Apology to the Homosexual Community

11 May

Dear Friend

I want to apologize for my homophobia.  For the fact, that I used to believe that you were an abomination; worthy of death and Eternal Hell because of your sexual orientation.

I don’t want justify myself for my horrific opinions, but I’ll try to explain why I feel the need to apologize.

First off, I’m a heterosexual.  I knew from eight years old on, that I wanted nothing more than to fall in love with a girl, get married, and raise a family.  In fourth grade I was ridiculed when our teacher asked in circle time what we wanted to do when we grow up.  I said I wanted to get married.  The whole class erupted in laughter, but my teacher (who was not the most gentle of persons) chastised the class and told me that she admired my future ambition.

As for being aware of same-sex attraction, I didn’t become aware of the idea until high school.  And then, it was just a joke to call someone Gay or Fag.  We all thought it was just a big joke-I mean, in our minds, who would ever want to have sexual relations with someone of the same-sex?  I just couldn’t even comprehend the idea, so I dismissed it.

The only other time I ever heard about same-sex attraction, was at church.  It was always with solemn warnings that God hated this sort of behavior. In the Old Testament, God hated it so much that he commanded anyone caught in same-sex relations to be executed.  Since I was taught to always trust the Bible as the inerrant word of God, I thought the matter was black and white.  Case closed…

At college, I met and became friends with young men who were openly homosexual.  At first, I was really cautious, because I assumed that they might be attracted to me.  I also worried that others might see me with my “Gay” friends and assume I was a homosexual.  I’m ashamed to admit, that I thought I was being so “radical for Jesus” or “loving the sinner while hating the sin” because I would take the time to relate to my new friends.

I used to believe that AIDS was Divine punishment of homosexual activity. I repeated this after having heard some Dr., with an English accent, teach on the subject at my local Calvary Chapel.

Back on campus, I was telling a friend about the good Doctor’s teaching on homosexuality and AIDS.  One of my classmates blurted out that we should just “take a baseball bat and smash in their heads”.  I saw the hurt slowly come across my friends faces, who were only a few feet away in Freshman Choir.  I’m sorry, I should have said more than I did….I was a coward and somewhat confused.  Why would you want to hurt someone who was Gay…but then again, God wanted to hurt them too!?  I was confused…and it was easier to push it away then to wrestle with the issue.

Even in the New Testament, the writers would regularly condemn those “homosexual dogs” and those who “lie with a man as a woman” and vice versa.  Homosexuality was on the same list as liars and drunks.   I instinctively chose the Bible over the very good and decent people who were being verbally assaulted.  For that, I am sorry.

I’m sorry for all the pain you’ve endured.

I’m sorry for the condescending sneers you’ve received by classmates, teachers, employers, and preachers.

I’m sorry that I judged you, because you were not like me.

I’m sorry for the shame and condemnation that has been showered on you by Christians and the Christian Church.

I’m sorry that I bought into political narratives that demonized you as monsters and public enemies.

I’m sorry that it took me so long to care about you as people.

I’m sorry that I saw you as a sub category of people, that had forfeited their rights by “choosing” to be homosexual.

I’m sorry that I thought your sexual orientation was wrong and sinful.

Sincerely

Christianagnostic

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28 Responses to “Apology to the Homosexual Community”

  1. Lorena May 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Yes, to one degree or another, all ex-Christians did at some point discriminate against homosexuals. And for that I apologize too.

    • christianagnostic May 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

      very true…it can not be avoided since it’s a part of Christianity’s founding documents.

  2. graceone May 12, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    Appreciate this post. Have you read anything by Evangelicals Concerned and Inclusive Orthodoxy. Both have websites on the internet. They are Christian org. very committed to the equality and inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church. I personally think that Scripture is really not addressing the issue of what we understand today as sexual orientation, or that of constitutionally gay people in loving and committed relationships.

  3. randallslack May 13, 2012 at 2:58 am #

    While I do believe that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is sinful behavior. I also admit that the Churches behavior towards homosexuals has been sinful as well.

    My friend, Joe Dallas (who himself struggled with homosexuality) has a ministry dedicated to helping homosexuals. He has much to offer on his website http://www.joedallas.com/index.cfm

    I do not seek to defend the churches behavior. Honestly, if the church is really concerned about sinful behavior, why then aren’t there more “sermons” about divorce?

    We shall all stand before God and give an account for how we lived our lives.

    • christianagnostic May 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      I have mixed feelings about homosexual ministries. My gut feeling is that the only reason people see homosexuality as sinful is because it is a minority sexual orientation and because of the Bible (or other religious texts that condemn it).

      As a species, we used to believe that witches brought disaster and crop failures. We used to believe that the mentally ill were demon possessed. We used to think it was ok to own another human being.

      I just don’t think that science supports the Biblical position that homosexuality is somehow detrimental to us.

      To be fair…I doubt you are the sort of Christian that would go hellfire ballistic on someone who was homosexual. I’d bet money on it ,that you’d hear them out and show them nothing but respect. But because of the Bible’s teaching, you’d feel obligated to tell them that their sexual preferences/ practice is sinful. And I think that’s where the pain is still inflicted.

