Cyberdoc reviews homosexuality online...
Homosexuality remains a controversial subject amongst Christians. The electronic version of the British Medical Journal contains a veritable avalanche of e-letters mostly by Christian doctors in response to a 1998 personal view by Sheard (BMJ 1998;317: 1532 (28 November)). This claimed that Christian doctors who believed homosexuality was medically dangerous were basing their views on inadequate research. In an evident display of the heat that surrounds this subject, he is himself criticised for implying homosexuality is more common than it in fact is. It is sad to see people speaking with such ferocity towards others who share the label Christian on a secular website, but some of the postings are quite useful.
Free to be me is aimed at youth and teens who are, or wonder if they are, gay or lesbian. It seems to aim to be non-confrontational, but suggests the possibility of not acting on same-sex attraction, and suggests change in orientation is possible. There are links to organisations like Exodus International which is an umbrella organisation providing links to many organisations offering Christian support for homosexuals ‘seeking sexual purity’. Good examples of these, based in the UK are True Freedom Trust and COURAGE Trust which offer pastoral ‘befriending’ and counselling, rather than the ‘reparative therapy’ promoted actively by the National Association for Research and Treatment of Homosexuality. (NARTH). Both sites are united in their belief that far from being irrevocably ‘born gay’ many homosexuals are able to change in their orientation. The CMF have a number of articles about sexuality which express the traditional Christian view of homosexuality well.
Whosoever is a web site that espouses a different view. It contains many articles claiming that when the Bible mentions homosexuality it really means ‘temple prostitution’, and denies the claims made by others that homosexuals can and do change. Certainly this is the most comprehensive collection of resources that are both ‘gay and Christian’ I have ever come across. There are some powerful arguments here, but much of the explanation assumes that the Bible couldn’t possibly say that all sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are less than God’s ideal for people. A page on the religious tolerance website claims to be portraying both sides of the argument but leans rather heavily towards a liberal approach. There is much on the web from this perspective. Homosexuality and the Bible states its credentials are written by ‘a Bible Scholar’, who precedes to worm his way out of Paul’s condemnation of homosexual sex as ‘un-natural’ by claiming that the Apostle was ignorant of the concept of sexual orientation. In our enlightened age, gay people are simply doing what is ‘natural’ to them. I’m afraid that such an attitude to God’s Word simply will not do.
In the same vein, Roy Clements, recently fallen from a prominent position in evangelicalism as a result of his professed homosexuality, hosts a rather disappointing site containing an article (rather sadly titled ‘living with our fallibility’) reviewing the church’s historical mistakes in Bible interpretation on a host of issues and implying (the second part of the article is still to be posted) that similar errors have been made with homosexuality. There is also an open letter to Brian Souter, the Stagecoach Director who championed the ‘keep the clause’ campaign opposing repeal of section 28 in Scotland.
So, with a sigh, and in preparation for a sackload of letters, electronic and otherwise, let me finish by saying that despite all the best efforts of these websites, some of them no doubt genuine in their purpose, I could find nothing on the web that can honestly prove that the Bible is in favour of any form of sex that takes place outside of marriage. This may well be an unpopular message today, and there are precious few Christian websites I could find proclaiming it. Provided, however, we exhibit Christ-like love for those (homosexuals and heterosexuals) whose sexual behaviour counts as sin (John 8:11), I can see no reason why at the beginning of the third millennium we should be ashamed to believe the traditional biblical view of sexuality.