The standard for a sermon or “biblical statement” against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals is the use of seven segments of Scripture, which include: Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17-18, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:8-10, and Jude 1:7. These scriptures have already been exegeted and understood not to be against the community but rather excuses. I have given some rebuttal against using such segments of Scripture for a non-affirming stance, and you can find more information in Rev. James V. Brownson’s Bible, Gender, Sexuality (more technical) and Matt Vines’s God & The Gay Christian (more summarized).These seven excuses, though, can be found in seven deeper reasons (unrelated to Scripture) for not affirming the LGBTQ+ community. They come from social constructs and psychological discombobulation, which I will describe and explain at present.
1) Pre-Millenial Eschatology (Tribulational End Times Ideology).
The followers of pre-millenial eschatology are those, who are always waiting for the world to end, which maybe tomorrow or twenty years from now in some minds. Non-affirming Catholics do not agree with such ideology, but most evangelicals and fundamentalists believe in some sort. In the older generation and very pro-homeschooling churches, most believe in dispensational pre-millenialism. Another explanation is – the rapture! Left Behind! They may follow the teachings of John Hagee, Tim LaHaye, and other huge conspiracy Christians. The ideology is actually newer than Mormonism, though. In the late 1800s, it is believed to have originated from a dream of someone’s and later more research was found on the subject to support this supposed dream.
Other pre-millenialists are historical pre-millenialists, who proclaim that Christians will not be raptured, but they will undergo tribulation and persecution for the sacrifice of Christ. Most followers of this ideology are possibly reformed Calvinists and fans of IHOP (International House of Prayer). This was my actual second eschatology.
I was raised in a very deeply, rapture-believing church, who preached about the rapture possibly happening tomorrow and the anti-Christ coming to kill all, who were left here. It was a deep fear I had. I actually believed that I might have been the anti-Christ, the torturer of the world at one point because of this fearful ideology. I could tell you the signs of the times, how it would happen, and how people were going to die, yet I knew little about the love of Jesus. My mind was mostly fueled for a faith in keeping myself from getting left behind. Not love. Not peace. Israel was to be attacked, and the world would come in total chaos. The past hundred years with Israel has been the main fuel to such ideology because it is very deeply Zionist in nature.
The biggest detriment to the LGBTQ+ community from such ideology was/is that it was/is very close-minded. Everything that was/is not “Jesus-y” was/is possibly evil or a vessel of the anti-Christ. Homosexuals were a very huge vessel. There were the constant statements of “the gays are the sign of the times!” or “Rome fell when homosexuality took over!” or any such heterosexist-anti-Christ related interconnection. The anti-Christ was even possibly gay, himself. (Wonder why I thought I was the anti-Christ, now?)
It was not only outspoken against homosexuals, but feminists, communists, Catholics, evolutionists, and any other non-evangelical ideology. It still is (to a degree).
When I got into college, I was confronted by IHOP ministries, and their belief in historical pre-millenialism because I was starting to understand charismatic theology more. Mike Bickle, the pastor of IHOP, was/is a widely-known charismatic theologian, so I listened to his sermons that were supposedly prophetic of the end of the world. Bickle was not as insane about homosexual conspiracies, but it was very well known that they were an evil and/or sign of the times.
The pre-millenial eschatology that has ridden the evangelical church with widespread homophobia (literally) is a great epidemic to the Western world. In countries across the world, foreigners will tell you about this rapture/armageddon event rather than about the gushing, graceful love of Christ. It is a Western ideology that has closed the Camusian walls of the absurd and kept the fundamentalist world on their toes. Forget about “perfect love casting out all fear (1 John 4:18).”
Young-Earth Creationism is another ideology that limits the possibilities of affirmation for the LGBTQ+ community because of it’s lack of trust in scientific data. Creationism is the epitome of a conversation with a Christian that will say “science is not always right.” Define science. Scientific evidence that comes in hundreds of thousands of pages over the last century? Or scientific statistics? Or a narrative describing the sovereignty of God to humanity thousands of years ago? Most Creationists will even scowl, roll their eyes, or possibly protest to anyone teaching a small phrase of “millions of years ago.” It’s a trigger warning.
Because of little trust in science, a lot of creationists will disregard any scientific evidence supporting the natural biology of a gay man, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person. It is a deep belief in biblical literalism that stems from the growth of the Reformation and then the evangelical revivals in the early 1900s. This biblical literalism is quite mind-blowing when you note that the first collectors and readers of the Bible took more criticism and a lot less literalism than this current generation.
Science shows that queerness is found in animals. “But we’re not animals.” – a creationist comeback. Science shows the younger a brother from a pack of brothers the more likely he will be given female hormones (which will later make him gay). Science shows queerness in both members in a pair of twins. Science shows similarities between brain patterns of gay men and straight women and also between lesbian women and straight men. Science shows too many “Xs” in a genetic pattern causes gender dysphoria and/or intersexuality. One geneticist could go on and on, but creationism builds on the idea of secularism or atheism taking over the world. It builds on “evil” taking over the world. It is what the devil may want you to think.
Without a respect for science, the greater neglect for love toward the LGBTQ+ community.
3) “Anti-Liberal”/The Christian Right.
Fox News was the regular TV channel at dinner in our congregation’s homes. Meanwhile, I’d be spitting “idiot” or “dummie” at the random “liberal” that would appear on maybe a segment of O’Reilly or Hannity. Elisabeth Hasselbeck was my hero for standing for the Christian Right on the View in high school. Deep inside though, I knew that the “liberals” were more like me. I knew the wacky artists and the Obama voters were in love with compassion. I could not let the gays have their rights for the sake of….I didn’t want to permit them to go to hell. I could not let illegal immigrants come into the states…..because it was breaking the “law of the land.”
