My position

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Thu Aug 30 2001 - 18:49:17 EDT

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    After being away on business several days, I find that a number of people
    prefer to send me private email about my position on homosexual domestic
    relationships. Some are con; some are pro (!). The issue is "sticky," I
    will admit, and it appears that some, while privately agreeing with me,
    are not yet ready to "go public" with their position statement. Others --
    well... .

    I really appreciate the dialog we've had here , even though I appear to
    be a set of one. < G >

    Although I've referred people on several occasions to my positon
    statement, it appears (my web server shows page statistics) that few are
    taking the time to read that statement. So, I've attached it below.

    Comments, as always, appreciated.


    which reads:

    Homosexuality and homosexual activity -- a position statement

    This is my statement on a delicate subject, one on which there has been a
    lot of heat and little light generated in the past few years.

    The issue is homosexual behavior and, in particular, one's attitude
    toward it and relationship with persons who one is reasonably sure engage
    in it. I have studied the issues fairly thoroughly during the past few
    years, and have decided to take a position on it.

    A key definition:. The word "homosexual" means a person attracted
    sexually to persons of the same gender. Such a person may, or may not,
    act on that attraction.

    It is plain to see that scripture proscribes "perversions," and that
    seems to include both homosexual and heterosexual perversions. But there
    is the argument that when homosexual activity takes place only in an
    adult loving long-term domestic relationship, such activity is NOT
    proscribed by scripture, anymore than when heterosexual activity takes
    place under the same conditions. This argument does NOT claim that
    scripture condones such activity, only that it is silent about it. The
    argument is developed well, I think, in a book by the Catholic theologian
    Daniel Helmaniak; all the relevant biblical texts are discussed. My notes
    and review on that book are on my website at:

    Notes on Helmaniak's book and a similar set of notes on a book countering
    Helmaniak's arguments by Thomas Schmidt are also at the website at

    I've studied those books, and many more, and have engaged in internet
    dialog on the subject extensively in the past years. I have come down on
    the side of Helmaniak's position. I personally know a number of
    homosexual persons, some of whom practice their attraction, and some who
    do not. On the basis of both scriptural arguments and knowledge of
    people, I must take the position,
    unpopular as it may be in American Christianity, that the specific case I
    cite above is, as far as I can discern, not a "sin" in the eyes of God.
    Helmaniak's scriptural arguments are persuasive in convincing me that the
    Bible does not proscribe that case; arguments from scientific findings
    all indicate the homosexual condition is caused by a combination of
    genetics and upbringing, most probably more the first, and that personal
    choice seldom has anything to do with it.
    In the end, I have to say my position is not 100% sure; I could be wrong.
    I have two choices:

    1. I can side with fundamentalist Christianity, Dobson and his FOTF being
    one source I might follow, and declare that all homosexual activity of
    any kind anywhere is a "sin" in God's eye's, or

    2. I can declare that I find no reason to include the specific case I
    cite above as "sin."

    If I take position 1, and I should have taken position 2, I do grievous
    hurt to some of God's people, falsely accusing them of sin where there is
    no sin as far as God is concerned. When I do this, I have read into
    scripture what is not there; I have added to God's word.
    If I take position 2, I may, indeed, be wrong, but I have done no harm to
    anyone. I have failed, it might be argued, to have studied and understood
    God's word as much as I should, but then, that is probably true of all of
    us anyway. So even if I were 50:50 on the issue, I'd have to select
    position 2.
    Feel free to challenge me on any of the above; I am used to talking about
    it and I think I can respect all opinions. I'd be delighted if you'd
    "buy" my position, but it is enough if you just hold it as a "live
    option" in your own thinking.

    John W. Burgeson
    Stephen Minister
    Denver, Colorado

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