“Love is not a crime; if it were a crime to love, God would not have bound even the divine with love.”
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
-Galatians 3:26-28, NIV
I have heard all of the most common arguments against differing sexualities from all sorts of people; religious and not so religious, educated and not so educated. These arguments generally go along the lines of ‘God intended us to be heterosexual and it is unnatural to be otherwise’ and ‘those who call themselves homosexual choose to be so and do so against the will of God.’ Allow me to approach the second argument first.
It seems to me that in the vast majority of cases, those who hold to this belief do so blindly, believing what they choose to regardless of research showing that outside factors do not have a substantial sway on a person’s sexuality; regardless of the rather consistent percentages of homosexual persons in differing societies around the world throughout time; and regardless of the testimony of the gay population itself (Boswell 53). The vast majority of gay people say they simply are not and could never become attracted to a member of the opposite sex. They are the way they are not because their father’s hit them when they were little or because they have a rebellious streak in them and want to defy convention, but simply because they are attracted to the same sex, always have been, and always will be, regardless of any attempt to change.
I, as a heterosexual woman, could never be sexually attracted to another woman. I have not chosen my sexual orientation; it is simply the way I am. What I don’t understand is how others of the heterosexual population believe me when I make this statement about myself but deny the honesty of a tenth of the United State’s population on the same topic.
I have heard it argued once before that perhaps homosexuals do not choose their sexuality, but that it might be something like a disease that God inflicts upon them as a punishment for their or their ancestor’s sins. The person hypothesized this from Old Testament scriptures like Deuteronomy 5:9 in which God communicates through Moses that he will punish the children of sinners through the fourth generation, and scriptures from the New Testament like Romans 1:18-32 in which Paul states that since creation, God has given godless and wicked men over to “sexual impurity for one another.”
I find three faults with this argument. The first is that God’s declaration to Moses came in the time before Christ and the new covenant that His death brought about, and is therefore no longer valid (see Hebrews 8:7-13). The second is that Paul’s declaration is too vague to be reasonably argued as a case against homosexuality generally: Does Paul’s statement that God turns the godless over to sexual impurity imply that all those who are sexually impure are godless or that homosexuality is necessarily always sexually impure? Could Paul perhaps have meant that homosexual actions were impure for the men specified because it was against their heterosexual nature? How could it be that people who have known themselves to be homosexual since childhood could be so as punishment for godlessness or wickedness? Why are not all godless men “sexually impure”? How can it be that all homosexuals are wicked when so many of my own acquaintance are wonderful, loving people with immense love for Christ?
The third fault I find is shared by an argument which I believe goes hand-in-hand with this tri-faulted one. There are those who believe that the number of homosexuals who are infected with AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases is proof of God’s judgment upon them. These are generally the same people who believe that the tsunami victims were killed because they were predominantly non-Christians. And a lot of these people believe Katrina hit New Orleans because of Bourbon Street.
These people scare me. I mean really, really scare me. How many times do we see it in scripture? Romans 14:1-13, Matthew 7:1-5, James 2:1-13, Luke 6:37-42: Don’t judge. Who are we to do God’s job? Who are we to say that we know exactly what He’s up to? Who are we to assume that He has done this for this reason and that for that reason? As James puts it in verse 4:12: “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and to destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” (NIV) When it comes to judging, He has given us zero authority. And thank God for that.
Now let me go back to the first argument I presented and one of the most common—that homosexuality is unnatural. While this argument is probably the most credible of those discussed thus far, it is hardly iron-clad. To avoid any confusion, we should first determine what is meant by the term ‘natural’ in this context. I’ll first approach this topic as ‘natural’ equating to ‘commonplace of nature’, i.e. biologically, neurologically, psychologically, sociologically normal.
Analyzed from this perspective, science suggests that homosexuality may in fact be ‘natural’. As mentioned before, recent studies have shown that external factors such as parent’s sexual orientation and abuse/molestation as a young child do not have a significant affect on a person’s sexuality, strongly suggesting that the cause of sexuality is internal. This is supported by the fact that homosexuality is prevalent not only in humans but throughout the animal kingdom (Boswell 12, 15-16). Certainly animals don’t choose to be gay because they hate their fathers or because they want to rebel. This information is strong evidence that homosexuality is by all means natural.
‘Natural’ could also be taken to mean ‘in God’s will’ or ‘part of God’s plan’. There is doubtlessly something very beautiful about the act of love between a man and a woman—the way the two fit together so flawlessly—and it certainly seems that God intended man to love woman and woman to love man. But who can say for certain what God’s intentions are? Who can say why He has a man love another man; why He lets two people of opposite, perhaps even warring cultures fall in love; why He blesses a couple with marriage but denies a woman the ability to bear a child?
When it comes to love, there are a number of questions that we simply don’t have answers to, but what we know for certain is that love is the most beautiful, scariest, easiest, most complicated thing in the world and the one thing we are commanded to do most fervently. Before Jesus was killed He left His disciples with the two greatest commandments: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)
Love. Love God, love each other, love yourself. All the other laws are based on this. Everything. It’s all about love. Sometimes that love happens between two people of the opposite sex, sometimes of the same, but either way, it’s love—real and deep, God’s sublime way of giving us a slight insight into what and who He is. Now someone explain to me how that could be sinful.
Those of you who are still paying attention may have noticed that I have yet to cover a pretty major argument, the one I have struggled most with: the fact that the Bible states in several places that homosexuality/sodomy is sinful. Don’t worry, I’m getting there. Chew on all of this for awhile and we’ll talk again soon.
Boswell, John. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1980.
KLUGER, JEFFREY. ”The Gay Side of Nature.” Time Canada 153.17 (May 3, 1999): 52. Expanded Academic ASAP. Thomson Gale. UC Los Angeles (CDL). 11 October 2005