Wanted: straight Christian allies

By Dr. Steve McSwain Fact: I am a Christian. Fact: I am straight. Fact: For too long, many in the … Continued

By Dr. Steve McSwain

Fact: I am a Christian.

Fact: I am straight.

Fact: For too long, many in the Christian church have stood on the wrong side of the gay/lesbian issue.

Instead of standing with homosexuals, many in my tradition, and I was one of these once, have mistakenly thought we were upholding the Bible and protecting what we presumed was normal–being straight–from abnormal–being gay. But, more often, we were just hiding our anxiety, as well as our ignorance on the matter, by judging gays and lesbians and disassociating from them. But, no matter what our opinion may be, it was wrong then, and it is wrong today, to be misinformed, to judge or, worse, to disassociate from other people.

Anyone with any sense of sanity grieves over the sad consequences of the recently reported bullying of gay teens that resulted in their suicides. I suppose these tragic reports have caused all of us to wake up a bit to the bullying that’s been tolerated far too long on school playgrounds, in church sanctuaries and from Christian pulpits. This madness must end.

What is clear to me today is this: when prejudice is in the heart, as it is in many toward the LGBT community, you can and will find the scripture to defend your position and to justify your intolerance. For centuries, Christians and churches engaged in this sort of insanity to defend slavery and oppress women. Surprisingly, there are still churches that subjugate women and vigorously defend this prejudice with scripture. They mistakenly think they are just being true to the teachings of Saint Paul regarding the roles of men and women in the world and in the church.

But, using any portion of the Bible to justify prejudice of any kind is to demean the scriptures and to damage human beings in the process. It is past time for this abuse of scripture to end, as well as the fear and prejudice that motivates it. How can I claim to be following the compassionate Christ while fostering fear, bigotry, or disgust in my heart?

For all I don’t know, this much I do know:

First, it is inconsistent, not to speak of downright dishonest, to condemn homosexuals on the grounds the Bible says it is “bad, wrong, or evil.” Rape, child abuse, promiscuity, and exploitation are a few acts described in the Bible as “bad, wrong, or evil.” And these are evils can, and are, committed by people, homosexual and heterosexual alike. What the church should be concerned about is the protection of all people from harm, including dangerous clergypersons, who rape, abuse, and exploit others.

Second, gays don’t “choose” to be gay any more than straight people “choose” to be straight. So, Christians should stop pretending this is a lifestyle choice.

Third, sexual orientation is not a political or military issue as in this debacle that is the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” debate. It is instead a civil rights issue. How two-faced can we be to argue against human rights violations in other countries while depriving people of their civil rights in our own?

One more thing. The legacy media need to stop reporting on this issue primarily from the perspective of “Christians” who are opposed to the LGBT community. Not all Christians feel that gay people are sinners for being gay. So, I’m asking the media to give an equal voice to the straight Christian community that stands in solidarity with the gay Christian community.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter most.”

This matters. And, if you’re like me, you’re ready to take your stand with all people. You’re tired of the judging of others and the division it causes. You want, as I do, to practice living like Christ who said, “Judge not,” (Matt. 7:1) and “Do to others as you wish them to do to you,” (Matt. 7;12); like the Buddha who said, “Have compassion for all beings;” and, like Muhammad who said, “No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”

Steve McSwain is the author of The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God. He can be reached at www.stevemcswain.com.

  • potaboc

    It is true people do not choose their sexual orientation. It is equally true that they choose how they act upon their orientation. To say one is oriented toward a particular sexual behavior does not mean one should act upon it. How many would say one whose sexual orientation is toward six year olds should feel free to act upon that orientation? Unless you are willing to permit such behavior on the basis that one is oriented toward it, ask yourself how strongly you feel sexual orientation should sanction sexual behavior.

  • hipshot

    Christians should leave the final judgment to God. I see nothing wrong with admitting that the Bible says “no”, but leave it as a personal matter and preach against persecution. On the other hand, for gays to insist that the label “marriage” be used on their unions is quite selfish. The military issue is separate. The public concept of civil rights doesn’t necessarily apply. Furthermore, I have lived in the same house with gays and we all got on quite well. But I would not want to share a dorm room with one.

