Monday, November 9, 2015

My Answer to "Forty Questions for Christians Who Oppose Marriage Equality"

This is my answer to Matthew Vines' 40 questions for Christians who oppose marriage equality.

1. Do you accept that sexual orientation is not a choice?

No, I do not. I believe that many are made the way they are and many have psychological or physical abnormalities.

2. Do you accept that sexual orientation is highly resistant to attempts to change it?

Yes, as any other psychological problem does. Up until about 50 years ago, the APA also thought that same sex attraction was a psychological aberration.

3. How many meaningful relationships with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people do you have?

Unfortunately, I have known two of them personally. They were neither happy nor pleasant people. I’ve known quite a few “defenders” of same sex friends, acquaintances, etc. There seems to be a vast majority more defenders of same sex couples than actual same sex couples. Which tells me that many, many people in our society are bending over backwards for people they do not want to offend because of the political or familial backlash.

4. How many openly LGBT people would say you are one of their closest friends?

5.  How much time have you spent in one-on-one conversation with LGBT Christians about their faith and sexuality?

None. I don’t believe you can be both anyway.

6. Do you accept that heterosexual marriage is not a realistic option for most gay people?

*edited* I misread the question: Yes, I accept that heterosexual marriage is not realistic for most people who say they are gay. If one identifies themselves as gay, are they going to keep their vows to a person of the opposite sex? Doubtful. So, they would be going into a covenant without the intention of keeping their promises. That is also grave sin, and a very good reason for an annulment.

7. Do you accept that lifelong celibacy is the only valid option for most gay people if all same-sex relationships are sinful?

Yes.  However, I have known of, and read autobiographical stories of supposed gay people who have become heterosexual. One I know of in particular is now married. He led a gay life style for decades, became a Christian and resigned himself to celibacy. That was not God’s plan for him. He met a fine Christian woman, who he thought would be a good friend. They eventually fell in love and are now married.

8. How many gay brothers and sisters in Christ have you walked with on the path of mandatory celibacy, and for how long?

None. That is neither my place, nor my ministry.

9. What is your answer for gay Christians who struggled for years to live out a celibacy mandate but were driven to suicidal despair in the process?

I would say that they either do not understand what God asks of them through celibacy (or suffering) or they are not strong enough in their Christian faith. The Christian faith is not meant to be an easy road, and the whole LBGT political power trip is not helping any one ease their pain, their walk in life, or the demands of their faith.

10. Has mandatory celibacy produced good fruit in the lives of most gay Christians you know?

I only know of a few cases, and, yes, they did yield “good fruit”.

11. How many married same-sex couples do you know?


12. Do you believe that same-sex couples’ relationships can show the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

I believe that those relationships can have any or all of those feelings or personality traits, but that they not proven to be fruits of the Holy Spirit. People can have moments of joy even in a prison camp. They can love a neighbor even if that neighbor does evil. Their character traits may indicate patience or kindness, goodness or faithfulness, gentleness or self-control, but these characteristics, one or many, can be found in non-Christians, and in non-Christian gay people.

13. Do you believe that it is possible to be a Christian and support same-sex marriage in the church?


14. Do you believe that it is possible to be a Christian and support slavery?

No. One has nothing to do with the other.

15. If not, do you believe that Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards were not actually Christians because they supported slavery?

I believe that all were sinners, and all were Protestants, that is they protested the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I do believe they tried to be Christians in their way but went very awry of actual Christian teachings. I don't know any of their stances on slavery. I know that Martin Luther and John Calvin were of the 16th century and slavery was not the issue in Europe at that time. So, their support of it would be moot. I know that I have much more theological than political problems with Luther and Calvin. I don't know anything about Jonathan Edwards.  I cannot judge their hearts pertaining to their Christianity; only God can judge them.

16. Do you think supporting same-sex marriage is a more serious problem than supporting slavery?

No. I never have and don't compare them. I think murder is a more serious problem, but I don’t equate same-sex "marriage" to murder either (as I don’t equate same-sex marriage and slavery) Those are “apples and oranges” comparisons.

17. Did you spend any time studying the Bible’s passages about slavery before you felt comfortable believing that slavery is wrong?

