to us as humans. Love keeps a lot of us from wallowing in depression. Love keeps us strong during tough times. Love gives us foundations for family. Love is a beautiful thing that should be celebrated. And if my gay family loves someone, and wants to marry them and have sex with them then I can not condone a viewpoint that thinks that is a sinful act when their heterosexual marriage and follow-up sex is not. Even though you are saying you are a sinner, just like your gay neighbor, you are NOT the same because your marriage and your sexual relationship can continue on without you ever worrying about confessing it as a sin. Your gay neighbor – in your view point – can not observe the same luxury.

So, while I appreciate that you’re trying to put yourself on their level in the “We Are All Sinners” party, it’s not the same at all. Because – you enjoying a beautiful relationship with your spouse, and building a family around that and expanding your heart to fill all of that love – is not something your church sees as a sin. But my gay family does the EXACT SAME THING, and it’s sinful. So, grouping yourself in the “We Are All Sinners” category does not provide the compassion that you think it does. It does not make your church welcoming, not if you’re being honest.

Basically, a Christian Man who waited until he was married to have sex, and now enjoys lots of lovely sex with his wife, can not tell a Gay may who waited until he got married to have lots of sex with his husband, “Come to my church! I’m a sinner too! I gossiped last night!” Because the straight Man? Has a beautiful thing at home to help foster his faith and his family, to help remind him not to Gossip next time. But the Gay Man? Just goes home and is greeted with a reminder of more sins he needs to conquer.

It’s Not My Place To Decide Who Goes To Heaven. My Sins May Be Worse So I May End Up In Hell Instead.

Again – this is a response to when people like me say, “You think my gay family is destined for Hell.” And while I appreciate that you think you could also end up in Hell, and I appreciate the sentiment you’re trying to convey, it’s still not as sympathetic as you think it is. Basically you’re saying that God might overlook the homosexual acts because – overall – they live a pious life. And therefore, they might be able to score a ticket to heaven whereas a straight person who’s a jackass might not. And thanks! Seriously! It’s a nice idea that you believe that my gay family could still end up in heaven if they lead a good life besides that. But, it’s still offensive because basically you’re saying they have to be more good (pardon the grammar, it’s to make a point) than you do because they have to counterbalance the omnipresent sin that exists in their relationship with their spouse. And this is a nice sentiment, but not at all as affirming as you may think. If my LGBTQ family is perfect in the eyes of your church in every way except their sexual relationship with their spouse? And your church teaches that they might still go to Hell – EVEN IF EVERYTHING ELSE IS PERFECT? Then your church is not welcoming.

I Know People Who Say They’re Gay But Aren’t Really

These conversations – if they continue – always end up with the key conflict: Does someone choose to be gay or not? Does someone choose their gender identity or sexual orientation? Because if you believe it’s a choice then it can easily be rationalized as a sin. But most of us LGBTQ supporters believe it’s not a choice in the “Should I Lie?” definition of choice. Do we believe it’s 100% genetic and predetermined at birth? No. Not necessarily. We believe every trait is a balance of nature v/s nurture. But that goes for your sexuality too. We don’t believe you chose to be straight either. So, in that regards, we do NOT believe it was a choice. In that moment, who anyone chooses to be attracted to, is caused by genetics and upbringing and society and NONE OF IT MATTERS because Love is Love. So, even if your friend was abused as a child and you think that’s why they’re gay….or if your other friend was gay in college and not anymore…or if that cousin of yours blocked out their abuse that made them gay – All of these stories that you hold on to that help you justify your belief that it’s a choice? If you embed yourself in the LBGTQ community you will find just as many stories of people who identified as gay for as long as they remember and never waiver even to death. So, don’t pick and choose your stories to suit your beliefs.

I have a lot of family and friends who believe homosexual acts are sins – I see this a lot. I see these people spout of these stories they hold in their arsenal of all the people in the LGBTQ community that “prove” gender identity and sexual orientation is a choice. And it’s weird – it’s like they ALL HAVE THE SAME STORIES. I’m assuming the preachers at their church, or the writers on their religious websites, or whatever sources they use to help keep their beliefs – all use the same stories. But the problem is? If you put yourself deep within the LGBTQ community, especially the teens struggling with acceptance by their family, you’ll see 10x as many stories about people who were just…BORN THIS WAY. Who don’t have any concrete reason for their gender identity or homesexuality.