  • ZZim

    “what we presumed was normal–being straight–from abnormal–being gay.” = = = = = = Being gay IS abnormal. So is being left-handed. Both lead to difficulties in life like shorter life-spans. Both have certain advantages having to do with being different. Both have a history or persecution and forced conversion.It’s abnormal, get over it. We can all get along..

  • gladerunner

    Hipshot:

  • amelia45

    Hipshot – the label doesn’t matter so much as the rights do. So, lets stop using the word “marriage” in all laws and keep the word “marriage” exclusive to religious organizations who want to convey the blessing of their faith on a civil union. Under the law, there would only be civil unions, straight or gay couples.Our military is much more capable of behaving as adults than we seem to think they are. There have always been gays in the military, sleeping in the same barracks with straights, protecting their buddies backs in a fight, and killing the enemy. DADT is a way to perpetuate a lie – that gays are not in the military. DADT is dishonorable on its face – requiring a person to lie, or at least to deceive. How can we ask those who do us the honor of protecting us to behave dishonorably?Potaboc: I don’t care and don’t want to know about your sexual behavior – unless it involves a child or coercion of an adult. Why are you interested in the sexual behavior of consenting adults?There are many other Christians who agree with Dr. McSwain – Jesus loves us all. They also believe that the issue of tax breaks and other legal (civil, world of Caesar) benefits of marriage/civil union should be available to committed couples of any various combination of the sexes.The real difference we need to observe is that civil benefits of marriage exist in a civil world of freedom and equity under the law.

  • gladerunner

    POTABOC:

  • ucfengr_2000

    Dr McSwain, Matthew 7:1-4 reads:”1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. In context, it would seem less a call against judgement and more a call against hypocrisy. Furthermore, when you read Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11:”9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister, but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”it is clear that the Church is called to judge it’s members. Now, you may argue that “sexually immoral” doesn’t include homosexuality, but you would be hard pressed to support that positon Biblically.

  • stevie7

    For those that use the bible to condemn homosexuality, where is your outrage against adultery? Talk about hypocrisy … it’s selective reading of the bible in order to reinforce your skewed, fearful, and hate-filled view of the world

  • mcroriel

    A special word to African American Christian ministers. Your new found homo-phobia is especially offensive. You sat by while gays (black & white) renovated the very neighborhoods where your churches stand and did nothing for the communities (except collect money). Now these same ministers protest the establishment of a gay restaurant or bar in that neighborhood. A neighborhood that has received millions of dollars in equity to the benefit of it’s long term residents through increasing property values and lower crime rates.You’ve neglected your gay sons and forced them on the “Down Low” where shame and self loathing have driven HIV in African Americans to new highs. You’ve protested our right to marry, while for years gay communities in urban areas were the primary tax base paying for your children’s education.We’ve fought for your rights for decades now you deny us ours taking your own sons and daughters down in the process.I grew up in Washington DC where there was always an alliance (if shaky) between black churches and the gay communities. Recent antics have shattered any hope of that alliance continuing.African American ministers, it’s time to wake up and come back to Jesus.

  • joe_allen_doty

    Please forgive me for cyber-yelling here, Steve McSwain; but, your “Dr.” title should not be used as a part of your name. On to the screaming at the top of my lungs, so to speak:THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO CONDEMNATION OF HOMOSEXUALS IN A TRANSLATED IN CONTEXT FROM THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGES BIBLE!!!! Jesus NEVER said one negative word about homosexuals. And, when the context of Paul’s writings are understood, he never mentioned homosexuals either. In a properly translated from the Hebrew Scriptures, the residents of Sodom are NEVER called “Sodomites.” Where the KJV word “sodomite” appears, the context is about the religion of the Canaanites, the people who lived in Canaan. Besides, the city-state of Sodom wasn’t even in Canaan; it was on the opposite side of the Jordan River where the Original Country of Jordan is located. The “West Bank of Jordan” used to be a part of the Country of Canaan.

  • gladerunner

    Hipshot.

