Several weeks ago I was interviewed for a piece in the Huffington Post about LGBT Christians. While I'm no stranger to the push-back that being both gay and a drag queen elicits from many religious folks, I was struck by the hateful manner in which many people attempted to mask their bigoted thoughts in pseudo-Christian comments as if to convince readers that they themselves speak for God.
The unchristlike manner in which these individuals acted online mirrors the way many church-goers treat gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people who are struggling to reconcile their faith, sexuality, and gender identities on a regular basis.
Here are four reasons why Christians who do not affirm LGBT people need to re-examine the idea that members of the LGBT community cannot be Christians and that they themselves have a lock on God.
Jesus Never Spoke About Homosexuality
For all the rhetoric and vitriol delivered in fire and brimstone sermons about the "homosexual demon," Jesus himself never once mentioned homosexuality. When asked to sum up the law and the prophets, Jesus said to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:28-31). Even the apostle Paul went on to say that all that matters is faith, hope, and love, with the greatest of all being love.
Too many churches today demonstrate little love for their gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender neighbors, and they instead spend precious resources and energy fighting marriage equality or denouncing the “gay agenda” from the pulpit and pews. However, none of us are God and are therefore not capable of looking into the hearts, minds, and souls of other people. We need to know our place and recognize that the ultimate say-so in all things rests with someone whose pay grade is way above ours.
If non-affirming Christians really wanted to make a difference in the lives of LGBT people, they would get out of people's bedrooms and get into the business of spreading love as Christ instructs.
These days there are countless versions of the Bible; however, the one thing that remains constant in each version is that the specific translation of words came down to a matter of scholarly human opinion. For example, while some translations specifically use the word "homosexuals" in list of sinners we find in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, others do not.
Ultimately though, none of these translation choices and arguments over semantics matter more than the message that God is imparting through his word, which is that we all have fallen short of His glory and need Christ, regardless of our sexuality or gender identity.
It is widely recognized that most passages in the Bible have to be contextualized to specifically determine which audience a particular book was written to and when. For example, when homosexuality is mentioned in the Old Testament, it was often in relation to its association with idolatrous practices in the ancient world.
It always amazes me how many different things in the Bible, such as passages about divorce, women's roles, and dietary laws, people have managed to dismiss with a clear conscience as no longer relevant based on context, while holding steadfastly to any passage concerning homosexuals.
It is time to stop parsing every word in an effort to be correct, while conveniently looking the other way when it comes to our own lives. It's incredible how non-affirming Christians can be so adamant about the word of God when it comes to homosexuality, but not be so concerned when it comes to God's word concerning a multitude of other topics.
Judge Not You White-washed Tombs
Finally, Jesus lambasted the Pharisees for preaching God's law while being completely devoid of righteousness. Specifically in Matthew 23:27 he called them “whitewashed tombs” for looking beautiful on the outside, but being hollow within.
No passage more perfectly describes today's Pharisaical-Christians who rant and rave publicly about God and sinners, consistently passing judgment on others while demonstrating little of Christ's love and God's mercy. We must all remember Christ's message that we should not judge lest we be judged, and spend less time trying to look good for other people while doing little to develop our relationships with the one and only judge.
Just before Jesus was swept up to heaven after the resurrection he proclaimed according to the apostle John that, "everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another." Christians today of all denominations must spend less time preaching about the sins of gays, lesbians, and transgender people and spend more time spreading love and ministering to those in need.
Members of the LGBT community must similarly no longer allow ourselves to be held captive by the anti-gay rhetoric of hate-mongers and develop our own faith unhindered by the limits that man tries to put on God's love.
Image via flickr user ashley rose