Re: live and let live? (long)
Kenneth Piers (PIER@legacy.calvin.edu)
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 16:03:52 EST5EDT
I have been reading most of the posts in this thread on whether or not it is permissible
from a Christian point of view for two homosexual persons to live in a committed
monogamous relationship akin to a marriage between heterosexual persons. So let me add
my thoughts which were initially informed by a lecture I heard many years ago and which
I have held more or less ever since.
I have to agree that, in the beginning when God created humans, he probably did not
intend for the human race to be homosexual - probably did not intend even for individual
persons to be homosexual. So, homosexuality is likely a consequence of our sinful
condition. So what do we do today when individuals find themselves to be homosexually
Many christians distinguish between having the condition of homosexuality - which is
usually judged not to be sinful - and living out a homosexual lifestyle - which usually is
judged to be sinful. So the traditional christian instruction to the homosexual is to live a
celibate - essentially asexual - lifestyle.
But I question whether or not this is the only option that the christian may offer to the
homosexual person. My question is based mainly on the following consideration. Most
persons who are homosexual do not choose to become homosexual, rather they discover
that they are attracted to persons of the same sex, just as heterosexuals discover their
attraction to persons of the opposite sex; Most homosexuals are mortified to discover this
homosexual orientation. They deny it, are shamed by it, and struggle to achieve a normal
heterosexual orientation. Some, in great self-denial, live for years in, often difficult,
heterosexual marriages, but still remain homosexually oriented. So most homosexuals
can not be counseled, converted, or otherwise moved out of their sexual orientation.
While it appears that some homosexual persons can be moved into heterosexual
relationships satisfactorily, this seems to be the exception rather than the pattern.
So, if it is true that the orientation is not voluntarily chosen and if it is also true that
the person can not be re-oriented to heterosexual relations, what is the christian
community to hold out as correct behavior for such individuals. If Christ's sacrificial
death is efficacious for all persons, including the homosexual, what is the redemptive
thing to do for the homosexual? I believe that the advice to celibacy is a good thing. But
celibacy seems to be a special gift in such circumstances and is given only to few who seek
it. It seems that the drive to express ones sexuality is irrepressible in most
homosexuals, just as it is irrepressible in heterosexual persons.
So perhaps the redemptive thing to do in such situations is to hold out the same standards
of behavior to the homosexual that we hold out to the heterosexual person. Should we not
counsel these persons to establish committed monogamous lifetime relationships with
another person and be grateful when such relationships happen?
Fischer, in his last post, questions whether or not we should allow sinners in church.
To quote, he writes
"If the question was simply can sinners attend church, then the simple
answer is "yes" without qualification. We are all sinners. Yet the
church's rightful position must be that although all are welcome to come
through the door and hear the gospel message of forgiveness, a measure of
atonement is required for membership, and positions of church leadership.
Homosexuals are undoubtedly part of many congregations today. So are
thieves, adulterers, pedophiles, etc. Is one welcome to come to church
wearing stolen apparel or driving a stolen car? Is one engaged in
adultery permitted to attend service with his concubine in tow? Can a
pedophile walk in the door with his (or her) arm around a small, unrelated
But it should be obvious to all that monogamous homosexual relationships can not be
compared with thievery, adultery, or pedophilia. These latter all clearly are behaviors
which are destructive or injurious to one or all persons involved in them. But it is hard
to see how a mutually committed monogamous relationship between two homosexual
persons is injurious to either of them or to any one else. Indeed such relationships often
seem to be enriching for the persons involved in them and can also be a blessing for
friends and family around them.
So perhaps often the best we can do - the redemptive thing to do - in the homosexual
situation is to counsel, encourage, and support committed monogamous relationships.
Whether we call these marriages or invent some other word to describe them is a
Kenneth Piers e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept.of Chemistry and Biochemistry. ph. 616-957-6491
Calvin College fax: 616-957-6501
Grand Rapids. MI 49546
"... and withal he seemed bisier than he was..." - Chaucer