      Just my two cents…

  4. Debra Baker May 14, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Wow. Just wow.

    I’m proud to be your friend.

    And, really, folks, the church as a whole and individual Christians aren’t called to nag others about their sinful behavior, that is the Holy Spirit’s job. We are supposed to model God’s love and we do a crappy job of it.

  5. Freedom May 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    I just can’t picture Jesus ever acting the way that Christians act towards the LGBT community.

  6. randallslack May 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    CA: No, I wouldn’t go ballistic on homosexuals. First of all, it is legal in the US to be gay. Second, it’s none of my business. Third, I’m no one’s judge.

    As a Christian, I am called to present Jesus to others in word and in deed. And that (deed) is where many Christians fail. We get all worked up about homosexuality, but divorce is never mentioned. Hey, Christian, “God hates divorce!” Malachi 2:16:

    “For the LORD God of Israel says
    That He hates divorce ,
    For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
    Says the LORD of hosts.
    “Therefore take heed to your spirit,
    That you do not deal treacherously.”

    I have been a Christian for almost 40 years, and I have never heard a message on that particular passage of Scripture.

    Perhaps we should get the beam out of our own eye before we go and try to take the speck out of someone else’s eye?

    Me thinks so…

    • christianagnostic May 15, 2012 at 12:48 am #

      I totally agree…if you’re going to preach against the one, then why not the other? I think it was Philip Yancey who said Christians tended to group themselves by their acceptable sins.

    • D'Ma May 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      I’ve heard this preached on more than I care to. As a divorced woman, myself, I can tell you it is particularly hard to hear. There is a lot of shame wrapped up in divorce if you truly believe what scripture has to say about it. So whether it’s preached or not, if you are a believer who takes the Bible as the Word of God, the words on the page are condemning enough.

      • christianagnostic May 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

        I remember talking to many different Christian women who felt particularly condemned and looked down upon for being divorced. I’m sorry you have experienced it as well…

        To be clear, I was agreeing with Randall that Christians pick and choose their issues, even though the scriptures make no distinction between divorce and homosexuality.

        As for me personally, I don’t think homosexuality or divorce is a sin. I think divorce is a right that should not be denied to any spouse who feels the need to be out of the legal obligation of marriage….I actually have a lot of thoughts on the issue, having just watched a nasty divorce in my own family.

  7. randallslack May 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Freedom said, “I just can’t picture Jesus ever acting the way that Christians act towards the LGBT community.” I can’t either.

    Years ago, I was a parade marshal for the “March Houston for Life.” I found myself standing between a group of “Christians” and homosexuals screaming at each other. I asked this one woman in particular, “Who taught you that it was okay to hate anyone?” She looked back puzzled, and continued on screaming. I turned and apologized to the homosexuals. I never went to the march again.

    Why aren’t Christians compelled to wash the feet of homosexuals? Because they have no real love in their hearts.

  8. D'Ma May 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    christianagnostic said:

    “To be clear, I was agreeing with Randall that Christians pick and choose their issues, even though the scriptures make no distinction between divorce and homosexuality.”

    I didn’t take what either of you said personally. We all have done our share of picking and choosing of issues. I condemned my fair share of divorced people and homosexuals along with a whole cacophony of other “sins” before I dealt with divorce myself. It’s given me a new perspective, a whole bunch of humble, and a lot more compassion.

    • christianagnostic May 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

      “It’s given me a new perspective, a whole bunch of humble, and a lot more compassion.”

      That’s a good phrase that I’m going to have to borrow….with your permission, of course!

      • D'Ma May 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

        Borrow away, my friend!

  9. randallslack May 15, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    D’Ma: I certainly meant no offence to you. There are “Biblical” reasons for divorce: Abandonment, adultery, abuse. NO woman should be forced to continue with a man who is abusing her or her children.

    My point was that in too many in the church simply take the easy way out of a marriage. And it is overlooked while homosexuality is condemned.

    If you divorced for scriptural reasons, you have nothing to be ashamed of. If you didn’t and you have asked for forgiveness, then you have nothing to be ashamed of as well.

    My intent was to point out the hypocrisy of the church, not to condemn those who have divorced.

    • D'Ma May 16, 2012 at 1:32 am #

      I certainly took no offense to what you said. The Bible says what it says and it’s very clear.

      My pastor, before I seriously entertained the idea of divorce, preached a series of sermons on marriage and, subsequently, divorce. I listened with particular interest and can still to this day see him and hear him as he preached on this. His particular take, as in accordance with the Southern Baptist tradition, was that the only “Biblical” reason for divorce is adultery. He smirked during his sermon, clapped his hands and rubbed them together, and announced, “Ladies, I’m sorry, but the only Biblical reason for divorce is adultery. It saddens me, and I’ve searched the scriptures, but there is no Biblical divorce for abuse.” I had done the same searching. I could only come up with Biblical divorce for men whose wives committed adultery. That is the literal rendering which is the Southern Baptist way.

