An open letter to conservative Christians

Chances are that you’re stumbling across this post after doing a search on homosexuality, sin, Leviticus, Romans, or 1 Corinthians. Chances are that you’re looking for a way to refute all those gay activists who are really being a thorn in your side. Chances are you might not want to read any more. I have a feeling, though, that there’s going to be enough of a nagging curiosity to keep you going.

There are usually three different types of people who are looking for material on “gay” and “sin.” The first group is made up of people who are struggling with this issue on a deeply personal level. You see, the people in this first group are looking for anything they can find to help them rip out this part of their lives that literally disgusts them. They don’t want to be gay. But they can’t shake the attractions. To this group, I say this: Jesus loves you, period. And yes, reconciliation is possible.

The second group is made of people who are trying to find every argument they can to rebut what the “militant gay activists” have been saying about their sexual orientation. This group is familiar with phrases like “gay agenda” and the “gay lifestyle.” Alas, I have yet to hear anyone actually tell me what the definition is of either of these. After all, I’m gay. I should know, right? We may never know. But hey, it makes for great preaching.

The third group consists of people who are trying to find out as much information as they can to help a friend or loved one come to terms with their sexual orientation. They’re likely looking for GLBT-affirming groups, support organizations, or churches to help them along in their journey of life. To this group, I say this: God bless you in your quest. May you find everything you need to support your loved one in their struggles.

This post, however, is for the second group. Those in the first and third groups (or any that just don’t fit in any of them) are welcome to pull up a chair and sip on your coffee and read along…we can all benefit from learning from each other. I have to confess, though. This is probably the most confrontational I’ll get in any of my writings. For that, I apologize. However, I have a point to make.

You see, my dear conservative Christian brethren, it is to you that I’m writing today. You’ve already expended great amounts of energies and time to get to this point, and to this post, and I just have to ask… why?

Why do you expend such vast resources to marginalize and demonize people who have a different sexual orientation? What is it to you? Is this “research” so important that you’ve allowed it to consume you? Why is it even necessary to “take a stance” on the issue?

Okay, you’re running scriptures in your mind. We’ve all heard them. We’ve all read them. Over, and over, and over again. Some of us have even studied them. And you know what? It doesn’t change the reality that there are millions of people across the world who just aren’t attracted to the opposite sex.

So let’s start with a few very basic facts.

You’re not gay. A person who is gay is defined by their sexual orientation, not their sex acts. I was gay long before I ever had any form of sex. You were straight long before you ever had sex (with your spouse on your wedding day, of course).

There’s not a single gay person who threatens your marriage. Gay men or lesbians aren’t beating down your door to rip your clothes off (and no, Sodom wasn’t about gay sex. It was about rape, which is an act of violence). We’re not trying to take your children (whoever started this ridiculous myth should be strung up by their toenails).

We’re your neighbors, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters. We’re not trying to “destroy” families.

We are the family.

Yet somehow, for some strange reason, you’re threatened by the GLBT community. You’re actually afraid that equality is becoming more and more common. The country has seen through the hype and dogma and has begun to realize that gay people are just that… people. Not only are you threatened, though, you’re obsessed. That’s right. Obsessed.

For me, I’ll freely admit that this is an issue that’s close to me. After all, as a gay man, it’s expected of me to be well-versed on the issue. But why on earth would a straight, possibly married, man have anything at all to say about a topic that doesn’t affect their in the slightest?

You say that gay sex is sin. You might even say that being gay is sin. Fine. I get it. I know you think it’s sin. And I disagree. Thousands of pastors and churches disagree. Get over it. It’s not all about you and what you think. You think I’m deceived. Fine. You might even think that I’m damned into a special pit of hell. You can think what you want, all you want. It’s your prerogative.

To you, I’m probably not a human being who loves God… I’m just a “homosexual” that might “need to repent.” That’s fine. So what if you’re right? It’s not for you to decide. And if you are indeed right, what will your reaction be? A big, gloating “I told you so?” Will you laugh maniacally if I’m cast into the pit of hell for believing and teaching that God loves gay people? Check yourself, my friend. What is your motivation? Is it love, or vindication?

I will ask you a simple question, dear conservative friend. Would you at least consider the possibility, however remote it might seem to you, that God isn’t nearly as obsessed about gay people and their relationships as you’d like Him to be? After all, with only a handful of passages in Scripture that even mildly refer to same-sex activity, it’s hardly a huge issue in Scripture. And as we’ve explored elsewhere on my blog, even those passages are questionable in their application to our modern understanding of homosexual relationships.

We can disagree over whether or not we think committed, monogamous homosexual relationships are sinful. You think that they are. I don’t. The reality is that this issue does NOT affect my salvation, and it doesn’t affect yours. The only thing it affects is how we relate to each other.

Quite simply, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Period. Either that statement is true, or it isn’t. There are no exceptions, there are no asterisks, and there is no question about it.

There comes a time, however, that I believe that Jesus will call us to follow Him no matter where it leads us. When Peter was restored in John 21, Jesus said to him that he would end up being crucified. Peter, displaying his usual blathering self, looked over at John and said, “what about HIM?”

Don’t we do that a lot as Christians? We’ll see someone who is a little different, or has a different ministry, or even looks or acts a bit differently. We almost always want to say to God, “What about THEM, Lord? Why aren’t THEY doing what I’m doing?”

I believe Jesus would say to us… and you, dear friend… “What is that to you? YOU FOLLOW ME.”

Yeah but… what about those gay people?

“What is that to you? YOU FOLLOW ME.”

Yeah but… what about those lesbians?

“What is that to you? YOU FOLLOW ME.”

Follow Christ. Leave the rest to Him. And for Pete’s sake, leave the gay issue alone. Is it possible for us to stop using gay people as sermon fodder and learn to relate to people, no matter where they are? We can disagree. But as we follow Christ, let’s build on what we DO agree on, and that’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel is far more important than who someone loves or spends their life with. Jesus showed that by example. Now it’s time for us to start walking in it.