Part I - Is it a sin to be gay?
The short answer is: NO IT IS NOT.
Of course this issue is not a simple one, but stating this is important, because there’s a lot of hatred out there directed towards homosexuals, some who even justify their hatred on Biblical grounds. I’ve even seen people on the news, at protest rallies, holding up signs saying “God hates fags.” Disgraceful. Doing so is a worse abomination than anything they could accuse homosexuals of. The owners of those signs will one day stand before God and answer for this.
The fact is, for ANY ACT to be a sin, it has to be chosen freely. Someone who is FORCED to do something that would be considered sinful is not sinning. No one chooses to be gay.
There isn’t complete unanimity about what causes a person to be gay. Many scientists believe it to be determined genetically or biochemically – and there is a vast amount of scientific data to support this view. One thing that is certain is that homosexual attraction occurs throughout nature, in the animal kingdom, and has in humans throughout history. So the argument that some have, that it is sinful because it is unnatural, just doesn't hold. The question remains however whether it is healthy or not.
Some believe homosexuality to be a result of environment – upbringing, abuse, neglect, that sort of thing. Personally, I’m not convinced that enough study has been done on these issues to say one way or the other. I think there is some merit to the theory that neglectful or abusive fathers, or overbearing smothering mothers, could be a contributing factor to homosexual tendencies.
There are some psychologists who believe that in our psycho-sexual development, all people go through a period of attraction to members of the same sex, in a way – this period typically taking place just before to just after the onset of puberty - however most people grow beyond this stage to attractions to the opposite sex. As such, a traumatic event of some kind at that period could cause an arrest in that psycho-sexual development – their development could literally stall. I’m not sure if this theory holds or not – but it is interesting.
Bottom line is, people don’t choose to be gay. I think it is unlikely that anyone would choose to be gay anyway, given the social stigma, the amount of suffering that many gay people often end up enduring.
So they don’t choose it. Is that the only thing that makes it not sinful? Is it that gay people are forced to feel disordered and evil thoughts about members of the same sex, and are only free of sin because they have no choice?
The answer is - its not that simple. I do know that “sexual attraction” is much more complicated than I ever thought it was. People are attracted to different people in different ways at different times for different reasons, throughout life. Our sexuality is more than just “who we want to have sex with.” Our sexuality is an integral part of who we are, and affects every interaction with every person in our lives. We need to make peace with this part of our selves, or else risk all kinds of suffering, for ourselves, and for the people we care about.
So, the key is that their sexuality needs to be accepted as part of who they are, and integrated into their personality in a healthy way. A person who is gay needs to accept their feelings and inclinations and not hate themselves.
I’ve known a lot of gay people, men and women, and at the risk of oversimplifying, I could put them into two categories – the ones who know and have accepted that they are gay, and have learned to integrate that part of themselves into their personalities, these are some of the healthiest, happiest, most normal, most SAFE people that I know – and those who REPRESS their sexuality – these are the one’s to watch for – they tend to be overly controlling, angry, even dangerous.
Its worth noting that heterosexuals that repress their sexuality, who think that their attraction to others is evil, are also dangerous. Sexuality won’t let itself be repressed – if we try to shove it down into our unconsciousness, it will inevitably come out, sometimes in very degrading, destructive, even evil ways. This is where things like surfing porn on the internet, sexual abuse, sado-masechism, rape, and pedophilia come from. When we don’t integrate our sexuality in healthy ways, our sexuality will assert itself in UNHEALTHY ways.
So, to restate - being gay is not a sin.
Now ACTING on homosexual feelings of attraction, homosexual intercourse, this is another matter altogether, to be dealt with next week. Heterosexuals don't have complete freedom to act on their attraction either. But before we deal with that, we need to firmly establish – being gay is not a sin.
Next week Part II – What about gay marriage?