As we continue to explore the position that the world religions take on queerness we’ll be looking at options within Christianity this week. Can you be a gay Christian? The answer is a resounding yes. In almost every denomination you can find your way home.
A Catholic Who Never had to Recover
As you may know, I was raised Catholic. I was a religious kid. I was even interested in the priesthood before I awakened to my sexuality. At that point, I chose to abandon the Church. There weren’t options for me to be a happy, queer, Catholic in the ‘70s.
I knew, even at thirteen, that God has no issue with who I am. I was created this way. I don’t know where that deep knowing came from. I knew that all paths lead to the same God and began exploring. Today, there are a lot more options. It’s possible for a gay man to find a home in just about any Christian denomination.
The Clobber Passages
There are a number of biblical passages that are used to justify Christian homophobia. There are also a great many alternate interpretations. In my few years studying biblical Hebrew I can assure you that the Old Testament passages have been taken out of cultural context, and based on poor translations. I used Colby Martin’s “Unlcobber cheat sheet” as a reference for what follows. If you’re struggling as a gay Christian I suggest you check out Rick Clemons’ interview with Colby here: https://rickclemons.com/life-uncloseted/531-colby-martin/
To even further summarized his cheat:
- Sodom and Gomorrah: This story is about men who wanted to gang rape foreigners. They weren’t gay, and it has nothing to do with anal intercourse. In case you were wondering about the origin of the world sodomy.
- Leviticus prohibition, laying with a man as with a woman: The Hebrew word most often translated as abomination in the passage is “toevah”. It more accurately translates to cultural prohibition. It was never applied to women with women. The taboo was meant for the ancient Jews as they entered the promised land, not for us, thousands of years later.
- The Romans verses about abandoning what is normal do not reflect Paul’s views on homosexuality but rather parrot the common decidedly anti-Gentile Jewish sources of the time. He was attempting to expose prejudice and bring Jews, and Gentiles together, not to demonize homosexuals.
- First Corinthians’ statement that male prostitutes and Sodomites will be banned from heaven: there is debate about how to translate the Greek, but it is clear that it speaks of specific acts between individuals and not someone’s sexual orientation.
There are many ways of looking at any of these passages. Far too many to cover here. One important thing to note is that Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality.
Affirming Christian Communities
There are many queer -affirming Christian communities providing a path forward for LGBTQ+ Christians. A quick internet search will help you find some groups to check out. Whatever branch of Christianity you grew up in, investigate your options. At the very least, you’ll find support groups that can help you work through the pain you’ve been caused by the faith of your birth.
If you’re looking for an affirming Christian group or seeking an alternate faith that will serve you, don’t give up. There is no reason that you have to lose the connection to God that you’ve experienced because some Church elder has said that you are inherently flawed. God created you as you are, and loves you as you are. A just deity would never have created so many of us simply to reject us. God, after all, is love.