I’m taking a sexual ethics class at a Conservative Baptist Seminary. Basically, that means I don’t exactly fit in there. But when the professor of the class makes statements like: “Never has American culture been so deeply divided. It is dividing Americans more radically than the issue of slavery that sparked the American Civil War” when discussing same-sex marriage, I feel compelled to try writing some sort of response to it.
Maybe same-sex marriage is dividing certain churches and certain parts of Christianity but it’s certainly not dividing Americans more than the Civil war. Mostly because ya know, there hasn’t been a literal war over sex other than the culture wars.
My main response to many things presented in this class is in the form of several questions that maybe I’ll expand into other blog posts later:
- How does our sexual ethic affect the rest of our moral views or mean that we have to redefine our moral framework if we don’t hold a “biblical” sexual ethic?
- Is holding to a conservative sexual ethic required to be a Christian?
- How is the current conflict over same-sex marriage in any way affecting what we believe about salvation, the meaning of the gospel, the incarnation, etc?
- How would you express your conservative, biblical sexual ethics to someone who is not a Christian and/or holds a different sexual ethic or even a different worldview?
- Are you expecting them to live by the same standards as traditional Christians hold to?
- What about the separation of church and state?
My professor also made claims that we have “redefined” marriage based on people’s feelings. So, let me just say this too. Gay couples or bi/gay couples aren’t wanting the same equal marriage rights as straight couples because they simply “feel” gay. This is limiting the complexity of sexuality to feelings. Sexual orientation is about sooo much more than that. People don’t just decide one day they want to be gay or follow their feelings to the point that they’re ok with being attacked and demonized for that “feeling.” Anymore than transgender people wake up one way and “feel” a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth.
If we’re truly going to “engage” the culture ( a phrase I’ve heard quite often recently), we need to actually engage it/engage people–not attack people. The evangelical church as a whole is good at going to war with the culture.
They’re not as good at calling a truce and fighting for peace and empathy in “reaching” the culture.
Also, a few more questions:
- How can churches better minister to the LGBTQ community that is in the margins between their faith and sexuality?
- Why do they have to choose between two things that are a part of who they are?
- Why is the church asking LGBTQ Christians to give up something that they themselves do not have to give up? (a life long relationship with someone they love–just of the opposite sex. In other words, not JUST same-sex sex.)
- Why is the church not showing compassion and reaching out to minister to sexual minorities?
- Why has the church’s main response been only “don’t have gay sex” or “you have to change to be accepted”?
- Is what’s really the most important thing in this discussion allowing churches to reject LGBT people and therefore exclude them from being ministered to like everyone else in the church?
- Also, why was the church’s majority response to the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12th of THIS YEAR that killed 49 people and wounded 53…silence. I’m sure if gay men would have stopped “choosing” to be gay or if lesbians would have stopped having sex maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe the victims of the Pulse shooting brought this on themselves so you should just condone this violent act by either being silent or by saying the victims somehow deserved it. Simply because the victims were majority LGBT. But also some of them were Christians.
- So really, the question I most want to ask is why we can mourn the victims of other mass shootings more easily than the lives lost in the Pulse shooting who were predominantly LGBT?