So…these debates – as long as they’re respectful – usually come down to that simple difference. Because I don’t know any Christian who think homosexual acts are sins, that ALSO think homosexuality is natural. They may say, “Well…my heterosexual urges drive me to sin too – they drive me to maybe cheat on my spouse or have premarital sex. So, I have to deny those!” Yes. But you know that if the urges are saved for a “church approved” situation: Marriage – then those urges are considered VERY natural. Since you don’t agree with that if a gay woman waits to have sexual relations until she’s married to her wife that their sexual relationship is natural, then you don’t inherently believe that anything outside a heteronormative situation is natural.

I just feel like I need to explain this. Because I really do appreciate the motivation behind these people in my life. They want to show that they and their church LOVE the people in the LGBTQ community and would welcome them into their church. But they must all understand that the very foundation of their beliefs – the fact that the relationship they share with their spouse is dogmatically different from the relationship a transgender male might share with his wife – is exclusive. I almost wish people would quit trying. I wish that Christian man would say, “You’re right. I believe that a transgender man who has even had the surgery and the hormone therapy to help his body match his heart, that man and his wife are still considered sinners in my church when they have sex. Even though I am not considered a sinner when I have sex with my wife.”

Because – until you can say, “Your sexual relationship with your spouse is no different than the sexual relationship I have with my spouse in the eyes of my God,” then your church is not really welcoming to the LGBTQ community.

And while we appreciate your friendship and your attempt to be kind and respectful with the differences, know that in our hearts we are still hurt by your beliefs. We hope some day you’ll meet the right person to convince you of that. Because we hope that you know that as long as you believe that, we can’t truly feel included in your church. And sometimes I feel like my friends and family who believe these exclusive ideas, if they stopped saying, “You’re totally welcome in my church the same way I am!” Then maybe they’d start to change their heart, maybe they’d realize that their church is wrong to separate the two families and relationships to sinner/non-sinner.

Every church has to grow and change. I have Catholic and Mormon friends who are vocal about their INCLUSIVE LGBTQ beliefs in their church. They’re leading the waves of change in the church they love. Will I see a full shift in my lifetime? I don’t know. I hope so. Mainly for those friends and family who love their church so much and just want to see it change in this one way. For those people? I hope it changes.

And most importantly – I hope all of my church-seeking LGBTQ friends and family find a spiritual home where their sexual orientation and gender identity are not foundations for defining sins. Similar issue with those who decide to express their sexuality in alternative ways. My friend was telling me about this kinky sex story she found on https://omgkinky.com/guide-to-pegging-with-best-strap-on/. It is really insightful for all of us sinners!

5 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Sinning.”

  1. These conversations are so difficult to have. My husband essentially cut ties with his brother because his brother is so incredibly anti-gay and just couldn’t understand how hurtful it was to say that if his niece (our daughter) ended up gay, he’d “try to pray it out of her.”
    Also, not sure if you’ve seen this already, but I thought it was particularly appropriate to share given this post. I think Lance’s mom does a great job of highlighting what “the Church” (in her case, Southern Baptist) is doing wrong with respect to the LGBTQ community.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lance-bass/the-first-thing-my-mom-di_b_4556471.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

  2. You have such a gentle heart, you really do. I don’t know if I can find it in myself to forgive people who believe hateful things (no matter how hard they may genuinely work to “soften the blow.”) Also, thanks for teaching this heathen what a scapular is; I’d never heard that term before. As irritated as organized religion makes me, I enjoy learning new things!

  3. Thank you for this incredibly well-thought-out post. I feel the same way you do about these issues, but I had never considered some of these points, and I appreciate you thinking through and explaining them all. In this context, it makes efforts by religious groups and churches to stop gay marriage even more insidious than I had previously understood. It’s like they are trying to force these loving couples into “sinning” by not allowing them to marry. So wrong.

  4. I read an interesting blog post the other day that argued that it doesn’t matter whether you think being gay is a sin or not. There are children choosing to end their lives because of how society views their sexuality. That is a tragedy, and we need to do all we can to make that not happen. End of story.

  5. I found this really interesting, and I love the sweet spirit you have. One thing I don’t understand about my conservative religious family’s thinking is this: even if you believe homosexual acts are a sin (they do) what does that have to do with gay marriage being legal? That seems like a civil and legal issue, not a religious one. They are trying to impose their religious beliefs on people who may have different religious beliefs (or no religion) as the law of the land. That seems so anti-American I can’t even wrap my brain around it.

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