No. I already, intrinsically, knew it was wrong. And, thank God, slavery has not been legal or supported in the United States for over a hundred and fifty years.  Why would I support it? That is what is called a strawman.

18. Does it cause you any concern that Christians throughout most of church history would have disagreed with you?

No. Because I don’t agree with you that that is true. Small (and small-minded) groups of men tried to justify their grave sin with Scripture—an even greater sin. Not all Christians, and certainly not every Christian, “throughout most of church history” believed that slavery was okay or good. The thing I would ask any gay person—What has this got to do with you?

19. Did you know that, for most of church history, Christians believed that the Bible taught the earth stood still at the center of the universe?

Actually, that statement is not totally accurate. A long time ago just about all people in general thought that the earth was the center of the universe. Some Greek philosopher/scientists understood that the earth revolved around the sun. But, come on, the sun comes up on one side and goes down on the other. Why wouldn’t ancient peoples think that? And the Old Testament was authored by ancient peoples. Those Christians who believed that Sun revolved around the Earth were ignorant (in the original sense of the word) of the science behind the universe; it is simple as that. The Bible also says that Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. Most agree that he was swallowed by a whale, which is now considered a mammal—a distinction not made in ancient times. (A man in modern times, 1930's if memory serves, was swallowed by a whale and recovered within 24 hours, by the way.) When scientists (most of whom were either Catholics monks or Catholic laymen in the early Christian era), watched the sky and “discovered” that we were moving around the sun, the Church adopted this as true—as it was proved to be true.

20. Does it cause you any concern that you disagree with their interpretation of the Bible?
No, The ancient peoples who wrote the Old Testament didn’t know any better than their peers about the science of the universe. They sought to explain the universe in terms they could understand. The early Christians did not know either—just as science lagged behind civilization. Who knew eking out a living would take priority over science, huh?

21. Did you spend any time studying the Bible’s verses on the topic before you felt comfortable believing that the earth revolves around the sun?

Really? Do you always address other adults as children? Or just Christians?

I was never, ever in any doubt that the Earth revolves around the Sun. I live in modern times, went to modern schools, and learned about the universe from an early age. There is nothing I needed to get “comfortable” about. I, unlike you, understand that the Bible was written in ancient times and the ancients saw the universe differently.

22. Do you know of any Christian writers before the 20th century who acknowledged that gay people must be celibate for life due to the church’s rejection of same-sex relationships?

No, because it was not an issue before the 20th century.

23. If not, might it be fair to say that mandating celibacy for gay Christians is not a traditional position?

I would say it is not a “traditional position” because no such position needed to be taken. Homosexuality was considered a grave sin, and many Christians still believe it to be so. There was no celibacy “position” because there is only one “position” on sin--confession, forgiveness, and penance, which includes change.

24. Do you believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that all gay Christians must be single and celibate for life?

No. I believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that being “gay” is a sin. If you need to be celibate in order not to sin, then, yes, you need to be celibate. That would be the implication of Scripture--to sin no more.
*edit*: I believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that "gay" sexual acts are sin, not that believing one is "gay" is a sin. This was a definite mistake on my part. The act is a sin, not the feeling.

25. If not, do you feel comfortable affirming something that is not explicitly affirmed in the Bible?

Yes, because it is implicit in the Bible. If you are not do that sin, you must do something to avoid whatever leads to that sin. Therefore, celibacy would be a viable option to do committing the sin of same sex acts.

26. Do you believe that the moral distinction between lust and love matters for LGBT people’s romantic relationships?

I believe that there are LGBT people who believe that.

27. Do you think that loving same-sex relationships should be assessed in the same way as the same-sex behavior Paul explicitly describes as lustful in Romans 1?

Yes. Love is not the problem. Love is good. Feelings are not bad; what you do with them can be very bad. Love does not and should not always lead to sex. So, yes, I agree with St. Paul that women should not be sexually involved with women and men should not be sexually involved with men.

28. Do you believe that Paul's use of the terms "shameful" and "unnatural" in Romans 1:26-27 means that all same-sex relationships are sinful?

Yes, I do.

29. Would you say the same about Paul’s description of long hair in men as “shameful” and against “nature” in 1 Corinthians 11:14, or would you say he was describing cultural norms of his time?