  • joe_allen_doty

    NOTE TO POTABOC: Don’t you know the difference between sexual orientation and the paraphilia of adults being sexually attracted to children? It has been federally document that close to 98 percent of all people who sexually molest children are exclusively HETEROSEXUAL in their sexual orientation. Pedophilia (real Greek word should be “pederastia,” sexual activity wit boys) is a mental disorder and is about control and not innate sexual orientation.The original Greek word “paraphilia” literally means NORMAL human fondness/love for boys. Misuse of the word in English has ruined the word just like the Greek word, “philandria” (normal human love for men) has been misused in English as the root for “philanderer.” English speakers makes it into a man who uses women for his own benefit.

  • joe_allen_doty

    When I was in the US Army, I was in denial of my sexual orientation. But, married heterosexual men and heterosexual men with girlfriends or fiancees back in the USA chose to go on R&R to places where prostitution was legal. When they came back, they didn’t wait for you to ask what they did on a 6-day R&R, they BRAGGED ABOUT IT. And not only that, many of them had explicit pornographic proof of themselves “doin’ it!” And they made sure that you saw those pictures because they stuck them in your face.Also, a couple of the “straight” guys in Company 8, 8th Support Battalion, 196th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam had 16mm movie projectors and they only used them to show pornographic movies in their hooches (living quarters).And, officers in the company showed up watch them, too. When they hung up a sheet on the wall to show their porn, I went outside in the company area until the trashy movies were over.

  • ZZim

    I grew up in Washington DC where there was always an alliance (if shaky) between black churches and the gay communities. Recent antics have shattered any hope of that alliance continuing.Posted by: mcroriel = = = = = = = = Excellent news, Mcroriel, thanks for reporting it..

  • jonswitzer

    It is always funny to me to hear the tortured logic used to try to prove the Bible does not proscribe homosexual behavior. What part of “men giving up natural relations with women and becoming inflamed with lust for one another” is confusing? What part of Men should not sleep with men is confusing?Furthermore, we are told that we “cherry pick” scriptures from the Old Testament. This is a fabulous lie. Those who promote it simply don’t understand Christian teaching. Jesus did not change the law rather he fulfilled it. What that means is that it is still wrong to do the things proscribed. However, when we fail to do so and confess our sins to Jesus asking for forgiveness, His death on the cross covers our sins (hence the reason why you don’t see anyone stoning adulterers any longer). Dietary laws were also not applied to “gentile” Christians after the Acts 15 council. So, to describe Christians as inconsistent on this issue is to be the “cherry-picker” not the full counsel of scripture guy. Sorry. Straight Christians who support homosexuals are consistently those who have, for about a hundred years or so, changed their interpretations of the Bible in the name of “modernity”. These “liberal” Christians find much in common with Obama’s “many roads to God”.

  • jonswitzer

    Someone just said, “Jesus NEVER said one negative word about homosexuals.”Read it for yourself:Matt 5:17-19 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

  • hipshot

    GLADERUNNER:Thank you for your service to our country.

  • fairness3

    I really enjoyed this article. As a practicing Catholic in an “enlightened” parish, we proclaim just what is stated in this article.Being Gay is not a choice…it is inborn..no one chooses to be Straight or Gay. Period.

  • lepidopteryx

    It is true people do not choose their sexual orientation. It is equally true that they choose how they act upon their orientation. To say one is oriented toward a particular sexual behavior does not mean one should act upon it. How many would say one whose sexual orientation is toward six year olds should feel free to act upon that orientation? Unless you are willing to permit such behavior on the basis that one is oriented toward it, ask yourself how strongly you feel sexual orientation should sanction sexual behavior.

  • BurfordHolly

    What makes that tough is that Christians that loudly self-identify as “straight” seem to invariably be closeted self hating gays. Pretty much anybody whose attitude towards gays is anything but “who cares?” is a self loathing closeted gay Christian.

  • apspa1

    It was said here:

  • kathybaldocK

    The church needs to be educated on the issue of sexual orientation. The NUMBER ONE factor that can predetermine haw someone feels about equality is the is being gay a choice issue.

  • kathybaldocK

    @Potaboc–it amazes me that sane , educated humans can still say this stuff. you cannot be both. PLEASE check out my blog and realize that repeating lies and misconceptions does not make them true.

  • Secular

    It is always funny to me to hear the tortured logic used to try to prove the Bible does not proscribe homosexual behavior. What part of “men giving up natural relations with women and becoming inflamed with lust for one another” is confusing? What part of Men should not sleep with men is confusing?

