A conservative Christian friend recently wrote a Facebook post saying how much she enjoyed and appreciated the book Single Gay Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity by Gregory Coles. In the book, Coles describes his life growing up as a Christian, but never being attracted to girls. When he hits puberty, he realizes that he is attracted exclusively to other guys. He loves Jesus with all his heart, but he is sexually attracted to boys.
As Coles’ story unfolds, he explains how he came to the conclusion that he was not a mistake. God created him just the way he was. Even so, in order to live by God’s word, he has to forego any gay relationships. He can’t be in a loving relationship with another man, and, to remain true to his Christian beliefs, he must remain chaste.
My friend said Coles’ story opened her eyes to the struggles LGBTQ Christians live with and the book made her appreciate how much faith and “love for the Lord” it took for Coles to make the decision to deny his earthly urges in exchange for eternal life in Heaven.
As someone who is not a conservative Christian, I initially felt good about my friend’s admission that she had gone from believing a person couldn’t be both a LGBTQ and a Christian, to understanding that even LGBTQ people can be part of the Christian family, provided they live a life worthy of God. It was a small step, but at least it was in the right direction.
My good feelings quickly disappeared when I began reading the comments to my friend’s post. One person wrote:
“Could you show me in the Bible where it is ok to live this way and be a Christian? The Bible says it is an abomination. People who are unbelievers love, but their eternal destiny is also hell without Jesus. I can give you all the verses in the Bible that say what the end result is. Love is telling people the truth about what God’s Word says! No one likes to hear the truth because it is hard to swallow. But when you show them, and they sincerely want truth, the Holy Spirit will convict them. It is our job to speak the hard truths in love. The greatest love we can show-is by telling sinners to repent and OBEY GOD!. Especially if they profess to believe in Jesus! It is a matter of life and death! 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, 2 Peter 2:1, Jude 7, Revelation 21:27, Ephesians 4:9-16, 2 Peter 2, 2 Peter 3:14-18”
Another person wrote:
“Agreed. And as this review by Denny [B]urk states, there are some significant theological issues with [C]oles conclusions on quite a few things, first and foremost, the celebate gay identify genre…Haven’t read the book but have seen enough of the same kind of talks and even some debates with those who advocate the same perspective and even though they try to support their case, the identity genre and resultant mindset that is presented cannot be aligned or supported at all with the clear reading of scripture. And that was the emphasis of Burks review. I just would encourage you to not be so taken by the emotion of the struggle and conclusion presented in the book. It might be compelling, but we also need to be making [sure] it can be supported by scripture. That’s what Burk and others are trying to convey.”
As I read these comments–which to me, are filled with hate disguised as Christian love–I was reminded of the letter that circulated several years ago to Dr. Laura Schlessinger. If you’re not familiar, Dr. Laura was a conservative Christian talk show host who often railed at the depravity and sinfulness of a LGBTQ lifestyle.
Here’s the letter:
Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.
a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?
i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.
Christians like my friend and those in her comments tend to be very selective in the Bible passages they choose to follow and those they don’t. To me, that’s the real abomination. They judge people harshly for what they see as a violation of one of God’s laws (homosexuality), but they fail to hold others, including themselves, to God’s other laws. Seems a bit hypocritical, doesn’t it?
As long as we’re recommending Bible verses, let me recommend Matthew 7:1-3 (NKJV) to my friend and those that commented on her post:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”
I’m not nearly the Christian my friends are, but I do recall Jesus commanding us to love one another, to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and house the poor. I think I’ll stick with that.