      Various pastors preached this from our pulpit over the years. My point was in reference to the idea that divorce isn’t “preached” about. Where I’m from, the church I attended, it certainly was and is.

      • graceone May 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

        D’Ma, check out this link from a scholar who writes for Christianity Today for a different perspective.

        http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/october/20.26.html

        I personally feel that the teaching of Jesus was actually meant as a protection for women who were being virtually abandoned by their husbands, divorced “for any cause,” in the culture of that time. It could be as basic as a burned meal. These women were then left without provision or protection in a patriarchal society. Jesus is saying to these men who have put away their wives, that if this is the case, they are still married, and that it is not permitted to divorce “for any cause,” but rather for something quite serious such as adultery. The OT also allowed neglect as grounds for divorce. Abuse is surely the far end of that spectrum.

        It seems to me that if Jesus came to bring good news, and to free the oppressed, as the Scripture states, abused women surely qualify.

      • freedom May 17, 2012 at 12:52 am #

        Hi D’Ma – I read your blog, you have every right to be divorced. No women should have to be in the situation you were in for so long.

        Unfortunately the “traditional” Christian view point is that women are property of men. And it runs 100% counter to what Jesus taught. Yet, the early Christians men worked hard to quickly change that. In my view, one of those men was Paul. There is real historical evidence to suggest that on of the Apostle was a woman. That would fit in well with Jesus’ teachings and his followers who were female. By the time of the Epistles, that changed. And women were back to to being the property of men.

        Sounds like your pastor was purposely trying to control you and keep you in a very abusive situation. He was wrong.

      • D'Ma May 17, 2012 at 1:54 am #

        @grace,

        Thanks for the link, but I’ve read pretty much every perspective at this point. That is just one of the things that led to my questions and doubt. The fact that the Holy Spirit is guiding so many people to such radically different beliefs on an extremely important issue is troubling. I’ve written about that as well.

        Anyway, I didn’t mean to hijack the thread. This post isn’t about me. I was merely pointing out that the issue of divorce is preached about. Maybe not in randallslack’s church, though. And his point about the hypocrisy is very valid. A sin is a sin is a sin. Yet the faithful seem to have their pet sins.

      • D'Ma May 17, 2012 at 1:58 am #

        @ freedom,

        Thanks for taking the time to read all that.

        Unfortunately there are a lot of things in the Bible that are hard to swallow. The thing is I’m not certain, after studying how it was put together, that it’s a trustworthy tool to discern what a God, if He exists, would have to say to us.

  10. randallslack May 17, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    GraceOne said: “I personally feel that the teaching of Jesus was actually meant as a protection for women who were being virtually abandoned by their husbands, divorced “for any cause,” in the culture of that time.”

    Very wise insight. This is exactly what Jesus was doing.

    D’Ma: In many Baptist churches divorce is preached, but in a sick, twisted way. The emphasis is often on the women remaining in an abusive marriage. I have heard of baptists pastors telling women that they must remain with their husbands even if he is beating her. Such “counsel” is anti-biblical and certainly not from the Scriptures. I don’t get angry about much anymore; but the abuse of women and children makes me very angry. Again, NO woman has to remain with a man who is abusing her or her children. Period. And she certainly does not need to feel guilty for doing so. You sound as if you have been through a lot. May God bless you and give you His comfort and peace.

  11. graceone May 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Well, D’Ma,this is just it. You have hit the nail on the head. How can we know that it is the Holy Spirit who is guiding people to differing conclusions? For me, this comes back to what is our guiding hermaneutic? Is it the love of Christ, or something else? Do you truly believe that your former pastor was being guided by God’s spirit in his attitude and comments?

    The other edge of this is that we are not going to have all the answers in this life. Depending on the issue, I don’t think it a terrible thing that different Christian believers can have various opinions on spiritual matters, as long as there is mutual respect for each other, love and humility.

    As you know, D’Ma, I’m a theologically orthodox Episcopalian. My husband, in most spiritual matters anyway, is quite a conservative charismatic/evangelical. We can have some pretty significant differences of opinion. But, I love the man. And, I’ve found that over the years, we both have grown spiritually, and in our relationship with God, through working through the difference. And, trust me sparks can even fly. 🙂

    LIfe is never easy. My husband went through a horrible divorce as a young man. But, his pain in that helped bring him to faith in Jesus Christ, and to a new and better way of life. We met and have three beautiful children together, and now grandkids.

  12. jonnyscaramanga May 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    This post is awesome. I wish I’d written it. I too am sorry for my ignorance, but I wouldn’t have thought about it if you hadn’t posted this.
    I did start a facebook page called Musicians Against Homophobia for just this reason – to try to start something to make up for my homophobic past. I haven’t been promoting it lately, but this makes me think I should get back on it. http://www.facebook.com/musosagainsthate

    • christianagnostic May 17, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      Thanks…I’ll check out your page when I get the chance!

      • christianagnostic May 18, 2012 at 7:02 am #

        Cool idea….I love how music can help break down barriers.

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