The Responsibility Of The Traditionalist: Homosexuality

Christians who hold to the traditional Church teaching on homosexuality — the “just the words on the page, no context needed” reading that’s governed conservative Christianity’s views on the issue for two centuries — are not, ipso facto, homophobes who hate their children.

I disagree with their interpretation and believe that a truer understanding of Scripture and context would lead them to accept same-sex relationships with the same respect, joy, and standards (monogamy, commitment, mutuality, etc.) as we do heterosexual marriages, but I understand that desperately wanting to understand the issue from a Biblically correct perspective is likely to be the bedrock upon which their beliefs are founded. However, the culturally-bound Church’s intense disgust for homosexuals and homosexual sex IS sinful, one of the worst toxins of patriarchy and one of the best reasons for Christians to reject it. The “Biblical traditionalist” who simply wants to align her beliefs with Scripture will find me disagreeing with her, hoping to teach her a better way, but she won’t find me automatically believing her to be a homophobic bigot. I won’t separate from a traditionalist; I won’t stop from shining a brighter light on the Scriptures for her, either.

On the other hand, she and other traditionalists must not flinch from, may never neglect, their responsibility to condemn PUBLICLY, SPECIFICALLY, and WHENEVER NEEDED any injustice, violence, degradation, denial of basic civil rights, value, and mockery of Lesbians and gay males — knowing that a great many evildoers who wish violence upon my Lesbian and gay male neighbors and yours hide behind “the Biblical testimony” against homosexuality, counting on and receiving the support of conservatives as they inflict unspeakable acts of specific harm toward homosexuals in and out of the Church.

The world we live in is a world that Lesbians and gays die in, and die in not because the majority of Christians take the Bible literally in what it appears to say about homosexuality, but because the majority of Christians have not, in adopting their view, embraced with equal vigor, or embraced at all, the absolute necessity of honoring Scripture by opposing strenuously any violence and harm against Lesbians and gay men. Their sin in doing nothing to speak and act on behalf of homosexuals may be a sin of omission, but it’s no less a sin — and it enables horrific acts of commission to be inflicted on a community of people deeply loved by God, in God’s name, for God’s honor, by evildoers, bigots, and assassins who love God not a bit and, in truth, esteem God’s Word even less.

So the traditionalist conservative Christian is not, to me, a homophobe because he believes as he does — that homosexual acts are sinful. I disagree; I’ll do what I can to teach them, reasoning and convincing from these same Scriptures that what we see today as homosexuality is not what the Apostle Paul intended and that Christians can, and should, embrace those whose love is homosexual. I’ll do so, humbly and gladly, as their sister in Christ.

But the “Christian” who chooses not to see the harm done, through acts committed or defenses not offered, by others who claim to be traditionalists committed only to Biblical veracity, IS a homophobe, and that person will be, to me, a focus of rebuke or evangelism, and I won’t shrink from reminding them that embrace of the traditional belief is not the same thing as embrace of the bitter bigotry and hate that stems from it. There is nothing more repugnant to me than people who use Christianity and Christian beliefs, even, perhaps especially, those conclusions on which I disagree with them, to do evil. It is evil to hate Lesbians and gay males, evil to deny them civil rights, evil to advocate harm toward them, evil to enact violence against them, and evil — the most common evil, the one conservatives are most susceptible to — fail to cry out when others do.

It’s not your Biblical conservativism that makes you a homophobe, Christian. It’s your sinful application of your traditionalism that does, and this sister of yours in Christ won’t offer you solace or shelter when you’re rightly condemned as a bigot.

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