I think that you are grasping at straws with this supposed argument. Here St. Paul is comparing men’s hair with women’s. Yes, I think a man’s long hair, if he looks like a woman instead of a man, is “shameful.” Now, what is long hair? Past the ears? Past the collar? Past the shoulders? Who knows? I have seen men with ponytails that still looked like men. I have seen men with mullets that looked ridiculously feminine. Who is to judge? I do think it “shameful” if you cannot tell if the person is a man or a woman (that goes both ways—when you can’t tell if the person is woman because of her short hair, tattoos, and piercings in every possible place on her face.)

30.  Do you believe that the capacity for procreation is essential to marriage?


31. If so, what does that mean for infertile heterosexual couples?

That is not the same thing. I find it rich when an LGBT supporter uses this fallacious argument. Most Christian couples when they marry are open to having children. Infertile couples are usually not infertile on purpose. If they cannot have children because of a physical problem of the wife or husband or both, the intention was still there. They married for the right reasons. Having said that, if the couple makes themselves infertile through artificial contraceptives, operations, or devices, marriage would be a grave sin on the couple’s part. They did not marry for the right reasons and their marriage would be just as wrong as a same-sex "marriage" because they then would be infertile like a same-sex couple.

32. How much time have you spent engaging with the writings of LGBT-affirming Christians like Justin Lee, James Brownson, and Rachel Murr?

None, and I don’t intend to start. I do not believe that you can be a Christian and LGBT or a supporter of LGBT. These to things are intrinsically opposed to each other.

33. What relationship recognition rights short of marriage do you support for same-sex couples?

I support all humans being treated with dignity and respect. I believe same-sex couples are wrong but I do not advocate violence, prison, or the nullification of human rights. Other than that, I do not believe same-sex couple should have the same rights as heterosexual married couples. I don't believe heterosexuals who are shacking up should have the same rights as heterosexual married couples, either, for what it is worth.

34. What are you doing to advocate for those rights?

I am Catholic. The Catholic Church works for the human dignity and rights of all humans. I support the rights of all humans to live in dignity and respect, no matter their condition in life, their religion, their sexual orientation, or anything else.

35. Do you know who Tyler Clementi, Leelah Alcorn, and Blake Brockington are, and did your church offer any kind of prayer for them when their deaths made national news?

No. But by the last part of your sentence the implication is that they were killed because they were gay. I do not know personally, but I am sure that there were prayers said for them. That’s what our church does.We pray for those who are killed unjustly, through murder (as a gay-related killing would be).

36. Do you know that LGBT youth whose families reject them are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than LGBT youth whose families support them?

No, but thank you for letting me know this supposed statistic. I have told all five of my children that if they declared that they were "gay", I would still love them. I draw the line at gay relationships. I will not accept my son's boyfriend or "husband" as family, nor will I accept my daughter's girlfriend or "wife" as family. I will never accept a gay relationship as "normal." As far as I can tell, this will not be a problem. Thank God.

37. Have you vocally objected when church leaders and other Christians have compared same-sex relationships to things like bestiality, incest, and pedophilia?

No, because I have not heard that. My Church does not say such things. I would say something if my church leaders did.

38. How certain are you that God’s will for all gay Christians is lifelong celibacy?

I’m not. I think that change can happen. I know that is not the politically correct view but that is what I believe. If a “gay” person wants to be a Christian, he must change his life, just as any other sinner must.  As Jesus said to the woman “caught in sin” (adultery), “No one accuses you. Go and sin no more.”

39. What do you think the result would be if we told all straight teenagers in the church that if they ever dated someone they liked, held someone’s hand, kissed someone, or got married, they would be rebelling against God?

Since that is a strawman argument, I cannot answer it. Straight teenagers should be taught celibacy prior to marriage, but they will never be condemned for something that is not a sin.

40. Are you willing to be in fellowship with Christians who disagree with you on this topic?

No, not particularly. I’ve had these discussions. I have found that most LGBT supporters are stubborn, hard-headed and not willing to see the other side of this “topic.” For the most part, as this series of questions indicate, there is a set agenda with an A, B, C “logic” they believe supports their “point of view.” I do not agree and I will not be converted to agree that what is evil is good, and that aggravates and angers too many. I do not wish to cause anger, but I will not be submissive either.