    The secularists, & the liberal Christians, Jews, Muslims bear in mind jonswitzer is 100% correct. When you appeal any decrypt scripture you are out of luck. All progress is only possible when you do not appeal to scripture. Take slavery, civil rights, human rights were only possible when you made secular appeals. The innate fairness of most people will prevail. Those who do not have that will fall in place after a generation or two. Nothing tangible is achieved, without safeguarding the progress made with utmost vigil for a few generations. The secularists must launch a two pronged strategy.1) We need to proselytize for the progressive agenda, using secular arguments only. If we have to throw a bone once in a while to the liberal religious crowd we should. But the emphasis is secular arguments of fairness.2) We need to erode the credibility of scripture all the time, incessantly. The goal is to relegate religion to the dust heap of history. This has been done before several times and successfully too. Each and every time one religion has replaced the another. In the past it has been a religion replacing another and mostly by force. This time it has to be religion & superstition replaced by reason.

  • jonswitzer

    Secular, you admit what many in the Progressive world usually deny with shamefilled defensiveness. The progressive agenda has always appeared to have wholly secular roots and no legitimate appeal to people of faith. It has always felt like the progressive agenda attempts to appeal to Christian compassion and morality are after thoughts not central tenets. The true agenda instead seems to be specifically to throw off any vestige of religious morality in society; to somehow recreate society absent God. More French Revolution than American Revolution. Anyhow, I appreciate your honesty. It’s a breath of fresh air.

  • jonswitzer

    So often we are told it is NOT a choice. However, NO ONE has found a gay gene that determines that choice. All we have is the assertion of nature over nurture. So much for basing our society in scientific consensus.

  • Alex511

    fr ucfenger:>…You can embrace homosexuality if you wish, but by doing so, you reject Christ and his teachings….NOT true. There are THOUSANDS of glbt Christians all over the world. My wife and I are two of them. Get a clue.

  • Secular

    you admit what many in the Progressive world usually deny with shamefilled defensiveness. The progressive agenda has always appeared to have wholly secular roots and no legitimate appeal to people of faith. It has always felt like the progressive agenda attempts to appeal to Christian compassion and morality are after thoughts not central tenets. The true agenda instead seems to be specifically to throw off any vestige of religious morality in society; to somehow recreate society absent God. More French Revolution than American Revolution.

    Jonswitzer, my post is not a statement or a case on the progressive side to abandon morality. On the contrary it is a case for a more expansive morality. It is definitely a challenge to the bronze age morality of the ignorants and the megalomaniacs. The religious morality is very vile and only involves in-group nepotism, and out-group hostility. The so called ten commandments are nothing but horrible pieces of trash. The first four being just a megalomanaical nonsense. Then the 5th one is a bribery for respecting parents. The so call false witness is a blatant case of in-group nepotism and out-group hostility.There are quite a few christian progressive, who may be mistaken in thinking that there was some support for progressive morality in scripture. Insofar as as that there is no support for progressive morality in any scripture you and I are on the same page.

  • ZZim

    So often we are told it is NOT a choice. However, NO ONE has found a gay gene that determines that choice. All we have is the assertion of nature over nurture. So much for basing our society in scientific consensus. Posted by: jonswitzer = = = = = = = = = = =Naw, it’s there. Just because we haven’t deciphered the entire genome yet doesn’t mean it’s not there.Think of it this way – about 2% of the adult male population is gay. This is a cross-cultural constant, now and to the beginning of history. There have always been gay men, regardless of how society accepts or oppresses it, it’s there and it’s always been there. Only a genetic cause can create that pattern.So being gay has always been natural, because it has a natural cause, and abnormal, because it’s relatively rare. But it has always been there, just like the dreaded scourge of left-handedness.So they’re here, they’re queer, let’s figure out the best way to deal with it.

  • FH1231

    There is no biblical interpretation that can allow you to believe that the homosexual lifestyle is approved by the Judeo/Christian God. It’s laughable to hear Christians actually try and believe in this book, while trying to be “tolerant” of the Gay lifestyle.Either the bible is true, and God does not approve of Gay relations…or the whole thing is a bunch of crap. Take your choice, but please stop doing mental gymnastics trying to change the actual words in this book to make faith in it seem to be kinder and gentler.

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