How we treat homosexuals in the church and in our larger society seems to be, like it or not, one of the major issues of our generation. The Presbyterian Church’s vote which allows gay ordination has made it a hot-button topic once again in our denomination. The President’s sharing his personal feelings yesterday that gays and lesbians should be allowed to be married (with the proviso that he believes the states should set the law) has the topic all over the news. And we again see the typical divides between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, and between young adults and older adults. I have always had friends and parishioners on each side of these debates.
The one thing that I want to say in all of this is that much of the strong feelings on this issue seems to be rooted in the notion that somehow homosexuality will “spread” if it is affirmed in any way or can be “contained” if we pass the right laws, amendments, and motions. People believe if we endorse gay marriages that it will open the flood gate of gay marriages. And, likewise, if we ordain gays there will be a sudden influx of gay and lesbian ministers and elders in the church. But what I have found is that the percentage of homosexuals in our society seems to be a fairly constant number, and there is nothing that the church or government is going to do that is going to raise or lower that percentage. I also believe that gays and lesbians tend to, as most people do, hang around folks who are like them. It is why, to a large degree, I find the debate in most Presbyterian Churches to be most ironic since we spend great time, effort, and even decide to separate ourselves from one another over views on homosexuality when the actual percentage of homosexuals in most Presbyterian Churches is well under what it is in society. I believe that many of the churches that are most focused on this issue probably have zero percent homosexuals in their midst as well.
In the end, we all have to ask ourselves what would Jesus want us to do. And we have to be humble enough to know that good Christians today all over our country are answering that question in different ways. Is our view so “correct” that we can’t even be in dialog with those who disagree? I hope not.
But no matter how we answer these questions, it isn’t going to “encourage a growth in homosexuality” or “discourage a growth in homosexuality” by the policies we set. There simply will always be a certain percentage of the population that is homosexual. The only question on this issue is how God wants us to treat people who are gay. And that, rather than the myth, needs to drive our discussion.
What do you think?
Until next time,