Can I be gay, Christian and… marry?   Leave a comment

Wow.  How much things have changed since I was a nascent, just-crawling-out-of-the-egg gay Christian.  Churches used to say that having gay feelings made you a sinner.  Now, Christians are starting to think that gay people might be “born that way,” true.  But currently, it’s become vogue for churches to say that it’s just acting on those feelings that can get you in trouble.  Imagine telling young straight kids not to act on their sexual feelings: no kissing, no holding hands, no pictures of cool people in their locker, no wolf whistles, no flirting, no thinking one day about marrying, no thoughts about actual sex….  Yeah, young people in churches would rise up and overthrow their evil dictators!  Or imagine the following scenario if you had to tell this to a straight couple:

Some churches, including those in the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada are endorsing lifelong same-sex friendships, but no sex.  This opens up a world of trouble for gay Christians.  For those who want to live celibate their entire lives, this is no problem, but for those who want to marry—not wanting to risk Paul’s injunction to “marry [rather] than burn”– it leaves you so close to temptation that you are bound to fail, which keeps you in a guilty state, and a state that needs the church to constantly keep “forgiving” your sins. It does not lead anyone to a strong Christian faith.  It makes the central struggle in your life just resisting the person in the room with you.  What good is anyone as a Christian if their mind is always on making sure they don’t have sex?  Paul’s whole point was for these people to marry—all those who need and want physical companionship through sex should marry, Paul says.

The truth: yes, you can marry. Yes, you are gay and yes, God wants you to pair up with someone you love.  Why wouldn’t he?  He talked about it in the Bible—I’m assuming, of course, that the Bible was written for everyone.  Right?  Not just for straight people.  You can’t say that the Bible is not for gay people—Christ made no limitation on who he was coming to talk to.  That means all the promises in the Bible are for everyone, all the rules, all the joys.  So, if you are straight and think that the Bible supports marriage, then you have to say it supports marriage for everyone.  Period.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:28.   Paul chose the three biggest barriers to early Christians at the time—whether you were Jewish, free and male….  and expands it to include “everyone” which would have been the antonym of each of those words: Greek, slave and female.

Well, says the skeptic, if Paul had meant gay he would have said that.

No one ever says that because Paul didn’t mention Palestinian, Egyptian, Englishman or American that God didn’t actually include THEM in that verse….  You are covered, Mr. Texan.  You are covered, Ms. Irishwoman.  You’re welcome.

So if everyone is included in Christ Jesus–then all the promises made by Christ and by God are given to everyone.

But what about that passage where Jesus asks Eunuchs to stay celibate?  Aren’t Eunuchs counted as gay? Actually, Jesus classed three different kind of eunuchs. 1) Eunuchs born that way, 2)  Eunuchs physically altered (castrated) to be eunuchs, and 3) those that abstain from sexual relationships because they want to.   So, some who were born without the desire to have sex with women, some who were castrated and some who were celibate for religious reasons.  Gays clearly fall into the first category.  But Jesus makes a clear distinction between those born that way and those that are abstaining from sexual relationships with women.   Clearly, gay men had no desire for women (though, as slaves, they were often asked to procreate to produce more slaves for their Master) so they weren’t abstaining—a term which means denying yourself something you want.

Jesus asks only those who want to be celibate to take on celibacy. Paul tells Christians that it’s better to marry than burn.  Surely, no one wants a distractedly sexual man or woman whose needs are not being met.  How cruel would it be to pair up all the straight people and leave the gay people to burn?  This article agrees with me, and parses it out according to Roman Law, the words of Jesus and other sources.

The Bible mentions sex so that it can be put in its proper place—so that each partner can have a place where they get sexual needs met, so that these do not become a problem that would inhibit them from Christian service.

The Bible Only Endorses One Man/One Woman rule?

Really?  Hmmm….  I don’t think so.  The one-man/one-woman model is hardly the rule, since none of the Patriarchs, save one, followed it.  Can you name the ONE man who had one wife in the Old Testament who was counted as a patriarch? (not Adam and Eve—they didn’t have much to choose from).   God didn’t seem to waste any time getting onto the Patriarchs for violating that one man/one woman rule through polygamy.  None of them.  Zippo.

Ancient cultures, even up unto the 19th century, used marriage as a way of passing property around, the wife being part of the property.  It was a way to keep material wealth in family lines, a way of demarcating where one family began and ended, a way to parse out possessions.  Wives were property, a breeding property, to produce a family line that secured a prominent place in the community.  Polygamy made sure a man made lots of money through multiple dowries, multiple children, and assured them in times where infertile women were a possibility, that they didn’t have to put all their “eggs” in one basket.  Fortunately we don’t think of women as chattel any longer.  We think of marriage as a partnership.

The Bible was written in that age.  The Old Testament is a record of men taking multiple wives to keep the Israelite kingdom surviving, through its children.  The New Testament is about radical single men going around and preaching—not much marriage there either.

Personally, I endorse monogamy in marriage (I think it’s better for you, easier on your psyche, and easier on the social construct of partnership and family), but saying the Bible only endorses one-man/one-woman marriage is simply a lie.

So, go find a good partner and love them!

Posted October 3, 2011 by jstueart in churches, gay marriage

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