A few days ago, I stumbled across a picture in my News Feed posted on the public page of a certain Catholic figure I won't name, because you either already know who it is or you don't and either way it doesn't matter.
The picture was a celebration* of "Straight Pride," dolled up with the following: "It's natural, it's worked for thousands of years, and you can make babies." (*"celebration" is a word I use loosely here because I really don't think it's a celebration, rather a passive-aggressive tongue-in-cheek method of making a statement, but I digress)
Now, let me give you a little background here. "Straight pride" isn't some new concept to me, or something I've never heard before. I've heard it, or at least, the notion of it described, easily a hundred times in my life, and each time was as annoying as the rest.
It's annoying for a number of reasons, but the comment I left on this particular post was, I think, pretty straightforward:
"Respectfully, I am not sure if this is in good taste. I understand the point, but I think it easily and bitterly comes across as "we're better than you" and does nothing for the service of the Gospel.
Also, let's not forget that Jesus does not call us to be heterosexual, but to be faithful. I am not sure what the notion of "straight pride" does besides usurp language in order to repurpose it for distance and exclusion.
I am also concerned that it may fly in the face of many couples struggling to conceive.
So, I guess, all in all, I'm not entirely sure what purpose this is going to serve, except to perhaps make people feel isolated or further justified in their anger."
I wasn't hoping to ignite the ensuing debate. I wasn't hoping for 500+ likes. I wasn't trying to make a scene. That was an accident.
I simply wanted to explain my concern, and noticed that the particular person in question did not have a messaging feature on his page, and so, I expressed my concern in a comment.
And so began the apocalypse. Or something. Which brought us here:
Things Some Christians On The Internet Still Think About Homosexuality
(1) That homosexuality is a choice
I was, honestly, surprised how many respondents to my comment were convinced that this is reality. I like to pretend we no longer live in a world where this archaic and blatantly unfounded notion exists, but every now and then it pops up and slaps me in the face.
I am not sure why people insist this must be so. I am not sure what about their faith it upsets to consider that homosexuality is simply a condition some people find themselves in. I am not sure what prompts them to somehow twist the Bible to back their position (hint: this never works).
All I know is that this idea is not only wrong, its continuation is hurtful. We live in a time when some parents are forsaking their own children for the simple fact that they are attracted to members of the same sex; during a time when some young people feel isolated and struggle with a deep internal conflict as they wrestle with their own homosexuality; and unfortunately, during a time when some turn to suicide or otherwise destructive behaviors to help numb the pain of feeling so different and unwanted.
The sooner Christ's followers can admit that no one would choose a life like that, the better. Fortunately, also in today's world, many people with same-sex attractions are finding that their parents accept and love them regardless, probably because they understand that attraction is not something a person can control or choose.
(2) That Jesus wants gay people to become straight
This seemed to be the predominant response disagreeing with my comment. Many took note of my statement that "Jesus does not call us to be heterosexual, but to be faithful."
I was told by at least two commenters that my attraction to women would go away if I simply read the Bible hard enough. Unfortunately, there are people with same-sex attractions in existence today who believe this. And they try it. And when they fail to find relief from their attractions, they feel hopeless and alone. Some of them feel worthless. Some feel that God has abandoned them. These experiences do not seem to matter to people who wish to use their false interpretations of the Bible as blinders behind which to hide from real people in the real world.
Several people noted that God commands us to "be fruitful and multiply." On this note, I agree. There seemed to be some confusion; I never once endorsed same-sex relationships. In fact, in the replies which followed my comment, I repeatedly stated that same-sex romantic relationships are sinful and I do not agree with them. However, this did not seem to be enough. Certain respondents will simply not be satisfied until every homosexual has not only placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ and become a faithful servant of him, but, in addition, reproduced. Why they wish to apply this verse to homosexuals and not other people who are for whatever reason unmarried, lifelong celibates is beyond me.
Most confusing to me, I was told by at least one person that I am living a lifestyle God abhors simply because I wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, do homework, read a book, and go to bed, all the while finding myself attracted to women rather than men (and so probably going to hell). The attraction itself, according to an argument he refused to disavow, was an abomination and a lifestyle I am choosing, definitely associated with some degree of sexual deviancy. Which leads us to...
(3) That literally every person attracted to members of the same sex is a sexual deviant in deep need of repenting for the shameful sin of experiencing attractions.
It didn't seem to matter how many times I or others explained that simply being attracted to members of the same sex does not necessarily mean one acts on their accompanying desires. Nope -- EVERY homosexual, apparently, is guilty of being a super perverted megasinner.
I am not sure why. I personally could not follow the train of thought. It made no sense. I wish I could explain it to give a fair presentation of the view. But I can't. It made no sense.
(4) That being attracted to members of the same sex is a sin
This is the one I found most troubling. What terrible state is the Church in America in when so many Christians are so poorly schooled in basic Christian theology that they cannot conceive the difference between passive experiences and acts of the will?
Homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is a passive experience. Being attracted to someone is something that happens to us. Acting on that attraction is something we do. The difference is important, not only as it regards homosexuality, but the whole of the Christian life.
A few further comments
As Christians, we must stand firm in our belief in the sanctity of marriage as God intended it to be, and I am not saying we shouldn't. God created marriage to be between one man and one woman -- in fact, he created our sexual difference as men and women for the purpose of giving us the gift of marriage. His intention behind marriage was to give us an image of the Trinity, and of Christ and the Church. We are created in the image of a Trinitarian God who is Love, and called to imitate a God who gives himself up to create new life in us, and in marriage, two unique persons come together in such a way that their love ignites ecstasy, embodies unity, and speaks a life-giving language, imitating God.
It is for this reason that homosexuality is regarded by the Church as "disordered." This is not the same as saying it is disgusting or embarrassing or something to be ashamed of. Very bluntly, it simply means it falls outside of the order -- in this case, of the order of our sexuality. God created men and women to 'fit together,' if you catch my drift, and that is simply how God chose to order our sexuality.
To find ourselves outside of this order is not some heinous crime, however. It is, in fact, only one among millions upon millions upon millions of manifestations of disorder. Every single person experiences some variation of disorder. We are fallen people, all of us, regardless of who we are attracted to.
However, none of this does away with the struggle and isolation many homosexual persons experience as a result of these teachings. We must always remember to be kind and generous and loving. We must always remember to be patient with one another, and bear one another in love. One of the most important aspects of these virtues is listening, and trying to understand. Ask people questions. Try to see where they're coming from. Please.
Because, I guarantee, telling someone they chose something they know thy didn't choose, and that they're displeasing to God and going to hell for it, is not doing service to the Gospel.