My mother-in-law recently (within the last 5 years) entered into a committed relationship with another woman, I guess you can say she converted. They consider themselves to be Christians, which I still have a lot of trouble trying to wrap my mind around. I can see being homosexual and still believing in God and even believing Jesus is the messiah, but I just don't understand how one can be homosexual and still attend a Christian church that reads and follows the Christian Bible. Isn't it an oxymoron? Like a Jew ordering bacon for breakfast or one of us kneeling down before bed each night praying to some superhuman being. In addition, I know there are Christians who are not tolerant of the homosexual "lifestyle," so why would somebody being looked down upon like that even want anything to do with these people passing judgment? Can anybody enlighten me, or do I just have to have a very awkward discussion with my mother-in-law and partner?

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Comment by John Jubinsky on March 13, 2010 at 12:59pm
Hi Michelle! Have a very happy birthday. I think the situation of your mother-in-law and friend is that they want to be approved of by society so they impose on the institutions of society in order to be accepted. Also, in being accepted they probably feel that they changing the norms of society to accommodate their life style. I wouldn't get mixed up in it if I were you. I would just stay principled and happy. Again, have a very happy birthday.
Comment by bii on January 26, 2010 at 9:05am
Christians, Michelle, exceed Baskin-Robbins in the number of flavors that they come in. :) As Loren has said, there are some Christian denomination (such as Church of Christ and some Episcopalians) that are very open to GBLTs. It is mainly the conservative, evangelical churches that would shun homosexuals.

But the truth of the matter is that those Christians who think their faith is "Bible-based" are experts at cherry-picking the particular scriptures that they think solidifies their stances on things. For instance, they will pick verses out of Leviticus and Romans that are anti-homosexual to support their stance, but they will complete ignor other verses out of Leviticus that say that wearing a garment made from two different cloths or planting two kinds of crops in one field is an abomination.

Here is a tactic that I like to use against "homosexual hating Christians": Would you agree with me that, as a Christian, Jesus' teachings are the preeminant teachings found in the Bible and in Christendom?" They usually say yes (unless they are Catholic). I then ask them, "What does Jesus say about homosexuality?" The answer: nothing. Jesus doesn't say anything about homosexuality whatsoever in the four gospels. I then ask them why they are so dogmatic on an issue that existed in Jesus' day but which he didn't feel the need to address.

At this point, they will either start to think about where their bias comes from or they will angrily retreat into their "...but the Bible says..." diatribe. I then tell them that Jesus said in Matt 24 that his followers were not to teach the Bible, but only what he taught them. This usually pisses Christians off, but at least start to wonder why Jesus didn't talk about something that, to them, is of paramount important.

The bottom line is that I don't think Christians go to church to find truth or how to live holy lives. Most are just looking for a supporting community. And it can be found there. Even churches that are "Bible-based" don't follow the whole Bible. If they did, we would have to imprison them for murder. :)
Comment by Loren Miller on January 26, 2010 at 7:35am
While I haven't attended church regularly in decades, I believe many who do, whether gay, straight, bi or otherwise, do so at least as much for the social content of church membership as for the religious content. Obviously for those of alternative sexual orientation, the dissonance between their sexual identity and the content of their worship is a substantial problem. For what I've seen, there come two solutions:

  • For those for whom belief outweighs personal identity, we see self-hatred and possibly an attempt to correct their sexual orientation, which is fodder for those who believe they can "pray someone straight.
  • For those for whom personal identity outweighs belief, the effort is made to modify the church and belief set, minimizing or ignoring portions of the bible which are in conflict with their identity and focus on those verses and stories which reinforce a sense of community and commonality.

There are more than a couple more liberal protestant churches out there who very purposefully minister to the GBLT community, having recognized this very fact. On the surface, this may seem to be a viable solution. What remains is the potential for friction between such a church and more conservative churches, not excluding pissing contests on dogma and possibly conflicts more serious.

This begs a further question: outside of cyber-agoras like A|N, what secular alternatives are really available in this day and age for those who wish to have an active social life without the religious content and attendant sub-rosa conflicts?
Comment by Michelle on January 26, 2010 at 6:52am
@Richard Those are the exact questions that go through my head. So yes, I suppose I lack that adaptation because I am most certainly confused.

@The Nerd You are very right about them molding their god and their scriptures, my mother-in-law told my husband and I a while back that they attend, what I suppose is referred to as, a gay friendly church. It's like all the homosexuals and accepting family members and friends of homosexuals were booted from (or sick of) their old churches, but still love their god and messiah so they united to form this pseudo Christian following. It's just so baffling!

@greyfoot Truly, if one fornicates and/or is pro-choice and still claims to be a Christian, it is exactly the same as being a homosexual Christian. BUT, it is also possible to repent and be forgiven. Although, it's much easier and more likely to give up a lifestyle of fornication or supporting a woman's right to choose than it is to stop having feelings altogether for somebody of the same sex. So while I do think fornicators and pro-choice supporters are also not actually Christians at the time they act and think that way, I think it would be possible (and easier) for them to become Christians if they so desired in comparison to one who is homosexual. And while I have heard of those programs that "turn" you from being gay to straight, I'm still left with, "But what about the people who don't wish to change their life style?"

@Thisbe I didn't even know that was an actual Christian concept, I thought it was merely a social thing. Even those who are Islam (if well educated) will say it's not a religious concept for their women to be covered from head to toe and submissive, it's a cultural thing. In the end, I think it's all madness.
Comment by Richard Healy on January 26, 2010 at 1:19am
The human capacity for cognitive dissonance is one of our greatest evolutionary achievements.[1] It allows us to continue to function normally as if everything was normal in the teeth of a gale of logical opposition and contradiction.

Those of us who lack this adaptive quality stand back in confusion and wonderment

(I wonder if they know what the bible says, I wonder if they understand that their love is strictly prhobited by the faith they continue to profess, I wonder if they care?)

[1] Even better than opposable thumbs, which let you pick up objects in your environment and manipulate tem dextrously. It's like mummy used to say: Don't play with that. It's dirty! (and don't play with each others - that's even worse!)
Comment by greyfoot on January 25, 2010 at 9:55pm
I just posted in the discussion section about this very topic, Michelle. All religions were built upon their scripture, which means that a religious person's life cannot deviate from that scripture. And so, if you fornicate outside of marriage, are pro-choice, and accept homosexuality, then you're not a Christian. The one thing that so very few religious spokespeople are right about is that their doctrines, however wrong (and they are oh so wrong), are the backbone to their way of life. I mean, do you ever see a white supremacist say "Ok, I'll accept a nigger if he listens to Toby Keith and wears a tie?" Of course not. Why half-ass it? You're either religious, or you're not. This crap about "progressive Christians" and "atheist Jews" irks me to no end.

So I can't answer your question about homosexuals wanting acceptance. Why would you want to hug someone whom you know is just going to sock you in the eye?

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