In the fight for equal rights for LGBT folks, gay activists are often confronted with religious groups who are anti-gay. Some of these groups are very vocal and have also poured a lot of money into convincing legislators and everyday citizens that our world will be destroyed if we give equal rights to gay people.
Obviously, I don’t believe this or I wouldn’t be here blogging on a gay man’s website. But it does raise the question: Are all religious groups like this? We all personally know Christians who are gay or support gay rights. I attend the United Church of Christ, an open and affirming church, which I have seen described as a left of left cult that isn’t even Christian. Clearly, these individuals haven’t taken the time to familiarize themselves with this denomination or they would know what good people these are. Gee, kind of like…… they don’t know any gay people so it’s ok to dehumanize them too.
What about other denominations? Where do they stand on gay rights? The answer is there is a growing movement in literally every denomination that supports gay rights.
The Lutheran Church, that one started by Martin Luther that gave us Protestant faiths, as in Protest, has been making progress toward the acceptance of lesbians and gays. These Lutheran churches are called Reconciling in Christ. I was pleased and surprised to see this in today’s news.
The Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America oversees Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. ……The resolution showing support for gay clergy and their relationships was approved in a 238 to 183 vote. The synod also passed a statement on human sexuality that calls for a “greater understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“I am old enough to remember when pastors being held to a higher standard meant that if you were divorced, not only did you have to suffer that pain, but you could no long be a pastor in the church,” said Rev. Dale Sillik of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lilburn.
“Thankfully the church looked deeper and wider into what our Lord said, and found Christ in the grace to see beyond those words, to the truth that God had given those people to ministry.”
First, I want to point out this is happening in the Deep South, which is perceived as the most intolerant of gay people. I truly applaud these Lutheran ministers. They have looked into their hearts to find truth and compassion. I think that last sentence says it all. “the grace to see beyond those words…”
Reading more deeply into the meaning of words is a reoccurring theme as humans become more enlightened. We read deeper and deeper into our Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. We didn’t stay frozen in time, accepting slavery, accepting that only white men with property have rights. We read more deeply into the words. Some people believe that the Bible came directly from God. I don’t believe this. I believe the Bible was written by humans, greatly influenced by their culture and ability to understand the world in the context of the times.
Before we examine how faith and religious organizations are changing in our world, let’s look at this concept that the Bible is carved in stone (no offense Moses). These quotes are from a website Fundies Say the Darndest Things.
“To say the Bible was written by men and may contain inaccuracies completely contradicts the word of the Bible. “
“Make sure your answer uses Scripture, not logic.”
“If your original Hebrew disagrees with my original King James — your original Hebrew is wrong. If your original Hebrew agrees with my original King James, your original Hebrew is right. “
Well, these are opinions and all I can do is point out that the statements are absurd. Let’s examine a claim by one poster who cites Bible passages to prove their point. Now we’re getting somewhere.
The Fact the Earth is Flat is not my opinion, it is a Proved Fact! While all we need to know is that the Bible says the Earth is flat (Is.40:22, Ez.7:2, Dn.2:35; 4:10-11,20, Mt.4:8)… but for a second can you imagine what these so-called ‘scientists would have us believe — If the earth really was round, that would mean there arre (sic) people who are HANGING DOWN, HEAD DOWNWARDS while we are standing head up.
I have my both my childhood Bible and my husband’s childhood Bible. Mine is the original King James version from 1600 while my husband’s is revised. (GASP!). I looked up every single chapter and verse in this quote. Let’s look at Dn 2:35, which is Deuteronomy. My book says “Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves and the spoil of the cities which we took.” My husband’s says “Only the cattle we took as spoil for ourselves, with the booty of the cities which we captured.” It might be me, but that doesn’t seem to say anything about the earth being flat.
Two of the quoted verses do mention the earth. One, Matthew 4:38 says, in my Bible says , “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world”. The other verse is Ezekiel 7:2 which says “thus saith the Lord God unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land”.
From this, would you conclude that the earth is flat? Or could there be other interpretations? You might be thinking, of course the earth isn’t flat. You didn’t address the Bible verses that say being gay is wrong. No, I haven’t. But I will. Just as soon as I can find a reputable theological source on those verses. So for now, you will have to stay in suspense. Besides, you already know….. that no matter what I find as the original words and intent, I will still consider those the words of people writing in the context of their time. In other words, nothing will make me believe them. So is it worth my time and yours for me to address those? Let me know.
Now, that we’ve had our Saturday fun, let’s move on to the more serious topic at hand. Can a person be gay and be a Christian, or be a member of an organized religion? Of course. Believing in a supreme being isn’t about sexual orientation. It’s about your belief in how the universe was created, what makes it tick. Many straight people are atheists or agnostic. There is no moral advantage to believing in a supreme being or any organized religion. Many of my close friends are atheists or agnostic and they are the most caring people I have ever known.
Whether you are straight or gay, this is my message for you. Each of us goes through life on our own journey, our own path. Be true to yourself. Your whole self, from flesh to mind to heart to spirit. If we all embrace the values of compassion and respect, seeking understanding and acceptance of others, the world can benefit from our diversity. I go to church because our minister has a way of making me feel better about myself. I find his sermons enlightening and they touch a part of my being. I go to be part of a group of people that actively help others in our community and far away places. I don’t go because I’m afraid of God’s judgment or hell. I don’t need the threat of punishment in order to behave with values. If you are seeking a spiritual life, gay or straight, I hope you use your heart and look inwardly to find that guidance, rather than being afraid of words that have been written, translated, rewritten and retranslated. If God did speak to people 2000 years ago, why can’t s/he speak directly to you?
I’ve collected websites from many faiths that support LGBT folks, as well as links to the work that HRC and GLAAD are doing with different faiths. I believe that every day, we will see more and more clergy and faiths stepping forward to speak up for gay rights.
Worldwide Directory of Open and Affirming churches
Metropolitan Community Churches
Presbyterian – More Light Presbyterians:
Lutheran – Reconciling in Christ:
FLGBTQC – quaker.org
GLAAD (faith information)
HRC – Human Rights Campaign:
HRC’s Religious Information
Geekgirl is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles.