Among the homophobic churches, there are bad and not-so-bad examples. There was the preacher who wanted gays stuck behind an electrified fence, to die out because we could not breed, and there are those who even accept gay people in their congregations, as long as they remain celibate.
I don’t know about the worst. They have the words of Jesus, “God is Love”, and of John, “Perfect love drives out all fear”, and they seem to subsume this love entirely in Judgment: “I love you but you’re going to Hell”. God loves by prescribing rules, demanding obedience and submission, and in the end by judging and casting people into Hell. The idea that God smites with weather systems, catching the Evangelicals and the Gays alike, killing people randomly in his smiting, is ridiculous and pictures a weak, neurotic God: but people say these things.
Homophobia blinds the Roman church to the pastoral gifts of gay men. In 2005 the Vatican decreed that men with “deeply rooted homosexual tendencies” or who “support the so-called ‘gay culture'” could not be ordained. Yet their catechism says gays “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” So, gay people should be accepted in congregations, as long as they remain celibate. Not trans folk, though: Maledict claimed we are destroying the very essence of the human creature through manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices…when freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God. We would have to revert. I was welcomed at Turvey Abbey, but then, I was sniffing around, not seeking membership.
In the least bad, there may be “ex-gays”, who are a varied lot. Some are bisexual, and now have opposite sex marriages: they make money by preaching to gullible fools that God cures gayness, and the fools are encouraged to persecute gays. Others accept that their “same-sex attraction” will always subsist, but go along with the lie that it is necessarily sinful. I read of an ex-gay gathering, which an “ex-ex-gay” found terribly sad: it was wonderful to be with people just like him, and sad that they all felt their sexuality a Burden.
How much are they required to conform to an ideal of masculinity or femininity? Some imagine that the “narrow way which leads to life” is one of rigid conformity, rather than that way which is idiosyncratically you. Hence my choice of pictures, from this fascinating article. But only in the centre of Dante’s Hell is humanity frozen with no chance of movement: humanity’s natural tendency is to heal and grow, and cast off shackles.
Some Christians will have gay friends. Their aim is to convert, but some just might not be totally blind to the humanity of the other.
Whether I engage, or just refuse to as in yesterday’s post, is a matter of how sick of them I feel. For example, I can answer Maledict: when rules to promote humanity become rules to assuage the fears of the ignorant, then God is denied and humans stripped of dignity. Sometimes it feels too much like hard work.