Dr. Matthew Clark
Can you be gay and Christian? The answer is "yes!" Say it to yourself and believe it!
You are a child of God. Christ loves you just as he does our heterosexual brothers and sisters. Christ's grace is not held from you because you are gay or transgender. Those who say otherwise are likely not gay or transgender. They are often "Christians" who believe that they hold the expert knowledge about something they have never experienced. It is similar to a librarian thinking that he/she is an expert in car repair instead of the mechanic down the street. I believe these Christians should do more asking and less telling about the topic of gay Christianity.
"Gay Christian" is not an oxymoron, despite what you may have been told.
Many LGBT people grew up in very Christian homes. Our parents were active members, church youth leaders, deacons and even pastors. God, Christ and the Bible were very important aspects of our upbringings. We accepted Christ as children, teens, or adults. If we had not been LGBT we, too, may have accepted the dangerous position "Love the sinner but hate the sin." We would have believed in the literal translation of the Bible that had been spoon-fed to us. Because of this, I believe that we should not judge other misinformed Christians but attempt to educate them and pray that God will direct them to the truth. Remember that love is the most important aspect of the Bible and God's first commandment.
It was in my angst and pain as a gay Christian that I searched for the truth and prayed to God for guidance. I began my quest by reading "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" by Daniel Helminiak. The author is a Roman Catholic priest. He stresses the need for accurate understanding of what the biblical "facts" are and concludes that, "the Bible supplies no real basis for the condemnation of homosexuality."
Using the studies of Yale historians and New Testament seminary professors and others, Helminiak examines the story of Sodom (where the sin was inhospitality), Jude's decrying sex with angels, and five texts: Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:27, I Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. Helminiak's book points out that the verses in the Bible that are used against gays and lesbians were gravely mistranslated or misinterpreted. English versions of the originally Hebrew and Greek scriptures are rife with problematic translations.
Helminiak provides evidence that the Bible does not condemn gay sex or relationships as we understand it today. He concludes, "Those who seek to know outright if gay or lesbian sexual relationships are good or evil … will have to look elsewhere (than the Bible) for an answer."
Helminiak shares that the verses in the New Testament that have been used against gay men and women were really referring to pedophilia (specifically the practice of older men using young boys for sexual pleasure) and the use of this behavior in the temples of the gods.
Paul also writes in these same sections that women are not to speak in the church, tie their hair up, or wear jewelry. There are plenty of Christian women who do just that. Times have changed and so have the necessary rules. Get real and stop oppressing us with sections of the Bible that Christians don't follow today. If you want to take the Bible literally, take it all literally or leave us alone!
In the Old Testament, the story of Lot and his family is about men who were attempting to rape angels that were staying with Lot's family. This was a practice in the Middle East during that time to degrade another male (as is often done in our prisons today). This story speaks out against this "unnatural act" and not gay relationship or sexual activity.
The Law sections of the Old Testament that are used to claim that homosexuality is an abomination also warn that eating shell fish, mixing certain foods on your plate, eating pork and mixing certain types of fabrics are against God's laws. The Old Testament Laws also state that men should not sit in a chair that a menstruating woman has sat in and that menstruating women should go out to the Walls of Jerusalem. Children who disobey their parents and spouses who commit adultery are also to be stoned. Christian men and women are no longer following these guidelines today and would find them ludicrous in our daily lives and culture.
Jimmy Carter reminds us in "Living Faith" that "Jesus preached and talked about a whole gamut of sins. He never mentioned homosexuality at all. Jesus did speak extensively about pride, the love of money and judging others."
"What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" is only one great resource I highly encourage gay Christians and their families to delve into. Other enlightening books and groups are Rev. Dr. Miguel de la Torre's "Out of the Shadows, Into the Light: Christianity and Homosexuality," Soulforce, an interfaith movement, Gays in Faith Together, "Seven Passages: A play about seven Christians," the film "For The Bible Tells Me So" and GayChristian.net, a Web site for gay Christians and their families).
Don't give up the faith. The faith has not given up on you!