The Christian Right is a feed me/feed you, circular scenario. A pep rally for toxic ideology and racist/homophobic/sexist/xenophobic statements with the sacrilege of Scripture to justify it.
Gays can’t have rights because America is a “Christian nation”……though, we support the genocide of the Palestinian peoples by the nation of Israel for the sake of eschatology! Gays can’t have rights because America is a “Christian nation”…..though, a load of deists created the Constitution of the U.S. with a clause stating the country’s “separation of church and state.” The ideas of gays even infringing on the purpose of a “Christian nation” is ridiculous, as I stated with the debunking of using seven verses to state the “homophobia of God,” yet this is a continuing example of the circular arrangement of the Christian Right’s ideology.
The Christian Right is funded by white, well-to-do Christians (Evangelical and Catholic) to feed each other money and toxic ideology for the sake of selfish exploitation and manipulation, not God.
4) Peer Pressure.
As I described with the former three ideologies, they each have a possibility to peer pressure. Everyone has the choice to be homophobic/heterosexist, but in some situations, it is more of a numbing and/or pressured experience.
Growing up in a homophobic environment, it took twenty years to be openly gay. The last six years were a slow process out of such homophobia. In high school, I entered theatre with a lot of fellow queer classmates. It started a process to be “ok” around queers and even be friends with them (at a distance). After I graduated high school, I went to an art camp, which required living with other queers. My notions about faith and queers started to be tested even more as they became close to me even more than my friends formerly. Two years later, I started becoming friends with Christian libertarians, who rejected the idea of America as a “Christian nation” and believed in rights for queers because it was a freedom. I later came to understand and agree with the same idea, especially after I made friends with more Christian libertarians at college. A year later, some Christian friends come out gay, and I come to an uncomfortable situation of realizing there was no getting passed my own homosexuality.
One may be born into a very homophobic environment or keep themselves surrounded by such, but it is all about environment. The less pressure, the more freedom to think and love, of course.
Most Evangelical and all Catholic/Orthodox churches are patriarchal in nature – male-led, male-centered, male-identified, and male-empowered. Patriarchy fights for the appearance of masculinity and the eradication of femininity, therefore these churches are usually only led by males in various vocations. The system is the fuel for the rest of the patriarchal structure of society because of its sacrilegious justification of the Bible.
Mainline Christian and some Evangelical churches are a very different sort. Episcopalians, Presbyterians of U.S.A., United Churches of Christ, and various other churches ordain women as priests, head pastors, and/or other vocations. There is the ethic of egalitarianism in these churches, which deeply destroys patriarchal powers. In these same churches, they have later come to be affirming of the LGBTQ+ community. Examples include transgender priests in the Episcopal Church, lesbian pastors in the Disciples of Christ Church, and bisexual theologians in various churches.
Unlike their fellow Christians, these egalitarian Christians gave way to their affirmation of the LGBTQ+ community years after giving rights to women as leaders in the church. This is the reason for the disconnection of gay Christians and leaders of most evangelical and Catholic/Orthodox churches. The Orthodox Church is possibly the most anti-gay, high-church denomination in the world, yet they even call their biggest leaders “patriarchs.” Efforts have been made for the Southern Baptist Convention to affirm same-sex relationships in their churches by various leaders, yet nothing has came of it, which is linked to the fact that their female members are not even allowed to preach at Sunday church. The Catholic Church has been doing well to be coming slowly into affirming of same-sex relationships, but they are still very lacking, which can be linked to the fact that the pope is only and always male.
The first step to getting a congregation in the right direction toward affirmation of the queer community is an egalitarian ethic of straight men and women in church and church leadership. The Assemblies of God denomination and Methodists (especially) are in the right process toward that possible affirmation.
6) Strict Doctrine on Sin.
Before I came out, the drawing line in the sand was right in front of affirming the LGBTQ+ community. I was leaving my Calvinist notions and adopting midly liberal thoughts from Charismatic Christians, but affirming queers was cutting it close to heresy. It was a test for me and a church or a person. Tell me your thoughts on the queer community and that would test how legitimate you were as a Christian or theologian. This is a testing device used by other people, too, but it may not be as close to the line as mine was. It may be behind pre-marital sex, or it may be way behind voting for Obama.
In some Catholic churches, it is taught that homosexuality is a mortal sin. In Orthodox churches, it is taught that homosexuality is a detestable sin. In most evangelical churches, it is taught that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons are sinners and in need of purification and conversion. The leading cause of suicide by members of the LGBTQ+ community comes from a particular perspective on sin, which is derived from these doctrines of these churches. To get beyond this doctrine, one has to exegete and analyze these doctrines clearer and read and discern the nature and love of Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus will give you a clearer and unaffiliated vision.
The core root and overall reason for any non-affirming perspective is fear….a fear of possibly being wrong about so much else…a fear of hell…a fear of losing support…a fear of change.
It’s easy to end a short argument with “…but the Bible says.” It’s easy to agree with your supportive leaders of religion, politics, and economic status. It’s easy to be white. It’s easy to be straight. It’s easier to hide.
If you change your mind on queers, what about creation? What about women? What about illegal immigration? What about America? What about your money?
God still says, “they will know me by your love (John 13:35).”